Medical helicopter crashes in fog in Utah

Sunday, January 12, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY -- A medical helicopter responding to an emergency crashed in dense fog, killing two hospital employees and leaving the only survivor in critical condition, authorities said.

The helicopter went down in a field near the Salt Lake City airport about 9 p.m. Friday with the pilot, a nurse and a paramedic aboard, said Fire Department spokesman Scott Freitag.

The only survivor, the nurse, was hospitalized at LDS Hospital, where all three men worked.

The LifeFlight crew had been headed to a car crash about 100 miles away near Wendover when the pilot determined the fog was too thick to continue.

The helicopter turned back, and the pilot asked to land at the Salt Lake City airport, Freitag said. "They were waiting for clearance when something went wrong and they crashed," he said.

Alcohol detection locks keep drunks off roads

PHILADELPHIA -- Breath-alcohol detectors installed in the cars of convicted drunken drivers prevented them from driving under the influence more than 10,000 times in the first year of Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law, according to a study.

Drivers must pass a breath test before the system will allow them to start their vehicles, and they must periodically test themselves throughout their drives. Their blood-alcohol level must be below 0.025 percent -- less than a quarter of the legal limit -- to keep the car running.

After three lockouts, the driver must pay to have the car taken to a certified service center in order to have the system reset.

Under Pennsylvania's law, drivers whose licenses have been suspended for two years may get the licenses back after one year if they agree to have the interlock device installed in their vehicle.

Man convicted of killing co-worker at newspaper

MOBILE, Ala. -- An ex-employee of the Mobile Register was convicted of murder for shooting a co-worker in the newspaper's packaging department.

Roderick Seals, 43, who was convicted Friday, could be sentenced to life in prison at a hearing Feb. 14.

A half-dozen witnesses testified Seals was bullying and had threatened other co-workers before he shot Chris Lawrence, 29, in February 2002.

In testimony, Seals claimed the shooting was accidental. He also said he sold the gun, which hasn't been recovered.

California county sues feds over water cutbacks

SAN DIEGO -- The water board for California's poorest county filed a lawsuit against Interior Secretary Gale Norton to stop her from cutting the region's massive supply of Colorado River water.

The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Diego accuses Norton of ordering Imperial County's Colorado River water supply cut by 11 percent this year for both political reasons and as punishment for the Imperial Irrigation District's failure to approve a deal to sell a share of its water to San Diego.

--From wire reports

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