<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 30 May 2015 17:35:12 -0500 Sat, 30 May 2015 17:35:12 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mores Rain Floods North Texas]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 11:38:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Little+Elm+Flooding.jpg

Rain moved across North Texas once again on Saturday morning flooding roads and adding to the already rising lake and creek levels.

For the second day in a row, flash flood warnings were activated for many of the bigger counties including Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin.

From Dallas to Lewisville, Denton and beyond, police departments, cities and residents reported high water and road closures.

People who live along Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas are watching the weather very closely after Dallas Police officers drove through the neighborhood on Friday night urging residents to evacuate.

Some waited until Saturday morning.

"We knew it was going to flood since we stayed in front of the little river so we just left," said Juanita Hernandez.

Garland, one of the hardest hit areas, has seen 9 inches of rain fall in the last two days.

And in Dallas about 6 inches fell as of Saturday morning. The rain is not a welcomed sight for many in Dallas County after flooding blocked Loop 12 under Interstate 30 overpass on Friday. That area is expected to be closed well into next week.

In Lewisvlle John Beachman who has lived by Timber Creek since 2001 said 8 feet of his property is now under water.  

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration amid the severe weather, offering federal funding to affected people in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties, the White House said in a statement early Saturday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for affected counties.

Two Dead in North Texas Flooding

Two North Texas deaths have been blamed on the flooding. 

Mesquite Fire Department Capt. Kelly Turner said a man's body was found early Friday morning after his truck had been swept into a culvert and submerged.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office identified the flood victim as 47-year-old John Jeffrey Usfrey.

Turner said people stranded on two cars that were also swept off the road told responders about the truck. He said the truck had been underwater for some time before they found it, and that authorities believe the man, whose name has not been released, was alone in the vehicle.

In Dallas, police said Friday afternoon the body of a man was found near California Crossing and Northwest Highway as flood waters receded. Police did not release the man's identity, but did say he was not found in a vehicle.

Recent storms are being blamed for killing seven people in Oklahoma and at least 23 in Texas, where 13 remain missing or unaccounted for. 

Dallas County

Flooding has blocked a busy highway west of Downtown Dallas, causing major traffic delays in both directions.

Overnight rain caused water to pool on Loop 12, under the Interstate 30 overpass Friday morning, trapping commuters for several hours. Some of the drivers said they had been there since 5 or 6 a.m.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel said a crane was brought in after 11 a.m. to remove a section of median so that motorists trapped in the southbound lanes could get off the roadway. The northbound lane had already been cleared.

He said the southbound lanes were more challenging because streets where people could have exited were flooded as well. He said they think that the area where the road usually drains to flooded as well, so there was nowhere for the water to go.

 

On Friday an NBC 5 photographer captured video of a driver maneuvering around a police cruiser beneath an overpass on Northwest Highway early Friday and heading directly into high water.

Rescue crews used a raft to help that driver to safety after the SUV gave way to the water.

"We have a sincere plea with our drivers. If you see a barricade or a sign, please do not try to drive through that area," said Sana Syed, City of Dallas spokesperson.

Tarik Hawkins told NBC News he was became stranded while trying to drive to work. He said it took him two hours to drive about a mile and described the situation on the road as "very chaotic."

"Right off I-35, there has to be 50 or 60 cars stranded," he said.



Photo Credit: Casey Brezovsky
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<![CDATA[Student Killed by Long Beach Police: Family]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 16:46:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/195*120/5-30-15-Feras+Morad+LAUSD+El+Camino+Real+Competition.JPG

An unarmed, 20-year-old Woodland Hills man shot and killed by Long Beach police this week after he jumped through the glass of second-story window was described by his family as a national debate student soon to start classes at California State University, Long Beach.

Feras Morad was set to study political science and business economics at Cal State Long Beach, according to his Facebook page that was confirmed to NBC4 by his uncle.

Long Beach police confirmed his identity Saturday morning.

Morad was killed by an officer on Wednesday about 7:30 p.m. after police said he jumped through the glass of a second-story window following a "physical altercation with his friends," according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Morad was allegedly acting violent and as if he were intoxicated, "continued to behave irrationally" and walked toward the officer who arrived to help get him medical aid, police said.

"He appeared to have a large cut on his body and was covered with blood," police said.

The officer believed Morad "was now a threat and going to assault him," so the officer used "verbal commands, an electronic control device, an impact weapon, and physical force" on Morad, but was unsuccessful in restraining him, police said.

Morad then allegedly told the officer he was "going to attack him," and the officer shot Morad, police said. He died at a hospital.

Police confirmed on Saturday afternoon that Morad was not armed at the time.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported that Morad had a 3.9 GPA at Moorpark College. He graduated from El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills in 2013, according to the official LAUSD Tumblr blog.

Morad competed in state and national debates, and brought his school to the National Speech and Debate Championship Tournament for only the second time in its history, according to the LAUSD blog.

He was accepted into UCLA and UC Berkeley but chose Cal State to save money, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

A Facebook page called "Justice For Feras Morad" says he was "was unarmed and in desperate need of medical attention," and uses the hashtag ‪#‎Justice4Feras‬.



Photo Credit: LAUSD official Tumblr blog]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Baby Found Dead in Duffel Bag]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:57:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Philadelphia-Baby-Suspiciou.jpg

Police in Philadelphia are investigating the death of a newborn baby whose body was found inside a duffel bag.

The infant was found inside a house on the 5800 block of Norfolk Street at 5:28 p.m. Friday, according to police. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead at 5:59 p.m.

Police told NBC10 the child's 22-year-old mother gave birth to him Thursday and did not take him to the hospital. The woman then went to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Thursday night and complained of pain but did not report giving birth, according to investigators.

The woman's sister went to her home on Norfolk Street where she discovered the child's body and then called police.

Latifah Taylor, the mother's neighbor, told NBC10 the woman moved in less than six months ago.

"They've been very quiet, friendly," Taylor said. "I wouldn't say anything out of the ordinary."

Neighbors said they didn't know she was pregnant.

"Having a child myself, it just hurts my heart to hear something like that," said Ashley Newman. "She could have went another route but I just hope her and her family the best."

The mother is still at the hospital. Police searched through her home to gather evidence. No charges have been filed.

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<![CDATA[Tar Balls Wash Up on Calif. Beaches]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 16:25:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/5-20-15-ventura+tar+oil.JPG

Tar balls and clumps of oil have washed up on Ventura County beaches in Southern California days after mysterious petroleum globs and "tar patties" arrived to the South Bay.

All Ventura County beaches were open as of Saturday afternoon, but the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said several beaches from Faria Beach to Hollywood Beach are impacted by the substance.

Beachgoers should avoid contact with any petroleum on the beach. The substance spotted Saturday was described as ranging from small tar balls to disk-shaped clumps of oil.

The Refugio Incident Command Team was helping collect and sample the petroleum, but it was not clear whether the oil is natural seepage or related to the oil spill in Santa Barbara County.

