KIDNAPPING SUSPECT CHASE
Minnesota kidnap suspect caught after Calif. chase
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A kidnapping suspect from Minnesota has been arrested after leading police on a car chase into downtown Los Angeles where he escaped officers on foot.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says a fugitive task force lost track of Jesus Ramirez for a few hours before finding and arresting him at a motel in North Hollywood Thursday afternoon.
The task force had been tracking Ramirez, who was wanted in a kidnapping and drug case from earlier this week in St. Paul, Minn.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the case involved the abduction of two people taken to a house and held while their relatives were asked to turn over methamphetamines or cash as ransom.
LA police began chasing Ramirez in his SUV Thursday, but he disappeared into a Broadway building.
Condition upgraded for victim of firetruck crash
MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) - Authorities have upgraded the condition of a man who was critically injured in a Los Angeles-area crash involving two firetrucks.
The trucks were heading to a fire Wednesday in Monterey Park when they collided, pushing one into a cafe and injuring 15 people - including six firefighters.
On Thursday, officials say only two people remain hospitalized - a Monterey Park firefighter in moderate condition and a civilian whose condition was upgraded from critical to critical but stable.
California Highway Patrol Officer Doris Peniche tells the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the civilian is a 51-year-old man with head and leg injuries.
The trucks had their lights and sirens on when they collided at an intersection, but only one had a green light.
IMMIGRATION SUIT-DETENTION HEARINGS
ACLU files suit on timeliness of asylum interview
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Immigration advocates are filing suit against the federal government, saying immigration officials are violating their own rules by failing to provide a speedy hearing to some immigrants who face deportation.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco by two California affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The groups say the Administrative Procedure Act requires that people who face removal orders and who have been previously deported should be granted a speedy interview to decide if they have a reasonable fear that they would be persecuted in their home country.
The plaintiffs allege that some immigrants have spent months in detention awaiting interviews and later, asylum hearings.
The Department of Homeland Security didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services didn't provide comment.
CALIFORNIA BUS CRASH
911 calls capture chaos after truck-on-bus crash
ORLAND, Calif. (AP) - Frantic calls to police from the scene of last week's deadly crash between a tractor-trailer and tour bus carrying students included one from a dazed student who struggled to put into words what just had happened.
The call was included on 911 recordings release Thursday by the California Highway Patrol as it investigates the cause of the crash that left 10 people dead.
In the call from the student on the bus, shrieks can be heard as the person tries to recount how a Fed-Ex truck barreled across the median of Interstate 5 and hit the bus head on about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The student manages to escaped the fiery wreck, and the dispatcher says everyone should get as far away from the vehicle as possible.
The bus was carrying 44 Southern California high school students to Humboldt State University on April 10.
Five students died, as did three adult chaperones and the drivers of the truck and chartered bus.
LEGISLATIVE BROTHERS-CAMPAIGN FINES
Campaign agency considers fines for 2 GOP brothers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's political watchdog agency is considering whether to fine two brothers for transferring money between their campaigns while both were running for state Assembly in 2008.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission took the case under review Thursday after hearing arguments.
It now has a month to decide whether to accept an administrative law judge's recommendation that Sen. Tom Berryhill of Twain Harte and his brother, former Assemblyman Bill Berryhill of Ceres, be fined for transferring $40,000 between their legislative campaigns.
The brothers, both Republicans, deny violating campaign finance rules.
The administrative law judge recommended a fine of up to $35,000 for Tom Berryhill and his campaign committee and up to $10,000 for Bill Berryhill and his committee.
Commissioners can accept, reject or modify the recommendation.
Salmon released in California river restoration
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Tens of thousands of spring-run Chinook salmon are being released into the San Joaquin River, marking a major milestone in the federal plan to restore native fish populations to the state's second-longest river.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 54,000 hatchery-produced salmon into the river from a site near Fresno on Thursday. Though environmentalists are celebrating the release, federal water managers say the state's drought means not all of the fish will return to spawn.
