September 1, 2013
Pennsylvania
Head-on collision on rural road kills six

A sport-utility vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic on a rural highway in northwestern Pennsylvania and smashed head-on into another vehicle, killing six people, including two children, authorities said Sunday.

A Jeep Liberty driven by Kathy Douglas, 36, of Kane crossed the center line about 4:30 p.m. Saturday and hit an approaching Pontiac Bonneville in the Allegheny National Forest.

The four occupants of the Pontiac, all residents of nearby St. Marys, died in the crash: the driver, Gary Beimel, 62, and passengers David Cuneo, 54, Elaine Beimel, 55, and Florence Donachy, 81.

Douglas’s nephew, Jarrett Costanzo, 6, and daughter, Olivia Douglas, 12, were killed. Douglas and her 10-year-old son were injured. A nursing supervisor at UMPC Hamot in Erie said Douglas was in serious condition Sunday night.

— Associated Press

California
More L.A. inmates are being released early

More prison inmates in Los Angeles County are being set free after serving only a fraction of their sentences because of budget problems and a space crunch caused by an influx of offenders now serving their terms in county jails rather than state prisons.

The releases are benefiting even inmates sentenced for violent crimes and sex crimes, with those offenders released after serving as little as 40 percent of the time they were meant to spend behind bars, according to Sheriff’s Department records obtained under the California Public Records Act.

Other criminals are serving even shorter stints. Under the department’s current policy, jailers immediately release male inmates sentenced to less than 90 days and female offenders sentenced to less than 240 days.

This year, the Sheriff’s Department has released more than 23,000 inmates before their terms were up, a sharp increase over recent years. In 2012, the county released 26,000 inmates early, according to department records. In 2011, the number was about 15,700.

— Los Angeles Times

New York
Four dead after car drifts off highway

Four young people were killed on a highway north of New York City when their car drifted from the road, traveled 100 yards on a grassy shoulder, slammed into a bridge abutment and caught fire, police said.

The accident occurred about 5:20 a.m. Sunday on the Sprain Brook Parkway in Greenburgh, about 20 miles north of New York, said State Police Investigator Joseph Becerra.

Police identified the driver of the rented Volkswagen Golf as Bruno Vaccarezza, 19, of Greenwich, Conn. They said Fernanda Gomez, 19, of Port Chester, N.Y., was in the front seat. Juliana Restrepo, 18, also of Port Chester, and Vincent Mendoza, 20, of Norwalk, Conn., were in the back.

— Associated Press

Toddler is fatally shot:A 1-year-old boy in New York City has died after being shot in the head. Police said Antiq Hennis was in a stroller crossing a street with his parents in Brooklyn when the shooting occurred about 7:20 p.m. Sunday. He was declared dead at Brookdale University Hospital.

Aunt identifies four children killed in fire: A family member confirmed that four children ages 5 to 17 died after a fire Friday gutted a home in Elmira, N.Y. Paula Parker, the aunt of the victims, said they had been living for the past year with their mother at the home Parker and her husband own in Elmira, near the Pennsylvania border. She identified the victims as Courtney Stanton, 17; Amera Mansour, 10; Nidal Mansour, 7; and Jordan Mansour, 5. They are the children of Parker’s sister-in-law, Tina Parker.

— Associated Press

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