Review Category : National News

Vanished Broncos Fan Found Safe, Police Report

Tia Bakke(DENVER) — Police said Tuesday night they have found Paul Kitterman, the 53-year-old father who went missing during halftime at Thursday’s Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game.

Denver police made the announcement on their Twitter account: “DPD confirming that Paul Kitterman has been located and is safe after going missing from the Bronco Game.” A second tweet said that he had been found unharmed in Pueblo, Colorado.

Kitterman had seemed to be happy and behaving normally, his companions said, and told them that the experience of going to his first Broncos home game was “awesome.”

Soon afterwards, he vanished.

Police were letting officials at Sports Authority Field dig through the game’s surveillance footage, a process that began Monday, because of their expertise with the camera setups, Jackson said Tuesday. Any intriguing moments on the tapes were to be flagged for police.

Kitterman was last seen by his stepson when he left to go meet friends around halftime.

Kitterman, a construction worker and ranch hand from Kremmling, Colorado, did not have his cell phone or any credit cards — and only had about $50 cash — when he went to the game, friend Tia Bakke told ABC News.

“He would never bail on his son or anyone, so by Friday night we knew something was really, really, wrong,” Bakke told ABC News.

Police were not actively searching on foot for Kitterman because there was no indication a crime occurred, they said.

Besides the analysis of the surveillance footage, much of the search appeared to be in the hands of friends passing out fliers.

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California AG Releases Report Detailing 2013 Data Breaches, 18.5 Million Californians Impacted

BrianAJackson/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris released a report on Tuesday detailing 167 data breaches reported in 2013 that may have impacted 18.5 million Californians by putting their personal data at risk.

“Data breaches pose a serious threat to the privacy, finances and personal security of California consumers,” Harris said in a statement. She called for more encryption in an effort to “significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.”

The Office of the Attorney General said that reported data breaches increased by 28 percent in 2013 — from 131 to 167 — while the number of Californians affected increased more than sixfold, from 2.5 million to 18.5 million.

Harris pointed to malware and hacking as the top causes of breaches, with physical loss or theft, unintentional errors and intentional misuse as the other notable causes.

Consumers are advised to constantly monitor their credit and debit card accounts for suspicious transactions and to change passwords on any account linked to any potential data breach, among other advice.

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USPS Audit Says Widespread Surveillance Conducted on Snail Mail, Not Just Email

njpPhoto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The United States Postal Service made public a report on Tuesday that determined that nearly 50,000 mail covers — investigative tools used to record data from the outside of a piece of mail — were processed as part of criminal and national security operations.

The USPS, furthermore, found that 21 percent of external requests for information were approved without written authorization and 13 percent were “not adequately justified or reasonable grounds were not transcribed accurately.” Equally noteworthy, 15 percent of the inspectors who worked with the mail covers did not have a required nondisclosure form on file.

That information comes from the USPS’ 2014 audit of the surveillance program by their inspector general.

The Office of the Inspector General for the USPS recommended improvements be made “to ensure responsible personnel process mail covers in a timely manner and conduct periodic reviews of the mail covers program.”

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Space Station Supply Rocket Explodes on Launchpad

NASA(WALLOPS, Va.) — An unmanned space station supply rocket exploded Tuesday night, six seconds after launch from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Orbital Sciences Corp. said in a tweet shortly after the explosion that there had been “a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are able.”

The cargo rocket was supposed to launch Monday night, but that had to be scrubbed because a boat was too close to the “hazard zone” near the launch site.

This launch was the third of eight International Space Station cargo resupply missions under NASA’s $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. Orbital provides the launch vehicle and cargo spacecraft, and NASA runs the range operations.

The Antares rocket was carrying 4,483 pounds of equipment to the station, including 1,360 pounds of food.

Orbital Sciences said everyone at the launch site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities.

NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing urgently needed by the space station crew on that flight.

