The silent alarm at the Bergen County hotel had been broken for months, and Grajales ended up struggling with her attacker for 30 minutes before escaping to another guest’s room, where she dialed 911. A hotel surveillance camera captured the 4 a.m. incident, which happened on July 4, 2008. The attacker nearly bit off Grajales’ finger, and the panic button was stained with her blood, local police said.
Share On Friday, Vanwell Electronics, the alarm company that installed and maintained the hotel’s security system, agreed to pay Grajales $2.5 million to settle her lawsuit. The deal came before the second day of trial in Superior Court in Newark, civil division, and with Grajales set to testify, her attorney said.
“Vanwell knew for 16 weeks the (security) line wasn’t properly connected and did nothing about it,” said her lawyer, David Mazie, who filed the claim in Essex County because Vanwell also conducts business there.
Grajales, now 25 lives in Roselle and is on disability. “This has affected every aspect of her life two years down the line,” Mazie said. “There are lasting psychological issues.”
A judge dismissed a related claim against Criticom Monitoring Services, which Vanwell paid to oversee security system maintenance. Criticom had repeatedly advised Vanwell in the weeks leading up to the incident that Hampton Inn’s panic button wasn’t working.
Vanwell, a subsidiary of the publicly traded Somerset International Group, did not respond to messages left at its North Plainfield office or an e-mail sent to its president, Lance Berkheimer.
Kenneth Gough, who police arrested shortly after the attack, was charged with aggravated sexual assault. Gough, 54, of Cincinnati, told authorities he was looking for work as a horse trainer at nearby Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was placed in a Bergen County institution.
Security officers spotted Natalie Anne Landry, 33, of 1717 Bush Ave. in Alexandria putting items inside of a bag she picked up from the store rack at the Walmart on North Mall Drive, police said.
After checking out at the cashier, Landry was stopped and apprehended by Walmart security. Alexandria Police officers arrived at the scene and found syringes, a scale and five grams of suspected crystal meth in Landry’s possession.
The items she purchased legally were placed in her car, and Landry was arrested on charges of theft of more than $500, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and three contempt of court warrants.
The death of the 22-year-old Mostella was announced by the university in Mobile on Monday.
Mostella was voted a team captain at the conclusion of the Jaguars’ inaugural football season last fall. He rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns, and made seven tackles on special teams coverage.
A transfer from Birmingham-Southern, he sat out the 2008 season and was set to enter his final season of eligibility in the fall.
Kyle Rogers, 21, was stabbed in the arm during a confrontation with the men on Terrace Street at about 2:20 a.m. Sunday, Meadville Police Chief David Stefanucci said this morning.
Rogers works for a private security firm that the Meadville Medical Center employs, and he was checking a hospital-owned property when the incident occurred, Stefanucci said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Meadville police at (814) 724-6100.
Source:khou.com — An isle officer rescued a boy, 14, from the San Luis Pass where he likely would have drowned in the swift current and rough surf, authorities said Monday.
Galveston police officer Christopher M. Sanderson, a former lifeguard, was patrolling the isle’s West End on Sunday evening, Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said.
Sanderson learned of the swimmer in distress while on a traffic stop.
“The girl was in the water and ran out, saying her brother was drowning,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson grabbed his lifeguard buoy, dropped his uniform and gun belt and rescued Julio Cezar Rodriguez, 14, of Channelview, Davis said.
“You can’t make this rescue out of luck,” Davis said. “You have to be in good shape to swim through this surf to get to someone. Only a handful of people outside beach patrol could have done this kind of rescue.”
Sanderson always carries his water rescue equipment since he works the West End, he said.
“It was about a 150-yard swim,” Sanderson said. “It was pretty rough, and when I got to him, the water was over my head, about 7 feet deep.”
Rodriguez had just dipped beneath the surface when Sanderson grabbed him, Davis said.
The children swam in an area with “no swimming” signs posted, Davis said.
When Sanderson reached Rodriguez, the boy was caught in a current running parallel to shore, which would have taken him into the channel current leading offshore into the Gulf.
“I was able to get him out of the current and swim in,” Sanderson said. “He was about to be pushed out.”
An ambulance crew tended to Rodriguez, who was conscious, and took him to the University of Texas Medical Branch for precautionary treatment, Davis said.
“We’re pretty sure he aspirated water,” Davis said. “Whenever people will let us, we transport them to the hospital to monitor them and make sure their lungs are clear before releasing them.”
The measure helps ensure people don’t die from what Davis called a secondary drowning.
“The high salt content absorbs fluid from the rest of the body, and you can drown a few hours later in your own juice,” Davis said.
Sanderson, who made several rescues as a Galveston lifeguard, joined Galveston police in 2006 and is part of the department’s marine rescue team recently established to respond to water rescues and natural disasters.
“The guy would have drowned for sure if Chris hadn’t acted so quickly,” Davis said. “He got so lucky Chris was there.”
Samuel Caleb Cowles, 26, faces conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a release from United States Attorney William N. Nettles.
The indictment charges that Cowles falsified approximately twenty loan applications, most of which concerned properties in the Rock Hill and Charlotte areas.
Cowles worked as a mortgage broker and owned Prosperity Mortgage, according to the indictment. He is accused of affecting loan decisions by inflating incomes, omitting liabilities on loan applications and making payments outside closing.
Nettles said the maximum penalty Cowles could receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment of 20 years.
The case was investigated by agents of the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
Source: Times Daily Authorities say a 4-year-old boy found Sunday afternoon inside his family’s parked car died from hyperthermia.