News of the tar balls comes one day after beaches in the South Bay reopened following a two-day closure affecting the coastline from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

Crews had been working to clean up the tar, the source of which has not been determined. The environmental group Heal the Bay earlier had warned that the beaches should not be reopened "until all the oil is cleaned up."

The unknown petroleum substance began hitting the beach about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies collected samples of the material and were trying to identify the substance and its source.

To report oil, contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802. If interested in volunteering, contact California Spill Watch at 800-228-4544.



Photo Credit: Gunnar Nelson]]>
<![CDATA[Hastert Resigns From Hastert Center Board]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 08:03:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wheaton-college-hastert-cen.jpg

Former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has resigned from the board of the Christian school's public policy and government center that bears his name, a Wheaton College spokesperson said.

The resignation was the latest fallout from a federal indictment accusing Hastert of violating banking laws. The indictment alleges Hastert was paying hush money to keep someone silent about "prior misconduct."

A federal law enforcement official on Friday afternoon told NBC News the misconduct involved an alleged sexual relationship between Hastert and a former male student at the school.

Wheaton College is home to the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy. The center was established in 2007, when Hastert stepped down from Congress after eight years as speaker.

A college spokewoman told the Chicago Tribune that no decisions had been made Friday about possible changes to the center's name or programming.

Hastert's name was removed Thursday from the Washington, D.C. lobbying and law firm where he worked, and a spokesperson there said Hastert had resigned.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Accused in Fatal Road Rage]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 15:21:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ducati+motorcycle+alleged+road+rage.JPG

A woman was under arrest Friday, accused of murder for striking and running over a motorcyclist on a busy San Diego highway at rush hour.

Imperial Beach resident Darla Renee Jackson, 26, was driving a black Nissan Altima northbound on Interstate 5 near E Street in Chula Vista at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers said Jackson and a man on a red Ducati motorcycle got into some type of disagreement on the roadway.

After the two drivers transitioned from I-5 to eastbound State Route 54 and passed National City Boulevard, Jackson hit the Ducati from behind and ran over the rider, CHP officers said.

The motorcyclist — identified by friends as 39-year-old Zachary Buob — died about an hour later at a hospital. A Santee resident, Buob was an active duty Chief Petty Officer in the Navy's special operations.

Jackson was arrested and now faces one count of murder in what officers are calling a road rage incident. She was booked into Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

The crash caused a Sig Alert for more than two-and-a-half along SR-54 in the middle of a very busy evening commute. Investigators are in the process of tracking down drivers who may have witnessed the act of road rage from start to finish.

Anyone who may have seen anything involving these two vehicles should contact the CHP investigator at (619) 220-5492.

Describing the victim, friend Kathryn Cramer said Buob served in the military for more than 20 years and completed many tours overseas.

"He was so strong but his heart was so sweet," she said in an email. "He was truly one of the 'good guys' and my heart is broken. My prayers are with his Mom and Dad and family. He loved them so much."

Another good friend, Tim James, told NBC 7 Buob worked as an elite special boat operator, but motorcycles and trucks were his passion — only overshadowed by his love for family and friends.

"Zach was energetic, intelligent and a superb leader. He would light up any room he entered with his friendliness and wittiness...a heart of gold," said James in an email.

CHP Officer Jake Sanchez warned drivers Friday to not let road rage ever escalate to such a deadly point. He warned drivers not to pick fights with others on the roadway because you don't know what that person may be going through or if that person could be capable of something like this.


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<![CDATA[Driver Killed in SoCal Accident]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 14:00:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/5-30-15-5+freeway+fatal+crash+boyle+heights.JPG

A man died Saturday morning when he lost control of his SUV and became wedged underneath a Los Angeles freeway ramp, officials said.

The crash happened just after 3 a.m. at the transition road from the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway to the eastbound San Bernardino (10) Freeway in Boyle Heights, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The SUV went up an embankment and under a bridge, according to the CHP. 

Video from the scene showed a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee smashed underneath the roadway.

The driver was trapped inside the car, and he died at the scene of the crash, CHP Officer Posada said.

The connector road from the northbound 5 Freeway to the eastbound 10 Freeway was closed Saturday morning.



Photo Credit: LoudLabs]]>
<![CDATA[Expensive Rebate Mistake in SoCal]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 13:22:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/drought-lawn-sprinkler-2015.jpg

A warning to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) consumers eager to earn a rebate for replacing their grass with drought-friendly landscaping: application mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars.

The "Cash In Your Lawn" program offers $3.75 per square foot of lawn replaced with "California Friendly Landscaping." As drought warnings have escalated in recent months, the program's popularity has surged: since 2009, the DWP (in partnership with the Metropolitan Water District) has issued rebates for 15 million square feet of turf removal.

But the LADWP warns that utility customers should proceed with caution if they participate in the program: misunderstandings and mistakes could cost them their rebates.

Just ask Karen Lewis, who volunteered to make arrangements to transform her daughter Lauren’s Sherman Oaks front yard from "water guzzler" to "water free."

Lewis contacted Novel Remodeling of Los Angeles to do the job.

"I said 'I want to do this only if I can get the rebate,'" Lewis told the I-Team.

She claims she was assured by a Novel employee that she would not only get the rebate, but that Novel would handle the application process with the LADWP for her.

"So we said OK, great, [and] they started the job," said Lewis.

She says she paid $5,000 for the project, assuming she’d get a big chunk of that money back once the DWP approved the work.

But she discovered later no rebate application was ever filed, and because of that, the LADWP tells the I-Team that Lewis will get no rebate funds.

The I-Team contacted Novel Remodeling, which promised to investigate Lewis’ complaint that she’d been misled.

While Novel declined an on camera interview, a spokesman said via email that "we deliver exactly what we promise 100 percent of the time ... Our contract does not state anything regarding our company agreeing on getting Mrs. Karen Lewis a rebate."

The I-Team reviewed Lewis’ contract, and confirmed Novel’s statement.

LADWP Water Conservation Supervisor Mark Gentili tells the I-Team it’s imperative to pay close attention to the exact requirements of the Cash In Your Lawn program, outlined on the utility’s website. 

"The idea is that before you take your lawn out, you get a 'reservation,'" Gentili explained.

A "reservation," or rebate application, requires extensive photo submissions, detailed documentation and can take weeks to approve.

"There are some contractors [who] do it for nothing," Gentili said.

Instead of charging customers, some contractors do the landscaping for no fee, arranging instead to collect the rebate funds directly from the DWP, and allowing lawn owners to bypass the red tape entirely.

That’s the deal Lewis believed she’d struck, only to find herself with a front yard renovation that came at a steep price.

She ended up paying $10,000 altogether: $5,000 for replacing the lawn and another $5,000 for the removal of two trees she agreed to, she says, at the suggestion of Novel Remodeling.

"They’re going to make out that I’m an old woman who didn’t understand," Lewis said. "What I’d like is the amount that would have come from the rebate, that’s what I want. No more."

