- - Sunday, September 19, 2010


Helicopter filming Audi test run crashes

DENVER — A helicopter filming a driverless Audi on a test run crashed Friday about a mile below the summit of Pikes Peak, injuring the four people onboard, the sheriff’s office said.

The crash occurred sometime before 7:30 a.m. near the winding roadway leading to the top of the mountain, which is about 14,110 feet above sea level. El Paso County sheriff’s spokeswoman Teresa Murphy said the pilot suffered critical injuries and was taken to a hospital in a second helicopter. She said the three other passengers suffered injuries that were not life threatening. No names were released.

Miss Murphy said the cause of the crash is unknown and that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation.

Brad Stertz, a spokesman for German automaker Audi, said the helicopter was carrying a crew that was filming a driverless Audi on the road to the summit of the mountain. He said the test drive for the car Friday was part of a project with Stanford University, which helped create the technology for the driverless vehicle, named “Shelley.”

Dan Stober, a Stanford spokesman, said the automaker hired the film crew and that no one from the university was among those injured. The car was not involved in the crash.


Dad threatens daughter’s tormenters

SANFORD — A father furious about the bullying of his 13-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy stormed onto a school bus and threatened the children who teased her, deputies in Florida said.

The girl had to be hospitalized because of stress from the confrontation. The father, James Willie Jones, was arrested Thursday for storming onto the bus two weeks ago, He was later released on bail. He hopes to apologize to the children, said his attorney, Natalie Jackson.

Mr. Jones boarded the school bus on Sept. 3 because several boys were allegedly bullying his daughter, according to the sheriff’s office report. He told deputies the boys placed an open condom on his daughter’s head, smacked her on the back of her head, twisted her ear and shouted rude comments at her, the report said.

Video surveillance from the bus shows Mr. Jones asking his daughter to point out the students accused of harassing her. Mr. Jones is heard threatening those who bully his daughter, and he also threatens the bus driver.

Mr. Jones then steps off the bus. Some children are heard laughing.


First American to sail solo around globe dies

PORTLAND — Dodge Morgan, who became the first American to sail solo around the globe without stopping — and did it in record time -— died Tuesday of complications from cancer. He was 78.

Mr. Morgan, who died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, turned his small marine radar company into the successful Whistler brand of detectors before sailing around the world. His death was confirmed Friday.

He set a world record in 1986 when he completed the solo trip in his 60-foot American Promise in 150 days, 1 hour and 6 minutes, beating British sailor Chay Blyth, who took 292 days to accomplish the same feat in 1971.

Ted Hood, who designed Mr. Morgan’s boat, said the American Promise was a rugged sailboat with two of everything, including a spare generator and a spare rudder, and was designed for sturdiness, not speed.

“Everyone said there’s no way that boat is going to get around the world in record speed, but it did,” Mr. Hood, a 1974 America’s Cup winner, said Friday from his office in Portsmouth, R.I.


Hiker cites friends still jailed in Iran

NEW YORK — Freed American hiker Sarah Shourd said Sunday she was troubled not to be sharing her freedom with her fiance and a friend who remain behind bars almost 14 months after straying into Iran from Iraq.

“My disappointment at not sharing that moment with Shane and Josh was crushing. And I stand before you today only one-third free,” said Miss Shourd at a press conference alongside the mothers of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

“That was the last thing that Josh said to me before I walked through the prison doors. Josh and Shane felt one-third free at that moment and so did I.”

Miss Shourd, 32, was released on Tuesday but her fiance, Mr. Bauer, and friend Mr. Fattal remain jailed in Tehran. They were detained on July 31, 2009.

Authorities charged the three with “spying and illegally entering the country,” but the three said they entered Iran by mistake after getting lost in Iraqi Kurdistan.

“Getting on the plane in Tehran was one of the most memorable and important moments of my life. But this is not the time to celebrate,” Miss Shourd told reporters in New York hours after returning to the United States.


Newspaper’s expose rocks photographer’s kin

MEMPHIS — The revelation that a revered civil rights photographer also was an FBI informant who tipped investigators about the Rev. Martin Luther King has left his children denying he was a snitch and spurred some movement veterans to try to explain why he might have helped the feds.

This was to be the season when the late civil rights photographer Ernest C. Withers would be honored for his historic work, with his photos displayed at a museum bearing his name.

Instead, an investigation by the Commercial Appeal unmasked him as an informant who regularly tipped authorities about civil rights movement participants from at least 1968 to 1970.

The newspaper reviewed thousands of pages of federal documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.


Children found fatally shot

HOUSTON — Three children were found fatally shot and a man was found wounded Sunday at a suburban Houston apartment complex, authorities said.

Detectives were working at the scene Sunday afternoon to determine who was responsible for the shootings, said Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Jamie Wagner.

The shootings were reported about 9:45 a.m. at an apartment near a food market, about three miles south of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The victims’ identities, ages and relationship to one another were not immediately available, Deputy Wagner said.

The man was listed in stable condition at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, where he was being treated for a gunshot wound, she said.

Neighbors didn’t immediately return phone messages left Sunday by the Associated Press.

One neighbor, Julio Rodriguez, told the Houston Chronicle that he dialed 911 after he saw a woman screaming when she left the apartment at the time of the shooting.

“I heard her screaming, “Gun! Gun! Shoot! Shoot!’ I got scared because I knew there were kids in there,” he said.


Prosecutors: Woman stabbed man over insult

EVERETT — Prosecutors say an 18-year-old woman stabbed a 19-year-old man for teasing her that her feet smelled.

The Herald of Everett reports the man was found by police with a steak knife in his back. His lung had collapsed. Officials said he will recover.

Charging papers say trouble started when Dallas Amber Smith was drinking and hanging out with friends and was challenged to do a back flip. When she took off her shoes to do the back flip, the teasing started.

Miss Smith had no criminal history. She faces charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.


Accused prosecutor rejects calls to resign

MADISON — A prosecutor caught sending sexually tinged text messages to a domestic-abuse victim rejected growing calls to resign Friday and said he is the victim of a “smear campaign.”

Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz said he only cares about the opinion of voters, who will decide whether he should stay in office when he runs for re-election in November 2012.

“If the citizens of this county would like a different individual as district attorney, they’ll have that option,” he told the Associated Press.

Gov. Jim Doyle, a former district attorney and state attorney general, was “surprised and shocked by these deeply troubling accounts,” spokesman Adam Collins said Friday. He said Mr. Doyle would meet with Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to consider “all options” against Mr. Kratz, which would include starting the process to remove him from office.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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