The cargo ship was the fourth Cygnus bound for the orbiting lab; the first flew just over a year ago. This was the first catastrophic problem with the launches.

Shares of Orbital Sciences, which has the NASA contract to supply the station, fell 14 percent in after-hours trading after news of the launch failure.

Among the science cargo Cygnus was to transport to the space station was a study to enable the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere; a multitude of student investigations covering topics such as the effects of microgravity on plant growth and the rates of milk spoilage in space; and international research including a study to determine how blood flows from the brain to the heart in the absence of gravity.

On Monday evening, a sailboat about 26 feet long entered the hazard zone early in the launch count, NASA reported. The “hazard area” for the launch of the Antares is about 1,400 square miles off the coast of Wallops Island along the eastern shore of Virginia.

“Radar aircraft detected the boat and hailed it several times, but there was no response. A spotter plane made multiple passes around the boat at low altitudes using commonly understood signals such as wing waving to establish contact. However, the operator did not respond,” NASA said in a statement.

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NTSB Cites Sleep Apnea in Fatal 2013 Metro-North Train Crash

NTSB(NEW YORK) — The National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday that the December 2013 Metro-North train derailment that killed four and injured 61 occurred when the train engineer had fallen asleep.

The train rounded a curve at 82 mph, well above the 30-mph speed restriction. The NTSB report determined that the operator had “an undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule.” In other words, his apnea condition was made worse when his regular shift was moved from one that started in the late afternoon and ended in the early morning to another that began between 4 and 5 a.m. and continued until the afternoon.

The NTSB pointed the blame at the Metro-North Railroad for the absence of medical screening for sleep disorders.

NTSB has faulted Metro-North in five separate accidents in a single year, openly questioning the nation’s largest commuter rail service’s commitment to safety.

The NTSB report also noted that the absence of a positive train control system, which would have automatically applied the brakes when the operator failed to place pressure on it, contributed to the accident. The agency noted further that “the loss of window glazing” caused the ejection of four passengers, contributing to their deaths and the severity of the accident.

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Controversial Guardrail Nearly 4x More Likely Involved In Fatal Accident, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A university study has concluded that the redesigned version of a controversial but widely-used guardrail system places motorists at a higher risk of serious injury and fatality on America’s highways than its previous version.

The study, first reported by ABC News last month before it was finalized, was conducted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham and examined serious and fatal accidents in Missouri and Ohio.

“To date…in both states, it was found that the ET-Plus placed motorists at a higher level of risk of both serious and fatal injuries relative to its predecessor, the ET-2000,” reads the final version of the report, obtained by ABC News Tuesday. “The overall trend for [both] states included in the analysis shows that the ET-Plus is 1.45 times more likely to be involved in a severe injury than the ET-2000. More poignantly however, the ET-Plus is 3.95 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than the ET-2000.”

The ET-Plus System, produced by Trinity Industries starting nearly a decade ago, was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September that looked into allegations from crash victims that the guardrail can malfunction when struck from the front by their vehicles. Rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact as designed, the guardrails “locked up” and speared straight through the cars, severing the motorists’ limbs in some cases.

According to an internal email obtained by ABC News, a company official estimated one particular change – reducing a piece of metal in the guardrail end terminal from five inches to four – would save the company $2 per guardrail, or $50,000 per year.

Last week, a jury in Texas found that Trinity Industries had defrauded the government by altering the guardrail end terminal design back in 2005 and failing to disclose all of the changes to federal officials as required. Trinity, which plans to appeal the decision, was ordered to pay $175 million in damages – an amount that is expected to triple by statutory mandate.

The UAB study was sponsored by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and The Safety Institute, a non-profit advocacy organization. Missouri was one of the first states to ban the use of the ET-Plus guardrail last month, citing concerns that the system “is not performing as intended and could pose the risk of malfunctioning.”

Sixteen states have now said they have decided to halt installation of the guardrail system, including Trinity’s home state of Texas.