If you're interested in applying for a Cash In Your Lawn rebate, you can find more information at the LADWP website.

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<![CDATA[Snake Bites Increasing in North TX]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:57:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/snake+hand.JPG

North Texas doctors say with all the rain and flooding forcing wild animals out of their natural habitats, they are seeing a spike in snake bites this spring.

On average Children's Health in Dallas sees about a dozen snake bites in a year, but just in the last two weeks they have treated six snake bite victims.

One snake bite victim is a third grader bitten while on the playground outside Timber Creek Elementary School in Flower Mound.

"Saw something green and looked more closer and it was a snake," said the Timber Creek student, Skyler Brown. "I tried moving the snake with the wood chip, and it just bit me."

Skyler's hand is still swollen after the bite from a copperhead snake Thursday during recess.

"It started bleeding and I [shook] my hand and it made it worse, so then I ran to my teacher and they made everyone get off the playground," Skyler said.

The Lewisville Independent School District canceled all outdoor activities as a result, telling NBC 5 in a statement Friday:

"The campus and the district will continue to monitor the weather and will evaluate at that time if outdoor activities will continue during the remaining days of this school year. "

Now, the third grader is among the half-dozen snake bites seen at Children's Health in just the last 12 days.

"I'm not too surprised by that just because of the increased rain and flooding that we're experiencing. The snakes are attracted to safe, dry ground," said Dr. Victoria Yang, with Children's Health.

Owner and founder 911 Wildlife Bonnie Bradshaw, which has a contract with North Texas and Houston to address wildlife problems, said her business is getting a lot of calls.

“We are getting people panicking and hysterical just from seeing the snakes because they see them in their yards,” Bradshaw said. She added that most are nonpoisonous, but people are still alarmed by them because they grow four to six feet.

Bradshaw also advised people not to make matters worse by trying to kill them.

“We tell people do not try to kill the snakes by throwing stuff at them because if it feels threatened, the snake will try to defend itself,” Bradshaw said. “The other thing we tell people not to do is put out mothballs. One of the main ingredients is a carcinogen and with all the flooding, it gets into streams and kill fish and frogs.”

Skyler's hand is starting to get back to normal after the swelling.

"When the snake bit me it felt like, basically, like a bee stinging," he said.

The pain is going away, too. But the 10-year-old said he isn't afraid of snakes.

"Not really," he said. "Because now I know what those look like and I'm gonna stay away from those."

Medical professionals say anyone bitten by a snake should keep the wound elevated and immediately go to the emergency room.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hastert Paid To Hide Sexual Relationship: Official]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 12:42:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dennis-Hastert-1981.jpg

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was making payments to a man in order to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at Yorkville High School, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday.

Hastert was indicted Thursday with making regular withdrawals from his bank accounts below a limit that would require reporting and then lying to federal officials when asked about those withdrawals. 

The Department of Justice and IRS allege Hastert, 73, withdrew $1.7 million from various banks between 2010 to 2014 and provided the funds to an unnamed person "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct."

The indictment accused Hastert of promising a total of $3.5 million to the unnamed person.

The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or identify "Individual A" other than saying the person was someone from Yorkville, Illinois, where Hastert was employed as teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981.

District officials on Friday said they had no knowledge of any alleged misconduct.

Hastert's name was removed Thursday from the Washington, D.C. lobbying and law firm where he worked, and a spokesperson there said Hastert had resigned.

If convicted of the charges against him, Hastert faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

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<![CDATA[John Boehner, Colleagues React to Hastert's Misconduct Allegations]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 04:46:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dennis-Hastert-1981.jpg

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's old school employer, current House Speaker John Boehner and family member are speaking out after the federal government charged Hastert with allegedly evading banking rules and lying to the FBI.

"The Denny I served with worked hard on behalf of his constituents and the country," Boehner said in a statement. "I'm shocked and saddened to learn of these reports."

In a statement, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk said anyone who had ever worked with Hastert is "shocked and confused" by the new developments and that the former speaker "should be afforded, like any other American, his day in court to address these very serious accusations." 

Hastert supported Kirk's campaign for U.S. Senator in 2010.

Officials from the Illinois school district that used to employ Hastert as a teacher and wrestling coach said Friday they have no information regarding the alleged misconduct with which Hastert was charged.

"The District was first made aware of any concerns regarding Mr. Hastert when the federal indictment was released on May 28, 2015," a Yorkville Community Unit School District #115 spokesperson said in a statement to NBC Chicago.

In a Facebook interview with Charles Hastert of Joliet, nephew of Dennis Hastert, the family member said: 

"I don't believe it. Denny has always been honest and clean as they come. He is loved by his family and community."

Federal charges were handed down Thursday against Hastert, accusing him of evading banking rules and lying to the FBI when asked about them. The Department of Justice and IRS allege the 73-year-old made repeated withdrawals from his accounts and handed the cash over to an unnamed person "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct."

In its statement, Hastert's former school district said it had no knowledge of the alleged misconduct, nor had anyone come forward to report misconduct.

"If requested to do so, the District plans to cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney's investigation into this matter," the district said. 

A federal law enforcement official on Friday afternoon told NBC News the misconduct involved an alleged sexual relationship between Hastert and a former male student at the school.

Hastert's employment with Yorkville Community Unit School District #115 began in 1965 when he was hired to teach history and coach the wrestling team. Eleven years later, Hastert was named Illinois Coach of the Year after leading Yorkville to state wrestling championship.

He left the district in 1981, shortly after entering politics.


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<![CDATA[Flier Singles Out African-Americans]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:14:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/05-29-15_Toscana-Flier-Controversy.jpg

Controversy is shaking up a Southern California apartment complex after a flier appeared in community elevators specifically asking African-American residents to speak quietly and to turn down music levels at night.

The fliers were posted in at least two of the elevators at the Toscana Apartments, located near the campus of University of California, Irvine, and advised and reminded residents about the appropriate noise levels, citing several recent complaints.

And, at the bottom left, this:

"We would like to remind our African-American residents to keep conversation volume down and reduce music levels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.”

The complex is located about a mile from the UC Irvine campus, many students live at this complex.

"I definitely feel uncomfortable here, I don't feel safe here,” one resident, who did not want to be identified by name, told NBC4.

The flier ends by thanking residents for their cooperation and is signed as if it is from Toscana’s management. It includes the actual address and phone number to Equity Residential, the company which manages the complex.

"I want the lease cut off, I don't feel comfortable here, I don't want to be a part of this community and obviously the apartment complex doesn't want us to be here either," the resident NBC Los Angeles interviewed said.

The regional manager for Equity Residential, Mary Linder, categorically denied any involvement.

"The flier is a fake. No one from Equity, not any of our employees or Equity Residential had anything to do with the creation or the distribution. We're outraged with the content and we are investigating it," Linder said.

Still, some residents remain infuriated.

"This is what happens, they try to deny it and they try make it private and try to talk to us and try to deal with it, they send cops and security to intimidate and try to stifle us," a resident who asked to be identified as DD said.

