Review Category : National News

Meet the woman who broke barriers as a ‘hidden figure’ at the US Navy

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures celebrates the true story of three African-American women who helped propel the U.S. space program to new heights.

While Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson were breaking barriers at NASA, another hidden figure, Raye Montague, was making history at the U.S. Navy.

“I faced a lot of the same barriers that those ladies faced,” Montague said Monday on ABC News’ Good Morning America, recalling a time when a fellow employee asked her for a cup of coffee and she replied that she’d like one too, adding, “Be sure mine has cream and sugar.”

Montague, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, grew up in the segregated South. She never saw an engineer who looked like her but she would go on to shatter glass ceilings as a female, African-American civilian employee at the then-male-dominated Navy.

“I’m known as the first person to design a ship using the computer,” Montague, now 82, said in an interview that aired Monday on Good Morning America. “And I was the first female program manager of ships in the history of the Navy, which was the equivalent of being a CEO of a company.”

Montague credited her mother with providing the confidence to know she could achieve anything she wanted. She earned a bachelor of science degree in business at a historically black college, the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal School, which now goes by the name the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The school she wanted to attend, the engineering school at the University of Arkansas, did not accept minorities at the time.

“Growing up in a segregated South, you never dreamed that these options were available to you,” Montague said on GMA. “I can remember wondering, ‘Where am I going? What am I going to be?,’ and when I was 7 years old my grandfather took me — this is during World War II — to see a German mini-submarine that had been captured off of the coast of the Carolinas and they let me go inside.”

“I said to the guy, ‘What do you have to know to do this?,’ and he said, ‘Oh, you’d have to be an engineer but you don’t ever have to worry about that,'” she recalled. “I didn’t realize I’d been insulted.”

Despite not being able to earn an engineering degree during her college years, Montague is now registered as a professional engineer in the U.S. and Canada.

“My mother told me when I was a very little girl, ‘Raye, you’ll have three strikes against you. You’re female and you’re black and you’ll have a southern segregated school education,'” Montague recalled. “‘But you can be or do anything you want, provided you’re educated.'”

She began her career with the Navy in 1956 in Washington, D.C. Like the women in Hidden Figures, Montague entered service in what was then a traditional female role, as a “clerk typist,” and quickly proved her worth.

“She had to keep proving over and over that she could do the job and she was able to rise above those types of things,” said Trenita Russell, one of Montague’s former coworkers.

Montague would go on to spend 33 years as a civilian Navy employee. She learned engineering skills on the job and went to computer programming school at night.

Years later, during the Nixon administration, Montague’s bosses gave her department one month to use a system she developed to design a naval ship.

Montague famously completed the task in just under 19 hours.

“To think back to what she dealt with back then, especially with the gender variable, they thought that she was supposed to be getting them coffee,” said Montague’s son, David Montague. “And then she was the one actually there in charge.”

Montague said she always answers no when people ask her if she was the first woman or the first black woman to achieve what she did in the design of Navy ships.

“No, I was the first person and that’s important,” Montague said of her reply.

Montague was surprised Monday on GMA by Janelle Monae, who portrays Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures. Jackson played a crucial role in helping NASA send John Glenn to orbit the Earth in 1962.

“You all were beautiful, just beautiful, and I know what you were going through because I was going through the same thing,” Montague said to Monae.

Monae replied, “We thank you so much for your service. You are an American hero and you are hidden no more. Everybody sees you.”

Octavia Spencer, who is Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughn in Hidden Figures, also delivered a message for Montague.

“I want to let you know that you are no longer hidden. We see you. We salute you. And we thank you,” Spencer said in the video clip that aired Monday on GMA.

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Three injured after sprint car flips into stands at Volusia Speedway Park

iStock/Thinkstock(DE LEON SPRINGS, Fla.) — Three people were injured on Sunday night after a race car crashed into the stands at Volusia Speedway Park in De Leon Springs, Florida.

According to ABC Orlando affiliate WFTV, the car entered the stands just before 9:30 p.m. during a DIRTcar World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series qualifying event.

Dale Blaney, the uncle of NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Ryan Blaney, was heading into turn two of the half-mile oval track when his dirt car went airborne, flipped upside down and crashed through a fence and into the stands, severely injuring three spectators.

