Review Category : National News

Mother of the Bride Identified as Woman Killed by Falling Tree During Wedding Photos

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(WHITTIER, Calif.) — The woman killed after a tree fell on a wedding party in Southern California was the mother of the bride, a neighbor and close friend who attended wedding confirmed to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

The victim was 61-year-old Margerita Mojarro of San Pedro, the coroner’s office told KABC. Records indicate her name is spelled Margarita Mojarro.

The victim was not named by Los Angeles fire officials, who said the victim was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.

An autopsy is pending.

The accident happened Saturday in Whittier while a large wedding party was taking photographs after a wedding. A tree fell, trapping multiple people underneath it, Los Angeles officials said at a news conference.

One of those injured in the incident was a 4-year-old, who is a niece of the bride, KABC reported.

Five people were hospitalized, one with moderate injuries and four with minor injuries, Los Angeles fire officials said.

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Road Rage Shooting Victim in Arkansas ID’d

iStock/Thinkstock(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — The 3-year-old boy shot dead in an alleged road rage incident in Little Rock, Arkansas, was identified as Acen King, family members said, according to ABC affiliate KATV in Little Rock.

The shooting happened Saturday while the boy was in the car with his grandmother and his 1-year-old sibling, Lt. Steven McClanahan of the Little Rock Police Department said.

When the grandmother, identified by police as 47-year-old Kim King-Macon of Little Rock, stopped at an intersection, a man in the car behind her honked, the police said.

King-Macon honked back, and the suspect got out of his car and fired a gun, police said.

The grandmother at that point had not realized the 3-year-old was shot and drove away, police said. She then pulled over and realized the boy was injured and called police.

Acen was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where he died, police said. His sibling was not injured.

Police called it a road rage incident and said the grandmother was innocent and had no relationship with the suspect.

Police are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

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Incoming NC Governor Says HB2 Will Be Repealed in Special Session

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper said legislative leaders have promised there will be a special session Tuesday to repeal the controversial House Bill 2, known as HB2, or the “bathroom bill.”

The law requires public schools, public college campuses and government agencies to designate multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate. Under the law, transgender people may not use bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity unless they get the sex on their birth certificate changed.

Cooper’s announcement Monday came after the Charlotte City Council met Monday morning and voted 10-0 to rescind its local LGBT ordinance that led to HB2, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte’s vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full,” Cooper said in a statement Monday. “I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full. Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state.”

Outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory came under fire earlier this year for signing HB2 into law.

The law’s supporters say it’s necessary to protect women and children from sexual offenders who might claim to be transgender in order to access bathrooms of the opposite sex.

Cooper, a Democrat, has called HB2 “one of the most discriminatory laws in the country” and argued that the bill should be repealed.

The NBA announced in July that it was moving the 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte over concerns about HB2 — one of the most high-profile hit to the city economy due to the controversial law.

McCrory conceded the North Carolina gubernatorial race to Cooper earlier this month, weeks after Election Day and after requesting a recount.

A statement Monday morning from McCrory’s press secretary, Graham Wilson, said, “As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session.”

“Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by [Charlotte Mayor] Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists,” Wilson said. “This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state.”

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At Least 19 People Were Killed This Weekend Because of Severe Weather

Oregon State Police(NEW YORK) — Severe weather can be blamed for the deaths of at least 19 drivers and passengers this past weekend, from an SUV sliding sideways in Oregon to an ambulance overturning in Ohio.

In Ohio, three people were killed from two separate crashes.

In Cambridge, Ohio, an ambulance was transporting a patient on Saturday when the ambulance lost control, drove off the edge of the road and overturned multiple times, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. There were four emergency medical personnel and one patient in the ambulance at the time; the patient and one of the emergency personnel were killed, authorities said.

In Franklin County, Ohio, a 20-year-old woman was standing outside of her stuck car when another car went off the road and hit her, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said. The young woman died from her injuries, the sheriff’s office said.

Two fatalities were reported in Woodburn, Oregon, after an SUV lost control, slid sideways and was hit by a tractor trailer, the Oregon State Police said. The 36-year-old driver of the SUV and a 23-year-old passenger died, the state police said. It’s believed the SUV may have lost traction because of icy conditions, the state police said.

In Madison County, Iowa, a 79-year-old woman, who was a passenger in a car, died after the driver lost control due to icy roads, the Iowa State Patrol said.

The Illinois State Police reported a fatality Saturday afternoon in Madison County, where the roads were coated with rain and sleet. One car was driving too fast, police said, and it spun out, crashed through a median and entered the opposite lane in front of a second car. The first car overturned, killing the driver, police said. The second car went off the road and hit a guardrail, police said.

In southern Michigan, a 73-year-old was killed in Barry County from a head-on crash on icy roads. A northbound car, trying to avoid a rear-end crash, went into the southbound lane and struck a southbound car, authorities said, killing one person. Icy roads appeared to be a contributing factor, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two incidents Saturday morning in Maryland led to three fatalities on the icy roads, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said. Weather was believed to be a factor in both crashes, but the investigation was continuing, officials said.

