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Texas Bridge Collapses After Truck Strikes Down Beam

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(DALLAS) — Two massive concrete beams fell on I-35 between Dallas and Austin, Texas Thursday morning, killing one and injuring three others.

Investigators believe a semi truck caused the bridge collapse when it slammed into an overpass under construction.

Norberto Martinez, who heard the crash, said, “It was the two beams, fell on top of cars and the 18 wheelers. I worried so much, in fact I started praying for them.”

Three signs posted two miles before the overpass warn of its height. Authorities are investigating why the truck driver seemed to ignore them.

“Were looking at the driver, the truck itself, and also the roadway,” Harpin Myers from the Texas Department of Safety said.

Oversized vehicles hit bridges almost 13,000 times in the United States in 2013 alone.

The collision in Texas closed one of this state’s busiest interstates all day, while crews cleared debris and the crushed pickup truck where one man lost his life.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Nugget of Knowldege

Denise Huskins’ Attorney Says She Was Not Involved in a Hoax

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Courtesy Mike Huskins(VALLEJO, Calif.) — The attorney for a California woman who was reported abducted but found safe two days later said Thursday that she was not involved in a “hoax.”

“She is absolutely unequivocally, 100 percent, positively a victim and [there is] no ‘hoax,'” said Huskins’ attorney, Doug Rappaport.

“She’s distraught, she’s emotionally and physically broken,” he said.

Police in Vallejo, California, said on Wednesday they found “no evidence to support the claims” that Denise Huskins was abducted from a home before she was found alive two days later and more than 400 miles away. The Vallejo home from which Huskins, 29, was reportedly taken belongs to Aaron Quinn, 30. Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said the two were dating.

Huskins was questioned for at least six hours, according to her attorney.

“She’s fully cooperated with law enforcement with the hope to clear her name,” he said.

Quinn’s lawyer, Dan Russo, also denied that Quinn was involved in a hoax. He said Thursday that Quinn has “cooperated fully with the authorities,” including in a 17-hour interrogation and seven visits to the police station. Russo said there was more than one kidnapper, and that Quinn was drugged and bound.

Police said that Quinn told authorities that Huskins’ abductors made a $8,500 ransom demand.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported it received an email the day before from an “anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins.”

On Thursday, the Chronicle reported it received a second email from a person claiming to be one of the kidnappers and saying that the abduction was real.

Vallejo police said in a statement that it would request either state or federal charges “if evidence indicates that either Ms. Huskins or Mr. Quinn have committed a criminal act.”

“I’m assuming that any police officer or any district attorney will see there is no basis whatsoever to file charges,” Huskins’ attorney said.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



At Least Two Unaccounted for After NYC Building Fire, Official Says

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

WABC-T(NEW YORK) — Two people were unaccounted for after a building explosion led to a seven-alarm fire in New York City, according to a New York Police Department official.

The NYPD official identified one of those unaccounted for as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. No information on the second person was immediately available.

Four people were in critical condition and at least 15 others were injured after the fire in Manhattan’s East Village Thursday afternoon.

Figueroa’s father, Nick Figueroa, told ABC News his son went to lunch in a restaurant at the bottom of the building that caught fire. He said he has had no contact with his son since the explosion and that investigators began searching for his son Thursday evening.

Neal Figueroa, Nicholas’ brother, told ABC affiliate WABC-TV Friday morning outside the Harlem apartment he shares with his brother that the family knows Nicholas Figueroa was at the Sushi Park restaurant because he has a pending charge for $13.04 at the establishment. The family last heard from him just before 2 p.m. ET, he said.

“Right now, we’re just worried,” he said.

Neal Figueroa said his brother was on a second date with a female co-worker that he hadn’t yet met, but who he believed was in the hospital with numerous injuries following the explosion.

The family found out Nicholas Figueroa was missing when he didn’t show up to work at Bowlmor Lanes at Chelsea Piers, he said. He was expected at 5 p.m. ET.

Neal Figueroa said the family has tried to locate Nicholas Figueroa through police, investigators and 311.

Neal Figueroa told WABC-TV he was confident in his brother, referring to his brother as “Superman.”