All three were transported to Halifax Hospital in critical condition. According to DIRTcar Nationals race organizers, Gary Streek, who was visiting from the United Kingdom, is currently in stable condition and visiting with family and friends. The two others are still in the hospital and their condition is unknown.

While Blaney’s car became tangled up between two other cars, all drivers walked away without injuries.

This marks the second accident in four days where a car cleared a fence at Volusia Speedway. On Wednesday, Joey Saldana’s car flew over the catch fence into the stands, but no one was injured.

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Severe storm leaves nearly 40,000 without power in San Antonio

Twitter/@KSATadrian(SAN ANTONIO) — A severe storm ripped through parts of San Antonio early Monday morning, causing significant damages in the area and leaving nearly 40,000 residents without power.

More than 100 structures were damaged in the north side of San Antonio, Texas, San Antonio Fire Department officials told ABC News on Monday. Residential homes accounted for most of the destruction, but an elementary school and a few commercial properties were also damaged.

The brunt of the storm hit an area located just south of the San Antonio Airport, which is north of downtown. That’s where 43 homes were significantly damaged, fire department officials said. There was also a fire at an elementary school in the area that was related to the storm. Authorities said the fire was under control.

MORE IMAGES: Garage roof punctured in a tree along with trees snapped in half all along Linda Dr, north side of SA #KSATnews #StormChaser

— Adrian Garcia (@KSATadrian) February 20, 2017

No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported at this time, Leer said, while noting that fewer than five minor injuries had been reported. The city said it is working to get up a shelter with the Red Cross.

SA (Linda Dr.) resident said it sounded like a freight train hitting her home as she and her husband took safety #KSATnews #StormChaser

— Adrian Garcia (@KSATadrian) February 20, 2017

As of 3:30 a.m. Eastern Time, there were more than 39,148 San Antonio residents going without power, according to the website of CPS Energy, a city energy provider.

While the storm totally flattened some homes, the majority of the damage was structural or related to roofing, San Antonio Fire Department Lt. Brian Leer Leer told ABC News.

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Unidentified man in photo is a suspect in the double homicide of two Indiana girls

Indiana State Police(DELPHI, Ind.) — The man who was photographed on a nature trail around the same time two Indiana girls disappeared is now the primary suspect in their murder, according to the Indiana State Police.

The bodies of two girls — Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, and Abigail Jay Williams, 13, both of Carroll County — were found on Tuesday near a creek, roughly three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge, near Delphi, where they were dropped off Monday to go hiking, and an autopsy revealed their identities.

Little is known about the man in the photograph at this time, police said.

Previously, he had been labeled a person of interest, and police said he might only be a witness to the crime. Today, that status changed, according to police.

“Since Wednesday February 15th, law enforcement officers have distributed a photo of a person observed on the Delphi Historic Trail. The photo appears to depict a white male wearing blue jeans, a blue coat/jacket, and a hoodie,” a statement from the Indiana State Police read.

Police referred to “preliminary evidence” that led their attention to the man in the picture, without detailing what it was.

“During the course of the investigation, preliminary evidence has led investigators to believe the person, in the distributed photo, is suspected of having participated in the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German,” the statement added.

The case has garnered great attention in the otherwise peaceful area of rural Indiana from which the girls disappeared.

Thousands of people gathered in Delphi on Saturday to take part in a motorcycle memorial ride to commemorate the lives of the two girls.

Organizers for the motorcycle rally estimated that more than 3,000 people took part in the ride, while hundreds of spectators watched, according to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, a local paper.

The paper said that the downtown area of the small city overflowed with motorcycles and cars, who registered for $20 per driver and $5 per passenger to ride from Office Tavern Bar in Delphi to Whiskey and Wine Saloon in Monticello, and that the funds were split between the families of the two victims.

ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported that residents of Delphi were applying purple ribbons to their homes and storefronts show their support for the victims and their families.

A manhunt for the killer had intensified prior to this announcement, and local police have been assisted by the FBI in the case.

“We are asking help from the public to help identify him so he can be contacted regarding what he might have seen,” state police said in a statement on Wednesday, regarding the man in the photograph.

