- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2008


No injuries in train collision

RIALTO | A commuter train collided with a freight train Thursday in Southern California, producing no serious injuries but bringing back memories of a deadly commuter-train wreck in the region just two months ago.

A Metrolink train heading east from Los Angeles toward San Bernardino collided with a BNSF train about a half-mile from the Metrolink station in Rialto around 11:30 a.m., agency spokeswoman Joanna Capelle said.

The trains sideswiped each other and both remained upright on the tracks, Rialto police Lt. Joe Cirilo said. Five people were taken to area hospitals.

BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said the 102-car freight train had almost made it onto the side track when the Metrolink struck a flatbed car hauling iron.

There were 15 passengers and crew on the Metrolink train and three on the freight train, Miss Capelle said. Miss Kent said none of the freight train’s crew was hurt.

The crash comes about nine weeks and 100 miles distant from a September train crash that killed 25 people and injured 135.


Court shooting mistrial denied

ATLANTA | A judge has denied a mistrial for an Atlanta man who escaped during his rape trial and went on a courthouse shooting spree that left four people dead.

Jurors are deciding whether Brian Nichols, 36, should be executed for killing a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff’s deputy and a federal agent in the violence that began in downtown Atlanta. He was convicted earlier this month in the 2005 killings.

His attorneys asked for a mistrial in the death penalty phase after prosecutors played a tape of Nichols apparently threatening to kill a prosecutor. They didn’t give defense attorneys a transcript of the call.

Superior Court Judge James Bodiford said playing the call violated a court order but the offense wasn’t serious enough to merit a mistrial.


City eyes ban on driver texting

HONOLULU | The Honolulu City Council on Thursday considered a ban on driving while text messaging or playing games on phones or other hand-held devices.

The legislation would not ban talking on a phone while driving. But council member Charles K. Djou said he would include that prohibition if it doesn’t imperil his proposal.

The measure is modeled after laws in California, other states and cities, such as Phoenix and Detroit. Mr. Djou would ban writing, sending or reading text or instant messages or e-mail, while driving.

The proposal includes no provision for punishment.


Meat-packer official to remain in custody

CEDAR RAPIDS | A judge has ruled that the former manager of an Iowa slaughterhouse that was the site of a large immigration raid is a flight risk and should remain in federal custody.

U.S. Magistrate Jon Scoles issued the order Thursday for Sholom Rubashkin. The former CEO of Agriprocessors Inc. was arrested last week on bank fraud charges.

Federal agents said they found about $20,000 and passports in a travel bag in Mr. Rubashkin’s bedroom.

Prosecutors also purport that Mr. Rubashkin tried to tamper with evidence when he was released from jail on other charges including harboring illegal immigrants.

Trial on those charges is scheduled for Jan. 20. A trial hasn’t been set on the bank fraud charge.


27 horses killed in stable fire

HENDERSON | Fire swept through a barn at a former race track Thursday, killing 27 horses.

It was the second deadly blaze this year at Riverside Downs in western Kentucky, near the Indiana border. Among the horses killed was Kept Lady, which won a race Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Investigators did not know what caused the blaze, which started between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

“It’s just a terrible thing,” said Jack Hancock, a manager at Riverside, which is now used to stable and exercise horses. “The worst thing a horseman could ever hear is the word ‘fire.’”

Five of the 31 horses in the barn that caught fire survived, but one was later euthanized. About 70 horses remain at the stables.

Six horses died Jan. 4 in a fire blamed on a vending machine electrical cord.


Dealer convicted after terror sting

NEW YORK | A wealthy arms dealer long suspected of aiding militants in some of the world’s bloodiest conflicts was convicted Thursday of conspiring to sell weapons to informants who posed as arms suppliers for terrorists willing to kill Americans.

Syrian-born Monzer al-Kassar, 62, and a co-defendant, Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, were convicted of conspiring over a four-month period last year to try to sell millions of dollars worth of heavy weaponry to Colombian militants.

The federal jury in Manhattan convicted the men of conspiring to provide aid and equipment to a terrorist organization, conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers, conspiring to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles and money laundering.


Bail denied in FBI death

PITTSBURGH | Bail has been denied for a woman accused of killing an FBI agent during a drug raid.

Christina Korbe, 40, was arraigned early Thursday on a homicide charge in the shooting death of Special Agent Sam Hicks.

Mrs. Korbe told investigators she thought her home was being burglarized and that she was shooting at an intruder Wednesday morning.

Mr. Hicks and other law enforcement officers had gone to Mrs. Korbe’s home to serve a warrant on her husband, Robert, as part of a drug sweep.

Mrs. Korbe called 911 during the raid and said her house was being robbed and that she had fired at a burglar. She was arrested while still on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.


Blast, fire injure oil refinery workers

TYLER | An explosion at an east Texas oil refinery Thursday started a fire and injured four workers, two of them seriously, authorities said.

Two men from the Delek Refining Ltd. refinery were being treated for burns at a hospital, and two others were in good condition, officials said.

All other workers at the refinery in Tyler, about 90 miles east of Dallas, were accounted for, said Paula Lovell, spokeswoman for Delek, based in Nashville, Tenn.

The fire was mostly under control within about an hour.

The refinery, which employs about 270 people, has a capacity of 60,000 barrels per day and is the 94th-largest oil refinery in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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