“I know he’s strong enough to get out of this,” he said.

It was unclear how many people were inside the building when the fire occurred, according to the New York City Fire Department. The incident took place in a bustling area with many restaurants and pedestrians, blocks away from New York University.

FDNY confirmed that three buildings collapsed as a result of the fire and that firefighters were still putting water on some pockets of fire Friday morning. As of 4:30 a.m. ET, firefighters had not started to go through the rubble.

“Preliminary evidence suggests a gas-related explosion,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, adding that the investigation is ongoing. He said the incident “appears to have been caused by plumbing and gas work that occurred in 121 2nd Avenue.”

The four people in critical condition include two individuals with burns to their airways and another person who was unconscious following the event, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Of the about 250 firefighters who responded to the blaze, four were transported to area hospitals, where one was in fair condition, said the fire department. The conditions of the other firefighters weren’t immediately released.

Around 3:17 p.m., witnesses reported what sounded like an explosion at Sushi Park restaurant at 121 2nd Avenue, which is at the bottom of a five-story, pre-war building that houses a handful of residential units.


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Pet of the Week

Massive Alligator Spotted Again on Florida Golf Course

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Myakka Pines Golf Course(ENGLEWOOD, Fla.) — A massive alligator seen roaming a Florida golf course has been spotted again.

The alligator, apparently named “Goliath,” was seen eating a turtle on Thursday morning at the Myakka Pines Golf Course in Englewood, Florida, according to the club’s Facebook page.

 

 

The gators name is "Goliath"!! Thanks to everyone who voted…it took a while to count from 3 posts. So happy he has a…

Posted by Myakka Pines Golf Club on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two people at the course had seen the alligator roaming the course earlier this month.

The club’s general manager told ESPN that he estimated the size of the gator was 12 to 13 feet.


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Federal Judge Grants Injunction to Halt Expansion of Medical Leave Benefits to Some Same-Sex Couples

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge in Texas granted an injunction on Thursday that will stop the expansion of medical leave benefits to some same-sex couples.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement that “the Obama Adminstration’s attempt to force employers to recognize same-sex marriages would have put state agencies in the position of either violating Texas law or federal regulations.” Paxton’s office filed a suit against the U.S. Department of Labor over the Family and Medical Leave Act’s revised definition of “spouse” on March 18.

The FMLA would include same-sex spouses if the marriage occurred in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and allow those spouses to receive family and medical leave benefits even in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. The rule was slated to take effect on Friday.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office was joined in its lawsuit by the offices of the attorneys general of Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Crusin In Cruces

Seattle Police Wrangle Wild Goats

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Seattle Police Department(SEATTLE) — Police in Seattle were able to stop a wild situation before it got worse on Thursday, after 10 goats escaped from their yard.

According to the Seattle Police Department, a group of kids reported being chased by another group of kids at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday. The only catch was that the second group of kids was actually a pack of baahd young goats.

After a brief “hoof chase,” the SPD said it was able to corral the wayward goats. Animal Control officers were said to be contacting the goats’ owner, who thanked police for bringing the goats home.

 

The SPD did have fun with the incident though, mocking up a movie poster parodying that of the Steve McQueen classic The Great Escape.

 

 


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Boyfriend of Denise Huskins Says He Was Not Involved in a ‘Hoax’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

ABC News(VALLEJO, Calif.) — The boyfriend of a California woman who was reported abducted but found safe two days later said Thursday that he was not involved in a “hoax.”

“Our client has no responsibility for this kidnapping,” said the attorney for Anthony Quinn, the man from whose home the woman was allegedly abducted. “He is in terrible shape — mental and physical.”

Police in Vallejo, California, said on Wednesday they found “no evidence to support the claims” that Denise Huskins was abducted from a home there before she was found alive two days later and more than 400 miles away. The home from which Huskins, 29, was reportedly taken belongs to Quinn, 30.

Quinn’s attorney, Dan Russo, said Thursday that Quinn has “cooperated fully with the authorities,” including in a 17-hour interrogation and seven visits to the police station. Russo said there was more than one kidnapper, and that Quinn was drugged and bound.

