- - Monday, July 11, 2011


Amtrak train slams into truck; fire erupts

NORTH BERWICK — An Amtrak train traveling at 70 mph smashed into a tractor-trailer Monday in a fiery collision that killed the truck driver, injured a half-dozen other people and sent flames more than three stories high, a witness and officials said.

Witnesses reported that safety lights were flashing and gates were down at the intersection when the tractor-trailer crossed into the path of Amtrak’s Downeaster about 11 a.m., said Police Chief Stephen Peasley. None of the train’s 112 passengers or three crew members had life-threatening injuries.

One witness said the tractor-trailer driver slammed on the brakes, Mr. Peasley said. “From what I’ve been told, it appears that it skidded through the intersection.” There were about 200 feet of skid marks on Route 4 leading to the impact.

The truck driver, identified by police as Peter Barnum, 35, of Farmington, N.H., was thrown from the cab. He was working for Triumvirate Environmental Inc., a trucking company based in Massachusetts.


Stun gun found in jet after arrival

NEWARK — It does not appear that a stun gun found aboard a JetBlue plane that landed late Friday in Newark was intended to be used in an attack, an FBI spokesman said Monday.

Bryan Travers, a spokesman for the FBI’s Newark office, said information from the investigation so far suggests that no attack was imminent. He would not detail why investigators think that.

The stun gun was found by a crew that was cleaning Flight 1179 from Boston about 10:20 p.m. Friday, after the flight had landed and all 96 passengers were off the plane.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police removed the stun gun from the plane and handed it over to the federal Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for screening passengers.


Conservatives in San Diego talk of creating new state

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Thirteen mostly conservative California counties would break away to create a 51st state known as South California under a proposal by an elected official that would have to clear major hurdles to succeed.

Republican Jeff Stone has asked fellow members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to support a motion to bring together officials from the 13 counties to discuss the idea. A vote on the proposed meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Mr. Stone said California is too big to govern, a situation that has led the state to raid local government accounts because of runaway spending.

Even if leaders from the 13 counties got serious about secession, the U.S. Constitution says no new state can be formed without the consent of Congress and the state Legislature.


Police say fatal crash tore off boat motor

RED HOOK — Police say the boat that slammed into a concrete footing on New York’s Hudson River, killing four people, was moving so fast that the force of the collision tore the inboard-outboard motor off its mounts.

At a news conference Monday, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office said the 19-foot Chris-Craft boat was cruising outside the navigable channel on the river just north of the village of Tivoli when it hit the U-shaped concrete structure head-on about 10 yards off the eastern shore. The office said it didn’t know whether the boat was using lights when it crashed about 4:30 Sunday morning.

Police say alcohol may have been a factor.

Two people survived. One was a man who climbed a 20-foot embankment and made his way to an empty garage to call 911.


Woman delivers 16-pound baby

LONGVIEW — A Texas woman expected a big baby, but nothing like 16 pounds, 1 ounce.

Janet Johnson remained in a hospital Monday after giving birth to what her doctors called one of the biggest newborns they have seen. She was awaiting word on whether her son, JaMichael Brown, ranked among the biggest births in state history.

“Everybody was amazed that he was so big,” said Ms. Johnson, 39. “I don’t think too many people have heard of having a 16-pound baby.”

JaMichael was born Friday at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview. Ms. Johnson has gestational diabetes, which results in bigger newborns for many women. Doctors had estimated JaMichael would be about 12 pounds prior to the cesarean birth.

The hospital has asked the state’s vital records department whether JaMichael is big enough to approach any Texas newborn records, said Victoria Ashworth, a hospital spokeswoman. He is certainly the biggest in the history of the Longview hospital and was born, Ms. Ashworth said, almost two years to the day after the hospital delivered its smallest baby, who weighed 15 ounces.

Guinness World Records says the heaviest newborn recorded weighed 23 pounds, 12 ounces, and was born to an Ohio woman in 1879.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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