- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Search for clues in crash begins

GIBSON | Authorities searched a southern Louisiana marsh by boat Monday for clues that might determine what caused a helicopter crash that killed eight people bound for an offshore oil platform.

The helicopter, operated by PHI Inc., crashed Sunday afternoon shortly after taking off, said Richard Rovinelli, a company spokesman. Two pilots and seven passengers were aboard when the helicopter went down in rural Terrebonne Parish, about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. The passengers worked for two Shell Oil Co. contractors. The company said the victims were on their way to its Gulf of Mexico platform.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jaclyn Young said the lone survivor was transported to a medical facility in suburban New Orleans, and was in critical condition Sunday night.

Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the helicopter is thought to have crashed about seven minutes after it took off at 3:02 p.m. Mr. Lopatkiewicz said there were scattered clouds and visibility was 10 miles at the time of the crash, and the crew reported no problems before the helicopter went down.


Man arrested in a mom’s death

DAYTON | A man was arrested in the shooting death of a woman whose 4-year son was abducted and left unharmed at a highway rest area, authorities said Monday.

Charlie W. Myers, 22, was taken into custody on an aggravated murder warrant in the slaying of Jennifer Nelson, the Montgomery County sheriff said Monday.

Mrs. Nelson, 29, was found dead Friday in her Dayton home after struggling with her attackers, said Sheriff Phil Plummer. Two computers are missing from the home, he said, and robbery is among the possible motives under investigation.

Sheriff Plummer offered no details on how authorities found Mr. Myers.

The FBI took Mr. Myers and two other people into custody Sunday evening at a house near Ohio State University in Columbus, Sheriff Plummer said. Authorities were still questioning one other person.


Ex-trooper pleads guilty

COLUMBIA | A former South Carolina trooper seen on video kicking a suspect in the head has pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge.

U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said John B. Sawyer pleaded guilty Monday to depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.

Sawyer was indicted in July after the Department of Public Safety released a video that showed him kicking a man in the head after a 2006 highway chase. The video released after media requests was one of several showing South Carolina troopers acting aggressively.

Sawyer was placed on leave and he later resigned from the highway patrol.


Police search trash for baby’s remains

PORT ANGELES | Authorities began combing through 60 tons of trash at a dump site Monday for the body of an infant purportedly dumped in a garbage can by his 16-year-old mother.

The teenager was arrested Friday for investigation of first-degree murder. Her father, Ronald Last Jr., was arrested for investigation of concealing the birth by disposing of the body.

Police think the baby boy was killed after his birth Dec. 30 and put in trash that was picked up the next day. Garbage from Wednesday was in two containers that were taken to a site in Graham, about eight miles southeast of Tacoma, for transshipment to Oregon, Waste Connections Inc. officials said.

The garbage containers were intercepted and taken to Graham, where there was more room to use heavy machinery to help comb through the contents, Port Angeles police Chief Terry Gallagher said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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