Archive for Sunday, September 16, 2001

Nation Briefs

September 16, 2001


Texas: Barges smash bridge; at least 5 people dead

A group of barges smashed a 160-foot section out of the only bridge leading to popular South Padre Island early Saturday and at least five people died after their vehicles plunged into 85 feet of water.

An unknown number of people were missing. Thirteen were rescued from the Laguna Madre, part of the Intracoastal Waterway shipping route along the Gulf Coast, and two were hospitalized.

The Coast Guard was notified around 2:30 a.m. that the tug Brown Water V and its four barges, loaded with coiled steel and phosphate, had struck the 2.37-mile-long span. None of the cargo spilled.

The tug operator was questioned and passed a sobriety test, officials said.

LOS ANGELES: 'Baywatch' actress faces drug charges

Former "Baywatch" star Yasmine Bleeth was detained Wednesday outside Detroit for alleged drug possession found in the aftermath of a car accident, according to media reports.

Bleeth was in the area reportedly visiting her boyfriend's parents and was unable to leave after flights were grounded following Tuesday's terrorist attack.

Romulus, Mich., Police say that Bleeth and a friend were driving a rental car eastbound on Interstate 94 when she lost control and crashed into a median. No other cars were involved in the crash.

Police reported the actress failed a field sobriety test and that they found four syringes in the actress' purse. One of the syringes later tested positive for cocaine.

Connecticut: Jailed mayor to face additional sex charges

Already jailed on federal child sex charges, Waterbury's mayor has now been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he enticed a child into a sexual relationship, according to published reports.

It was unclear when the indictment was handed up against Mayor Philip Giordano, but his attorney, Andrew Bowman, confirmed it to the Waterbury Republican-American. The Hartford Courant, citing unidentified sources, also reported the indictment in Saturday's editions.

Giordano, 38, the three-term mayor and Republican nominee for Senate last year, has been jailed without bail since his arrest July 26 on charges of having a sexual relationship with two girls, cousins ages 9 and 11.

CINCINNATI: Trial to begin in police shooting

Police Officer Stephen Roach, 27, indicted in the April shooting death of a black man that sparked rioting in the city, goes on trial Monday.

Roach faces misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of official business in the shooting death of Timothy Thomas, 19.

Thomas' death touched off the city's worst racial violence since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, and prompted a citywide dusk-to-dawn curfew to restore order. Dozens of people were injured and more than 800 were arrested.

Roach told his union that he thought Thomas was reaching for a gun. Police said Thomas was wanted on traffic violations and charges of fleeing police.

California: Regulators seize HMO

Regulators changed the locks and froze the bank accounts of a financially troubled HMO that serves more than 100,000 patients.

Officials say the seizure was necessary because of the grim financial outlook at Tower Health in Sacramento. It had $600,000 in cash at the end of July and more than $13 million in liabilities, said an official with California's Department of Managed Health Care.

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