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.

Congestion on southbound I-95 near Glades Road, continues into Broward County

Update: If you’re headed out of Palm Beach County on southbound I-95 expect plenty of traffic congestion beginning at Glades Road and going through Hillsboro Boulevard, though there does not seem to be any road blockage.

Original Post: The roads are slick, and a couple of crashes are reported on Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike.

FHP reports:

I95 SB at Glades. Crash. Right lane blocked.

Turnpike SB south of Glades Rd. Crash. No block.

Turnpike SB north of Fort Pierce at mm 165.5. Crash.

Flagler Drive remains closed in West Palm Beach after the weekend’s boat show. But southbound lanes from Banyan to Okeechobee are expected to reopen at 5 p.m. Friday at 5 p.m., both northbound and southbound lanes will be open.

4 injured when car crashes into Connecticut store

National News

4 injured when car crashes into Connecticut store
March 25, 2014 12:18 GMT

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut authorities say an out-of-control car exiting Interstate 95 in Fairfield crashed into a convenience store, injuring four people and damaging the building and five other vehicles.

Fairfield police say the car was going too fast on the southbound exit 24 off-ramp Monday night. It plowed into several other vehicles and a Cumberland Farms store and gas station at the bottom of the ramp.

Police say a woman driving the out-of-control car and three other people were taken to a hospital. Authorities say their injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening. The name of the woman hasn’t been released.

Authorities say there is moderate damage to the store, but the gas pumps weren’t damaged.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

‘Miracle’ no deaths in Chicago airport train crash

National News

‘Miracle’ no deaths in Chicago airport train crash
March 25, 2014 05:34 GMT

By MICHAEL TARM and CARLA K. JOHNSON Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal officials are investigating what caused a Chicago commuter train to jump its track and crash up an escalator at one of the world’s largest airports.

National Transportation Safety Board officials will be back Tuesday at O’Hare International Airport, where a Chicago Transit Authority train crashed early Monday morning at the airport stop.

More than 30 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman says it’s “a miracle that nobody died.”

He says the accident likely would have been far worse had it happened during the day, when the trains are often full and the escalator packed with people heading into O’Hare.

The union representing the operator says she may have dozed off. The NTSB hasn’t drawn conclusions, saying it will scrutinize the train’s breaks, signals and other potential factors.

Deadly weekend for walkers in South Florida – Sun

It was a deadly weekend for South Florida pedestrians after a child and two adults died and three other people were injured by car crashes.

The deaths are part of the region’s lethal history for walkers:

•On Friday night, two Coral Springs men were crossing North University Drive mid-block at 9 p.m. when they were hit by a vehicle. Jose Gutierrez, 22, died. Tyler Sanders-Nielsen, 20, was airlifted to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach with life-threatening injuries, Coral Springs police said.

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    Mother and two young children hit by car in Sunrise

  • Police inspect the scene of an accident involving a pedestrian.

    Police inspect the scene of an accident involving a pedestrian.

  • Mom, two children struck by car in Sunrise

    Mom, two children struck by car in Sunrise

  • Maps
  • 500 E Broward Blvd Fort Lauderdale Florida

•On Saturday, Abdallah Staih, 4, was killed while walking along the sidewalk on Pine Island Road in Sunrise with his mother, Natalie Munzer Alja’Ouni, and brother Ahmad Staih, 8 months. A driver attempting to avoid another vehicle lost control in the 8:15 p.m. crash, which sent Alja’Ouni and Ahmad Staih to a hospital, where she was in critical condition and he was stable, Sunrise police said.

•On Sunday afternoon in North Miami Beach, Jacqueline Elizabeth Postrel-Jambor, 19, was skateboarding along Northeast 23rd Avenue when she was fatally struck by a Ford sedan headed east on Northeast 137th Street, police said.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties led the state with 58 pedestrian fatalities each in 2012. Palm Beach County, with 25 deaths, was seventh for such incidents in Florida, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Of 22 big U.S. cities with pedestrian deaths greater than the national average, four in Florida — Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville — made the list in 2013, the NHTSA said.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said pedestrians should “use the crosswalks, with the signals that are there. That is one of the biggest things that would help prevent more deaths.”

Broward Sheriff’s Lt. Larry Akers, a traffic homicide investigator who’s examined hundreds of crashes, said, “The biggest thing that nobody ever addresses is that everybody has to take responsibility for their own actions.

