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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Nation Briefs

April 17, 2002

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Texas: Tornadoes damage more than 20 homes

Tornadoes and strong thunderstorms Tuesday night slammed into northern Texas, damaging at least two dozen homes, ripping the roof off a church and snarling air and ground traffic.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities or life-threatening injuries.

Pat Svacina, spokesman for the city of Fort Worth, said a few people were transported to hospitals, but none with serious injuries. He said damage was reported to 18 to 20 homes in a mobile home park, and to six houses in another area of the city.

Svacina said 25 vehicles were involved in a chain reaction accident on a freeway where high water was reported.

Two tornadoes touched down briefly in Johnson County, but no damage was reported, Sheriff Bob Alford said. The storm brought intense hail and rain, he said.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, spokesman Ken Capps said incoming and outgoing flights were halted for about 45 minutes.

Kentucky: Artificial heart recipient home after 7 months

The longest-surviving recipient of a self-contained artificial heart returned home Tuesday seven months after his operation waving to well-wishers as he rode a wailing firetruck through town.

"It's good to be home," 71-year-old Tom Christerson said after the caravan of dozens of vehicles finally pulled up to his house.

He was given a plastic-and-titanium AbioCor heart on Sept. 13 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. Christerson, the second recipient of the device, was released from the hospital March 20 and had been living at a hotel one block away.

After the news conference, he and his wife drove to their home in Central City, about 125 miles southwest of Louisville. Christenson sat in the passenger seat of the minivan, which was fitted with an electrical outlet so he could recharge the heart on the road.

When he got to Central City, Christerson was helped up the four steps onto the firetruck. People spilled out from businesses to greet him as the caravan crept along.

Arizona: Drug tunnel discovered at Customs parking lot

An 85-foot drug tunnel that was strung with bare light bulbs and ended near a parking lot used by Customs Service employees was discovered under the Mexican border.

The tunnel, found on Monday, is at least the ninth discovered in Nogales since 1995, and the second in the border city to run directly beneath the international boundary.

No drugs were found inside the tunnel, which was reinforced with two-by-fours, Customs spokesman Roger Maier said.

Investigators believe smugglers punched a hole through the asphalt and would pass narcotics up into a waiting vehicle, then seal the hole with an asphalt plug.

Texas: Police say siblings killed 6-year-old

Authorities found the body of a 6-year-old boy buried in a creekbed behind his suburban Dallas home Tuesday and said his 10-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister had confessed to killing him.

Police say the girl led them to the shallow grave of Jackson Carr about six hours after he was reported missing Monday evening. Jackson's brother told their parents the boy disappeared after a game of hide-and-seek, sparking a search by police and neighbors in Lewisville.

Jackson was stabbed in the neck and suffocated, the coroner said in ruling the death a homicide. The grave in heavily wooded terrain is about 100 yards from the family's home.

The siblings were being held at a Denton County detention center on murder charges, police investigator Eddie Barrett said. Formal charges were not immediately filed.

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