“I think states that aren’t taking action are looking at this a little differently now than they were maybe even a couple weeks ago,” said Sean Kane, founder of The Safety Institute, one of the study’s sponsors.

On Monday, Virginia became the first state to say it’s planning to physically remove the end terminals from its highways after the company didn’t meet a deadline to submit crash test plans to the state. A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Transportation told ABC News there is no finalized timeline to remove the end terminals, and should Trinity provide data proving the ET-Plus meets safety criteria, it will reconsider the recall.

Trinity Industries told ABC News in a statement that it is “moving expeditiously to initiate” crash tests that had been previously requested by the state.

Late last week Trinity announced it would no longer sell the ET-Plus until additional testing that also has been requested by the FHWA has been completed.

Trinity has previously called the accuracy of the UAB study “troubling as it uses statistically unsound methodology.” The company also said the sample data used is not representative of the installations that exist in Missouri or the U.S. today and point to a conflict of interest in the team that authored the study. A representative for Trinity declined to comment further on Tuesday.

Trinity told ABC News for its original report that it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity” of the ET-Plus system and noted that the FHWA had repeatedly approved its use on highways after being alerted of the design changes in 2012.

Kane says he hopes the study is the first of many to come of the controversial guardrail.

“What we’re hoping to do is inspire other states to do similar analysis, inspire the federal government to do other analysis,” he said.

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Eric Frein Possibly Spotted by Resident, Police Say

PA Dept of Transporation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — Police are investigating a new possible sighting of accused cop killer Eric Frein, who authorities believe has been hiding in the woods of the Pocono Mountains for more than six weeks.

The possible sighting was made by a resident in Barrett Township early Tuesday afternoon, said Trooper Connie Devens, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police.

Frein, 31, has been at large since Sept. 12, when he allegedly opened fire at the Blooming Grove police barracks, killing one trooper and injuring another. Police believe Frein, a self-trained survivalist from nearby Canadensis, escaped to the woods. They have found two pipe bombs, an AK-47, ammunition and various food and supplies they believe belong to the suspect.

Police have investigated several possible sightings in recent weeks, but Frein has not been located.

They’re also investigating blood a woman found near the chicken coop on her farm in Canadensis.

Police recently deployed a giant balloon to help in the search. It’s tethered, unmanned and quieter than a helicopter, and can provide similar technology to aviation equipment at a smaller cost, police said.

The FBI is assisting Pennsylvania State Police in the manhunt and has added Frein to its 10 Most Wanted fugitive list.

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Police Voice New Concerns Amid Few Signs of Vanished Broncos Fan

Tia Bakke(DENVER) — Police consider it “highly unusual” that they still have found no solid trace of Paul Kitterman, the 53-year-old father who went missing during halftime at Thursday’s Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game.

“People go missing quite often, but it’s highly unusual that someone goes missing for this amount of time,” Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told ABC News.

“Obviously, it’s a missing persons case,” Jackson added. “Unfortunately, we get numerous cases every day on the same lines and people turn up relatively quick. In this case, he hasn’t shown back up and we’re concerned, as well as the family is.”

Authorities are combing through hours of surveillance footage from Thursday’s game in hopes of turning up clues.

“We’re reviewing tapes over at the stadium,” Jackson said. “We’re following up on any tips and leads we get as to where he might be. We’re basically in contact with the family quite a bit, seeing if we can get additional information from them. And we’re moving forward with the investigation.”

Kitterman seemed to be happy and behaving normally, his companions said, and told them that the experience of going to his first Broncos home game was “awesome.”

Soon afterwards, he vanished.

Court records showed Kitterman had a history of relatively minor motor vehicle citations over more than a decade. More recent legal troubles involved a major bank and the Colorado Department of Revenue.

His friend, Tia Bakke, who went with him to the Broncos game, said she knew he had money problems but doubted that would have been reason for him to vanish at the game.

“If he wanted to leave town because of money problems, he would have come home, gotten all of his money and left,” she told ABC News.