The San Joaquin River carried the continent's southernmost Chinook salmon run until the Friant Dam was built in 1942 above Fresno to capture its water for crops.
The restoration effort is the result of a 2006 legal settlement that ended a decades-long legal tussle between farmers, environmentalists and the federal government.
BABY LEFT IN CAR
Baby dies after being forgotten in hot car
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - An infant has been pronounced dead after accidentally being left in a hot car alone for hours.
San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol says the department received a report of an unresponsive child in a vehicle just before 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Investigators determined that the infant's father was supposed to drop the infant off at a babysitter's house before going to work. Instead, Randol says, the father parked the car on the street and went to work while the child was still strapped in its car seat.
Randol says no arrests have been made pending a review of the case by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
The temperature reached 79 degrees Fahrenheit in San Jose on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Prosecutors seek death penalty in sleepover death
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Alameda County prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for a man accused of fatally shooting an 8-year-old Oakland girl during a sleepover.
Deputy District Attorney John Brouhard told a judge on Thursday that prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Darnell Williams of Oakland in the shooting death of Alaysha Carradine in July.
The 23-year-old Williams has been charged with murder and three counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting the girl after she answered the front door at her friend's apartment during a sleepover in Oakland.
Another suspect, 27-year-old Joe Carroll, also of Oakland, faces similar charges.
Williams also faces two special circumstances that make him eligible for the death penalty -committing multiple murders and lying in wait.
He is due back in court on June 11.
NAVY BRIBERY SCHEME
4th US Navy official charged in bribery scheme
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Prosecutors say a fourth member of the U.S. Navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor accused of giving cash, vacations and the services of prostitutes in exchange for information.
The U.S. attorney's office says Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug made his initial court appearance Thursday, a day after special agents arrested him in San Diego. A judge ordered him held on $100,000 bond and subject to GPS monitoring. He hasn't entered a plea, and messages seeking attorney comment were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors allege the 27-year-old Layug, a Japan-based logistics specialist, revealed classified Navy information in exchange for cash, luxury travel and electronics from employees of the military contracting company at the center of the alleged scheme.
Ex-Calif. man convicted of US Navy battery swindle
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A former Southern California man who fled the U.S. to live on his yacht has been convicted of selling the U.S. military more than $2.6 million in cheap, knock-off batteries that were used in aircraft carriers and submarines.
Federal prosecutors say Didier (Did-ee-yay) De Nier was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy and wire fraud. His wife previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
De Nier was CEO of a company that sold the government 80,000 batteries that were used as emergency backup power for Navy vessels.
Authorities say De Nier and his workers removed "Made in China" markings and slapped counterfeit labels on the batteries indicating they came from approved manufacturers.
De Nier fled in 2012 and lived on his yacht in the Caribbean. He was arrested last fall in the Virgin Islands.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARRESTS
Couple charged with human trafficking and slavery
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A suburban California couple has been charged with human trafficking and slavery involving a nine-year-old girl smuggled from El Salvador.
The district attorney's office said the girl, who is now 11, spent two years working four days a week in a Pacoima restaurant owned by Dora Alicia Valle. When she wasn't working there, authorities said she was ordered to clean the home shared by Valle and her boyfriend, Estrada Melvin Sandoval.
The two pleaded not guilty Thursday and their bail was set at $175,000 each. If convicted they face more than 12 years in prison. They allegedly paid to have the child smuggled into the United States.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey spoke out against human trafficking and said her office will not allow children to be treated as human commodities.
California cross-border airport clears key hurdle
SAN DIEGO (AP) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it has reached an agreement with an investor group to clear the way for construction of the nation's first cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said during a visit to San Diego on Thursday that the agreement requires the investor group to pay the salaries of U.S. border inspectors and the cost of inspection facilities on a pedestrian bridge between Tijuana's existing airport and the United States. He expects construction to begin on the U.S. side next month.
Construction has already begun on the Mexican side at Tijuana International Airport.
Otay Tijuana Venture - a partnership that includes Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell and Tijuana's airport operator - didn't respond to a request for comment.
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