Review Category : National News

Desperate 911 Call as Semi Drags Minivan 16 Miles Through Snowstorm

Roscommon County Sheriff Office(ROSCOMMON, Mich.) — A family in a minivan called 911 Wednesday morning when their car was stuck under a moving semi-truck in Michigan, police said.

A dispatcher received a call at 1:57 a.m. Wednesday from the family of Matthew Menz, 46, who was traveling northbound on I-75, south of Roscommon, Michigan, according to the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office.

Due to “poor visibility from the snow,” the minivan rear-ended the semi-truck pulling a large trailer, the sheriff’s office said. Police received a call from a passenger of the minivan, which was stuck.

“The caller’s minivan became lodged under the trailer and was being pulled down I-75 unbeknownst to the driver of the semi-truck,” police said in a statement.

The four minivan occupants could not see due to snow and couldn’t tell dispatchers their exact location, according to the sheriff’s office.

The 911 call between the minivan and the dispatcher reveals a tense situation.

“It was snow blinding. We ran into the back of a semi-truck and he’s not stopping and our car is embedded underneath of it,” the caller from the minivan said. “Our windshields have completely shattered. I can’t see nothing.”

“I just want to get off the back of this thing,” the caller added.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office eventually located the vehicle, south of Grayling on northbound I-75.

“Deputies successfully stopped the vehicles without incident, 16 miles from where the original collision had occurred,” police said. “The four occupants of the minivan were transported by ambulance to Grayling Mercy Hospital for evaluation. However, no serious injuries are suspected.”

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Climber Hits Wall in Historic Effort to Scale El Capitan’s ‘Dawn Wall’

iStock/Thinkstock(MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif.) — One of the two climbers daring to scale one of the hardest stretches of granite in the world in Yosemite National Park is now experiencing a literal cliff hanger himself.

Professional climber Kevin Jorgeson is desperately trying to hang on to his record-breaking dream with hands so battered he has fallen off a section of Yosemite’s El Capitan rock formation eight times over the past two days.

“My battle with Pitch 15 continues. After 6 years of work, my #DawnWall quest comes down to sending this pitch. Last night, I experienced a lightness and calm like never before. Despite failing, it will always be one of my most memorable climbing experiences. On my 4th attempt, around 11pm, the razor sharp holds ripped both the tape and the skin right off my fingers. As disappointing as this is, I’m learning new levels of patience, perseverance and desire. I’m not giving up. I will rest. I will try again. I will succeed,” Jorgeson posted Wednesday on Instagram.

The rocky edges Jorgeson is struggling to grasp as he attempts to climb El Capitan’s “Dawn Wall” with his climbing partner, Tommy Caldwell, are only as deep as a single matchstick but are as sharp as cut class.

Jorgeson is now three pitches, or sections to climb, behind Caldwell, who is well past the halfway point to successfully free-climbing the “Dawn Wall,” El Capitan’s steepest half-mile stretch of granite that faces east toward the sun.

If they reach their goal, they will make history by being the first to do so without the aid of any tools.

“If Kevin gives a couple of more days of effort and he doesn’t succeed, at that point he’ll probably make the decision to kind of throw in the towel on his behalf so Tommy can succeed,” said Big Up Productions filmmaker Brett Lowell, who has been filming the pair’s climb.

Caldwell posted on Facebook Wednesday that in order to help his own hurting fingers, he wakes up every four hours to apply special climbing skin care products to his hands.

“Is crazy to think that the skin on our fingertips could be the limiting fact towards success or failure,” Caldwell wrote.

Over the course of the climb, which began Dec. 27, Caldwell and Jorgeson have been sleeping in nylon tents that are anchored to the wall at only one point. They’ve been eating their packed hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sandwiches with salmon and getting caffeine boosts from their flasks of coffee.

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Social Media Helps 911 Dispatcher Locate Injured Hiker

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WINTERS, Calif.) — An emergency dispatcher in California used social media to track down a badly-injured hiker after a 911 call got disconnected.

Ryan Pritchard careened off a cliff while hiking with his son Jake, 11, on California’s Blue Ridge Loop Trail. Pritchard hit his head in the 150-foot fall.

Jake, frightened, asked the dispatcher if she could bring his mother along.

The cell phone cut out before dispatcher Sheri Speakman could identify Pritchard’s position.

“It was kind of scary because we were at a loss,” Speakman said. “We had nothing.”

Dispatchers were able to locate the cell tower that the call came through, but it was 30 miles away from where they were.

Breanna Martinez — a trainee who had been working in the dispatch center for three weeks — plugged Ryan Pritchard’s name into Google, uncovering his LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

“The first post was with his sons, they were going rappelling on the Blue Ridge Trail,” Martinez said.

Rescuers zeroed in on Pritchard’s location, found him and airlifted him to the hospital before nightfall.

“If it had been another two hours, they wouldn’t have been able to hoist him out,” Speakman said.

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Social Media Helps 911 Dispatcher Locate Injured Hiker

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WINTERS, Calif.) — An emergency dispatcher in California used social media to track down a badly-injured hiker after a 911 call got disconnected.

Ryan Pritchard careened off a cliff while hiking with his son Jake, 11, on California’s Blue Ridge Loop Trail. Pritchard hit his head in the 150-foot fall.

Jake, frightened, asked the dispatcher if she could bring his mother along.

The cell phone cut out before dispatcher Sheri Speakman could identify Pritchard’s position.

“It was kind of scary because we were at a loss,” Speakman said. “We had nothing.”

Dispatchers were able to locate the cell tower that the call came through, but it was 30 miles away from where they were.

