Monday, January 8, 2007


3 detained entering Port of Miami

MIAMI — Three men were caught trying to slip past a checkpoint in a cargo truck yesterday at the Port of Miami, said authorities, who increased security at the busy trade hub.

A port-security officer became suspicious when the truck driver could not produce proper paperwork to enter the port about 8 a.m., Miami-Dade Police Detective Richard Williams said. The driver also indicated he was alone in the truck. Officers searched the truck and found two men in the cab trying to hide, Mr. Williams said.

The three men — two Iraqis and one Lebanese national who are legal permanent U.S. residents — were taken into custody for questioning. They had not been arrested or charged by yesterday afternoon.

The men do not appear on any terrorist watch list, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez.

A preliminary check of the truck showed its contents did not match the manifest, Miss Gonzalez said. She declined to say what was in the truck, citing the investigation.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were also on the scene. The port’s cargo area was shut down all day yesterday.


Suspect in attic falls through ceiling

MOULTRIE — A search for an elusive criminal came to an unexpected end when the man crashed through a ceiling from his attic refuge and landed near the officers who had come to arrest him, police said.

“Normally, you have to crawl up there and root them out,” said Capt. Tommy Rabon, head of the Moultrie Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. “But he came out on his own — the hard way.”

Officers had gone to a home Wednesday with a bail bondsman to apprehend Danny Butts, 21, for a probation violation in adjoining Brooks County. He was also on probation in Colquitt County, which includes Moultrie, for theft.

An occupant said Mr. Butts wasn’t there, but the officers spotted debris below an attic entrance and while they continued to question the woman, Mr. Butts fell through the ceiling onto a bedroom floor, police said.


Old firetruck auctioned on EBay

HOOPESTON — No one around here wanted the volunteer fire department’s old hook-and-ladder truck when it was put up for sale last year, so the chief came up with a modern solution.

Auction it on EBay, figured Chief Greg Shipman. It worked.

The $5,000 winning bid came from Middletown, N.Y., where Andrew Leider plans to open a museum and put the truck on display.

Chief Shipman said Wednesday he had hoped to get more money for the department out of the old truck, which was given to Hoopeston by the city of Watseka, Ill. The chief figures the department spent about $7,500 on the truck’s restoration. But Chief Shipman said he is happy the old truck has a new home.


Baptist leader stays in intensive care

LOUISVILLE — Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, yesterday remained in the intensive-care unit at a Louisville hospital, where he is being treated for obstructed arteries in both lungs, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

In a statement Saturday, the seminary said Mr. Mohler, 47, had improved over the previous 24 hours, since being placed in intensive care at Baptist Hospital East. The seminary said Mr. Mohler’s “attending physicians are … confident the situation is under control.”

Seminary Dean Russell Moore said Friday that Mr. Mohler is “talking and in good spirits” despite being in “incredible pain and having just lived through the scare of his life.”

Mr. Mohler, 47, has been at Baptist East since being admitted Dec. 27 for abdominal surgery. He suffered a setback Thursday and Friday, when tests revealed pulmonary emboli in both lungs.

Pulmonary emboli are potentially fatal obstructions in the arteries that usually are caused by blood clots. Risk factors include having recently undergone surgery.


Ex-president leaves clinic after hip surgery

ROCHESTER — Former President George Bush has been released from the Mayo Clinic after undergoing successful hip-replacement surgery, the clinic said.

The 82-year-old former president was discharged from the clinic on Saturday, after the operation on his right hip that was performed Wednesday, the Mayo Clinic said on its Web site.

He traveled to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday after delivering a eulogy at the Washington funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford.


Woman wins second $10,000 prize

HELENA — A woman claimed her second $10,000 scratch-ticket prize in two months, state lottery officials said.

Sue Gonzales of Kalispell first won in November, then with a second ticket that was a Christmas gift from her son and daughter. Both tickets were purchased at the same deli across from her house.


Off-duty police officer killed in robbery

PATERSON — An off-duty city police officer was killed early yesterday when a man tried to rob him at a restaurant, police said.

Tyron Franklin, 23, a rookie patrolman with the department since April, was shot several times with a handgun, said police Lt. Anthony Traina. It was his day off, and he was dressed in civilian clothes.

Another man also was shot, but was hospitalized in stable condition with wounds that were not life-threatening, officials said.

Police said they are searching for at least one person involved in the shooting.


Schools to reopen after health scare

PROVIDENCE — Schools in three communities decided to reopen today because health investigators found no link between an elementary student who contracted meningitis and three others in the state who were infected with encephalitis.

Students likely will see more hand-sanitizing stations in their schools as officials work to ensure that no similar scares occur.

Mycoplasma bacteria was blamed for the cases of encephalitis in Warwick and West Warwick in the past few weeks. One second-grade student died from the neurological illness last month.

More than 20,000 Rhode Island students were kept out of school on Thursday and Friday as authorities searched for a possible link between the cases.

Test results received Saturday from a student at Hopkins Hill Elementary School in Coventry who developed meningitis showed the child did not have mycoplasma, according to the state Health Department.


Police use cell phone to find, arrest suspect

SPARTANBURG — Norman Rattliff Jr.’s cell phone gave him away, police said.

Authorities were able to arrest Rattliff on Wednesday night by using the global positioning system in his cell phone to track the fleeing suspect, Sheriff Chuck Wright said.

Rattliff, who was wanted in West Virginia for forgery and failing to register as a sex offender, ran from officers trying to arrest him at a Spartanburg home where he had been staying for about six months, Sheriff Wright said. But he didn’t get far, the sheriff said.

“The GPS locator on his cell phone told us about where he was, so we went and started knocking on doors,” Sheriff Wright said.

Deputies found Rattliff in the back bedroom of one of the homes and arrested him, the sheriff said. Rattliff is awaiting extradition back to West Virginia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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