Investigators told ABC News that a search warrant was executed at a home in Delphi on Thursday night, but it did not yield anything of value to the investigation.

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Pilot survives small plane crash in New Jersey neighborhood

Twitter/ jerzsteve (BAYONNE, N.J.) — A pilot is alive after his small plane crashed into a Bayonne, New Jersey, residential neighborhood on Sunday morning.

The pilot, 56, was the only person on board the Piper PA-28 aircraft when it crashed at 10 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center and is in stable condition, ABC affiliate WABC-TV reports.

There were no other injuries reported. Four cars were destroyed or damaged from the crash, according to WABC-TV, and there were reports of downed wires and debris.

The FAA said it would investigate the cause of the crash.

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College student opened care package from mom, it was the trash he forgot to take out

Connor Cox(LEONARDTOWN, Md.) — Connor Cox’s mom is an expert at getting revenge.

When Cox, who is a freshman at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, thought he was opening up his usual care package from his mom, what he found inside instead was trash.

“I got two boxes and I opened one and it had food in it and I realized there wasn’t food in the other one,” Cox, 18, told ABC News. “It was a bunch of trash, tissues [and] soda cans.”

Cox, who is originally from Leonardtown, Maryland, immediately called his mother Terri to ask what was with the box of trash.

“[I said] ‘Did you send me the wrong package? Why did you send me this?'” Cox said.

“[She said,] ‘No, that’s the trash you were supposed to take out,'” he added, laughing.

Cox, who is studying criminal justice, said he laughed hysterically about the gag gift, then tweeted a photo of the package, which quickly went viral.

The college student said he wasn’t surprised that his mom pranked him.

“She has a good sense of humor,” Cox said. “She’s always really caring and she knows what to say at the exact time she should say it. She’s a good mom.”

Cox, who has three sisters, added that he has a rather unique relationship with his mom.

“It’s not a normal mom-son relationship,” he described. “She’s kind of like my best friend … it’s special for sure.”

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Southern California storm-related deaths climb to at least 5

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) — At least 5 people died after a powerful storm pummeled Southern California on Friday night, flooding numerous roadways in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Rescuers on Saturday in the community of Thousand Oaks found the body of a young man in his 20s who had been swept away by swift-moving waters, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

Earlier, in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, a falling tree brought down power lines and hit a car on Friday night. A 55-year-old man was electrocuted and pronounced dead at a hospital, police and fire officials said.

Two others died in separate car accidents on Interstate 15 in San Diego amid heavy rain. And a motorist was found dead in a fully submerged vehicle in Victorville in San Bernardino County, officials said.

In the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, two cars plunged into a massive sinkhole. At least one person was trapped when the first vehicle fell into the hole until rescue crews were able to pull the woman out of the car. She was transported to the hospital for injuries and her condition is unknown, according to ABC owned-and-operated television station KABC.

Minutes later, the sinkhole swallowed a second vehicle, which was unoccupied at the time, KABC reported.

The massive Pacific storm swept into Southern California on Friday morning, bringing torrential rain and gusting winds to the region while also spreading precipitation north into the San Joaquin Valley and up to San Francisco.

Flash flood watches were in effect for Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties from Friday morning through Saturday morning. Forecasters said the weather system could be the strongest to pelt the region in years, if not decades.

“The storm looks to be the strongest storm to hit southwest California this season,” the National Weather Service office for the Los Angeles region wrote. “It is likely the strongest within the last six years and possibly even as far back as December 2004 or January 1995.”

The storm was expected to generate a total of 3 to 6 inches of rain in Los Angeles County beaches and valleys and 5 to 10 inches of rain in south-facing foothills and coastal mountain slopes, according to the National Weather Service.

With soil already soaked from significant rainfall this winter, forecasters warned of the potential for flash floods and debris flows, especially near areas stripped bare by wildfires. Precautionary evacuations were requested in some neighborhoods.

As of 10 p.m. local time on Friday, more than 78,000 customers were affected by power outages in the Los Angeles area alone, where hundreds of trees and dozens of power lines had toppled, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The storm was expected to generate a total of 3 to 6 inches of rain in Los Angeles County beaches and valleys and 5 to 10 inches of rain in south-facing foothills and coastal mountain slopes, according to the National Weather Service.

