Review Category : National News

‘Affluenza’ Teen Ethan Couch Set to Appear in Texas Court

Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office(DALLAS) — “Affluenza” teen Ethan Couch is expected to appear Friday at a detention hearing in Texas, one day after he arrived in the state following his arrest in Mexico a month ago.

Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff Dee Anderson said that Couch was being held at a juvenile detention center.

Anderson said that there are three possible outcomes from Friday’s hearing: Couch could be released on bond; he could be ordered to stay at the juvenile facility; or he could be taken into custody in an adult jail.

“Now justice can be served for those four victims and their families,” Anderson said at a press conference Thursday.

The attorneys representing Couch have said they expect he will “comply with all court-imposed terms” and “successfully complete his term of probation.”

“Now that Ethan is back in Tarrant County and will be personally present in court at the upcoming hearing on the State’s Motion to Transfer, we anticipate that the court will lawfully transfer his probation to an appropriate Tarrant County District Court with adult criminal jurisdiction,” his attorneys Scott Brown and Wm. Reagan Wynn said in a statement released to ABC News Thursday. “Under the law, the transfer will become effective upon Ethan’s nineteenth birthday in April.”

“We are optimistic that, going forward, Ethan will comply with all court-imposed terms and conditions and that he will successfully complete his term of probation,” the statement said.

Ethan and his mother Tonya Couch sparked an international manhunt after he allegedly failed to appear at a court-mandated meeting with a probation officer.

Ethan Couch was put on probation in 2013 after killing four people while driving drunk.

During Ethan’s sentencing in the drunken-driving trial, a psychologist hired by the defense testified that the teen was a product of “affluenza” — a term he used to describe Ethan’s irresponsible lifestyle associated with his affluent upbringing.

Ethan had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit on the night of the crash.

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Senior Citizens Arrested in Pennsylvania Synthetic Marijuana Bust

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pennsylvania authorities arrested three senior citizens and another suspect Thursday for allegedly orchestrating a million-dollar drug trade in the state.

Richard David Sallade, 71; Patricia Ann Quinn, 67; Craig William Pfister, 50; and Bruce Alan Johnson, 67, were accused of trafficking synthetic marijuana, and authorities say they seized $1.6 million worth — more than 360 pounds — when arresting the group.

“This is kind of an unusual case,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General spokesman Jeffrey Johnson, referring to the ages of the accused.

Senior citizens are not commonly involved in criminal activity: The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in September that 10 percent of America’s prison population was 55 or older, and only 2 percent was 65 or older.

Sallade allegedly received multiple packages of synthetic drugs at his business in Cranberry Township, with shipments coming from New York and Massachusetts, according to prosecutors.

The group would sell the drugs from tobacco and drug-paraphernalia shops operated by Sallade and Quinn, and customers came from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, prosecutors allege.

Bail was set at $50,000 each for Sallade and Quinn, and $10,000 apiece for Pfister and Johnson.

All four were released on bail and are expected to stand trial at a later date.

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Torrential Rain Causes Second Oregon Sinkhole

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(HARBOR, Ore.) — A road in Oregon has crumbled away after a huge sinkhole opened up just on the other side of the road to where a sinkhole appeared last month, according to police.

The initial sinkhole happened in December in the parking lot of the Fireside Diner in Harbor, Oregon, after torrential rain.

A south view of the #Harbor #sinkhole located west of U.S. 101. A detour goes into effect at 9 p.m. tonight. pic.twitter.com/oRGvScD6J2

— Oregon DOT (@OregonDOT) January 29, 2016

Then on Thursday, the ground became unstable after storms had battered the local area and a section of Shopping Center Avenue — parallel to Highway 101 — began to slip away, Jared Castle, spokesman from the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

Police cordoned off the area which is near the coast of the California/Oregon border, and set up a detour for drivers.

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Ammon Bundy Urges Remaining Oregon Occupiers ‘Turn Themselves In’

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BURNS, Ore.) — Ammon Bundy released a statement through his lawyer Thursday asking the remaining occupiers on a wildlife refuge in Harney County, Oregon to turn themselves in.

“My message still remains: Turn yourselves in! Do not use physical force, use the national platform we have to defend liberty through our constitutional rights,” Bundy said in the statement.

The FBI says four militia members are still occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Bundy told the occupiers that they will “continue to educate the American people of the injustices taking place” and that they can do so in court.

“I am committed to freedom, not force…” he said. “We are done with the government pointing guns at us,” he said.

One person was killed when Harney County police made several arrests on the federal land Tuesday.

Bundy said the occupiers have accomplished stage one of their mission, which was exercising their free speech to bring “light to a problem that is ignored in the east and Midwest.” He said phase 2 will involve their right to due process and a peaceful end.