“He was forced to drink something that even the kidnappers said was a drug,” Russo said.

Quinn’s attorney said they do not know why authorities are implying the incident is a “hoax.”

“Besides the fact that our client was used as a football, we still don’t want to jeopardize authorities’ attempt to put the [suspect] behind bars,” Russo said.

Quinn’s attorney said they don’t know where Huskins is and they instructed Quinn not to try to reach out to her, so he hasn’t, though he wanted to contact her when he learned she was discovered.

Huskins’ family said Quinn is the man who called 911 hours after her “abduction.” Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said the two were dating.

Quinn has a “very good relationship with the woman who was kidnapped and his concern was that the woman was not killed or harmed,” Russo said, adding that neither person has “any drug or alcohol issues.”

“There seems to be a stream of blatant lies about our client, about the victim, and everything else that’s going on,” Russo said.

Police said that Quinn claimed whoever abducted Huskins made an $8,500 ransom demand.

“There is something very, very off about this investigation,” said Quinn’s attorney Amy Morton, adding that authorities have given “lies” to Morton and Russo.

“It’s important to note all the ransom notes were not directed to her parents or family, they were directed toward [Quinn],” Russo said.

Huskins, a physical therapist, was found in Huntington Beach, California, on Wednesday morning, police said. Her father, Mike Huskins, told ABC News that his daughter called him from Huntington Beach to say she was safe.

Huskins had promised through family members to speak with investigators, but as of late Wednesday they were unable to contact her or her family, police said, adding that she has since retained an attorney. Huskins could not be reached for comment by ABC News Thursday.

“All indications initially were that she would be cooperative with the investigation,” Park said during a news conference Wednesday night. But “as of right now, we have not heard from Ms. Huskins.”

The FBI, which assisted Vallejo police in its investigation, had arranged for an aircraft to bring her from Huntington Beach to Northern California for the interview, police said. But, detectives said Wednesday they don’t know where she is.

“There is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all,” read a statement from the Vallejo Police Department. “Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping.”

Huskins was reported missing at 1:55 p.m. Monday by what police described as a 30-year-old man who called to report the alleged kidnapping and claimed he witnessed it. Police previously said that Huskins was abducted from the home where she was staying in Vallejo hours earlier, at about 3:30 a.m.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported it received an email the day before from an “anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins.”

The newspaper reported the email said that Huskins “will be returned safely [Wednesday]” and that “any advance on us or our associates will create a dangerous situation for Denise.”

The email was also reported to include an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Huskins who referred to Tuesday’s plane crash in southern France — ostensibly as a time marker for proof of life — and identified the first concert she had attended in her life, the name of a childhood friend she attended the concert with, and the name of the friend’s mother as proof of her identity.

“That was her. The tape recording was her. That I know. They said they were going to drop her off and they did,” Mike Huskins told the Chronicle after being played the audio recording. “I’m relieved. You have to expect the worst — but in my heart, I knew she was still alive.”

Police in Vallejo said they received the same email and audio file but did not confirm its contents.

Vallejo police said in its statement that it would request either state or federal charges “if evidence indicates that either Ms. Huskins or Mr. Quinn have committed a criminal act.”

“The Vallejo Police Department would like to ensure the public that there is no indication that this was a random act of violence,” police said in its statement.

More than 40 detectives from the local, state and police levels assisted in the investigation and search for Huskins, Park said.

“That is a tremendous amount of resources that in my opinion was wasted,” he said, adding that the search could be classified as a “wild goose chase.”

The investigation is ongoing and police are still trying to determine whether anyone else was involved, Park said. The FBI declined to comment and directed ABC News to Vallejo police.


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Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Double Your Dollars

Nineteen Injured in Building Collapse, Seven-Alarm Fire in New York City

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

WABC-TV News(NEW YORK) — New York City’s Fire Department has responded to a partial building collapse and seven-alarm fire Thursday at a building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

 

The New York Police Department also responded to the scene.

