AP NewsBreak: Speed to blame for Walker crash

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Porsche carrying “Fast Furious” star Paul Walker was traveling approximately 90 mph when it lost control on a suburban street and crashed, killing the actor and his friend, according to an investigation by law enforcement agencies into the November accident.

The sports car slammed into a light pole which had a speed limit sign of 45 mph, killing Walker and Roger Rodas in a fiery wreck.

Investigators concluded that unsafe driving, not mechanical problems, caused the crash, according to a person who has reviewed a report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol. Investigators calculated that Rodas was driving between 81 mph and 94 mph when his 2005 Porsche Carrera GT began to drift as it lost control after coming out of a curve.

“The vehicle had no mechanical failure and the damage that occurred to the vehicle was from the collision,” accident reconstruction specialists with the Highway Patrol wrote, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the report has not been officially released yet.

A spokeswoman said Tuesday that the Sheriff’s Department had no new information to release regarding the investigation into the Nov. 30 crash. “We will have something in the very near future,” department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida wrote in an email. The CHP declined comment.

The Associated Press reported in December that investigators had found no evidence that the car had mechanical problems and ruled out debris or other roadway conditions.

Subsequently, Porsche sent engineers to California to review the rare car’s wreckage. Though it was badly mangled and burned, the engineers were able to do a thorough analysis. They found no problems with the car’s electrical systems, brakes, throttle, fuel system, steering, suspension or other systems.

Porsche declined a request for comment Tuesday.

The conclusion about the speed was based on a “yaw” mark on the road that the car’s tire left on the road in an area of industrial office parks in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Witnesses told a sheriff’s deputy that they thought the car could have been traveling in excess of 100 mph.

Post-crash investigators noted several issues with the condition of the car, which had several prior owners, including IndyCar driver Graham Rahal:

-Its original exhaust system had been modified in a way that could allow it to go faster, but also could have been done to change its sound.

-Its tires were about nine years old; the owner’s manual suggests changing the tires after four years.

-Its left rear brake rotor was worn below manufacturer specifications, but that did not contribute to the crash.

Rodas, 38, and Walker, 40, had taken what was supposed to be a quick ride from a fundraiser benefiting Reach Out Worldwide, a Walker charity that gives first-response aid to victims of natural disasters. The crash occurred near the fundraiser, and horrified friends of the men raced to the scene.

While Rodas was Walker’s financial adviser, the two had bonded over their shared love of fast cars. They co-owned an auto racing team named after Rodas’ shop, Always Evolving, and Rodas drove professionally for the team on the Pirelli World Challenge circuit in 2013.

Walker starred in all but one of the six “Fast Furious” blockbusters, which glorify muscular cars and risky driving.


Contact Justin Pritchard: https://twitter.com/lalanewsman


Associated Press Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Police say medical condition may have caused Knob Creek Crash

Local News

March 25th, 2014 1:32 pm by Staff Reports

Police say a man may have suffered from a medical condition before driving into a fence outside of a local strip mall. (Joe Avento/Johnson City Press)

Police think that a driver may have succumbed to a medical condition before crashing his car into a fence in central Johnson City.

On Tuesday afternoon, Larry L. Jenkins, 56, Johnson City, drove a 1993 Toyota Camry into a fence in front of a strip mall located near the intersection of Knob Creek Road and Woodside Drive. 

According to the accident report, Jenkins was driving north on Knob Creek when he veered into the fence, causing what police estimated to be less than $400 in damage. The Camry was also damaged to the point where police said it was no longer drivable, and it was towed from the scene.

Jenkins was transported to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment, though, by Tuesday evening, Mountain States Health Alliance Communications and Marketing Director Shane O’Hare said he was not on the hospital’s patient list.


Press Sports Writer Joe Avento grabbed these photos of a Knob Creek Road crash near Sunset Drive around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The car crashed into a fence near the strip mall containing Cranberries, Tri-County Home Medical Equipment Ostomy Supplies and other businesses.

Additional Photos

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Teacher Killed In West Hartford Accident

(West Hartford, Conn./CBS Connecticut) - West Hartford police say a teacher at Kingswood-Oxford School was killed in a crash this morning at the intersection of Mountain Road and Boulevard involving a passenger vehicle and a school bus.

It was shortly after seven a.m. when officers say a car driven by 64-year-old Patricia Rosoff collided with a school bus en route to Conard High School.

Rosoff had to be extricated from the vehicle.

She was transported to the UConn Health Center where she was pronounced dead.

The 18 students and bus driver were not injured.

The accident remains under investigation.

West Hartford police urge anyone with any information or who may have witnessed the crash to call them at 860-523-5203.

Kingswood Oxford Dean Dies After Car Struck By School Bus

WEST HARTFORD — Patricia Rosoff, the academic dean of humanities and a beloved art and English teacher at Kingswood Oxford School, died Tuesday morning when her car was struck by a school bus.

Rosoff, 64, who had taught at KO for 39 years, was driving east on Boulevard about 7:10 a.m. when the school bus, which was traveling southbound on Mountain Road, hit her 2000 Saab broadside on the driver’s side.

