- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2006

ARIZONA

Bystander lifts car off injured cyclist

TUCSON — A bystander at a road accident in southern Arizona lifted a car clean off a trapped teenage cyclist, possibly saving his life, police said Friday.

Kyle Holtrust, 18, was struck by a car as he pedaled along a Tucson highway late Wednesday and pinned beneath it, city police said.

Tucson paint shop worker Tom Boyle grabbed the Chevrolet Camaro car and lifted it, allowing the driver to haul the injured cyclist clear.

“He lifted that side of the car completely off the ground,” police spokesman Frank Amado told Reuters by telephone.

Mr. Amado said Mr. Holtrust was being treated at a hospital and was expected to make a full recovery.

ARKANSAS

Trucker’s hearse is a flatbed

TEXARKANA — Longtime trucker Oliver “Buddy” Simpson rode to his final resting spot at Harmony Grove Cemetery in a casket on the back of a flatbed diesel truck.

“I don’t think Buddy would have approved of us making this much fuss over him,” friend and colleague Perry Parker said at Mr. Simpson’s funeral, “but I think if he heard the rumble of the trucks outside, he would be OK with it.”

Mr. Simpson, 58, died July 18 of lung and bone cancer.

Mr. Parker said Mr. Simpson was one of the most dependable truckers in the business. He noted that Mr. Simpson had recorded 3 million miles without an accident — a designation for which Mr. Simpson received a fully equipped Peterbilt truck.

Mr. Parker’s tribute was followed by a recording of “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.”

CALIFORNIA

Charges unlikely in Starbucks crash

EL MONTE — An 85-year-old man who drove a car onto a patio at a Starbucks coffee shop and injured 10 persons isn’t likely to face charges, police said Saturday.

“It sounds like it’s just a simple mistake by an elderly man,” said police Sgt. Richard Williams, adding that he “seriously doubts” charges will be filed.

Police said Ted Kawashima was trying to park his white Toyota Camry in a handicapped spot at about 9 p.m. Friday when the car surged forward. The vehicle plowed across the patio and back into the parking lot, coming to rest on top of another car in this suburb 14 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Mr. Kawashima, who speaks only Japanese, told police through a translator that he was trying to step on the brake pedal when he hit the accelerator by mistake.

COLORADO

Utah teen wins text-off contest

DENVER — A Utah teen with fingers of fury is once again the speed text-messaging king of the world.

Ben Cook, 18, of Provo, returned to the top of the cell phone text-messaging heap Friday at a Denver text-off, blazing through a 160-character standardized message in 42.22 seconds.

The phrase used for purposes of professional, competition texting is: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality, they seldom attack a human.”

The feat was recorded on video and scored by an official timekeeper, validating it for Guinness World Records purposes, said Sara Spaulding, spokeswoman for the event sponsor.

Mr. Cook in 2004 snagged the world record by texting the official phrase in 57.75 seconds, a record that soon fell. Before Mr. Cook’s feat Friday, the record was held by a 23-year-old woman from Singapore at 43.24 seconds, which was set on June 27, 2004.

FLORIDA

227 fall ill aboard cruise ship

PORT CANAVERAL — Nearly 230 people aboard a cruise ship were stricken with a gastrointestinal illness during a weeklong Caribbean voyage, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said Saturday.

The illness, thought to be a norovirus brought onto the Mariner of the Seas by a passenger, struck 221 of the ship’s 3,660 passengers and six of its 1,202 crew members, said company spokesman Michael Sheehan.

Sick passengers started complaining of vomiting and diarrhea Wednesday and were treated with over-the-counter medication, he said.

Most were said to be recovered when the ship docked yesterday morning in Port Canaveral as scheduled, Mr. Sheehan said.

The cruise included ports of call in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.

GEORGIA

Roller-coaster rider dies of heart attack

AUSTELL — A 45-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack after riding the newest roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park, officials said.

The man was alert while riding the Goliath roller coaster Thursday, but he was unconscious by the end of the ride, Six Flags spokeswoman Christy Poore said.

When firefighters arrived, he wasn’t breathing, said Cobb County Fire Lt. Dan Dupree. He said the man was pronounced dead at a hospital.

An autopsy showed Michael Corry of Birmingham, Ala., had a congenital heart problem, the medical examiner’s office said.

NEVADA

Artist rebuilds Las Vegas sign

LAS VEGAS — Take 500 decks of playing cards, 1,800 poker chips, 800 dice and more than a few tubes of glue. Add an artist who likes to stack things, and mix in some Vegas glitz.

“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” or at least welcome to a life-size replica of the famous sign made out of cards, dice and poker chips.

Bryan Berg, perhaps best known for building a 25-foot castle out of playing cards, broke his no adhesive rule to build the sign for the World Series of Poker. The sign, which is attached to a scaffolding of wood and weighs 400 pounds, took about 450 hours to complete.

Unlike the original at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, the replica does not have a flat front. Pockets of its face are left bare so the structure’s interior design is revealed. The honeycomb pattern of the cards and their laminated covering catch the light, making it appear the sign is lighted up and shimmering in the desert heat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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