- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007


Faked illness foils attacker

HAMPDEN — A woman who was watching the Super Bowl alone discovered a way to scare off a man who had broken into her home: fake a heart attack.

The woman, 80, was watching the football game Sunday night when she spotted a man walking through her house, Hampden police Sgt. Dan Stewart said. When she asked the man what he was doing, he grabbed her from behind and pushed her toward the bedroom.

Sgt. Stewart said the woman pretended she was having a heart attack and told the intruder that her heart medication was in her car in the garage. After they retrieved the medication, the man fled.

A 45-year suspect was arrested a short time later and charged with aggravated criminal trespass and assault. He is a convicted sex offender in Alabama, police said.


Plant explosions rock neighborhood

KANSAS CITY — Several explosions engulfed a chemical plant in flames yesterday, forcing a broad evacuation as the fire spread to nearby houses and spewed a toxic, sticky substance that residents were warned not to touch.

No injuries were reported, but Kansas City police were busy driving the streets and warning that more explosions were expected at the Chemcentral Corp. facility, which stores and distributes chemicals and solvents.

Fire Chief Richard Dyer said officials were evacuating a 1-square-mile area around the plant and were going door to door through several blocks.

Dan Brennan, an attorney for Bedford Park, Ill.-based Chemcentral, said it was not clear what caused the explosions at the plant, which has 15 to 20 workers.


Plane crash kills medical crew

MANHATTAN — A medical airplane headed to Bozeman to pick up a patient crashed as it was preparing to land, killing all three persons on board, authorities said.

Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls confirmed that its “MercyFlight,” a King Air 200 turboprop, crashed Tuesday night. The pilot, a nurse and a paramedic were killed. Their identities were not released.


Construction mishap kills 2 workers

LAS VEGAS — Two construction workers were killed and two injured Tuesday when a 3,000-pound metal wall form fell at the site of a hotel-casino project on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.

Las Vegas police Lt. Kevin McMahill said the accident occurred about 3 p.m. at the building site of the MGM CityCenter, a $7 billion mixed-use megaresort, which began construction last year and is scheduled to open in 2009.

MGM Mirage spokeswoman Alan Feldman said the company is working with state occupational safety officials to determine what caused the wall form to fall.


Daughter’s key starts wrong car

ATHENS — Kate Anderson became an accidental car thief when she went to pick up her daughter’s car near an Ohio University building last week.

Mrs. Anderson spotted the nickel-gray Toyota Camry and used her daughter’s key to unlock the car, start the engine and drive home — without realizing that the car wasn’t her daughter’s.

When student Charlie Vansant left class a short time later, he found only an empty parking spot. He first assumed the car, made in the mid-1980s, had been towed, but when police couldn’t find a record of it, they took a theft report.

The morning after Mrs. Anderson took the car, her daughter discovered that the Camry in the driveway wasn’t hers. Mrs. Anderson said she was able to find Mr. Vansant’s name on paperwork in the glove compartment.

According to a police report, the case was closed “because of mistaken car identity.” Mrs. Anderson wasn’t charged.


City presses inquiry of discrimination

PHILADELPHIA — Officials found evidence that the owner of one of the city’s signature cheesesteak joints may have discriminated against immigrants by telling them to order in English.

The city human-relations commission will proceed with its investigation of Geno’s Steaks, which posted a sign reading, “This is America: When ordering ‘please speak English,’ ” according to a letter the commission sent to owner Joe Vento last week.

Mr. Vento’s sign caused an uproar last year, when immigrants rights groups threatened to boycott or order in other languages and he refused a city councilman’s request to remove it.

A message left with the human-relations commission was not returned yesterday.


Suspect eyed in rapes of men

BAYTOWN — A man arrested on suspicion of rape may be a suspect in the rapes of several men in the Houston area over the past year, police said yesterday.

The man, whose identity was not released, faces charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in a case from May, said Baytown police Capt. Roger Clifford. He said police were withholding the identity until other victims are able to see the suspect in a lineup.

Police for months have been investigating five cases in which young men were surprised at or near their homes by a gunman demanding money. The last reported attack was in November.

One of the victims pointed investigators to the man, Capt. Clifford said.

The suspect was arrested late Tuesday after DNA tests linked him to the victim in a May attack, Capt. Clifford said.


Deaths from snow, cold reach 14

CHARLESTON — West Virginia called 21 snowplow drivers out of retirement yesterday as snowstorms and arctic cold blamed for at least 14 deaths hung over much of the Midwest and East.

As much as 9 inches of snow fell in West Virginia in the state’s first major storm of the season, prompting schools statewide to either close or open late for a second day in a row. Schools also were shut across of much of Ohio and parts of upstate New York, some for a third straight day.

Some travelers spent the night at airports in the Midwest after flights to the Northeast were disrupted, and slick roads led to chain-reaction crashes.

Forecasters said some areas of upstate New York could receive more than 100 inches of snow before the system breaks up Sunday or Monday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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