The man killed during the confrontation with police, LaVoy Finicum, was allegedly the standoff group’s spokesperson. Bundy said in his statement that he was mourning Finicum’s death.

“LeVoy was a man who put others needs and safety before his own,” Bundy said.

“I’m disappointed that a traffic stop yesterday that was supposed to bring peaceful resolution to this ended badly,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said Wednesday. “There doesn’t have to be bloodshed in our community.”

Several arrests were made Wednesday morning after the FBI and Oregon State Police established a series of checkpoints at major roads in and around the refuge. No one entered a plea in court Wednesday.

Three more people were arrested Wednesday evening after turning themselves in. Ward said the occupation had been “tearing” the community apart.

An FBI official said the occupiers have had “ample” time to leave the refuge peacefully. The group took over the refuge earlier this month.

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Jail Teacher Arrested for Allegedly Helping Escaped Inmates

Orange County Sheriff’s Department(SANTA ANA, Calif.) — A 44-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly helping the three inmates who escaped a maximum security prison in California, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Nooshafarian Ravaghi was arrested for allegedly aiding the inmates, the OCSD said. Ravaghi is a Lake Forest resident who works as an English as a Second Language teacher at the Rancho Santiago Community College.

Ravaghi also worked as a teacher at the Orange County Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., where all three inmates escaped from. One of the escaped prisoners, Hossein Nayeri, attended her classes. The extent of their relationship is unknown, the OCSD said.

Investigators say Ravaghi provided the inmates with information that aided their escape, such as maps she obtained from Google, police said. She denied bringing weapons or tools to the inmates that would have helped them cut through their cell bars, officials said.

Nayeri, along with Jonathan Tieu and Bac Tien Duong, allegedly broke out of the prison by cutting through inch-thick steel bars, according to the OCSD. The three are believed to be currently living in a white 2008 GMC Savana Utility Van with license number 8U66466, the sheriff’s department said.

The van, which was for sale, was stolen this weekend when Duong took it on a test drive and drove away, police said. The plates and stickers may have been removed.

Ten people were arrested Wednesday in connection with the inmates’ escape. Some of those arrested were members of a Vietnamese gang, Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens said. None of the escapees was among those arrested.

The OCSD is working with the U.S. Marshals Service to find the inmates, Hutchens said. It is not known where they could be located, the OCSD said Wednesday in a press conference. They were last seen Friday at 5 a.m. in their holding area but their escape wasn’t confirmed until midnight, giving them a 16-hour head start.

Tieu, 20, is charged with murder, and 43-year-old Duong is charged with attempted murder. Nayeri is accused of kidnapping the owner of a marijuana business and another person in October 2012. He allegedly tortured the owner with fire, a knife and bleach.

All three inmates pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The OCSD is offering a $200,000 reward for information leading up to the capture of the inmates.

It was not immediately clear if Ravaghi had an attorney.

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‘Affluenza’ Teen Will ‘Successfully Complete’ Probation: Lawyers

JacobStudio/iStock/Thinkstock(FORT WORTH, Texas) — The attorneys representing “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch have said that they expect he will “comply with all court-imposed terms” and “successfully complete his term of probation.”

Ethan Couch arrived back in Texas Thursday morning after being arrested in Mexico a month ago.

“Now that Ethan is back in Tarrant County and will be personally present in court at the upcoming hearing on the State’s Motion to Transfer, we anticipate that the Court will lawfully transfer his probation to an appropriate Tarrant County District Court with adult criminal jurisdiction. Under the law, the transfer will become effective upon Ethan’s nineteenth birthday in April,” his attorneys Scott Brown and Wm. Reagan Wynn said in a statement released to ABC News.

“We are optimistic that, going forward, Ethan will comply with all court-imposed terms and conditions and that he will successfully complete his term of probation,” the statement read.

Ethan and his mother Tonya Couch sparked an international manhunt after he allegedly failed to appear at a court-mandated meeting with a probation officer.

Ethan Couch was put on probation in 2013 after killing four people while driving drunk.

During Ethan’s sentencing in the drunken-driving trial, a psychologist hired by the defense testified that the teen was a product of “affluenza” — a term he used to describe Ethan’s irresponsible lifestyle associated with his affluent upbringing.

Ethan had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit on the night of the crash.

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179 Students, Staff Treated for Possible Carbon Monoxide Leak at Texas Middle School

mrdoomits/iStock/Thinkstock(BEAUMONT, Texas) — More than 170 students and teachers needed to be treated on Thursday in Beaumont, Texas, after falling sick due to an apparent carbon monoxide leak at a middle school.