Irvine police did visit the complex Friday, mostly hearing residents concerns.

"(I’m) really surprised,” resident Christine, who asked to be identified by her first name, said. “I think it's horrifying that someone would write specifically about one culture and point that out."

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<![CDATA[Record Rain Floods North Texas]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 08:58:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/New+First+Alert+Radar+Image.jpg

Forecasters warned that yet another series of thunderstorms was set to pummel North and Central Texas early Saturday morning, a day after flood waters submerged Texas highways and threatened homes across the already storm-damaged state.

A squall line stalled over Dallas overnight Thursday, dropping record-setting rainfall and triggering a Flash Flood Emergency in North Texas. The most recent rain added to the damage inflicted by thunderstorms that have killed at least 23 people statewide, including two overnight in North Texas, and left 13 missing.

The rain seeped into homes and stranded hundreds of drivers across the Metroplex, many of whom lingered along Dallas' Loop 12 for six hours Friday morning after being gridlocked by high water and abandoned vehicles.

Overnight, Dallas Fire-Rescue crews responded to more than 270 calls that included trapped vehicles and crashes, authorities said.

The Colorado River could crest in Wharton Saturday, causing major flooding in the community 60 miles southwest of Houston, forecasters said.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration amid the severe weather, offering federal funding to affected people in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties, the White House said in a statement early Saturday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for affected counties.

Two Dead in Overnight Flooding

Mesquite Fire Department Capt. Kelly Turner said a man's body was found early Friday morning after his truck had been swept into a culvert and submerged.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office identified the flood victim as 47-year-old John Jeffrey Usfrey.

Turner said people stranded on two cars that were also swept off the road told responders about the truck. He said the truck had been underwater for some time before they found it, and that authorities believe the man, whose name has not been released, was alone in the vehicle.

In Dallas, police said Friday afternoon the body of a man was found near California Crossing and Northwest Highway as flood waters receded. Police did not release the man's identity, but did say he was not found in a vehicle.

Recent storms are being blamed for killing seven people in Oklahoma and at least 23 in Texas, where 13 remain missing or unaccounted for.

Rainfall Sets New Record

Thursday's storm, which dropped nearly five inches of rain overnight at Dallas Love Field and more than two inches elsewhere around the Metroplex, helped set a record for the wettest May in Dallas-Fort Worth history.

The previous record for May rainfall was set in 1982 at 13.66 inches and was eclipsed at midnight when 13.87 inches had been recorded for the month. By 8 a.m., the total rose to 16.07 inches; 8.62 inches received in the last week alone.

According to The National Weather Service in Fort Worth, those 16 inches of rainfall amount to more than 35 trillion gallons of rain. 

The wettest month ever recorded in North Texas goes all the way back to April 1922 where 17.64 inches were recorded.  With more rain expected Friday night and into Saturday, shattering that record remains a possibility.

Dallas County

Flooding has blocked a busy highway west of Downtown Dallas, causing major traffic delays in both directions.

Overnight rain caused water to pool on Loop 12, under the Interstate 30 overpass Friday morning, trapping commuters for several hours. Some of the drivers said they had been there since 5 or 6 a.m.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel said a crane was brought in after 11 a.m. to remove a section of median so that motorists trapped in the southbound lanes could get off the roadway. The northbound lane had already been cleared.

He said the southbound lanes were more challenging because streets where people could have exited were flooded as well. He said they think that the area where the road usually drains to flooded as well, so there was nowhere for the water to go.

At 10:20 a.m., Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said they had received more than 270 calls for help, most of which were for cars stranded in high water.  Evans added there were about 70 crashes reported.

"Obviously 'turn around don’t drown' is the phrase of the day," Evans said in a news release. "In addition to turning around, we would encourage drivers to map out at least two alternate routes to where they’re going, that way they don’t feel pressured to put themselves at risk. Better to be late to something than to put yourself in a situation where you just don’t get there at all."

Evans also reminded drivers that if they see an emergency vehicle blocking a roadway, it's there for a reason and to not drive around it.

"While not seeing a warning sign, for high water, can be understood; what’s inexcusable is drivers who drive around emergency and service vehicles to drive into the same high waters from which we are rescuing people," Evans said.

An NBC 5 photographer captured video of a driver maneuvering around a police cruiser beneath an overpass on Northwest Highway early Friday and heading directly into high water.

Rescue crews used a raft to help that driver to safety after the SUV gave way to the water.

"We have a sincere plea with our drivers. If you see a barricade or a sign, please do not try to drive through that area," said Sana Syed, City of Dallas spokesperson.

Tarik Hawkins told NBC News he was became stranded while trying to drive to work. He said it took him two hours to drive about a mile and described the situation on the road as "very chaotic."

"Right off I-35, there has to be 50 or 60 cars stranded," he said.

Israel Ramos, a 32-year-old tower inspector, said there was three inches of water inside his home and the street outside resembled "a river." He told NBC News that his neighbor called police when he saw an SUV floating down the street with a person inside.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Tony Shotwell Life Center in Grand Prairie, according to spokeswoman Anita Foster. Supplies should arrive at the center at about 8 a.m.

Tarrant County

Arlington police said they blocked East Abram Street near Texas 360 because of major flooding over the roadway.

Authorities also received high-water calls on Interstate 30 near Oakland Boulevard and University Drive, 7200 Wichita Street and Trinity Boulevard near Precinct Line Road.

An NBC 5 viewer reported that Walnut Creek in Mansfield is swollen and pushing toward residential areas. Nearby Oliver Nature Park is also reportedly under water and closed.

Johnson County

Officials have evacuated or rescued about 19 people, according to Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jamie Moore, but many more could be trapped in their homes.

"This is our fourth major flooding since April 26," he said. "We're doing rescues and having homes that are inundated with water."

About 45 roads are closed in the county due to flooding.

Parker County

Authorities said the Brazos River in Parker County is rising again due to new rain and the opening of two flood gates upstream at Possum Kingdom Lake.

County emergency management spokesman Joel Kertok said Friday that the river had risen above flood stage again after dropping below it Thursday night.

On Thursday, water was lapping at the foundations of 11 homes as the river crested at 23.58 feet before dropping to about 20 feet. The flood stage is at 21 feet. The level rose Friday to 21.4 feet and was expected to rise to nearly 27 feet Saturday.

Residents of about 250 homes near the river, most in the Horseshoe Bend community, were asked to voluntarily evacuate.

"The river is already above flood stage and will continue to rise through today and tomorrow," county emergency management coordinator George Teague said. "This situation will get worse before it gets better."

Flights Impacted

As of 10 a.m., officials reported that 44 flights into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had been canceled; 56 arrivals were delayed. Thirteen flights departing from the airport were canceled and 52 more delayed.

One of D/FW Airport's runways closed temporarily after a storm drain crews were repairing to address a nearby sinkhole collapsed. Officials said they expect the closure to have minimal impact on flights.