At least 19 people were injured, the FDNY said, including 14 civilians. Four people were in critical condition. The FDNY also confirmed that four firefighters were taken to area hospitals and a fifth was evaluated at the scene.

 

 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference on Thursday that a preliminary investigation suggested the incident was caused by a gas-related explosion. He noted that 250 firefighters were working at the scene.


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How Police Busted a Businessman Accused of Faking His Death

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Florida businessman’s alleged attempt to fake his death came to a halt when authorities said they caught him in North Carolina applying for a driver’s license and passport with a stolen identity.

Authorities said they first sniffed out discrepancies in Jose Lantigua’s application because he didn’t have all the accurate information about the man whose identity he was using, a retired postal worker living in New York.

“It’s been a long time since I signed my true name,” Lantigua said when he waived his Miranda Rights in writing, according to his criminal complaint.

In the complaint, authorities said Lantigua was using a date of birth, Social Security number, New York driver’s license and birth certificate of Ernest Wills. But there were “multiple discrepancies” in Lantigua’s application for a new license and passport, including his place of birth, hair color, signature, occupation and passport photographs.

Lantigua’s story goes back to 2013, when he had reportedly become ill and died on vacation in Venezuela in 2013. But insurance companies and his lenders were suspicious.

Last weekend, Lantiqua, 62, was captured by authorities and placed under arrest in North Carolina.

When Lantigua tried to get a new passport, listing “freelance writer” as his occupation, the Charleston Passport Center investigated the discrepancies and used facial recognition software to search a U.S. State Department database to match the photo he submitted, according to the criminal complaint in Lantigua’s case. It matched with a photo of Jose Salvador Lantigua, and the center discovered “numerous Internet news articles indicating that [Lantigua] had allegedly faked his own death.”

Special agents with the U.S. Department of State then conducted surveillance on Lantigua and then addressed him as Jose Lantigua, according to the complaint.

“Yes, sir,” Lantigua responded, according to the report, before he was arrested.

Lantigua and his wife, Daphne Simpson, are being charged with seven counts of fraudulent insurance claims and one count of schemes to defraud. Each charge is a first-degree felony that can lead to as many as 30 years in prison.

There also are lawsuits against Lantigua and his estate over nearly $10 million in life insurance payouts and Lantigua’s debts, according to the Florida State Attorney’s Office.

“During a search incident to arrest, agents discovered that [Lantigua] had a poorly-dyed beard and was wearing a brown toupee,” the complaint in his case states.

Lantigua, who is in federal custody in North Carolina, has a detention hearing scheduled for Friday in Asheville. The federal defender listed as Lantigua’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Simpson was released by authorities in North Carolina but arrested in Florida, where she remains in the Duval County Jail.

Simpson has a hearing scheduled next month and she will be assigned a public defender, according to the Florida State Attorney’s Office. The public defender’s office for Duval County said it had not yet assigned her an attorney.

Efforts to reach Lantigua’s son, Joseph Lantigua, were unsuccessful.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, which is handling Lantigua’s case, declined to comment.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

UVA Student Martese Johnson Makes First Court Appearance

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — University of Virginia student Martese Johnson entered no plea Thursday to charges stemming from his bloody arrest last week.

Johnson was expected to enter a not guilty plea, but the prosecution asked for a continuance so the investigation could continue.

Martese and lawyer Daniel Watkins agreed to this and his next appearance will be May 28. Attorneys hope that the Virginia State Police investigation will be done by then.

Nearly 100 supporters showed up to the Charlottesville District Court, all dressed in black in a show of unity. The court appearance lasted all of 90 seconds.

Johnson, 20, was bloodied during an arrest near the campus last week, sparking protests on the campus over alleged police brutality as well as a state investigation of the incident. He was arrested outside a Charlottesville bar by state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents who are charged with enforcing alcohol laws in Virginia.

In Virginia, there is no legal requirement that customers entering a restaurant where alcohol is served must be over the age of 21. Therefore Johnson had every right to attempt to enter Trinity so long as he was using his lawful identification. Trinity’s decision to enact a 21-and-over policy after 10 p.m., for busy evenings, did not make Johnson’s attempt to enter illegal.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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