- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2009

ARIZONA

Small plane lands on city street

PHOENIX | A Federal Aviation Administration official said a small plane approaching Phoenix Deer Valley Airport was forced to make an emergency landing Saturday on a city street about three miles west of the airport. No one was injured.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the pilot reported engine problems that forced him to land on 43rd Avenue in northwestern Phoenix about 9:20 a.m. Saturday.

Miss Brown did not have specifics on the engine problems but said pilots don’t usually land on a road unless they have a serious reason to do so.

The single-engine plane, a Van’s Aircraft RV-6, was not damaged. The plane is an experimental aircraft with a 23-foot wingspan.

CALIFORNIA

Car runs light, kills 4 in van

NOVATO | A car raced through a red light and slammed broadside into a minivan Saturday night, killing four family members - two parents and their two young children - in Northern California, authorities said Sunday.

A Mini Cooper driven by Steven Culbertson, 19, of Lakeville, first clipped a car that was stopped for the light at the intersection of Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway and then smashed into the minivan late Saturday night near Novato, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, the California Highway Patrol said.

All occupants of the minivan - Johnathan Maloney, 45; his wife, Susan Maloney, 42; and their young children, Grace and Aiden - died in the impact, said Highway Patrol Officer John Sloat. The family was from Sonoma; the children’s ages were not immediately available.

Mr. Culbertson was being treated at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

The minivan was rendered nearly unrecognizable by the collision.

The Mini Cooper also struck a sedan waiting at the light and three people in that vehicle were hospitalized in Novato with injuries, according to the highway patrol.

“Right now there is no evidence of drugs or alcohol,” said Sgt. Trent Cross. “That could change later, but right now, there is no evidence.”

Two medical helicopters and the Sonoma County coroner were called to the scene. Mr. Culbertson was flown by helicopter to the hospital. He was the sole occupant of the car.

The Saturday crash had the state’s highest death toll since the 2007 crash on Highway 101 in Santa Rosa that killed five members of a Windsor, Calif., family.

KANSAS

Manhunt ends with arrest

BURLINGAME | A man sought for questioning in the shooting deaths of three people was arrested Sunday morning in eastern Kansas.

Authorities would not say how James Kahler, 46, was connected to the three who were killed and a fourth person who was wounded in the attack Saturday evening.

A man with the same name and year of birth was scheduled for trial Wednesday in Columbia, Mo., on a domestic assault charge that stemmed from an altercation with his wife in March.

The attorney in that case, Rusty Antel, said that the couple was divorcing and that his client had moved from Columbia to the Topeka area. Court records showed the couple had been sparring over their children, and a hearing was scheduled for January.

Ashley Anstaett, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office in Kansas, said the James Kahler who was arrested Sunday had lived in Columbia, but she was not immediately able to confirm that he was the person scheduled for trial in the domestic assault case.

The shooting was reported about 6 p.m. Saturday in Osage County, about 35 miles south of Topeka.

A Shawnee County deputy spotted a man and vehicle matching the shooter’s description about 40 minutes later, Shawnee County Sheriff’s deputy Brad Jones said. The man drove onto a private drive and fled on foot into a wooded area, he said. Mr. Kahler was arrested about 12 hours later.

UTAH

Competency hearing is 3rd in Smart case

SALT LAKE CITY | For the third time since his arrest in 2003, a court will hold a competency hearing for the man charged in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart.

The 10-day hearing for Brian David Mitchell, 56, begins Monday in Utah’s U.S. District Court, where Judge Dale Kimball will ultimately decide whether the former street preacher is competent to stand trial.

It’s unclear how long Judge Kimball will take to issue a ruling. His decision will determine how the case will proceed - toward a trial if Mr. Mitchell is competent or an effort to restore Mr. Mitchell’s competency if he is not.

The hearing will be Mr. Mitchell’s first in federal court, but it’s a replay of state court proceedings where he was twice deemed incompetent for trial.

Diagnosed with a rare delusional disorder, Mr. Mitchell - who sings hymns incessantly during court appearances and once yelled at a judge to “repent” - has been primarily held at the Utah State Hospital and has refused treatment. Last year, a state judge refused to order forced medication for Mr. Mitchell, saying she was not convinced that anti-psychotic drugs would restore his competency.

Miss Smart was recovered in March 2003 after motorists saw her walking a suburban street with Mr. Mitchell and his now-estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.

WISCONSIN

4 people injured in domestic shooting

MADISON | A police spokesman said one of the four people wounded Saturday in a domestic shooting pulled the trigger.

Sgt. Phil Moore said Sunday that investigators have a theory about what happened in the Madison shooting that left a 42-year-old woman, a 38-year-old man, a 7-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl injured. But he wouldn’t release details until officers had the chance to interview one of the people shot.

Police have not identified the victims or their relationships, except to say they shared the apartment where the shooting occurred.

All four were taken to local hospitals after the shooting, but Sgt. Moore said one was interviewed at the scene and police expect to be able to talk to all of them.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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