Nineteen flights departing from Dallas Love Field were delayed and 19 more canceled. Eighteen flights into the airport were delayed and 18 more canceled.

Dallas Love Field also experienced a power outage caused by a surge overnight, according to airport official Jose Torres. Power has since been restored.


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<![CDATA[Mom Chases iPhone Thief After Son, 6, Punched in Face: Cops]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:44:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/laundromat+chase.jpg

A would-be thief who tried to grab a 22-year-old mother's iPhone at a Bronx laundromat punched the woman's 6-year-old son in the face when the boy stepped in his way as he tried to flee the mother's grasp, authorities said.

The man walked into the laundromat on Boone Avenue in Crotona Park East shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and tried to sell the woman DVDs. She said she wasn't interested in buying any, and the man grabbed her iPhone, which was charging on a chair next to her, authorities said.

The suspect tried to run off with the phone but the woman grabbed him, trying to keep him there. He managed to break free with the phone and started running toward another exit when the 6-year-old boy stepped in his path.

Police say the suspect punched the young child in the face, knocking him to the ground, before running out to the parking lot. The boy's mother chased the suspect outside and wrestled her iPhone from the suspect before he managed to break free and ran off again.

Surveillance video shows the mother chasing the suspect back and forth across the laundromat (above).

The woman suffered minor injuries in the altercation and her 6-year-old son had facial swelling and lacerations. Both were treated at an area hospital.

"I really can't imagine a grown man punching a 6-year-old in the face," said Luis Rodriguez, a patron at the laundromat. "That's horrible." 



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Lincoln Chafee to Join 2016 Fray]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 04:22:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/183*120/72123949.jpg

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is set to announce his campaign for president next week, according to NBC affiliate WJAR.

Chafee will announce his run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination at the George Mason Center for Politics & Foreign Relations in Virginia, a campaign spokesman told the television station.

He has already visited New Hampshire twice, and is scheduled to speak to Democrats in Portsmouth on May 31 and in Lebanon on June 4.

Chafee served in the Senate from Rhode Island as a Republican from 1999 until 2007. He became an independent that same year. He then served as the 74th governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015, during which he switched to the Democratic Party in 2013.



Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Priest Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Woman]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 02:17:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/220*120/05.29.15_Marcelo-De-Jesumaria.JPG

A Catholic priest was found guilty Friday in federal court of sexually assaulting a woman aboard a flight from Philadelphia to LAX.

A federal jury found Father Marcelo De Jesumaria, who is based out of Arrowhead, California, guilty of abusive sexual contact on the US Airways flight to Los Angeles last August.

The FBI told the NBC4 I-Team that a female passenger, identified in legal documents only as "BD," woke up during the flight to find the priest’s "hands on her breast, groin, and buttocks."

De Jesumaria had previously served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, but was removed from the ministry in November when the allegations against him surfaced, the diocese said in an emailed statement. He is a member of the Chicago-based Congregation of the Resurrection, which will determine his future in the priesthood, the statement said.

Last year, the NBC4 I-Team exposed the growing problem of sexual assaults reported aboard airplanes. The FBI told NBC4 that most of the assaults happen on red-eye flights when the cabin is dark and the victims are asleep or dozing off.

The FBI urges anyone who is assaulted aboard a plane to immediately report it to the flight crew while still in the air.

"Criminal activity aboard an aircraft that is reported several days or weeks after an incident occurs presents greater challenges for investigators," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

In the US Airways incident, FBI agents met De Jesumaria at the gate, when the plane landed last August. They gathered enough evidence to indict him in October.

Friday, after a three-day trial in federal court, a jury found De Jesumaria guilty of abusive sexual contact, which is defined as "the intentional touching… of the groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks of any person with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade and arouse."

De Jesumaria will be sentenced Aug. 24. He faces a two-year statutory maximum sentence.

NBC4 asked the Diocese of San Bernardino for comment and they emailed this statement:

"The Diocese of San Bernardino considers the actions alleged of Father De Jesumaria in the federal indictment to be sinful and unlawful. We removed him from ministry in the diocese immediately after we became aware of this allegation in November and we are deeply regretful of any harm that may have occurred as a result of his actions. He belongs to a Chicago-based religious order, the Congregation of the Resurrection, that will determine the future of his priesthood."

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<![CDATA[Calif. Couple Celebrates 70th Wedding Anniversary]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 15:52:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nc-70yr-marriage.jpg

A California couple is celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year, and everyone from George Clooney to President Barack Obama is taking notice.

"It wasn't always sweet and smooth," Richard Arambula admitted to NBC affiliate KGET.  

"There were times I wanted to get the gun," Mary Arambula joked about their relationship. 

The couple's seven decades of marriage inspired their granddaughter, Belinda Bannister, to ask for pictures from people congratulating her grandparents on social media and in letters.

"So then we wrote the Vatican and we got an Apostolic blessing and then we just went crazy, I think. We just wrote everybody," Bannister told NBC affiliate KGET. They received over 150 celebrity mementos and well wishes, including a letter from the president and the first lady, a hand-written note from George Clooney and a gift from the late Joan Rivers.

The couple was stunned at the warm response.

"I didn't expect nothing like this," Mary said. "We're going to hang onto all of this," said Richard.

Bannister created a book of all the photographs.

"These people are amazing. They are just fabulous and I love them and I want everyone to know about it so they can know how amazing they are," said Bannister.

Mary and Richard Arambula were married on December 31, 1945 at the ages of 16 and 17. They have 4 children, 13 grand kids, 18 great grandchildren, and 8 great-great-grandchildren.

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<![CDATA[NFLPA: Date Set for Brady Appeal]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 17:36:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/461977230.jpg

A date has been set for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to appeal his four-game suspension.

The NFL Players Association confirms that Brady's hearing will be held on June 23. It may be continued to June 25.

Brady was suspended by the NFL for the deflation of footballs in the Patriots' AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeal despite the NFLPA's claim that he would not be impartial and would be called as a witness.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has decided not to appeal the league's penalties on the team, which is a $1 million fine and docked two draft picks.

Brady has denied cheating.

Check back for more as this story develops.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vet Dies After Drop at SoCal Fair]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 16:48:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/5-29-15+Navy+Death+San+Bernardino+Fair+FreeDrop+USA.JPG

A Navy veteran died several hours after a mishap on a platform dive attraction making its debut at a Southern California fair Thursday night, authorities said.

Sabrina Gordon, 31, of Hesperia fell from the FreeDrop USA ride at the San Bernardino County Fair Thursday night at 8:14 p.m., and was airlifted to a hospital, deputies said. Less than five hours later, at 12:20 a.m. Friday, Gordon died.

Her heartbroken family remembered her as a wonderful person whose death could have been prevented.

“She was a very funny little girl… Always independent, doing her own thing,” Lyle Bell said, Gordon’s father.

She followed her father’s footsteps and joined the Navy right out of high school.

“Like I did and my dad… His father, two older brothers, one younger… we all served,” he said.