Six people died on the roads in Missouri during a weekend in which there were 1,522 crashes and 171 injuries, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

In Indiana, two deadly accidents were reported, both in Marion County, the Indiana State Police said.

Winter weather hit most of the country this weekend, from California to New York to the southern states. There were about a dozen record lows Sunday morning in the Plains, from Texas to the Dakotas. In Wichita, Kansas, the record low was negative 10 degrees.

Monday morning, 19 states are under winter weather alerts, including hard freeze warnings for southern California and southern Texas.

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Good Samaritans Help Rescue Driver in Highway Crash

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A motorcyclist on a Florida highway captured the harrowing moment when a driver, who possibly suffered a medical episode, slammed into a light post and eventually careened out of control off the side of the road.

In the video, the unnamed male is seen driving a sedan that crisscrosses between multiple lanes of traffic. Despite crashing through the light post and having a blown-out tire, it continues to pick up speed to the shock of the motorcyclist recording the incident.

“It was almost like a pinball machine,” the motorcyclist, Mo Turknett, told ABC News. “He was literally back and forth, you know, four lanes of traffic banging off of each wall.”

When the car eventually veered off the highway and came to a stop, Turknett and other eyewitnesses pulled over to check on the man and pull him out of the vehicle.

Upon opening the driver’s door, Turknett said, “You’re done, stop. Get off the gas.”

He then asked the driver whether he was all right and whether he knew where he was going.

The group of good Samaritans pulled the man from the car and attempted to help until paramedics arrived.

The man was transported to a hospital, but refused treatment and walked out, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

The driver was issued a ticket for reckless driving, according to authorities.

The driver told ABC News in a statement, “I want to thank everybody who helped me and may God bless every hand that touched me.”

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Reward Offered in Alleged Road-Rage Killing of 3-Year-Old Boy

iStock/Thinkstock(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Little Rock Police are offering a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver who they say killed a three-year-old boy in a road rage-related incident.

According to the Little Rock Police Department, the boy’s grandmother had been taking him and his sibling, an infant, on a shopping trip at the time of the alleged attack Saturday evening.

Lt. Steven McClanahan told ABC News that the grandmother stopped at an intersection in Little Rock. The suspect, who is described by police as a tall black man, pulled up behind the woman’s car in a black Chevy Impala, and honked his horn. The grandmother honked back, and the suspect stepped out of the Impala and fired shots, McClanahan said.

The boy was struck by gunfire at least once, but the grandmother and the infant were not hit. The grandmother pulled into a nearby shopping center parking lot where she called the police.

The boy was later transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where he died.

“Tonight’s homicide was a road rage incident,” police said in a tweet, adding that “the grandma and three-year-old victim are innocent and have no relationship [with] the suspect.”

The gunman fled the scene and remains at large, according to Little Rock Police.

The shooting is the latest in a number of high-profile road-rage incidents recently.

Last week, a jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter in New Orleans for fatally shooting former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, 34, in an alleged road rage incident.

Earlier this month, another former NFL player, New York Jets running back Joe McKnight, was also shot to death in an apparent road rage incident.

Police Chief Kenton Buckner described the road rage killing as being frustrating for the police department and the community, especially because the young victims were “very innocent” and “can do very little to protect themselves.”

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Uber Driver Thwarts Robbery Attempt by Fatally Shooting Would-Be Thief

iStock/Thinkstock(AVENTURA, Fla.) — A South Florida Uber driver thwarted a robbery attempt Sunday morning by fatally shooting an armed, would-be thief who approached the driver in the middle of a causeway and demanded he hand over his belongings, police said.

The driver, who had a passenger in his vehicle, was traveling to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

“At approximately 5:50 a.m. today, there was a gentleman operating an Uber and picked up a fare here in Aventura at one of the local condos,” Aventura police Sgt. Chris Goranitis told reporters Sunday, according to ABC affiliate WPLG.

The Uber driver’s vehicle was then cut off by a Dodge Caravan minivan on the William Lehman Causeway.

“The driver of the Caravan exited the vehicle and he had two firearms in his hands and he pointed them at the Uber driver and demanded items from the driver,” Goranitis said. “This was an attempted robbery. We don’t believe it was road rage.”

But the unidentified Uber driver was also armed, and he proceeded to fire at the would-be thief, police said. The suspect, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the Uber driver fired in self-defense.

When police arrived at the scene, the suspect’s two guns were located, but the minivan was missing. Police believed that another individual in the minivan drove off, WPLG reported.

But by Sunday evening, police had located the van and were questioning a person of interest.

Police said the Uber driver had a concealed weapons permit. But Uber — which had no comment, according to WPLG — has a firearms policy, which states, “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That’s why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app.”