With soil already soaked from significant rainfall this winter, forecasters warned of the potential for flash floods and debris flows, especially near areas stripped bare by wildfires. Precautionary evacuations were requested in some neighborhoods.

As of 10 p.m. local time on Friday, more than 78,000 customers were affected by power outages in the Los Angeles area alone, where hundreds of trees and dozens of power lines had toppled, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

By Saturday morning, isolated locations had received up to 10 inches of rain. Parts of Ventura and San Bernardino counties had received over 8 inches of rain. The city of Los Angeles had received at least 2 inches of rain, according to ABC News meteorologists tracking the storm.

Heavy rain and high winds lingered over much of Southern California on Saturday morning. The rain is expected to move east as the day goes on, with the chance for scattered pockets of heavier showers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Drier weather is expected to move in Saturday afternoon and evening.

Meanwhile, a new Pacific storm will take aim at Central California’s coastline on Sunday.

“The worst is over for Los Angeles this morning,” said ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo. “Next storm is on the way late Sunday and will focus on Central and Northern California.”

The new storm could dump an additional 3 to 4 inches on Northern California, according to Manzo.

“This is another dangerous situation developing due to swollen water ways and saturated ground,” Manzo said.

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Washington State trooper catches driver using mannequin in carpool lane

Washington State Patrol(NEW YORK) — A Washington State Patrol trooper who spotted a motorist violating the rules of the road is no dummy.

The eagle-eyed trooper spotted a driver attempting to outsmart the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane policy, by passing off a mannequin as a passenger.

HOV lanes are reserved for carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles or any vehicle carrying two or more people.

“Early this morning, a Tacoma trooper caught an HOV violator driving 81 mph with this young lady in the passenger seat,” read a post on the Washington State Patrol’s Facebook page, along with a photo of the lifelike violation. “In case you didn’t know…this doesn’t qualify for HOV lanes!”

Trooper Todd Bartolac, a public information officer with Washington State Patrol, tweeted, “Violator was ticketed for speed and the HOV violation. On the positive side they were both wearing their seat belts! #buckelup”

Tacoma Trooper catches a HOV violator driving 81mph in the HOV lane with this young lady as the violators passenger.

— Trooper T. Bartolac (@wspd1pio) February 17, 2017

Violator was ticketed for speed and the HOV violation. On the positive side they were both wearing their seat belts! #buckelup

— Trooper T. Bartolac (@wspd1pio) February 17, 2017

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, state troopers use their discretion to determine whether to issue a ticket or a written warning. The state’s current fine for illegally driving in an HOV lane is $136.

Bartolac said the mannequin was one of the most life-like he has ever seen, according to ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle.

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Middle school student accused of throwing 2×4 at presidential motorcade, officials say

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — President Trump’s motorcade was struck by a 2×4 in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, according to authorities.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said a vehicle in the motorcade was struck by what was believed to be a small, hard object on Southern Boulevard between Parker Avenue and Lake Avenue.

After members of the motorcade and the Secret Service returned to the scene to search the area and look for witnesses, a juvenile from a local middle school confessed to throwing the object and implicated four other students, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Charges will be filed with the Palm Beach County States Attorney’s Office, officials said.

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Norma McCorvey, known as ‘Jane Roe’ in Roe v. Wade, dies at 69

Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images(KATY, Texas) — Norma McCorvey, a woman at the center of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, has died at 69.

McCorvey became “Jane Roe” as the plaintiff in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision when she was in her 20’s and trying to get out of an unwanted pregnancy.

In a complete reversal years later, she joined the pro-life movement and converted to Roman Catholicism.

Joshua Prager, a journalist working on a book about Roe v. Wade, confirmed her death to ABC News and said she died of heart failure at an assisted-living home in Katy, Texas.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented McCorvey for a period of time after the decision, offered her condolences and called McCorvey a “very complicated person.”

“Even though at the end of her life Norma thought women should be prevented from having an abortion and that abortion should be criminalized, her legacy will be Roe v. Wade, which has provided millions of women the legal right to choose abortion, a right which remains under attack and which I am committed to protect,” she said.

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