It appeared Gordon hit the air cushion and bounced onto the asphalt ground, subsequently injuring her head, according to her father.

"This was stupid, this was something for professional stunt people," Bell said.

Three platforms let participants jump 20, 28 or 36 feet onto the inflated pillow that stands 13-feet tall, according to a news release from the fair. FreeDrop USA was making its debut in California at the fair, according to the release.

A video posted to the San Bernardino County Fair's Facebook page showed the attraction in action, and its caption described the ride as "no bungee cords, no wires, no harnesses, just pure free fall."

"The ride was immediately closed and will remain so indefinitely," San Bernardino County Fair CEO/General Manager Geoff Hinds said in a statement. "The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a thorough investigation."

Gordon reportedly dove off the 28-foot platform, according to the fair’s news release.

She was working at the fair for a vendor when friends egged her into making the jump.

"There were no safety nets ... this accident could have been completely avoided," her husband said, Clifford Gordon. He was not there when she fell but said that when they saw the attraction days before, they both agreed it was too dangerous.

The company that makes FreeDrop defended its safety record in a statement, saying more than 50,000 people have made safe jumps on the ride across the country.

Fair Board of Directors President Paul Russ said in a statement: "This is a heart wrenching tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."



Photo Credit: Courtesy: Family]]>
<![CDATA[Hastert Received Odd Phone Call During C-SPAN Show]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 16:30:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hastert-cspan.jpg

Video posted to a "MyC-SPAN" account on Thursday of a phone call former House Speaker Dennis Hastert received during an appearance on the network has raised questions as to whether there's any link between the call and the federal charges brought against Hastert.

The Washington Journal episode aired on a Nov. 13, 2014, one week after the midterm elections. The caller identified himself only as "Bruce" from Illinois.

"Hello, Denny," the caller said.

"Do you remember me from Yorkville?" he added, before laughing and hanging up.

"Yeah, go ahead," said Hastert.

"I think he's gone," said C-SPAN host Pedro Echevarria before moving onto the next caller. 

Hastert on Thursday was charged with making regular regular withdrawals from his bank accounts below a limit that would require reporting and then lying to federal officials when asked about those withdrawals. The Department of Justice and IRS allege Hastert, 73, withdrew $1.7 million from various banks between 2010 to 2014 and provided the funds to an unnamed person "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct."

The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or identify "Individual A" other than saying the person was someone from Yorkville, Illinois, where Hastert was employed as teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981. District officials on Friday said they had no knowledge of any alleged misconduct.

A federal law enforcement official on Friday afternoon told NBC News the misconduct involved an alleged sexual relationship between Hastert and a former male student at the school.

"The Hill" newspaper noticed the video after it was posted to the C-SPAN website.


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<![CDATA[Man Shot Neighbor 19 Times]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 21:13:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CV-SWAT-Marjerus-Reynolds.jpg

Police released the name of the man Friday accused of shooting his neighbor 19 times before sparking a 10-hour-long standoff with law enforcement at an apartment complex in Chula Vista, south of downtown San Diego.

According to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), Michael Majerus, 42, shot and killed neighbor Nicholas Reynolds, 43, at the Mission Gardens apartment complex located at 160 E Street on Thursday morning. Witnesses told police the men had a long-standing dispute over neighborhood issues.

Police said Majerus shot Reynolds 19 times with an AR-15 rifle as Reynolds was getting into his car at the apartment complex.

After the deadly rounds were fired, Majerus barricaded himself inside his apartment along with his wife, Laura, and two young children, still armed with the AR-15.

Dozens of police officers and SWAT officials surrounded the apartment complex and crisis negotiators were called in as a lengthy standoff with Majerus ensued.

A number of other agencies were called in for backup, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the San Diego Police Department and National City Police Department.

Officials shut down major roads in the area and evacuated dozens of residents from the apartment complex as the standoff unfolded.

MTS assisted in transporting evacuees to the nearby Norman Park Senior Center where the residents remained for hours. The American Red Cross provided food to the evacuees and police officers throughout the very long day.

After hours of on-again off-again negotiations with the suspect and sending a direct message to Majerus via news cameras, the suspect released his wife and the children from the apartment at around 3:35 p.m. They were unharmed.

Majerus remained holed up inside the apartment.

About an hour later, three shots rang out. CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said the first came from a police test canon shot. The second was inside the apartment and did not come from officers. The third was a flash bang grenade that shattered a window so the SWAT team could send in two robots and check on the suspect.

One robot spotted a man down in an upstairs room, and a SWAT team soon followed to confirm. They found Majerus dead inside from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police said two other handguns were found inside the apartment.

Investigators believe there was no verbal argument before Majerus shot his neighbor. According to the CVPD, officers had been called on two prior occasions to the apartment complex regarding the ongoing dispute between the neighbors.

However, in both instances, police determined there was no crime and no police report was filed. Police confirmed Majerus had no significant criminal history.

The deadly shooting remains under investigation. No other residents or law enforcement were injured in the standoff.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Police Kill Suspect in New Jersey Library: Officials]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:43:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lyndhurst+library+police+involved+copy.jpg

An armed suspect was shot and killed by police inside a New Jersey library Friday after he struggled against police officers who attempted to detain him and then charged at them with a knife, authorities said.

Two police officers spotted the suspect, who had a warrant for his arrest, walking into the Lyndhurst Public Library on Valley Brook Avenue at about 2:30 p.m., according to Lyndhurst Police Chief James O'Connor. 

The officers approached the suspect, identified by prosecutors as Kevin K. Allen, 36 -- who also has an alias of Kevin Hall -- on the top floor of the library and attempted to detain him, according to O'Connor.  

Allen struggled and continued to fight even as the officers attempted to use pepper spray and a baton, O'Connor said. The suspect then pulled a knife out and rushed at the officers, and that's when they fired.

Witness Jayne Thorne was leaving the library when the shooting happened.

"Not even a minute I was outside the library, and all of a sudden two plainclothes men and one cop comes running by," she said. "I rushed into the library, and the next thing I know they were dragging someone out on a stretcher." 

The chief said the shooting was justified and the officers had no choice. 

"There was nothing else they couldh ave done," he said. 

The two officers were not injured but were transported to the hospital for trauma, according to O'Connor. 

There were people inside the library, and several witnessed the shooting, including a child, according to authorities. No bystanders were hurt, which neighbors deemed lucky considering how many children go to the library on a Friday afternoon. 

"If that would have happened a half-hour earlier or later, there would have been kids doing projects, or just weekend stuff, and God forbid if the gunman escaped or held peoploe hostage," said neighbor Robert O'Dell. "When you're a parent, that goes through your mind." 

No one answered the phone at the library.

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<![CDATA[Pilots Report Laser, Drone Scares]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 17:46:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/prospect+park+bk.jpg

A passenger jet heading to LaGuardia Airport had a close call with a drone near Prospect Park in Brooklyn Friday morning, just hours after five pilots reported someone had pointed green lasers at their planes near New York-area airports, officials say.

