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Truck veers into Ark. restaurant; two killed

Published September 7, 2006

NEWPORT, Ark. - A truck veered off a highway and slammed into a fast-food restaurant as a group of teachers ate dinner, killing two women and injuring five other people. Police charged the driver with manslaughter.

Police said the truck clipped a building on Highway 367, then smashed through a plate glass window at the Hardee's restaurant and struck several tables Tuesday evening.

Beverly Tapp and Jane Wright, both retired Newport teachers, died of their injuries, said Detective Patrick Weatherford.

The driver, Gary W. Nicholson, 44, was charged Wednesday with two counts of manslaughter, four counts of second-degree battery, one count of third-degree battery and one count of second-degree criminal mischief, authorities said.

He was originally held on drug and driving while intoxicated charges Tuesday and, after lab work was completed, he could face other charges, Prosecutor Henry H. Boyce said. An arraignment was set for Friday.

Most of the people injured were with a group of current and retired Newport teachers who met each Tuesday at the restaurant. Lawyer Jim McLarty said the group was celebrating the 60th birthday of one of the teachers, Jane Parnell, who was injured.

'Intersex' fish in river raise concern of human impact

WASHINGTON - Scientists say abnormal "intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries across the Capitol Region, raising questions about how contaminants are affecting millions of people who drink tap water there.

"I don't know, and I don't think anybody knows, the answer to that question right now: Is the effect in the fish transferable to humans?" said Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, which filters river water for residents to drink in the District of Columbia, Arlington, Va., and Falls Church, Va.

So far, there is no evidence that tap water from the Potomac is unsafe to drink, according to Jacobus and officials at other area utilities.

Humans should be less susceptible to pollutants than fish because of their larger bodies and different hormone systems. And unlike fish, their bodies are not constantly exposed to the water.

FBI: Report of Arizona school standoff was false

GANADO, Ariz. - A high school in northeastern Arizona was locked down as a precaution and there was no standoff with armed people inside as earlier reported by the local police chief, an FBI spokeswoman said.

A report that six armed people were holed up at Ganado High School on the nation's largest Indian reservation turned out to be false after authorities said they had evacuated students, said Deborah McCarley, a spokeswoman for the FBI.

"They are investigating the allegations there was a student or students that have or had weapons on school grounds today," McCarley said.

McCarley said she knew of no weapons that were found at the school.


CONJOINED TWINS: In Washington, surgeons successfully separated 4-month-old conjoined twin boys Wednesday night, the lead surgeon said. "They are two separate individuals. Both are doing well," said the surgeon, Robert Keating. "All of the vital signs are doing well." The separation took place about 12 hours after the first incision Wednesday morning. Keating said the boys, Mateo Asher Shaw and McHale Twain Shaw of Sheboygan, Wis., still have several hours of surgery in separate operating rooms, where they were to undergo reconstruction and have large wounds closed. Keating said it will be days or weeks before their recovery can be gauged. The twins were born May 10 joined at the lower back with conjoined spinal cords.

PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: In Lexington, Ky., the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed 49 people near the Lexington airport last week told family members from his hospital bed, "Why did God do this to me?" but he hasn't mentioned the crash, said family friend Antonio Cruz. James Polehinke, who was the flight's co-pilot, can move only his head, and tears often well up in his eyes, Cruz said. Polehinke, 44, hasn't mentioned the crash, Cruz said.

[Last modified September 7, 2006, 01:30:19]

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