- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Lost whales head toward ocean

SAN FRANCISCO — Two humpback whales that swam from the Pacific Ocean far up into central California’s inland waterways appeared to be heading back toward open ocean, wildlife officials said yesterday.

The whales, presumed to be a mother and calf, have been in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for the past two weeks, at one point swimming as far north as the state capital Sacramento after entering inland waters through San Francisco Bay.

After efforts to coax them out of the delta failed, the whales began swimming toward the Bay Sunday on their own, and by yesterday morning, they were about 25 miles from the Bay’s landmark Golden Gate Bridge, where the Bay and Pacific Ocean meet, an official with the California Department of Fish and Game told reporters.


6 hurt evacuating Disney water ride

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Five visitors to Walt Disney World and an employee suffered minor injuries yesterday while evacuating a water ride that had malfunctioned, authorities said.

The injured guests were a family of four and a teenager, said Bo Jones, Reedy Creek’s deputy fire chief. They suffered neck and back pain and other bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries.

A sensor on the Kali River Rapids ride tripped, stopping it and forcing riders to evacuate, Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said. The injuries happened while people were moving from floats to a walkway, she said, but she did not give details on exactly how they occurred.

Disney determined that the problem was a faulty exit platform. The park removed the platform and reopened the ride yesterday.


Trucker pleads guilty in victim mix-up crash

PORTLAND — A Michigan truck driver pleaded guilty to reckless homicide yesterday for a highway wreck that killed five Taylor University students and staff last year.

One of the young victims had been mistakenly identified as a survivor until her parents discovered that the severely injured woman for whom they had been caring was another student.

The truck driver, Robert F. Spencer, 38, was accused of falling asleep on Interstate 69 shortly before his tractor-trailer hit the university van on April 26, 2006. Authorities said he had driven at least nine hours more than allowed under federal rules at the time of the crash.

Spencer, from Canton Township, Mich., faces four to 24 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 14.


Fire at base kills soldier’s 2 children

FORT CAMPBELL — Fire roared through a soldier’s home on the Fort Campbell Army Base early yesterday, killing his two young children and seriously injuring his wife, officials said.

A 3-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the base hospital, spokeswoman Kelly Ann Tyler said.

Their mother was flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, about 50 miles southeast of the base, and was listed in stable condition in the burn unit, Miss Tyler said.

The father, a soldier with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, was being treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening at the base’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. None of their names was released.

An 18-month-old girl was not injured, Miss Tyler said.


Helicopter crash kills 1, injures 2

COLUMBUS — A helicopter conducting a flyover inspection of power lines crashed in high winds, killing one man and injuring two others, officials said.

The helicopter crashed in an open field Monday in remote Stillwater County in central Montana, Deputy Paul Caraway said. It was not clear whether the winds caused the crash.

Stillwater County Undersheriff Woody Claunch identified the man who died as Mark T. Burdick, 34, of Tennessee. A 43-year-old man from Illinois and a 38-year-old man from Pennsylvania were injured. The names of the two injured men and the hometowns of the three weren’t released.


Police charge mom passed out in car

MANCHESTER — Police arrested a women they say passed out in a hot car with her 8-month-old baby. Jessica Wilson, 30, faces drug and child endangerment charges.

Police say employees at a shopping plaza spotted her passed out on Friday when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees. Authorities found the baby, now in protective custody, on the floorboard of the driver’s seat.


Terror suspect pleads not guilty

NEW YORK — An American student extradited from London on charges that he provided al Qaeda fighters with equipment to attack U.S. troops is an activist, not a terrorist, his attorney said yesterday after the man pleaded not guilty.

“These charges are unfounded,” said the lawyer, Sean Maher.

Syed Hashmi, a 27-year-old former New York resident, was the first terrorism suspect extradited to the United States by British authorities. He arrived shortly before midnight Friday to face a May 2006 indictment.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hashmi smiled at a dozen family members and friends as he was led out of the courtroom. He will be detained pending a bail hearing scheduled for Friday.

Mr. Maher said Mr. Hashmi has been outspoken at rallies, mostly in the United States, about his views opposing some U.S. policies, though he would not be more specific.

Prosecutors accuse Mr. Hashmi, who was born in Pakistan and is also known as “Fahad,” of supplying equipment for al Qaeda “to fight against United States forces in Afghanistan.”


Black bear caught after night on town

KNOXVILLE — Police cornered an unusual suspect in Knoxville’s entertainment district early yesterday: a 130-pound black bear.

Officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were called in to tranquilize the bear in an alley near the Old City historical district, a hub for shops, restaurants and nightclubs.

The bear was spotted Monday night near the University of Tennessee but eluded police by climbing over a fence. Officials think the same bear escaped their grasp again after turning up in a rail yard.

The bear was released in the Cherokee National Forest in southeastern Tennessee.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide