Review Category : National News

Teen Helps Firefighters Rescue Family from Fire

MattGush/iStock/Thinkstock(CLINTON, Md.) — Authorities released dramatic 911 audio on Sunday of a 13-year-old boy reporting a fire at his family’s home and helping keep his family calm while aiding the firefighters in their rescue efforts.

Firefighters responding to the blaze initially broke open the wrong window, but the boy managed to stay on the phone and direct them to the correct one to save himself and his family. Firefighters were able to get the boy, along with his parents and two siblings out.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though it is not believed to be suspicious.

On the audio, the 911 dispatcher can be heard advising the teen to stay low to the floor to avoid inhaling smoke. Later on, a voice appearing to be the boy’s younger sister yells “we’re gonna die!” The teen remained calm, however, telling her “please don’t say that.”

After the window error, the boy helped them find the correct window and the family was able to escape.

Two children were taken to Children’s Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, while three adults were transported to MedStar for smoke inhalation. None of the family members are believed to have life threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is not believed to be suspicious.

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Evacuation Order Lifted As Massive Wildfire Burns in Southern California

samer chand/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Overnight weather conditions Saturday night into Sunday helped contain a massive wildfire burning in a basin near a Southern California dam that had forced the evacuations of about 300 homes.

The fire in the Prado Dam Flood Control Basin, which ignited about 6 p.m. local time Saturday, burned 300 acres as of Sunday morning, according to Capt. Mike Mohler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. But weather overnight improved containment, allowing officials to lift the evacuation order.

#HighwayFire – More incident photos. Firefight continues. Credit: RCOFD Photographer, Tod Sudmeier

— CAL FIRE Riverside (@CALFIRERRU) April 19, 2015

Mohler said 800 firefighters worked overnight to contain the fire but struggled to reach it.

Mohler said there had been no injuries or building damage, but he said the fire had come within a half a mile of some homes.

“It’s going to take days, even up to weeks to mop this fire up,” Mohler warned, “Because of those thick fuels and the type of conditions we’re under due to the drought.” The area currently ablaze “hasn’t burned in decades,” Mohler added.

The fire is getting really big #ABC7Eyewitness

— THANK YOU JUSTIN (@Andreais4real) April 19, 2015

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Gyrocopter Pilot Expected to Be Stopped on Way to Capitol Lawn

ABC News(RUSKIN, Fla.) — The Florida mailman who flew a gyrocopter through restricted airspace and landed on the Capitol lawn last week said he expected to be stopped along the way.

Doug Hughes told reporters outside his home in Ruskin, Florida, early Sunday that his flight from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., went mostly as planned. He called landing on the Capitol lawn Wednesday as onlookers waved to him “surreal.”

“It was amusing because people were not frightened at all. They looked at it and people waved to me,” Hughes said. “People waved to me and I waved back. That part was surreal.”

Hughes, 61, was arrested immediately after landing outside the Capitol. He was charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national airspace and faces four years in prison, plus fines.

Hughes said that he didn’t expect to make it to the Capitol lawn as part of his plan to draw attention to campaign finance reform.

“I had expected to be intercepted on the way,” he said.

Despite being able to land on the lawn, Hughes said he doesn’t believe Washington, D.C., has a security problem.

“The security around D.C. is iron clad,” he said. “I seriously suspect that if you were to get into a gyro tomorrow, it wouldn’t work.”

Though the Secret Service had learned of Hughes’ general plan more than a year earlier, federal authorities insisted they had no reason to know he would actually carry it out.

Hughes first came to the Secret Service’s attention in October 2013 after “a concerned citizen” told them “about an individual purporting their desire to land a single manned aircraft on the grounds of the United States Capitol or the White House,” the Secret Service said in a statement last week. Within days, Hughes was interviewed by the Secret Service, which then alerted the U.S. Capitol Police to his plans.

“A complete and thorough investigation was conducted,” the Secret Service said in its statement.

Hughes told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that he needed to return to home before his house arrest began Monday. He’ll wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet until a court hearing in Washington, D.C., next month.

“At no point did I feel that it was not a good idea,” he told reporters Sunday. “We got bigger problems in this country than fussing.”

When asked whether he considered himself a patriot, he replied, “No, I am a mailman.”

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Three Injured in Shooting at Delaware State University Campus

John Roman/iStock/Thinkstock(DOVER, Del.) — Police are looking for a gunman after three people were shot and injured at a school-sanctioned Greek cookout on the Delaware State University campus Saturday night.

The shooting happened about 8 p.m., according to the university. The three victims were hospitalized in stable condition.

The university told students to stay inside their dormitories after the shooting.

A second shooting in a campus parking lot happened hours later, said the university’s police department. No one was injured.

It’s unclear if the two incidents were related. No arrests had been made as of 3 a.m. Sunday in either incident.

Police said the suspect in the second shooting incident was described as a black man with short dreadlocks, between 5-feet-9 inches and 5-feet-11 inches tall. The man was believed to have been wearing a tan and blue long-sleeve shirt with white sneakers.

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Bus Carrying UCONN Students Catches Fire on Massachusetts Road

Marisa Debboli(STURBRIDGE, Mass.) — A University of Connecticut student says “no one was prepared” for when their senior trip came to an abrupt end Saturday, as their bus became engulfed in flames on the side of a Massachusetts road.

The fire erupted this afternoon in Sturbridge, about 60 miles west of Boston, the Massachusetts State Police in Charlton said.

The full bus was carrying about 40 students, according to police, and no injuries were reported.

Student Ashley Vollmer said the group was heading to Boston for a senior cruise when, about 15 or 20 minutes into the ride, she saw smoke on the bus.

Vollmer said the bus driver pulled over briefly, but then the ride continued.

She said they heard a loud bang and the driver pulled over again.

There was a lot of smoke as they were exiting, Vollmer said, and as soon as they were all off, the bus caught fire.

Uconn senior trip, bus catches on fire @ThanksSusan

— Tyler Flynn (@TylerFlynnStone) April 18, 2015

“It was insane,” Vollmer said. “No one was prepared.”

“It was very scary,” she added.

Road tripping to NYC and just encountered a bus on fire in Sturbridge. Crazy.

— Juliana (@attackofthetext) April 18, 2015

The fire was extinguished around 3:30 p.m., police said, and crews have left the scene.

According to Vollmer, their bus driver got on a different bus and continued towards Boston, leaving the students on the side of the road. UConn buses have picked up the students to take them back to school, she added.

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Ohio Police Pull Over Minivan With Four Puppies In Cage on Roof

Sergii Sokurenko/iStock/Thinkstock(AKRON, Ohio) — Dozens of calls poured into 911 dispatchers in northeast Ohio on Friday after drivers on an interstate highway saw a minivan with four puppies strapped to the roof.

The family was transporting the 3-month old mixed breed pups from Ohio to Pennsylvania when police in Akron, Ohio caught up to them along Interstate 76, ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV reports.

The traffic stop was captured on dashcam video, which shows the cage on top of the van was partially covered with a tarp. Akron Police Sgt. Kris Beitzel said the puppies seemed disoriented when officers arrived at the scene.

“They weren’t acting like puppies,” Beitzel told WEWS-TV. “I mean they were traumatized from having probably been on the roof of that car for probably at least an hour.”

Beitzel told the television station the driver was not charged, but educated on the proper transportation of animals.

“The important thing is the puppies are safe, that he was educated today and that he will never do that again,” she said.

The dogs will now be turned over to the Humane Society of Greater Akron, WEWS-TV reports.

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Family Believes Concussion Led to Colorado Father’s Disappearance

KABC-TV(RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.) — The family of a Colorado man missing for nearly two weeks believes a concussion he suffered may have led to his disappearance.

Oliver Pareece Jones, a father of five from Colorado, was last seen at a Walmart in Rancho Cucamonga, California on April 5. Jones’ family told ABC News station KABC-TV that he was hospitalized with a concussion days before his disappearance after being attacked outside a nightclub in Los Angeles.

“We’re thinking that his concussion really affected his ability to reason or be able to do anything,” said his brother Jared Jones.

On his way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Jones, 37, stopped in Rancho Cucamonda and purchased some items at a local Walmart, police said.

Paul Huebl, a private investigator hired by Hones’ family, told KABC-TV many of the items he bought were found in the possession of a transient after Jones’ disappearance.

“It doesn’t make sense because it’s kind of expensive stuff: a cell phone, a radio, some other things,” he said.

The family hasn’t heard from Jones since and claims he ordinarily calls his daughters every day.

“If there’s a little bit of hope, we’re going to hold onto that,” his brother told KABC-TV.

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Tulsa Roommates Batter Each Other With Beer Bottles in iPhone vs. Android Dispute

John Roman/iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) — It’s the age-old debate: Which phone is better, the iPhone or the Android?

But in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Friday morning, a phone debate led two intoxicated roommates to batter each other with broken beer bottles, police said.

Jiro Mendez said the incident started when he and his roommate, Elias Ecevo, were in their apartment’s parking lot arguing over which smartphone was better, according to the Tulsa Police Department. The fight escalated when Ecevo hit Mendez in the head with a bottle before stealing his car, police said.

Police said Mendez’s car was found parked a “short distance away” in their apartment complex.

“In over 35 years as a cop, this is one of the oddest reasons I’ve seen for assault,” Maj. Rod Hummel of the Tulsa police told ABC News.

The roommates were found covered in blood with lacerations on their bodies, according to police, and were treated before being transferred to the Tulsa County Jail Friday afternoon. The police described both men as intoxicated.

Both Mendez and Ecevo were charged with assault with a deadly weapon, police said. They were released from the hospital on Friday and taken to jail.

Another man was in the parking lot during the fight, according to police, but fled before officers responded. He has not yet been identified.

The Tulsa Police Department referred ABC News to the Tulsa County Jail for information on the men’s lawyers and arraignments, but the jail database has not yet been updated to reflect Mendez and Ecevo’s arrests.

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Exonerated Death Row Inmate Meets the Former Prosecutor Who Put Him There

ABC News(SHREVEPORT, La.) — When Glenn Ford walked out of prison for the first time in 30 years, he had a state-issued debit card for $20. His prison account had $0.24. Everything he owned fit into two cardboard boxes.

Until he was freed last March, Ford, now 65, had been one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the United States.

He was convicted in 1984, but then exonerated of first-degree murder after a new informant came forward and cleared him of the crime.

His former lawyer, Gary Clements, was by his side on his client’s first day of freedom.

“Nobody ever finds out the truth. Sometimes they don’t find out in time. Here they did,” Clements said. “That’s a blessing. To say that justice has arrived now, it’s a little 30-years-too-late.”

The person responsible for putting Ford behind bars is Marty Stroud, who prosecuted the original case back in 1984.

Stroud has now apologized to Ford, writing in a letter to the editor of the Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana, “I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning. … I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family.”

“That case, I’ll never be able to put it to rest,” Stroud told ABC’s Nightline.

Ford’s case began in 1983, when Isadore Rozeman, a local watch dealer in Shreveport, was found shot dead inside his home repair shop. Within days, the police zeroed in on Ford, who had done yard work for the victim.

Ford was put on trial and after seven days. Even though there were no eyewitnesses and no murder weapon, the jury came back with a guilty verdict and a death sentence, sending Ford to death row.

At the time, Stroud said he was “very pleased” with the verdict and went out and celebrated. But now, he is saying it wasn’t a fair fight.

“The deck was stacked on one end,” he said.

Ford’s court-appointed defense team had almost no experience and no resources.

“The lawyers had never even stepped foot in the courtroom before,” Clements said. “They never tried a case and here they are defending a capital case.”