Breanna Martinez — a trainee who had been working in the dispatch center for three weeks — plugged Ryan Pritchard’s name into Google, uncovering his LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

“The first post was with his sons, they were going rappelling on the Blue Ridge Trail,” Martinez said.

Rescuers zeroed in on Pritchard’s location, found him and airlifted him to the hospital before nightfall.

“If it had been another two hours, they wouldn’t have been able to hoist him out,” Speakman said.

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More Than One Million Kids Off with Schools Closed Thursday Due to Cold

ron hilton/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Schools in a number of major cities around the country are closed Thursday due to the frigid temperatures.

On Wednesday night, announcements were made regarding the closure of schools in Boston, Chicago and Cleveland.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced that Boston Public Schools would be closed “out of an abundance of caution.” Walsh noted that windchill temperatures could fall below negative 20 degrees during the normal morning bus pickup time. “It is not worth the risk to our children and families,” he added.

Chicago Public Schools cancelled classes for Thursday as well. The decision was made “due to extreme temperatures and winds in the area, which could present hazardous conditions for children traveling to and from school.”

Finally, the Cleveland Metro School District announced Wednesday night that its schools would be closed Thursday. Administrative offices for the district are, however, expected to be open.

By Thursday morning, Fairfax County, Virginia — one of the Washington, D.C.-area’s largest school districts, with over 186,000 students enrolled — had closed schools.

Similar announcements were made for school systems in Milwaukee; Loudon County, Va.; Fayette County, Ky.; Detroit; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Providence, R.I.; and Akron, Ohio. The total number of students enrolled in those school systems totals over 800,000.

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Anti-Cop Protesters Disrupt Missouri Legislature

iStock/Thinkstock(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) — Protesters still angry about the grand jury decision that cleared a cop in the shooting death of Michael Brown disrupted the start of Missouri’s 2015 Legislative session Wednesday.

As new state senators waited to get sworn in, demonstrators who gathered in the gallery chanted “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter,” two slogans that have resonated not only with Brown’s supporters but in other parts of the country where police have been accused of using excessive force in confrontations with African-Americans.

The protesters also hung banners over the railing that read “pledge allegiance to black people.”

As they continued to shout over Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, the Missouri Highway Patrol was ordered to clear the chamber.

Once order was restored, the new lawmakers were sworn in and the business of the Legislature continued.

Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who is a Democrat, will have his hands full since he’ll be dealing with veto-proof GOP majorities in both the House and Senate.

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Former Clerk Identified as Shooter that Gunned Down Psychologist at Fort Bliss Clinic

iStock/Thinkstock(EL PASO, Texas) — Authorities say a former clerk from the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System at Ft. Bliss in Texas was responsible for Tuesday’s fatal shooting of a psychologist before turning the gun on himself.

FBI officials said Wednesday that Jerry Serrato, 48, shot Dr. Timothy Fjordbak to death inside the clinic although no motive for the shooting was given.

However, officials did say that Fjordbak had reported that Serrato made a verbal threat to him at a supermarket in 2013.

Serrato was a former Army soldier who retired in 2007 with the rank of specialist.

Immediately following Tuesday’s shooting, the clinic went into lockdown as security was bolstered at Fort Bliss.

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Girl Dead After Being Tossed from Florida Bridge, Police Say

iStock/Thinkstock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — A girl has died after being tossed over the side of a bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida, police said.

The situation occurred early Thursday on the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg to Terry Ceia over Tampa Bay in the western part of the state.

A police officer, chasing a speeding driver, saw the person stop their car and toss the child — who’s roughly 5 years old — from the bridge before driving away, St. Petersburg Police said. The driver was stopped about 30 minutes later.

Rescue crews found the girl, but they could not resuscitate her, police said.

The man who threw the girl into the water is believed to be the victim’s father, police said.

The identities of the victim and suspect have not been released.

St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said police are stunned by the incident.

“We have no idea why anybody would do something like this as to throw a child over a railing of a bridge into the water, let alone on a night like this and the temperatures and conditions that we have today,” she told ABC television affiliate WFTS.

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Authorities Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting at Ohio Airport

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Police are investigating on Wednesday after an armed man was shot and killed by Columbus Regional Airport Authority police officers.

At about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, police were alerted to a man who had attempted to purchase tickets using identification belonging to a female. Airline personnel became suspicious, refused to sell him a ticket, and notified authorities.

When an officer approached the subject, who had by then returned to a vehicle outside the terminal, the man was initially cooperative before producing a knife and lunging towards the officer. The officer fired his weapon, causing the suspect to drop to the ground.

The suspect then got back up and continued moving towards the officer, prompting a backup officer to respond. When the suspect moved towards that officer, a third officer fired multiple times, striking the suspect.

Medical personnel pronounced the suspect dead at the scene.

Police found multiple additional knives in the suspect’s possession. Suspicious items were found in the vehicle and removed from the scene.

The Columbus Division of Police Critical Incident Response Team is leading an investigation of the shooting.

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Boston, Chicago, Cleveland Schools to Be Closed Thursday Due to Cold

ron hilton/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Schools in a number of major cities around the country will be closed on Thursday due to the expected frigid temperatures.

On Wednesday night, announcements were made regarding the closure of schools in Boston, Chicago and Cleveland.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced that Boston Public Schools would be closed “out of an abundance of caution.” Walsh noted that windchill temperatures could fall below negative 20 degrees during the normal morning bus pickup time. “It is not worth the risk to our children and families,” he added.

Chicago Public Schools cancelled classes for Thursday as well. The decision was made “due to extreme temperatures and winds in the area, which could present hazardous conditions for children traveling to and from school.”

Finally, the Cleveland Metro School District announced Wednesday night that its schools would be closed Thursday. Administrative offices for the district are, however, expected to be open.

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