“If I decide to cross through traffic because I don’t want to walk to the corner, it’s not expected of the driver to see I was foolish enough to step into oncoming traffic,” he said. “But the car driver has to be prepared, too, and should slow down in a pedestrian area to limit the damage from an accident.”

He said walkers should stay on sidewalks, wear reflective clothing and carry flashlights to be visible to motorists.

None of the drivers in last weekend’s incidents were charged Monday; investigations are continuing, police said.

In the three weekend cases, the drivers remained on the scene, unlike other crashes this year, when three drivers were chased by good Samaritans.

“It’s important for anyone that is involved a traffic crash to remain on the scene so they can provide us with the most accurate information on what happened, to render aid if necessary, and to avoid any criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries,” said Commander Thomas A. Carney of the North Miami Beach police department.

TIP BOX

For pedestrians

Use the sidewalk. If there is none, walk facing traffic, as far from vehicles as possible.

Never assume the driver can see you. Make eye contact as they approach.

Use crosswalks, where drivers expect to see walkers.

Stay off freeways and restricted access highways where pedestrians are prohibited.

West Palm Beach man sentenced to 13 years in prison for fatal DUI crash in May

A West Palm Beach man was sentenced to 13 years in prison today after a crash in May that killed a 50-year-old woman.

Mark Kamara, 33, plead guilty to the charge of DUI manslaughter on Monday. He was sentenced to 13 years incarceration within the Department of Corrections, according to a news release from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

On May 9, police say Kamara ran a red light at Gun Club and Haverhill roads around 12:30 a.m. crashing his 2004 Ford Explorer into her 2002 Honda Civic. Diana Lennard, 50, died at the scene of the crash, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff vehicle homicide investigations log. Kamara was arrested Sept. 25 and charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

Mark Kamara guilty of DUI manslaughter, sheriff’s office says

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – A driver involved in a deadly traffic crash in 2013 has pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says.

A Ford Explorer and a Honda Civic collided at the intersection of Haverhill Road and Gun Club Road on May 9th of last year.

According to investigators, 32-year-old Mark Kamara was traveling west on Gun Club Road in a Ford Explorer when he crashed into a Honda Civic driven by 50-year-old Diana Lennard.

Lennard died at the scene.

Kamara, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, is a former WPTV off-air employee who left the station in March of 2013.

According to the sheriff’s office, Kamara was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Goodman DUI manslaughter retrial date remains uncertain – Sun

On the day testimony was supposed to start in Wellington polo magnate John Goodman’s DUI manslaughter retrial, attorneys instead continued to clash over what should be presented to jurors once the case actually does get underway.

During a 90 minute hearing Monday, the defense and prosecution teams argued about whether the jury should hear statements Goodman made after the Feb. 12, 2010 crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson. The two sides left the hearing without an answer: Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath is expected to issue a ruling on it later.

It’s one of several outstanding issues – including the defense’s challenge of blood test results putting Goodman’s blood alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit – that pushed the retrial back from its planned Monday start date. So far, a new one has not been set and the International Polo Club Palm Beach founder, 50, remains on house arrest on $4 million bail.

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  • John Goodman

    John Goodman

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    Goodman retrial delayed until summer; defense loses bid to toss charges over Bentley

  • Photos

  • Polo mogul's damaged Bentley gets new owner

    Polo mogul’s damaged Bentley gets new owner

  • Maps
  • Lake Worth Road 120th Avenue South, Wellington, FL 33449, USA

Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years. But his conviction was thrown out based on juror misconduct.

Monday, Colbath also heard arguments on what instructions the jury should be given on the “failure to render aid” charge Goodman is facing and decided that the defense should have to share texts it cited in its motion to throw out the blood evidence.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies Ricardo Safford and Mitch Reiger testified about questions they asked Goodman after he left the crash scene and called 911 from a friend’s house. The two said he told them he didn’t know what he hit and didn’t see the other car, which, according to the crash investigation, went into a canal, where Wilson drowned.

Defense attorneys Douglas Duncan, Scott Richardson and Elizabeth Parker say Goodman’s statements should be suppressed from the retrial based on a privilege that protects people who report crashes they’re involved in from having their statements used as evidence in trial.