Denver Police were seeking information from anyone who might have seen Kitterman after his loved ones did.

“We got a report that he was possibly seen near a concession stand … at the end of the 3rd quarter, within the stadium at that time,” Jackson said. “So we’re following up on that, as well, talking to the person who said they think they saw him at that location and anybody else who gives us information that they saw him — so we can talk, see what his demeanor was, what he might have said, things of that nature.”

Foul play is not considered likely because “with 70,000 people and cameras all over the stadium, you would see something if a violent crime occurred,” Jackson said Monday.

Police were letting officials at Sports Authority Field dig through the game’s surveillance footage, a process that began Monday, because of their expertise with the camera setups, Jackson said on Tuesday. Any intriguing moments on the tapes were to be flagged for police.

“It takes a long time — specifically when you’re looking for one individual with a lot of people in the crowd,” Jackson said. “You’re talking about a stadium. So you have to start at the time he went missing and move forward. … There are numerous gates, there are numerous areas around the stadium, so that’s going to take some time.”

The Denver Police Department tweeted Tuesday that they had located a male body near the stadium, but said they did not believe it was Kitterman.

Kitterman was sitting with his stepson, Jarod Tonneson, after going to the game with Bakke and another friend, who were sitting in a different section. He was last seen by his son when he left to go meet those friends around halftime.

Kitterman, a construction worker and ranch hand from Kremmling, Colorado, did not have his cellphone or any credit cards — and only had about $50 cash — when he went to the game, Bakke told ABC News.

“He would never bail on his son or anyone, so by Friday night we knew something was really, really, wrong,” Bakke told ABC News.

Police were not actively searching on foot for Kitterman because there was no indication a crime occurred, they said.

Besides the analysis of the surveillance footage, much of the search appeared to be in the hands of friends passing out fliers.

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Shooting Outside NC Courthouse Leaves Two Wounded

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, N.C.) — A shooting outside a North Carolina courthouse on Tuesday left two people seriously wounded.

According to the Nashville Police Department, the incident took place at the Nash County Courthouse just after 11 a.m. The suspect remains at-large.

“At this time, we’re looking for one. There’s a possibility there could be a second, but right now, the only indication is one suspect that did the shooting,” Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said.

The two victims — both adult males — sustained multiple gunshot wounds. One was shot in the shoulder and the other has a wound in his right hand and two wounds in his left leg.

“They are in stable condition. They have serious wounds, but they’re apparently non-life threatening,” said Nash Health Care Public Relations Director Jeff Hedgepeth.

Both victims were airlifted to Greenville, North Carolina for further treatment.

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Details on One World Trade Center’s Observation Deck Released

Port Authority New York/New Jersey(NEW YORK) — The operators of the highly anticipated observation deck at the top of New York’s One World Trade Center have released new details about pricing and what visitors will experience when it opens in the spring of 2015.

One World Observatory will span 120,000 square feet over three floors, providing visitors with panoramic views of New York City and the surrounding region.

After taking elevators to the building’s 102nd floor, visitors will watch a two-minute video presentation combing bird’s-eye imagery and time-lapse shots of New York City.

The main observatory space on the 100th floor features an interactive skyline “concierge” to help find city landmarks and neighborhoods from 1,250 feet in the air. That level will also feature a Sky Portal, where visitors can step onto a 14-foot-wide circular disc in the floor for a live view in high-definition of city streets below.

One World Observatory will also feature three unique dining areas, including a seated dining area, a café, and a bar.

Admission tickets go on sale in early 2015, with tickets ranging in cost between $32 for adults, $30 for seniors over age 65, and $26 for children ages 6-12.

The Observatory will offer complimentary admission tickets to 9/11 family members and 9/11 rescue and recovery workers. Special discounts will be also offered to active and retired members of the U.S. military.

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the U.S., opens on Monday, Nov. 3, when media giant Conde Nast formally moves in.

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