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POSTED January 13, 2012 8:59 p.m.

MAN DECAPITATED WHEN WOOD CHIPPER SUCKS UP ROPE: NEVADA CITY (AP) — A Northern California tree trimmer has been decapitated after an industrial wood chipper apparently sucked up a rope tangled around his neck.

Nevada County sheriff's deputies initially said 50-year-old Martin Lara was feeding brush and was pulled head-first into the wood chipper by the rope.

But coroner's Sgt. Paul Schmidt tells Sacramento's KCRA-TVthat something got caught in the wood chipper and got tangled around Lara's neck, decapitating him.

Schmidt couldn't confirm it was a rope that tightened around his neck.

The tree trimming crew says they heard Lara scream at about 8:15 a.m. Thursday while they worked in Nevada City. He was dead when they went to investigate.

MOM, KIDS RESCUED AS CAR TEETERS ON FREEWAY BRIDGE:  BUELLTON  (AP) — A mother and her two daughters have been rescued from a BMW teetering on a California freeway bridge after a gravel truck rear-ended the car then plunged into a creek, killing the trucker.

The Santa Barbara News Press says the truck hit the 36-year-old woman's BMW on Thursday afternoon in the northbound lanes of U.S. Route 101 in rural Buellton, about 25 miles north of Santa Barbara.

The BMW struck the bridge railing and teetered over a 100-foot drop into the creek with Kelli Groves and two daughters, ages 10 and 10 months, trapped inside.

The San Juan Capistrano family was pulled out of their demolished car an hour later. They are hospitalized.

The trucker died when his rig crashed into the creek and burst into flames.

6 MONTHS FOR TAKING BATHROOM CELLPHONE VIDEOS : SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man has been sentenced to six months in jail for taking cellphone videos of men urinating and defecating in Santa Ana City Hall bathrooms.

Miguel Ruiz Fabian pleaded guilty on Thursday to eight misdemeanor counts for surreptitiously taking the videos. The 24-year-old Santa Ana man was immediately sentenced to jail and he was placed on three years' probation.

Fabian was an intern for the city's Public Works Department when he took the videos.

Prosecutors say Fabian put his cellphone on the restroom floor to record men in adjacent stalls on 64 occasions over 23 days from ending in May.

A victim saw the phone while using the restroom, grabbed it, identified Fabian as the owner and called 911.

3 DEAD WHEN SUV CRASHES, BURSTS INTO FLAMES: PARAMOUNT  (AP) — Three people are dead and three are hospitalized in serious condition after a sport utility vehicle burst into flames during a Southern California rollover crash.

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators say the Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling at high speed in Paramount at about 1 a.m. Friday when it jumped a curb and hit a light pole and a fire hydrant before rolling over.

No other vehicles were involved.

City News Service says five of the six people in the SUV were ejected during the crash.

County fire dispatch supervisor says three people, two men and a woman, were dead at the scene. Two men and a woman are hospitalized.

COSTS SOAR TO $250K OVER OCCUPY FRESNO BATTLES: FRESNO  (AP) — County costs have soared to nearly $250,000 as the Occupy Fresno battles shift from the camps to the courts.

The Fresno Bee says the price tag includes the legal services of former federal Judge Oliver Wanger, who is providing legal services for Fresno County.

Wanger is earning $375 an hour, with permission to bill up to $50,000.

The county has already spent nearly $200,000 for Occupy Fresno law enforcement costs.

Additionally, Occupy Fresno defendants have been succeeding in parts of their cases so the county could be liable for their attorney expenses.

Occupy Fresno began demonstrating against corporate greed at the county's Courthouse Park in October.

The county has quickly moved in on protesters who violate laws. Those arrested have challenged the county actions citing First Amendment rights.

VAN WITH 4 PLUNGES OFF CALIF. FERRY; ALL ESCAPE: NEWPORT BEACH  (AP) — A minivan carrying a family of Taiwanese tourists plunged from a ferry into Newport Harbor when the vehicle was rear-ended by a sedan, authorities said Friday.

The couple and their two children, ages 4 and 6, escaped unharmed with help from a nearby boater, Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman Jennifer Schulz said.

The black Mercedes-Benz sedan accelerated as it boarded the three-car Balboa Island Ferry, hitting the minivan and sending it into 15 feet of water, Schulz said.

The woman driving the Mercedes, which was left teetering off the front of the ferry with a smashed front bumper, told investigators that the car's accelerator got stuck.

She also was not injured. It was not clear whether she would face any charges, and a phone message left with Newport Beach police was not immediately returned.

James Donoghue, who was on a small tender boat nearby, helped the family out of the minivan's front windows and on to his boat, Schulz said. He told the Orange County Register that the mother was the last to get out, climbing onto his boat just 20 seconds before the van sank.

CALIFORNIA PUTS UP MAP OF OREGON WOLF'S TRAVELS: GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — People interested in the far-flung wanderings of Oregon's celebrity wolf, OR-7, can keep up with his progress on a new website.

The California Department of Fish and Game put up a map Friday showing the wolf's path since leaving Oregon and heading into the Cascade Range of Northern California.

In the interests of the wolf's safety, the department will delay posting locations on the map.

The most recent one puts OR-7 about 35 miles south of Alturas, Calif., heading toward Nevada.

The 2-year-old wolf was born in northeastern Oregon, and last September left his pack to seek out a mate and a new territory.

He crossed into California at the end of December and is the first wolf in California in more than 80 years.

WOMAN CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING COUNTERFEIT DVDS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — An Alhambra woman has been convicted of federal charges for trafficking more than 30,000 DVDS with counterfeit Dolby trademarks.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles say Dong Qun Lin was found guilty Friday of three counts of selling movies with the counterfeit trademarks. She also was convicted of conspiring with the owner of Tema Media, Inc., a Monterey Park retail store where Lin was employed.

Prosecutors say Tema Media sold counterfeit movies from China, some of which were compilation disks featuring the Chinese and American movies of actors such as Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

Tema Media owner Jackie Weisheng Chen previously pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods and is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

Lin faces up to 35 years in prison when she's sentenced in April.

 

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