Stroud reluctantly admitted he further stacked the deck against Ford by ensuring that the jury was all white.

“I knew I was excluding individuals we felt would not seriously consider the death penalty,” he said. “Looking back on it, I was not as sensitive to the issue of race as I am now.”

Ford’s outmatched defense team was also never told about the confidential informants working for law enforcement who pointed the finger at two other suspects, brothers Henry and Jake Robinson, for Rozeman’s murder.

Ford had told police the brothers gave him some items to pawn — items, Ford later learned, that were stolen from the murdered watch dealer’s home.

While Ford sat on death row, the brothers remained free and, according to authorities, may be responsible for five other homicides. Both brothers are now in jail charged with other crimes. Neither, however, is charged with Rozeman’s murder.

Ford’s current attorney, William Most, said Ford’s case challenges people’s notion about how this nation works.

“The guy who didn’t commit the murder is the one who is put in jail and sentenced the death,” Most said. “And the ones who were part of it were let free to commit other crimes.”

Ford would still be on death row today if not for a confidential informant who told police in 2013 that Jake Robinson confessed to him regarding the killing of Isadore Rozeman.

In Louisiana, exonerated former inmates like Ford are eligible for as much as $330,000 in compensation payments. But when Ford petitioned for the money a judge denied his request, saying that while Ford didn’t kill Rozeman, he was not completely innocent because he may have known about the shooting beforehand because of his communication with the brothers.

It’s a claim Ford fiercely denies.

So, his proponents argue, after being locked up for 30 years, the state turned its back on Ford and left him virtually penniless.

“If we truly have a system of justice in this country, Glenn would be compensated for what was done to him,” Most said. “So the extent of whether we have a system of justice, we’ll see — but, you know, I see no justice in Glenn’s story.”

Stroud admitted that he should have done more to help Ford, saying in his letter to the Shreveport Times that Ford “deserved every penny owed to him,” and that “to deny Mr. Ford any compensation for the horrors he suffered … is appalling.”

“It’s an extremely big deal for Marty Stroud, the lead prosecutor to do this,” Clements said. “He could have just sent an apology to Glenn, but he put it out in his community.”

But now, Ford needs that restitution money more than ever. Just months after his release, he was given a different kind of death sentence. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

He currently survives on donations and is cared for by a staff of volunteers, including John Thompson, another exonerated prisoner, who now operates a home for exonerees.

Ford is now much frailer and easily fatigued, having lost half his body weight. He said he was shocked when Stroud published that letter apologizing to him and his family.

When Stroud wanted to apologize to Ford in person, Ford had mixed feelings about seeing the man who put him away for 30 years. But he granted the meeting, and Nightline was there with cameras rolling.

“I thought about this for a long, long time,” Stroud told him. “I want you to know that I am very sorry. It’s a stain on me that will be with me until I go to my grave, and I wasn’t a very good person at all. I apologize for that.”

Ford said anger is not his driving force and he holds nothing against the former prosecutor. But after having 30 years taken away from him, Ford reluctantly told Stroud, “I’m sorry. I can’t forgive you.”

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Take a Tour of the New Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A new museum opens its single door this weekend in Brooklyn, New York, as two comedians-turned-figure skating fans unveil their crowdsourced project to the world.

Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins, friends who live together in Williamsburg, gave ABC News a tour of The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum, or as it used to be called, their hallway.

The pair became fascinated by the now decades-old feud between the former figure skaters after watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary The Price of Gold, which detailed the attack on Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics.

The original plan was to blow up a series of pictures of big moments in the athletes’ careers, so Olen and Harkins launched a Kickstarter campaign but were overwhelmed with the response online, finding far more fellow fans than they expected.

With donated fan art projects including a diorama and cross stitches, as well as more than $2,000 in donations, the pair collected enough artifacts to fill their wall space.

Because it is still the apartment where they live, Olen and Harkins will be scheduling the viewings directly with interested parties.

ESPN and ABC News are owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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