West Hartford firefighters had to cut Rosoff from the car. She was then taken to the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, where she was pronounced dead.

Police are still investigating the crash and asking for witnesses to call them at 860-523-5203.

Eighteen Conard High School students and the driver, Emmanuel Cruz, 23, of Manchester, were aboard the bus. None were injured.

Rosoff began her career at KO in 1975 and was known by legions of alumni for teaching the advanced placement art history course, said Michelle M. Murphy, a spokeswoman for KO.

“She was a giant in our community, and her loss is incalculable,” said Dennis Bisgaard, KO’s head of school.

“In addition to being a phenomenal teacher, [Pat] was a phenomenal artist,” Murphy said. Rosoff worked in seemingly every medium, Murphy said. “She was a painter, sculptor, quilter, printmaker, sketcher. She’d use every imaginable material – t-shirts, balloons, bits of yarn – in unimaginable ways, creating things of colorful and whimsical beauty.”

Rosoff was an art critic for the Hartford Advocate from 1994 to 2007 and had essays published in Arts Magazine, Art New England and Sculpture magazine, according to her author’s biography on the Tupelo Press website. Rosoff’s book, “Innocent Eye: A Passionate Look at Contemporary Art,” was published in 2013.

News of Rosoff’s death spread quickly among faculty and staff at Kingswood Oxford, but school officials waited until later in the day to make the announcement to students. Tuesday was the first day back after a two-week spring break, Murphy said. During that break, Rosoff had traveled to California to visit her son, a KO graduate, and her grandson.

“Pat was an artist in every sense of the word – an artist of color, words, people, and emotions,” said Natalie Demers, KO’s assistant head of school for academic life. “And, she was the ultimate student – she never wanted to stop learning new things. She truly epitomized lifelong learning. She is who anyone in education would aspire to be: She saw the good, and the potential, in everyone. We will miss her terribly.”

“She was so fun,” said junior Olivia Whirty, who was in a painting class taught by Rosoff last year. “She was always the one to laugh at assemblies. She was quirky.”

Rosoff lived in West Hartford and grew up Turlock, Calif. She was an abstract painter and received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree from Hartford Art School.

Although she’d been at KO four decades, “she had a sparkle in her eye and a joy for living that made her seem far younger and helped her identify with students,” Murphy said. “She just loved teaching.”

Rosoff is survived by her husband, Neil, their son Jared, daughter-in-law, Betsy, and their grandson Arlo, 2½.

“Our hearts are broken for her husband and her son, and her grandson,” Murphy said.

Courant staff writer Julie Stagis contributed to this story.

3 vehicle accident sends at least one to hospital

At least one person has been transported to the hospital following a three car accident in front of the Scottsbluff Target on Highway 26.

The accident was reported at 1:20 p.m., and involved drivers 42-year-old Alberto Machado, 66-year-old Linda Shutts, and 41-year-old Sara Harris .

Police are investigating the cause of the crash and will have more information later on this afternoon.


New Jersey family searching Maryland for lost dog

A New Jersey family is searching Maryland for their lost dog, which got scared in a car accident on Interstate 95 in Baltimore and jumped out of the car.

Jaclyn Tracey, of Hoboken, N.J., and her husband, Andrew, were all around Baltimore Tuesday morning, putting up posters about their missing yellow lab, Charlie. The couple was involved in a car crash Sunday afternoon on I-95 near the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

“He’s our best friend, he’s a great dog. We’ve had him for six years. Jaclyn raised him as a puppy and we had him when we got married as well,” Andrew Tracey said.

Jaclyn Tracey is seven months pregnant and, as a precaution, stayed in the hospital Sunday night. After getting out of the hospital, she and her husband have looked everywhere. They’ve even left articles of their clothing at Riverside Park near I-95, hoping the dog would get the scent and come there.

“The car started filling up with smoke so we opened the door and the dog jumped out of the car and he ran at least a mile down Interstate 95,” Jaclyn Tracey said.

Police said they saw Charlie exit the highway at South Monroe and Russell streets about 4 p.m. Sunday, the last time Charlie was seen.

The whole family is involved trying to find Charlie.

“Charlie’s a wonderful, wonderful, dog. She’s pregnant and she was so waiting for Charlie to meet this baby. We just want him returned. If anybody has him, please, please return him to my daughter,” said Beth Holland, Jaclyn Tracey’s mother.

“We got him when he was a small puppy (while we were) in college. I’m pregnant with my first child, and I was really looking forward to seeing Charlie and the baby together. He really is a part of our family and we just want to get him back safe,” Jaclyn Tracey said.

If you have any information regarding Charlie’s whereabouts, call the Traceys at 973-945-7072. 

Maryland SPCA director Tina Regester said lost animals that are brought to the shelter have a three-day hold time before they are made available for adoption. During that time, the animal is listed on its lost and found portal on the website www.mdspca.org/programs/lost-found.

Regester said anyone who finds a pet can fill out a form on the site and include a photo — it’s not just for the SPCA. Regester said anyone who sees a missing animal can then contact the owner directly, and they don’t have to bring that animal to the shelter.

