- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Pump malfunction drops gas to 29 cents

HAMMOND — When a pump at a gas station malfunctioned, opportunistic motorists were able to buy a gallon of gas for less than the price of a stamp.

A Marathon gas station sold fuel for 29 cents a gallon for about 90 minutes before the mistake was detected and the price was corrected to $2.79. Clerk Nida Tayyab said more than 50 people crowded the store, likely thinking the mishap was a price promotion, and received the bargain. Normally, the station serves about 10 people an hour.

When Miss Tayyab figured out what was going on, she called her father, who works at another store, to fix the situation.


Dead miners used air packs like Sago’s

HOLMES MILL — The men who died from carbon-monoxide poisoning at an eastern Kentucky coal mine were using the same exact air-pack model as the Sago Mine disaster victims, even though the lone survivor had questioned the reliability of the devices about a month ago.

Holly McCoy, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, said the self-contained self-rescuers used Saturday were the exact models the Sago miners were using: CSE SR-100.

Based on preliminary tests, a coroner said Sunday that three of the five Kentucky miners who died in a Harlan County mine Saturday survived the initial blast but succumbed to carbon monoxide. A sixth miner made it out alive.

David Dye, acting administrator of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said in a statement yesterday that the Kentucky survivor’s air pack had worked properly.


Eight indicted in boy’s shelter death

MINDEN — Eight current and former employees of a northwestern Louisiana youth shelter were indicted yesterday on negligent homicide charges in the death of a 12-year-old boy, who collapsed during a disciplinary run.

Alex Harris died last year after a forced run for breaking rules at the Hope Youth Ranch, located about 10 miles north of the city of Minden. Webster Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin said the boy complained about feeling ill but was denied water and rest.

Seven current employees were arranging to surrender and post bonds of $2,500 each, Mr. Marvin said. The eighth person indicted is a former employee and will have to be located, Mr. Marvin said. The names were to remain sealed until arrests are made.

Autopsy results indicated that Alex died of dehydration and trauma to the head, Mr. Marvin said earlier. The head injury was likely caused by another youth dropping Alex, Mr. Marvin said. Investigators said Alex collapsed, and an older boy picked him up and carried him. But when Alex began vomiting, the boy dropped him.


Minivan plows into church carnival

SOUTHFIELD — The driver of a minivan plowed into a crowd of children gathered at an inflated “Moon Walk” attraction, injuring at least nine persons before fleeing the scene, police said yesterday.

The vehicle struck people gathered at a church carnival put on Sunday by St. John’s Armenian Church in this Detroit suburb, said police Detective John Harris.

Police said the 34-year-old driver fled the scene of the accident in the parking lot of the Alex Manoogian School. Police traced the van to a home in Troy and arrested one man, authorities said. Southfield police said he would be arraigned today or tomorrow. Detective Harris said the driver could face charges up to assault with intent to commit murder.


Junior Gotti indicted for mob-related crimes

NEW YORK — A new federal indictment charged John “Junior” Gotti yesterday with continuing to commit mob-related crimes even as he claims that he quit organized crime years ago.

The new accusations come as prosecutors prepare for the July 5 start of Mr. Gotti’s third trial on racketeering charges. Juries deadlocked at two previous trials in the past year.

The new indictment claims that Mr. Gotti tampered with a witness last year and used money earned illegally through the Gambino crime family to create and operate holding companies used to buy real estate and collect rents.

Mr. Gotti’s attorney, Charles Carnesi, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment yesterday.


Gunman kills self after hostage-taking

EUCLID — A gunman burst into a medical building and held his ex-girlfriend hostage before fatally shooting himself in the head, police said. No one else was hurt.

The man, whose name was withheld until his family could be notified, apparently was determined to force a reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend, police Capt. Dave Brooks said.

The man had a history of abuse of the woman, whose name also was withheld until she could be reunited with relatives, Capt. Brooks said.

The man entered the office where the woman works and briefly held her co-workers hostage, Mr. Brooks said. At one point, chiropractor Jim Cooper tried to disarm the man, but the gunman was able to control the weapon, Mr. Brooks said. The gunman eventually ordered his ex-girlfriend’s co-workers to leave.


Police rescue ducks crossing interstate

LAYTON — It wasn’t chickens that were crossing the road. It was a mother duck and 10 ducklings, and the road was Interstate 15.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Simmons slowed traffic and herded the ducks, which were waddling south in the northbound lane, to the highway’s grassy median. But five of the ducklings slipped through a storm grate and Davis County Animal Control officers joined the Friday rescue.

Officers Ashley Langford and Brandie Stanley used tongs to get two of the ducklings out, but the others headed deep inside the pipe that runs under the interstate. They duct-taped a small net to the tongs and then waited for more than two hours before each little duckling eventually wandered from the pipe within reach of the net.

The ducklings were placed in a pet carrier and the mother in a separate crate. All were taken to a new home — away from the highway — at Layton Commons Park.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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