- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Pilot ejects safely as F-16 crashes

GLENDALE — An F-16 fighter jet crashed and burned yesterday near Luke Air Force Base, but the pilot ejected safely, authorities said.

The single-seat jet went down in a field just after takeoff on a training flight, the Air Force said.

The pilot was taken to a hospital to be examined.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.


Police report surge in gambling arrests

HONOLULU — Arrests for illegal gambling quadrupled in Honolulu in the past three years, police said. Statistics show 239 arrests involving cockfighting, card games and clandestine casinos last year, up from 152 arrests in 2004 and 58 in 2003.

Lt. Walter Ozeki, supervisor of the police gambling detail, said he thinks arrests are up because more people are gambling, not because of any stricter enforcement of gambling laws.


Priest will be held in treatment center

CHICAGO — A Catholic priest who was scheduled for parole yesterday after serving two years in prison for molesting boys will instead be sent to a state treatment center for sexually violent criminals, where he could be committed indefinitely.

State officials petitioned the court to involuntarily commit the Rev. Frederick Lenczycki on the grounds that he likely would molest again.

A judge on Monday ordered the 61-year-old priest held at the state facility in Joliet until a hearing can be held to determine whether he should remain there indefinitely.

The case is the first in which the state has attempted to hold a priest under Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, a 1998 law that allows for the involuntary commitment of convicted sex offenders to mental institutions until they are determined to no longer be threats to society, said DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett.


Speeding car crashes, smashes into crowd

GARY — A speeding car collided with another vehicle and smashed into a crowd gathered near a city street, killing a 6-year-old boy and three men and seriously injuring several others, authorities said.

The boy was among the bystanders Monday evening and at least two of the men killed were inside the second vehicle, Lake County Coroner David Pastrick said. It was not clear whether the other man who died was inside a vehicle or among the bystanders.

City spokeswoman LaLosa Burns said police were investigating witness reports that the car had been drag-racing another vehicle on the four-lane street.


Couple miss work, submit fake obituary

WATERLOO — A couple here were apparently so desperate to get out of work that authorities said they submitted a fake obituary to a newspaper to justify days playing hooky.

James Ralph Snyder, 36, and Mary Jo Elizabeth Jensen, 33, participated in the scam by saying her 17-year-old son had died, police said.

Mr. Snyder was charged with tampering with records. The teen’s mother was charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Mr. Snyder, claiming he was the boy’s father, submitted the obituary to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier in December, police said. Later in the week, people who know the family and the teenager saw him at a downtown restaurant and called authorities.

The two worked at Tyson Foods in Waterloo and started taking time off of work in December saying her son was sick and in a hospital, police said. They said the plot escalated and Tyson officials were told the teenager was on life support and eventually died. When company officials asked the couple to verify their absences, Mr. Snyder sent the obituary, police said.


Teen reported abducted at gunpoint

INDEPENDENCE — A 16-year-old girl reportedly was abducted at gunpoint from a small southeast Kansas town early yesterday and forced into a van that was seen headed toward Oklahoma, authorities said.

Kansas and Oklahoma authorities were searching for the white van and the girl, Kelsey Stelting, after state officials issued an Amber Alert.

Independence police said the blond teenager was forced into the van about 6:30 a.m. at her home in Independence. The van was seen headed south on U.S. 75 toward Oklahoma. Independence police declined to release further details.


Distillery offers $1,000 mint julep

LOUISVILLE — As if custom-made hats, premium box seats and limo rides weren’t snazzy enough, a select few spectators at this year’s Kentucky Derby can sip a $1,000 mint julep.

The sweet cocktail will be made this year with one of the state’s finest bourbons and served in a gold-plated cup with a silver straw to the first 50 persons willing to put down the cash.

Mint from Morocco, ice from the Arctic Circle and sugar from the South Pacific are added luxuries that will put the drink in a class of its own, the distillery selling the premium drink said.

“We thought we would reflect on and complement the international nature of the Kentucky Derby,” said Chris Morris, master distiller for Woodford Reserve. The distillery will sell the drink only on race day, May 6, to raise money for a charity that cares for retired race horses.


Storm-damaged part of parkway reopens

SPRUCE PINE — The last remaining stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that was damaged during the 2004 hurricane season has reopened.

The remnants of Hurricanes Francis and Ivan caused multiple rock slides that damaged the scenic road, which is part of the National Park Service.

An eight-mile section from near Linville Falls to just north of Spruce Pines was reopened Monday morning, parkway spokesman Phil Noblitt said.

The meandering 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Cherokee, N.C., to Waynesboro, Va., and is the most visited spot in the National Park Service system, with about 20 million visitors annually.


Parents charged in baby’s heroin death

BETHLEHEM — The parents of a 10-month-old boy who died of a heroin overdose were charged with homicide Monday, nearly three months after the baby’s death.

Samuel Rivera and Erika Santiago were charged in the Jan. 13 death of Yandiel Rivera-Santiago. Toxicology tests determined that the baby had lethal levels of heroin in his system, authorities said.

While investigating the death, police said, they found evidence of a drug distribution operation — large amounts of heroin, drug paraphernalia, more than $7,700 and a stolen handgun.

Officials said they did not know whether the baby found the drugs in the house and put them into his mouth or whether the heroin was fed to him.


Law students to aid public defenders

ROCK HILL — Students at the new Charleston Law School will be helping public defenders in rural counties throughout the state this summer. The students must fulfill a public service requirement to graduate.

The internships will give the students 160 hours of work experience and let them see how real cases are prepared, said Harry Dest, York County public defender.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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