- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Motorcycle chase reaches 140 mph

PHOENIX | A motorcyclist is in custody after leading Arizona highway patrol officers on a chase at speeds reaching 140 mph.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said Jonathan Ereckson, 22, of Phoenix rode his sport bike along the streets of west Phoenix and even into the airport. He then headed north on an interstate, pursued by a police helicopter.

The chase ended nearly 50 miles north of Phoenix when the rider either ran out of fuel or his bike broke down.

Mr. Ereckson faces charges of felony flight, endangerment, reckless driving and criminal speed. He also has a felony warrant for burglary, attempted theft of means of transportation and criminal trespassing.


Famous sea lions have deserted city

SAN FRANCISCO | Last month, marine scientists counted more than 1,500 sea lions on this city’s fabled Pier 39, a record number that delighted tourists and baffled experts.

On the day after Thanksgiving, almost all the sea lions were gone, leaving the experts guessing where they went - and why.

“Most likely, they left chasing a food source,” said Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., which runs an information center and gift shop at Pier 39. “It’s probably what kept them here in the first place.”

On Tuesday, 10 seals lounged and swam and dove from the docks, spreading themselves out where the animals were stacked three and four deep just a month ago. The bulk of the herd probably followed their favorite foods, sardines and anchovies, Mr. Boehm said.


Youngsters charged in murder attempt

CLEARWATER | Samantha Broadhead, 11, and her boyfriend Jack Ault, 15, are accused of plotting to kill her mother by setting her bedroom on fire while the woman slept Tuesday, police said. The two have been charged with attempted murder and arson.

Clearwater Police Department detectives said the couple poured gasoline on Nancy Broadhead’s bedroom floor and bed, and then set the room aflame and then escaped in the mother’s 2007 Ford Focus.

The mother, Nancy Broadhead, 47, was awakened by a smoke alarm and managed to escape, but suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation.

Samantha later returned to the scene and agreed to go to police headquarters for questioning. Jack was located at a friend’s house and taken into custody.

Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said there was ongoing tension between Samantha and her mother, which escalated Monday when the mother confronted her daughter about stealing some of her cigarettes.

Jack has been taken to a juvenile facility; Samantha is undergoing a mental evaluation.


Hacker pleads guilty in major fraud case

BOSTON | Computer hacker Albert Gonzalez, who helped orchestrate one of the largest credit-card thefts in U.S. history, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy and wire fraud in the last of three cases brought by federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Gonzalez, of Miami, invaded the computer systems of several major retailers and stole tens of millions of credit- and debit-card numbers.

Gonzalez entered a guilty plea in a case involving unauthorized access to computers of Maine-based Hannaford supermarkets and other retailers. He pleaded guilty in September to charges from two other retailer-hacking cases.

Federal prosecutors are recommending a 15- to 25-year prison sentence.


3 people killed in house shooting

DETROIT | Detroit police said two gunmen opened fire at a house on the city’s east side, killing three people and critically wounding a fourth.

Police spokesman John Roach said Tuesday that no one was in custody. He said a 33-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman and another man were found dead Monday night, each of them shot in the head.

Another man, 37, was shot several times but called 911 about 9 p.m. and was able to give police some information. He was in critical condition at a hospital.

Police said the gunmen fled in a silver Dodge Avenger.


Coroner says smoke caused 9 deaths

JACKSON | Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt said Tuesday that the six children and three adults killed in an apartment fire Monday died of smoke inhalation, and their deaths have been ruled an accident.

Relatives said Richard Vasser, the father of two of the children, had returned from Iraq on Christmas Eve to his base in Missouri and was traveling to Mississippi on Tuesday to prepare for the burial of his sons,

Investigators, meanwhile, were still trying to figure out what sparked the blaze in the east Mississippi town of Starkville. Arson wasn’t suspected. Although neighbors indicated the building had electrical problems, the fire chief said a private company’s recent inspection found no troubles.

The coroner ordered autopsies on the three adults and said autopsies were not needed on the children, who ranged in age from 6 months to 6 years.


80 offered vaccine in anthrax case

CONCORD | Antibiotics and vaccines are being offered to about 80 people in New Hampshire as authorities investigate the nation’s first known case of gastrointestinal anthrax.

Officials still don’t know how the woman contracted the disease but are focusing on a drum-circle gathering she attended last month. She was diagnosed Saturday.

Officials have shut down the United Campus Ministry center in Durham, where anthrax spores have been found on two drums and an electrical outlet. They said Tuesday that vaccines and antibiotics will be available to people who attended the event or live or work in the building.

One theory is that the spores became airborne through vigorous drum playing, and the woman swallowed them.


Ellis Island’s first was Irish teen

NEW YORK | Photographs of the first immigrant to land at New York’s famed Ellis Island have been unearthed almost 120 years after she arrived in the United States as a teenager from Ireland.

Annie Moore disembarked on Jan. 1, 1892, the first of about 12 million immigrants to be processed at the tiny island in New York harbor.

The long unseen pictures, one of which was published Tuesday in the New York Times, show an older Moore, by then a matronly figure in heavy, plain clothes typical of the period.

According to the Times, they are inscribed on the back “Ma Schayer” and “Mama Schayer” - Moore’s married name - and in one she is holding an infant. Moore is believed to have had at least 11 children.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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