- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2008


14 hurt in train derailment

CHICAGO - A Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train derailed yesterday on the city’s South Side, frightening passengers who were dazed as emergency responders removed them from the elevated rails.

Fourteen people were taken to hospitals, 11 in good condition and three in fair condition, said Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco. A total of 25 people, including one CTA employee, were on the train.

The first two cars of the four-car train sat askew at a junction between two lines but remained upright after the derailment, which CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said happened shortly after 10 a.m.

All passengers appeared to be off the train within about an hour.

CTA President Ron Huberman said the derailment’s cause was not clear, but the agency’s investigation was focusing on the signal system at the junction.


Woman in iron lung for 58 years dies after power failure

MEMPHIS - The family of a Tennessee woman who spent more than 50 years in an iron lung said she died after a power failure shut down the machine that kept her breathing.

Dianne Odell died early yesterday. The 61-year-old had been confined to the 7-foot-long machine since she was stricken by polio at age 3.

Brother-in-law Will Beyer said family members were unable to get an emergency generator working for the iron lung after a power failure knocked out electricity to the Odell family’s residence near Jackson.

Miss Odell spent her life in the iron lung, cared for by her parents and other family members. Though confined inside the 750-pound apparatus, Miss Odell managed to earn a high-school diploma, take college courses and write a children’s book.


Fake clerk robbed store, police say

MESA - Police have arrested a man they say pretended to be a new employee at a 7-Eleven so he could learn to use the cash register and steal its contents.

Marc Antoine Stovall, 21, was arrested Monday in Phoenix and was booked for investigation of armed robbery, kidnapping and third-degree burglary. He admitted to the crime during an interview with investigators and was in jail Tuesday, Mesa police spokesman Christopher Arvayo said.

Police said Mr. Stovall was trained how to use the cash register April 27 at the Mesa store after falsely claiming he was a new employee.

He returned to the store twice that day to make purchases. On the final visit, the clerk commented on his photo ID when the suspect was trying to buy beer, and, police said, the man pulled a gun and forced the woman into a bathroom.

Police said the suspect pretended to be the store clerk when the real clerk broke free and emerged with a gun. The man fled with stolen money, police said.


Astronauts to deliver pump for broken loo

CAPE CANAVERAL - NASA rushed yesterday to get a special pump on board shuttle Discovery to fix a balky toilet at the International Space Station.

The space station’s Russian-built toilet has been acting up for the past week. The three male residents have temporarily bypassed the problem, which involves urine collection, not solid waste.

Russian space officials are providing the pump to launch aboard Discovery Saturday.

Yesterday, a NASA employee was en route to Florida from Russia with the 1 1/2-foot-long pump and related hardware.


12 years in prison, DNA test frees man

CHICAGO - DNA testing has exonerated a man of a rape conviction that had kept him in an Illinois prison for more than 12 years.

The New York-based Innocence Project said Dean Cage is the 29th person in Illinois exonerated by post-conviction DNA evidence.

Mr. Cage was released from prison late Tuesday after Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel dismissed the conviction at the request of prosecutors.

Mr. Cage, 41, was convicted of assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1994 and sentenced to 40 years behind bars.


For sale: county jail listed at $200,000

SKOWHEGAN -The Somerset County Jail in downtown Skowhegan is for sale for $200,000.

“It’s an interesting building. It could be used for many, many things,” said Philip Roy, chairman of the Somerset County commissioners.

The 14,000-square-foot lockup, which was built in 1897, is scheduled to shut down later this year when a new 200-bed county jail opens in Madison.

One of the selling points, said Tonya Allen, an assistant real estate broker, is that the building is in the heart of downtown Skowhegan, with no zoning restrictions.


Trains collide; passengers injured

NEWTON, Mass. - Two commuter trains collided during the evening rush hour outside Boston yesterday, hurting several passengers and trapping the seriously injured operator of one train, authorities said.

The wreck injured about 10 passengers in an above-ground accident on the city’s “T” system near a station in suburban Newton.

A two-car train slammed into the back of another two-car train approaching Woodland Station, said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

“The first one was stopped at a red signal and was ready to proceed to the station when it was struck,” he said.

Workers were trying to free the woman who was operating the train that hit the other, and Mr. Pesaturo said she appeared to have suffered serious injuries.

One passenger was flown to a Boston hospital, and the other injured commuters were taken to nearby Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

The hospital had eight train-wreck patients, none with serious injuries, said spokesman Brian O’Dea.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash.


Perfect attendance results in new car

CONSTANTINE - Andria Baker has pretty much always been present.

From the first day of kindergarten through her last day of high school, Miss Baker, 19, somehow made it to school for every day of classes, despite colds and sports injuries. Why? If she kept it up, her father promised her a car.

She kept up her end of the bargain, and she notched her 13th year of uninterrupted classroom attendance Friday with her final day at Constantine High School.

At a party Sunday, her father presented her with a new, $17,000 Pontiac G6.


Man convicted in ‘85 cop killing

PHILADELPHIA - A man freed after spending seven years in prison for the slaying of a police officer has been convicted again, nearly a quarter-century after the killing.

Wilfredo Santiago, 44, will serve life in prison unless his attorney wins further appeals in a case that has taken myriad twists and turns.

A jury deliberated more than six days before reaching a decision Tuesday in the largely circumstantial case. Officer Thomas J. Trench, 43, was shot in the face and neck as he sat in his patrol car May 28, 1985, but the murder weapon was never found.

The first trial was marked by the prosecution’s use of jailhouse informants, recanted testimony and allegations that police tried to frame Santiago. He was freed by a judge in October 1992, citing judicial misconduct.

In 1994, a Superior Court panel ordered a retrial.


One charge dropped in school bomb plot

COLUMBIA - Prosecutors dropped the most serious federal charge against a South Carolina teen accused of plotting to blow up his high school.

Ryan Schallenberger, 18, still faces three federal explosives charges that carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, but prosecutors dropped a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction that could have sent him to prison for life. Acting U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald would not say why he dropped the charge.

Mr. Schallenberger was arrested April 19 after his parents picked up a package addressed to him containing 20 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Police said a search of his home found other materials needed to make several bombs.


Judge: State must retry or free inmate

NASHVILLE - A federal judge yesterday ordered Tennessee to quickly retry or free a death-row inmate whose conviction was questioned after the Supreme Court said new evidence raised reasonable doubt about his guilt.

Paul House, sentenced to die for the 1985 slaying of a young mother, has been in limbo while a prosecutor battles efforts to have him retried.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. held a hearing to consider conditions for releasing House, 46, who has multiple sclerosis and must use a wheelchair. Instead, he granted the inmate’s request to force prosecutors to quickly begin a new trial.

The judge said the process to hold a new trial must begin by June 17 or House must be freed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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