Shuttle America flight 2708 was heading toward LaGuardia from Washington, D.C., when it encountered the unmanned aircraft in its flight path, officials say. The plane's pilot had to pull up about 200 feet to avoid the drone, authorities said. The plane later landed safely.

It wasn't clear how many people were on board. The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating.

The close call comes after the FAA said pilots flying passenger jets reported being targeted by a green laser while flying Thursday night.

Four of the planes were flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet about 4 miles northwest of Farmingdale on Long Island between 9:30  p.m. and 10 p.m. when the lasers were pointed at them, the FAA said.

The affected flights included one from American Airlines, one from Shuttle America, and two from Delta airlines. At least three of the flights had taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Later, around 11:30 p.m., a Sun Country Airlines flight pilot reported a green laser pointing at the aircraft when it was about 14 miles southwest of JFK, the FAA said. 

No injuries were reported.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Rescued Dog on Instagram]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:23:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Yorkie-Dog-Rescue-NY.jpg

A tiny Yorkshire terrier that was dumped down a trash chute in the Bronx in September has recovered from its injuries and has a new home -- and its very own Instagram account.

The ASPCA said that the dog, named Frankie, is thriving with a new owner, months after the pup was found at the bottom of the chute with a fractured skull and neurological trauma that left him nearly blind.

Veterinarians monitored Frankie for three months after he was rescued, and he quickly became a favorite at the ASPCA.

Frankie didn’t have to wait long to find a new home once he recovered, the ASPCA said. The rescue said an Amherst College student home on winter break visited the rescue and fell in love with the pup and eventually returned to adopt him.

The ASPCA said that after a difficult adjustment process compounded by his partial blindness, Frankie is at home with his new owner. He even has an Instagram account chronicling his adventures and collection of stylish sweaters.

“He is now well-adjusted, like any other fun-loving, cuddly Yorkie,” his owner said. “He loves his new home where he is meeting lots of new people and experiencing new things.”


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<![CDATA[Driver Ignores Stopped School Bus]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 13:02:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/driver+school+bus.jpg

A New Jersey driver was captured on dashcam video swerving around a stopped school bus while children were boarding, authorities say. 

A motorist on County Line Road in Lakewood captured the driver in a green Ford F-150 pickup truck cutting out from the line of vehicles that had stopped for the school bus, which had its flashing lights on, crossing the double yellow line and speeding past the bus. 

It happened at around 7:30 a.m., as children were boarding the bus, authorities said. 

Investigators at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said they were "amazed at the driver's blatant disregard for the safety of others and the New Jersey motor vehicle statutes." 

Prosecutors worked with Lakewood police to investigate, and quickly identified and located the 36-year-old driver, a Lakewood resident. 

The driver was issued summonses for reckless driving, improper passing, passing a stopped school bus and driving with a suspended license. He's next expected in court on June 11. 

The video was first published by the Lakewood Scoop. 

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<![CDATA[Family's Claim Against City, Cop]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:43:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/midway+district+shooting.png

The family of a man shot to death by a San Diego Police officer who did not record the incident on his body camera has filed a $20 million claim against the city and the officer, claiming he used excessive and unreasonable deadly force.

The claim centers on the death of Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, 42, outside a Midway District adult bookstore early in the morning on April 30. 

Nehad, a native of Afghanistan, struggled with PTSD and mental illness after he was drafted into the Afghan army as a teenager to fight the Mujahedeen forces during the country’s civil war, his parents said in the claim, which also detailed how he spent two months in captivity.

The SDPD said officers were called to the Highlight Bookstore on Hancock Street for a report of a man threatening people with a knife. Officer Neal Browder, a 27-year veteran of the SDPD, encountered Nehad in an alley beside the store. The claim alleges Browder did not activate his siren, turn on his police lights or use his megaphone when he confronted Nehad, who is also known as Rawshannehad or Rawshan.

Police say the officer gave Nehad verbal commands, but when he didn’t follow them and kept coming toward Browder, he was shot. However, the claim says Nehad was still 20 feet away and did nothing wrong.

“A police officer can use deadly force only if he is confronted with deadly force or if somebody’s life is in danger,” the document reads. “Nobody’s life was in danger here. Fridoon did not challenge Browder with deadly force. Fridoon did not challenge Browder at all.”

Browder is accused of purposefully not turning on his body camera, and Nehad’s family believes the SDPD tried to help him hide what really happened. Though multiple security cameras recorded the fatal encounter, the agency has not released the video to the public.

"They are covering up what happened, circling the wagons, or so it would appear, and refusing to be up front, refusing to turn the lights on, refusing to disclose it," said the family's attorney Skip Martin.

After the fatal shooting, investigators told media they did not find any knife on Nehad’s body, though they did find a “shiny object” on him. Nehad’s parents said that statement falsely suggested he had a knife and threatened the officer.

After the incident, the SDPD changed its policy on body cameras, requiring officers to turn them on when they are called to a crime in progress, not just when they interact with a suspect. The claim says the agency has a “practice of officer misconduct and deceit, and this case is part and parcel of it.”

The shooting ended Nehad’s long struggle with PTSD and mental illness, his parents said in the claim. While in the Afghan army, Nehad was captured by a Mujahedeen group and spent nearly two months in captivity, being tortured, according to the claim. He was released when his mother met face-to-face with his captors.

To prevent further injury to their son, his parents said they sent him to Germany for the next 14 years, where he lived away from his family. After the parents fled Afghanistan in favor of the U.S., Nehad joined them there in 2003.

Here in the U.S., he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disease. “Fridoon battled against his illnesses for years. He was intelligent, learning new languages (German and French) and taking classes on computer programming, linguistics and literature,” the claim reads.

But Nehad suffered manic episodes, becoming aggressive and getting him in trouble with the law. He pleaded guilty to battery in 2005, was sentenced for burglary in 2008 and was charged with petty theft in 2014.

“Fridoon was loved. His family spent years and countless hours helping him cope with his PTSD and mental illness,” the claim said.

However, during one episode, he threatened his mother and sister and said he would light the house on fire so they could all burn. Investigating police recommended the family get a restraining order to help get Nehad into a shelter in Oceanside, according to the document. His mother filed for the restraining order two days before his death.

NBC 7 has reached out to the SDPD officials for their response to this claim, but they have not yet responded. While addressing fallout from the shooting, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said the homicide unit is conducting a thorough investigation, which will be sent to the San Diego County District Attorney's office for review. On Friday, the DA's office said they have not yet received the SDPD's findings.

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<![CDATA[Sketching History: Courtroom Artist on Infamous Charles Manson Portrait]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 18:51:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/169*120/5-28-15-Bill-Robles-manson9.jpg

Just before Charles Manson was set to go on trial for multiple murders in 1970, a young up-and-coming artist was looking for a job.

"As a kid I always had an interest in news," said Bill Robles, a nationally-known courtroom sketch artist based in Los Angeles. "It all started about 45 years ago with the Charles Manson Trial."

