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POSTED January 24, 2013 9:31 p.m.

BUT WAS HE DRIVING A CHEVY? ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — "American Pie" singer Don McLean has been fined $400 for driving his Chrysler too fast through a school zone in Maine and has paid the levy.

McLean had contested the charge in September, saying school zone warning lights weren't flashing. He had requested a trial.

Police said during a 40-minute proceeding in Rockland District Court on Thursday the warning lights were flashing.

Judge Patricia Worth found McLean had been speeding in a school zone in Rockport. But she lowered what would be a $515 fine if uncontested to $400.

McLean lives in nearby Camden, along Maine's coast. He burst into popularity in 1971 with his hit "American Pie," about the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 — The Day the Music Died.

POLICE: DRIVER CAUSED 15 CRASHES, DAMAGE, DEATH: SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Police in the Atlanta area say a 70-year-old driver caused 15 crashes that left one person dead and another critically injured.

Gwinnett County Police say in a news release that Michael O. Snider of Stone Mountain left a trail of wreckage Wednesday night on streets in two counties in northern Atlanta's suburbs.

Snider was apprehended after slamming into a restaurant in Snellville. Jail records do not show whether he has an attorney. He has been charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving.

Police say Snider is suspected of causing five wrecks in DeKalb County and 10 more in Gwinnett County. The fatal crash, which happened just before the restaurant was rammed, involved a chain-reaction collision that killed 69-year-old Mintiwab Woldeyhans of Loganville.

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS TARGET "SWATTING' PRANK: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California lawmakers are taking aim at the practice of "swatting," which has sent police on fake emergency calls to the homes of Tom Cruise and other stars.

The Los Angeles Times says a bill announced Wednesday by state Sen. Ted Lieu would permit longer sentences for those convicted of making false police reports. A similar measure was introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

Lieu says prank reports of violence or robbery at the homes of stars could provoke a tragic accident.

Last week, Beverly Hills police responded to a fake armed robbery call at Tom Cruise's house. Other hoax calls have been made involving the homes of Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Miley Cyrus.

GOVERNOR CALLS SPECIAL SESSION ON HEALTH REFORM: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is calling a special legislative session to implement parts of the federal health care overhaul in California.

Brown issued a proclamation Thursday calling on lawmakers to convene Monday.

The governor says California needs to tweak some state laws to conform to new federal rules on health coverage. The state will need to make it easier for people to enroll in Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid.

The governor also is asking lawmakers to make accommodations for low-income individuals within the exchange.

California was the first state to authorize a health insurance exchange, which will be an online marketplace for buying insurance, after passage of the federal Affordable Care Act in 2010.

PA. DAD SENTENCED FOR SON'S ACCIDENTAL GUN DEATH: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia drug dealer whose young son fatally shot himself with a gun that had been hidden in a sofa has been sentenced to nine to 18 years in prison.

Twenty-six-year-old Javier Merle apologized to his family and in-laws at his sentencing on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Merle had stashed heroin and a loaded 9mm pistol in the couch at his Kensington home. Four-year-old Javier Merle Jr. found the gun in July 2011 after his father went outside during a dispute with neighbors.

Merle pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drug charges in August.

 

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