Neither the Uber driver nor his passenger were harmed.

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Toddler Left Alone in Car Overnight in Subzero Temperatures, Police Say

iStock/Thinkstock(THORNTON, Colo.) — A toddler who was left in a car for hours in subzero temperatures in Thornton, Colorado, was found alive by police on Saturday morning.

Authorities said the 2-year-old suffered severe frostbite and hypothermia, but he was expected to survive, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

The boy’s mother, 26-year-old Nicole Carmon, called police Saturday when she realized her son wasn’t home, according to KMGH-TV. She told authorities she became disoriented after an accident the night before and got a ride home, KMGH-TV reports.

Police found Carmon’s car, a green Ford Fiesta, in a parking lot covered in snow, according to KMGH-TV.

A witness told KMGH-TV that the toddler wasn’t moving when police rescued him from the car.

The mother is now being held in the Adams County Detention Center for investigation of felony child abuse, KMGH-TV reports.

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Florida Teacher Inspires Kids to Learn Long Division with Song, Fla.) — One Florida teacher is using a catchy song to teach her 4th-graders long division.

The innovative teaching technique is hitting a home run with Nadine Ebri’s students and the internet, with her video of two kids singing and dancing while working out a math problem racking up a whopping 13 million views.

“I’m just like my kids. I get bored really easily,” Ebri, a teacher at La Core Christian Elementary School in Jacksonville, told ABC News. “If school’s not fun for them, it’s not fun for me either. When you integrate stuff you love, and [the stuff] the kids love into your lessons, it’s very rewarding for all of us.”

She said her class wasn’t trying to make a song, but it just happened naturally.

“I was going through the steps of the long division, and one of my students started beating on the desk,” Ebri recalled. “I was like ‘divide, multiply and subtract,’ and then it was like, ‘bring it on down’ and ‘bring it on back’ and we started adding stuff to it from there and it just stuck.”

Joyce Williams, the school’s executive director, said she is “so very proud” of Ebri and the students.

“She’s done an awesome job with those children,” Williams said. “They love coming to school. They love learning. She’s very innovative, very creative. She has made that connection with them. We had to get her an assistant because we had so many students in her class and none wanted to be transferred out.”

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College Student to Distribute 2,000 Holiday Cards to Philadelphia’s Homeless

Courtesy Ali Boettlin(PHILADELPHIA) — One college student has launched a holiday card drive for the homeless after being inspired by volunteering at a shelter.

Ali Boettlin, 21, a senior at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, collected 2,000 cards, surpassing her original goal of 500 in just a few weeks.

“To the people that help me out, I’m just so grateful,” Boettlin told ABC News. “We often forget that people are good and this is the perfect reminder. For the people that I’m helping, I have seen the homelessness firsthand and it’s a battle. No one wakes up and chooses to be homeless. I’ve always donated the basic needs — the toiletries, the shampoos, toothbrushes. This time I’m thinking out of the box a little bit while doing something to make them smile.”

Boettlin has volunteered at the Hope Rescue Mission in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, with her mother, Marijo Smith, and stepfather, Jim Smith, who serves as the shelter’s development director. After working with homeless men and receiving cards from her mom in the mail, Boettlin decided to begin her project “You’ve Got Mail.”

Robert Turchi, executive director at Hope, told ABC News that Boettlin has “a huge heart for those in need.”

“Ali’s compassion for others doesn’t stop at just feeling sympathy for them in their hardships, she looks for ways to alleviate the weight of those hardships through her kindness,” Turchi said. “Individuals facing homelessness certainly suffer physically, but for many, the emotional suffering is even more painful. Feeling alone and hopeless cuts deeper than feeling hungry and cold. A kind gesture, such as Ali’s encouragement card project, can be that light in someone’s day to keep them striving and hoping for a better tomorrow.”

In November, Boettlin asked her Facebook friends for holiday-themed cards, and soon, her inbox was flooded with people offering to help, she said.

“I had people I knew, people I’ve never spoken to before and people I haven’t spoken to since grade school,” Boetllin said. “I said, ‘If you have cards, here is my address.’ I’m not turning down any, so it’s been really great.”

In honor of the “You’ve Got Mail” initiative, Boettlin and friends recently hosted a card-making party where she met Libby Aulenbach with Thirty-One Gifts, an Ohio-based company that sells bags and accessories.

Aulenbach donated 65 bags to Boettlin that contained blankets, scarves and toiletries.

Boettlin will distribute the cards and bags to homeless people on the street and at a local shelter.

Boettlin hopes her project reminds others that they can make a difference in someone’s life.

“I’ve conducted interviews with some of them and I put together a video for Hope,” she said. “Just listening to their stories, their health caves in, or get a divorce and lose their way. You pass them on the street and don’t know. The biggest thing is just to listen because everybody has a story and from that story, you can find out how to help.”

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