Sheriff Larry Plott said the boy, William Dylen Mahaffey, was found in the backseat floorboard of a car parked at the family’s residence on Marie Lane, which is in the Waco community east of Russellville.
Plott said his department has determined William’s death is accidental based on a preliminary autopsy that revealed the child died from the extreme heat.
Sunday afternoon’s temperature reached 95 degrees. Experts said the temperature inside an enclosed vehicle could have reached 150 degrees.
“It looks like he just crawled into the back of the car and went to sleep,” Plott said.
Family members contacted the sheriff’s department about
3:30 p.m., after they could not find the boy, who went outside to play three hours earlier.
Plott said a sheriff’s deputy found the boy in the car about 10 minutes after arriving at the scene.
“The family had apparently been looking for him an hour or so before they called us,” the sheriff said. “On missing person’s cases, we always go to the house and start looking. That’s what we did and the deputy looked into the car and saw the little boy in the floorboard.”
Coroner Elzie Malone pronounced the boy dead at the scene. He said the child’s body was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville for an autopsy.
Plott said there is no apparent evidence of foul play, but wanted an autopsy to determine the precise cause of death.
“There were just too many questions to answer to say exactly what happened without the autopsy,” Plott said.
Investigators said the boy’s mother reported that he went outside to play between 12:30-1 p.m. A short time later, she said she went to check on him and couldn’t find him.
“Apparently, there was nothing unusual about him going outside to play by himself,” Plott said. “For some reason, he got in the car. Who knows why he got in there.”
Plott said only one door of the four-door Mercury Sable was unlocked, but his mother said he could unlock doors.
National Weather Service said the maximum temperature in Russellville between 12:30-2 p.m. Sunday was 95 degrees.
“That time period would have been the hottest time of the day,” said Dan Porch, of the National Weather Service in Huntsville. He added the heat index ranged from 102 to 105 degrees.
“And, obviously, it would be much hotter inside a car,” he said.
Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University, said the temperature inside a car on a 95-degree day would be 45 to 50 degrees higher.
“The heat index is going to be off the chart inside the car, but the actual temperature on a 95-degree day would be around 140-150 degrees inside a car,” Null said.
Plott said the family is struggling to deal with the tragedy.
“They’re suffering,” he said. “I can’t image the pain they went through looking for the child and then him being so close by.”
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing called the death a heartbreaker.
“These types of deaths involving small children are always hard to accept,” he said. “It makes you realize how quickly things like this can happen — going from a happy healthy child to dead in a few hours.”
Plott said anyone who wants to help the family with the funeral cost should contact his office at 256-332-8811.
LIVERMORE CA June 15 2010
Contra Costa Times — When he was a young patrol officer, Wes Morgan performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a teenager who was involved in a DUI-related crash.
He couldn’t save her. As he watched the 15-year-old die, he thought to himself that this crash could have been avoided. This girl should be alive.
Many years later, Morgan uses that story to explain his passion for getting drunken drivers off the road and preventing people from driving under the influence.
In more than 30 years with the Livermore Police Department, from which he retired May 27, he arrested about 2,000 drunken drivers and helped kick-start the city’s Every 15 Minutes program, which educates local high school students in a dramatic fashion about the dangers of impaired driving.
“I hope there are people that are out there alive because of something I did,” said Morgan, 51.
He will be missed not only by the department, but by other organizations with which he’s worked, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“It really puts a smile on my face to talk about him,” said Natasha Thomas, program coordinator for MADD Bay Area. “He gets that one man or woman off the road, he’s saving someone’s life. He’s basically saved 2,000 lives, in our eyes.”
People have asked how he made so many arrests. He said he often pulled people over for a broken taillight or other violation and discovered in the process that they were under the influence.
Growing up, all Morgan wanted was to be a police officer in Livermore his family has been in the area since the 1860s, and he is a descendant of the family for which Morgan Territory is named. He became a police cadet when he was 18 and a sworn officer at 20. He laughed about how he had to arrest folks at bars that he wasn’t legally allowed to enter because he was underage.
After a local measure passed in the late 1980s to fund the city’s first two traffic officers, Morgan applied for the job, and in 1990 became one of the first dedicated traffic officers in Livermore. The position was funded for three years, but a supervisor told Morgan at the time that if he did a really good job, the position might last five.
Three turned into five and then 20, as Morgan watched the traffic division grow into a unit of about a dozen people. He said he loved the challenge that came with investigating and reconstructing collisions. He’s investigated thousands of collisions in his career.
For an officer to stay so long within one division is a little unusual for the department, said Police Chief Steve Sweeney, but Morgan was a natural fit. He had such a passion for the job that it made sense to higher-ups to keep him there.
Morgan may be the face of Livermore’s DUI enforcement, but he was also known within the department for being a good influence on other officers and having positive attitude, Sweeney said.
“I’ve never seen him unhappy,” said Sweeney, who has known Morgan for 26 years. “We have a tough job. Everybody has their dark day. I’ve never seen him have a dark day.”
Morgan’s positive attitude isn’t just for the job, Sweeney said. It’s also for his community. People cited or arrested by Morgan have later called or written about how he treated them with respect, Sweeney said.
After 33 years with the department, Morgan decided it was time to turn in his uniform. In the future, he said he would like to be involved with DUI awareness and perhaps be an expert court witness in traffic collision cases. He also would like to help new officers and pass on his passion for the job to them.
For now, he plans to spend more time with his wife and adult son. His family put up with many holidays without him, he said, so he owes them.
“I led a gifted career. “… I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity I had,” Morgan said.