People who find lost animals can submit a found report, too, so owners can check it to try to find their missing pets. If they find them, they can contact the person who has their animal directly.

Regester said the page also offers other useful tips to find lost animals.

Micanopy girl killed in raceway crash ‘lived her dream,’ family members say

The Micanopy Middle School ninth-grader was excited and spent her time gutting the car. Then she and her father had it fitted with the equipment needed for a racing car.

On Saturday at Bubba Raceway Park north of Ocala, Niokoa and her father arrived early, and she practiced driving her car in the pits.

“It was her first time actually driving the car,” Richard Johnson said at his Micanopy home on Tuesday.

Then it was time for her to drive on the track. Her first lap was uneventful. On her second lap, Niokoa appeared to lose control of the car, and it crashed into a concrete wall.

The girl was first transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center and then airlifted to Shands. She died Sunday at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

“She was happiest when she was pursuing her dream,” said Sandy Messer, one of Niokoa’s aunts.

Maj. Tommy Bibb, of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that Florida Highway Patrol officials will assist in an investigation of the crash. MCSO detectives and FHP troopers will inspect the car at the Sheriff’s Office sometime on Wednesday.

Bibb said they’re awaiting results from the Medical Examiner’s Office in Gainesville to determine the cause of death. He called the incident “an accidental tragic death.”

Johnson said Niokoa was born at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville and attended the charter elementary school in Micanopy and then the middle school.

Her grandmother Dorothy Johnson and aunt Nancy Fell said Niokoa loved animals and the outdoors. Family members said she was shy and didn’t let too many people get close to her.

Once she did, however, “you were a friend for life,” her grandmother said.

Niokoa liked riding dirt bikes and target shooting and had a boxer name Ally, who’s 5. Family members said the teen was outspoken and strong-willed. She loved life, they said, and was a dreamer.

Niokoa wore mostly jeans and T-shirts. Lately though, her grandmother said with a smile, the girl was “slowly but surely” warming up to the idea of wearing dresses.

The family said Niokoa was a “daddy’s girl” and was fearless and dreamed of becoming a race car driver. Wherever Richard Johnson went, they said, Niokoa was by his side.

“Everything he did, he did for his kids,” Fell said. “He lived and breathed for his children.”

Niokoa was the youngest child, with two sisters and a brother. She watched one of her sisters race go-carts and cars and wanted to follow in her footsteps.

Richard Johnson said he would take Niokoa to the races and mud bogging.

“She’s been around it all her life,” her father said. “It was something she dreamed about.”

When Niokoa’s car was ready, she wanted to model it after her sister’s car. The orange color, the No. 17, were just some of the things Niokoa had on her car that were similar to her sister’s.

“She didn’t have a favorite driver,” her father said. “She wanted to be her own favorite driver.”

Family members said Niokoa died doing what she loved doing most and they accept her death. They said that Niokoa’s death, though tragic, could have occurred while she was riding her dirt bike or even crossing the road.

“It was just a freak accident,” her father said. “I still believe the sport is safe. She had all the safety guards. She lived her dream.”

“So many people never got a chance to pursue their dreams, but she did,” Fell said.

“I feel like I let her live,” said her father.

Family members said that, since Niokoa’s death, the support they have received from people as far away as Canada has been “overwhelming.” They said they want to thank everyone, especially the racing community, for their thoughts, prayers and donations.

Contact Austin L. Miller at austin.miller@starbanner.com or 867-4118.

City gridlock after London Road three-car crash

City gridlock after London Road three-car crash

City gridlock after London Road three-car crash

TRAFFIC is currently gridlocked on Worcester city centre, thanks to an accident in London Road and roadworks in the Tything and Severn Terrace.

The three-car accident happened about an hour ago, and although it is not thought to have involved serious injuries, it has brought one of the main routes out of the city to a near-total standstill during evening rush-hour.

A police source said that the accident combined with the scheduled roadworks had caused gridlock on some of the city’s busiest roads.

He said police officers were directing traffic around the site of the accident and hoped to have London Road opened as soon as possible.

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Car crash victim’s mother asking for answers 1 year later

Players from the Columbus Lions and soldiers on Fort Benning came together Friday March 21 for an extreme workout!

They all worked out at the Bolton Obstacle Course to build team work while building community relationships.

NTSB: Chicago train traveling 25 mph before crash

National News

NTSB: Chicago train traveling 25 mph before crash
March 25, 2014 15:34 GMT

By JASON KEYSER Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says a Chicago commuter train was traveling at a normal 25 mph before it crashed, jumping its tracks and screeching up an escalator at one of the world’s busiest airports.

Investigator Ted Turpin says the assessment is based on a preliminary review of Monday’s derailment at O’Hare International Airport.

He says an automatic emergency braking system was activated on the tracks as the train traveled toward the platform, but it failed it stop the train.

More than 30 people received minor injuries during the accident that took place around 3 a.m.

Officials plan to speak with the operator Tuesday afternoon.

The union representing the train operator has said fatigue may have played a role in the crash at the nation’s second busiest airport.