“We believe that it’s possibly carbon monoxide exposure,” Beaumont Fire-Rescue Captain Earl White said during a news conference on Thursday. “We got [an] initial elevated reading in the main building. We took action. … We evacuated the facility. … Initially 12 were transported to various hospitals for treatment. To this point, we’ve treated a total of about 179, with 69 being transported to various facilities for medical evaluation and treatment.”

White said that 787 students and 70 staff members attend Marshall Middle School. He did not say how many of the 179 patients were students.

He said that emergency crews were called around 10:30 a.m. when one child became unconscious.

When emergency crews arrived at the school, he said, people were experiencing nausea, vomiting and headaches.

White said that the leak had been narrowed down to a boiler in the facility and that state inspectors would be investigating. Although the leak was confined to the main building, White said other buildings on the school campus would be inspected as well.

The school did not have carbon monoxide detectors, he said.

In a statement on the Beaumont Independent School District website, school officials said: “At this time, there are no reports of any serious or fatal injuries. … Safety is the top priority for Beaumont [Independent School District.] The district, in coordination with state inspectors and the Beaumont Fire Marshall, are working together to evaluate and remedy the problem. “

Classes are canceled for Friday.

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Flint Family of Seven Forced to Cook, Bathe With Bottled Water

VladimirFLoyd/iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — The city of Flint is in crisis.

For more than a year, the water flowing through the pipes under the city of Flint, Michigan, was coming from the Flint River. The corrosive water was not treated properly to prevent the decades-old pipes from corroding and leaching lead into the city’s water supply.

This water made its way into homes, hospitals and schools. Nearly 100,000 residents have been affected.

Residents Jacob Uherek, Jamila Marshall and their children cannot safely drink or use the water coming out of their faucets. They must rely on bottled water for drinking, bathing and cooking.

In the 360 video below, see Michigan National Guard troops distribute cases of water to Flint residents at one of the city’s distribution centers.

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New Jersey Rocked By Sonic Boom

Morrison1977/iStock/Thinkstock(HAMMONTOWN, N.J.) — A mysterious sonic boom rattled part of the Eastern seaboard Thursday afternoon, being felt from southern New Jersey to Long Island, the United States Geological Survey confirmed on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear what caused the boom, but some initially believed that it was an earthquake.

Not an earthquake but a sonic boom in New Jersey: https://t.co/eUr4sB28Wm pic.twitter.com/TQFlkGr633

— USGS (@USGS) January 28, 2016

The boom was centered north of Hammontown, NJ, around 1:30 p.m. It was the first of multiple experienced in the hours following the initial boom, the USGS said.

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly said it contacted researchers at Columbia University who confirmed that the trembling was not an earthquake.

We contacted Lamont Doherty Observatory @ Columbia University who confirmed that it was not an earthquake & likely result of a sonic boom.

— NWS Mount Holly (@NWS_MountHolly) January 28, 2016

A sonic boom is the thunder-like noise a person hears when an airplane, travels faster than the speed of sound. The boom travels through the air with the plane, so it arrives at different ground locations at different times, the USGS said.

Since many have asked: A sonic boom travels through the air w/ the airplane so it arrives at different ground locations at different times.

— USGS (@USGS) January 28, 2016

A military facility in Trenton, the Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst, said it doesn’t house any aircraft capable of supersonic flights. The base also said it wasn’t conducting any ground artillery training.

“It wasn’t us,” a spokesperson for the Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst said.

The 177th Air National Guard, which flies F-16 jets, also they were not conducting any flights in the region.

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Freed Journalist Jason Rezaian Speaks at Washington Post Headquarters

Mandel Ngan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who spent more than 500 days in detention in Iran, spoke on Thursday at the official opening of the paper’s new headquarters, thanking the paper and Secretary of State John Kerry for working hard to secure his freedom.

“I am happy to be home with you,” he told the assembled crowd.

Rezaian was freed earlier this month after being held on charges that included espionage. The paper vehemently denied this accusation and pushed hard for the U.S. government to secure his release.

In brief remarks to kick off the event, Rezaian said he is still learning details about the efforts made by the Post and the government to get the Iranians to free him.

“I’m truly fortunate to have this opportunity,” he said. “No other county would do so much for an ordinary citizen.”

During his captivity, the Post newsroom was decorated with #FreeJason signs and many reporters wore pins with the same message.

At Thursday’s event, Rezaian thanked his family, colleagues, the paper’s lawyers and its owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“To my colleagues at the Washington Post, you all are all awesome,” he said.

Kerry also spoke at the event, appearing to choke up at times and saying the day of Rezaian’s release by Iran one of the days he has “enjoyed most” as secretary of State.

“Jason we are all so delighted you are back,” he said.

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