Duncan said Goodman’s situation was not the same one where “you never stop and you never do anything and the police have to find you,” in which case that privilege doesn’t apply. The defense says Goodman suffered a concussion after the crash and walked to a friend’s house after his cell phone battery went dead.

But prosecutors Sherri Collins and Alan Johnson argued that he made two phone calls after the crash and didn’t call 911 until later. They also said the questions the deputies asked were not meant to be incriminating.

“These were not questions that were fired off in the police station, when confronting someone with their guilt or confronting them with evidence,” Collins said. It was instead a matter of “public safety” and making sure deputies had the right person and didn’t need to look for anyone else potentially injured, she said.

As for the blood evidence issue, Colbath said the defense needs to give prosecutors copies of medical journals and academic textbooks cited in its motion to throw out the blood test results, which he decided should be handled by an administrative law judge.

The defense referenced more than 40 texts in its argument that Goodman’s reported blood-alcohol level of .177 could be inflated because, among other issues, a nurse used a needle smaller than the one included in state kits. Parker had previously told prosecutors she couldn’t share that information due to federal copyright laws.

After the hearing, prosecutors Alan Johnson and Sherri Collins said they were satisfied with what happened in court Monday and confident the case is moving forward.

“The policy of the State Attorney’s Office is if you’re going to do it, do it right,” Johnson said. “So we have to do this the correct way so that we only do it once, and we get it right both for the defendant’s rights and for the rights of the victim. And so that this case can get fairly tried.”

The two sides will meet before Colbath again on May 12 for a status check, during which they’re expected to talk about progress on the blood issue and discuss a potential trial date.

bshammas@tribune.com, 561-243-6531 or Twitter @britsham

No new retrial date yet in Goodman case, judge decides issues in morning hearing

There’s no new trial date in sight for Wellington polo mogul John Goodman, whose DUI manslaughter case moved forward slowly this morning as lawyers in the case asked the judge to settle a few legal issues.

The only decision Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath made during the 90-minute hearing this morning was to order Goodman’s defense team to give prosecutors copies of medical journal articles and textbook excerpts they cited in a recent request for Colbath to throw out the results of Goodman’s blood alcohol test.

Arguments over the test results have been among the biggest points of contention in the case ever since Colbath overturned Goodman’s previous conviction and 16-year sentence last year, clearing the way for a new trial.

Colbath also heard arguments related to Goodman’s quest to keep a jury from hearing some statements he made to deputies after the Feb. 12, 2010 crash that killed Scott Patrick Wilson. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies Ricardo Safford and Mitch Reiger testified this morning about their interactions with Goodman after he called 911 from a stranger’s phone nearly an hour after the crash.

Lawyers in the case also discussed the particulars of jury instructions regarding the charges of failure to render aid as part of Goodman’s case. The failure to render aid addition to the DUI manslaughter charge boosts Goodman’s maximum possible sentence from 15 to 30 years in prison.

Goodman has said he didn’t know what he hit in the crash and never saw Wilson’s car afterwards. Investigators said the collision pushed Wilson’s car into a Wellington canal, where he drowned.

Colbath will meet with lawyers briefly on April 24, but scheduled a status hearing May 12 to find out when attorneys in the case will be ready for trial. The trial was supposed to have started last week, but prosecutors said a flood of last-minute issues — including the blood test dispute — made it impossible for them to be ready until July.

The judge last week ruled that an administrative judge in Tallahassee will rule on some issues related to the blood test, which placed Goodman’s blood alcohol content at more than twice the level at which Florida drivers are presumed impaired.

John Goodman hearing update: Defense attorneys raise new questions in …

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. –  Attorneys for John Goodman are raising new questions in his DUI manslaughter case.

They’re arguing that authorities did not read Goodman his Miranda rights in a timely manner the night of a crash that resulted in the death of Scott Wilson.

Goodman was driving a Bentley that crashed into Wilson’s car. Wilson drowned when his vehicle went into a canal.

Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter, but the conviction was later dropped after a juror was found guilty of contempt of court.

A judge also still needs to decide if Goodman’s blood-alcohol sample from the night of the crash can be used as evidence in his retrial.

Prosecutors say a lot needs to happen before a new trial can begin.

“We have to do this the correct way so we only do it once, and we get it right, both for the defendant’s rights and the for the rights of the victim so this case can get fairly tried,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson.

No new trial date has been set. Another hearing is set for May.