Robles studied at the Art Center College of Design and has taught at LA Trade Technical College teaching illustration and drawing.

In 1969, Robles convinced bosses at CBS News to give him a shot — for nine months he sat in on the trial, following every minute and capturing some of the most infamous moments. Robles drew his way into a business that barely existed until he put pencil to paper.

“The Manson trial had celebrity, murder, family, followers. It was fascinating," he said.

When Manson shaved his head and his followers followed suit, Robles got that image too. The job is time consuming with time constraints, he says, and while his focus is the main person involved, he says often “the cast of characters come as time permits.”

One image Robles created during the Manson Trial still stands as iconic as the trial itself — the moment Manson attempted to attack the judge, leaping from his chair behind the defendant's desk.

"Pencil in his hand that he dropped," Robles said, "he was wearing flip-flops and he was tackled in midair by the bailiff. That image led with Walter Cronkite on the news that night, so that was kind of cool."

Back then there were seven courtroom sketch artists — today, Robles is one of only a few in Los Angeles. NBC4 enlists Robles as well as local sketch artist Mona Edwards when TV cameras are not permitted to cover important court cases.

Robles knows the skill is a gift. He is the visual for court cases where cameras aren't allowed and he has to work on tight deadlines.

"You have to freeze the moments," he said. "You have to capture that image.”

Through his eyes, the public is present.

"TV needs an image," he said. "And that’s where we come in.”

Robles was there when Rodney King explained his injuries at the hands of LAPD officers. He sketched the Menendez brothers as they cried through the jury's murder conviction. When Michael Jackson went on trial for child sex abuse, it was Robles who captured what cameras could not.

“Media from around the world would like up to shoot the artwork,” he said.

Robles said Jackson's facial features were unique to draw.

He said he likes to draw on the unique looks, particularly women, "because you really can create something a little more unique," pointing to his depictions of Lindsay Lohan, Christina DeLorean and Cameron Diaz.

Men with facial hair come easy, too.

"Great big beard, or a big mustache or huge hair," he said, pointing again to Manson and the accused shooter in the Aurora theater massacre in Colorado, James Holmes.

Robles' gift got him into a little trouble during the OJ Simpson murder trial when Judge Lance Ito subpoenaed him to court because he thought the sketches of the jury — faceless because it was against the court rules to show the jury — were still too accurate.

"Judge Ito saw it on television and he was astonished by the accuracy. So I was subpoenaed,” he said. "He had me put glasses on people, tone down hairdos.”

It lead to an official "Ito-Approved" stamp sketch artists had to have cleared before submitting sketches to the media.

His art has painted the picture of history. His image of Manson leaping at Judge Older in 1970 is the cover of a book released last year called "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art" -- 45 of those years by Robles' own hands.

"When the cameras aren't allowed, we're king," he said, as he adds color to what's supposed to be a black-and-white system.

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<![CDATA[Man Drives Off 2nd Floor of Garage]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 11:22:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/leesburgparkingcrash.jpg

An 85-year-old man drove a pickup truck off the second level deck of a Leesburg, Virginia, parking garage Thursday, landing on two empty picnic benches, according to Leesburg police.

The man had minor injuries; no one else was injured in the crash, Leesburg police said.

Police charged the driver, Rattan J. Bhatia, of Hillsboro, Virginia, with reckless driving. They said the 1994 Ford Ranger was being driven at a "high rate of speed" in the parking garage. 

The crash occurred around 1 p.m. at the Town of Leesburg's Parking Garage at 25 West Market Street. Leesburg police said the pickup truck drove over a curb before launching through a "metal barricade and brick facade."

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call 703-771-4500.



Photo Credit: Leesburg Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Beaches Reopen After Cleanup]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 02:21:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/05-28-2015-beach-oil-tar-cleanup.JPG

South Bay beaches were reopened Friday after being closed for more than two days because tar balls washed ashore, authorities said.

The beaches were reopened as of 6:30 p.m., according to the unified incident command.

The closures affected nearly all South Bay beaches from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

Crews had been working to clean up the tar, the source of which has not been determined. The environmental group Heal the Bay earlier had warned that the beaches should not be reopened "until all the oil is cleaned up."

"Heal the Bay has concerns about opening the beaches and even allowing people on the sand between the lifeguard towers and the water," said Sarah Sikich, one of two scientists the group deployed to the scene. "It's nearly impossible to walk along the beach in that area without encountering a small oil glob, and from a human health perspective, exposure through skin contact is a concern."

Sikich also warned that children could put contaminated sand in their mouths and that blobs had been found outside the closure area in Playa del Rey. Crews began conducting flyovers in the area Thursday morning to try to determine the source of the substance. At an afternoon briefing on Thursday, Downey said "significant progress" had been made overnight in the cleanup effort.

"Our teams have worked ... on the ground and in the air and on the water, (and) have reported that there appears to be no new tar balls or anything additional to the amount that we have recovered thus far," Downey said. "Our air crew did observe a sheen off the South Bay, which from what we understand is typical for that area," Downey said. "But what we believe to be pretty good news is that it doesn't appear to be any in the surf, the surf line, (like) we saw (Wednesday)."

A loon covered with oil was brought to the incident command post in Manhattan Beach on Thursday and was in stable condition under the care of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

It was unclear where the bird was found and how it became oiled. There has been no other indication, however, that wildlife has been harmed. Authorities released a telephone number — (877) 623-6926 — for people to call to report the location of any wildlife found to be in distress from the effects of the substance.

The unknown petroleum substance began hitting the beach about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies collected samples of the material and were trying to identify the substance and its source.

Results were pending. A company known as Ocean Blue Environmental was hired to clean up the mess. Recorded information on beach conditions is available 24 hours a day on the county's beach advisory hotline by calling (800) 525-5662 or online at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/beach/.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[New Yorkers Ready for Manhattanhenge]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 22:12:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/manhattanhenge+sky.jpg

Manhattanhenge, the moment when the setting sun aligns precisely with the street grid in Manhattan, can be seen this weekend. 

Half the sun aligned with the grid on Friday at 8:12 p.m; the full-sun Manhattanhenge will happen the same time on Saturday, according to the Hayden Planetarium.

The best view can be seen as far east in Manhattan as you can go without losing view of New Jersey. Good spots are cross streets like 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets.

Long Island City in Queens should also get a spectacular view -- so much so that the nonprofit Hunters Point Parks Conservancy hosted "LICHenge" Thursday night at LIC Landing in the park.

According to the group, there's a day-and-a-half window around the Manhattanhenge dates where viewing will still be optimal, DNAInfo reports.  

Manhattanhenge happens twice a year; in addition to the May dates, it will happen again July 12 and 13. 

On a clear day, the typical resulting effect of Manhattanhenge is a "radiant glow of light" across the skyscrapers and buildings, "simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid," according to Hayden Planetarium. 

Show us your Manhattanhenge photos by uploading them here or uploading them on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #NBC4NY!



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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