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TROOPERS DRIVE 87-YEAR-OLD ACROSS UTAH TO SEE SON: SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Hitting a patrol car isn’t the best way to end a traffic stop, but it worked out for one 87-year-old Nevada woman rushing to see her ailing son 350 miles away in Utah.

Four Utah Highway Patrol troopers ferried Helen “Skeeter” Smith across Utah on Friday, each driving her part of the way to an Ogden hospital where her son was being treated for an unnamed condition.

The Panaca, Nevada, woman was pulled over for driving too closely to Trooper Jeff Jones’ patrol car at about 7 p.m. Friday in the central Utah town of Fillmore.

“He was all nice,” Smith said. “Oh, yeah. He was just doing his job.”

Jones let her go with a warning. But as Smith drove away, she accidently put her car in reverse and hit his patrol car. She told him where she was going while they dealt with the dent.

Convinced it might not be safe for Smith to drive, Jones arranged for her car to be moved to a secure place and be picked up by her family. He then drove Smith north to Juab County, where Trooper Jared Jensen picked her up and escorted her to Utah County.

There, they met up with Trooper Chris Bishop, and he drove Smith to Salt Lake County. Trooper Andrew Pollard then completed the approximately 180-mile journey to Ogden Regional Medical Center with her. They arrived at 10:30 p.m.

“She was very excited to tell me about her dogs, her cat and her hometown,” Pollard said. “To hold her hand walking into the hospital was very, very rewarding.”

Smith said she was grateful she didn’t have to brave the freeway alone late at night.

Plus, she enjoyed her travel companions. “Four good-lookin’ patrol boys brought me,” she told KUTV. 


US: POSTAL WORKER SAYS SHE STOLE OUT OF BOREDOM: TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — Federal authorities say a Detroit-area postal employee accused of stealing as many as 2,000 pieces of mail said she did so out of boredom.

Sharon Berrien is accused of pocketing any cash from the mail and dumping the leftovers along Interstate 94. Most of the items were greeting cards.

Berrien was charged Monday with stealing mail while working at a Detroit mail processing center.

Investigators say she told them the thefts began last spring.

The probe started in October when mail was found along Pelham Road and Interstate 94 and given to the Taylor postmaster.

On Nov. 21, 800 pieces were found in Berrien’s trash. Three bags were inside in a closet.


MAN FALLS ASLEEP WHILE COOKING, DIES AFTER FIRE: BROWNSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state police say a man who fell asleep while cooking has been found dead after a house fire.

Troopers say it appears victim Anthony Joseph Willis tried to escape through a first-floor window of the Brownsville home but couldn’t.

Willis’ roommate tells police he started making food about 1 a.m. Sunday and then fell asleep as the food and stove caught fire. The roommate tells authorities he found Willis’ body in a first-floor living room about three hours later.

Police say the roommate told them a water line in the kitchen burst and extinguished the fire before firefighters could arrive.


‘EATEN ALIVE’ WATCHED BY 4.1 MILLION VIEWERS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive” special that pitted snake against man drew more than 4 million viewers, but not all considered it time well spent.

Although the title and a promotional video indicated that naturalist Paul Rosolie would be swallowed by a giant anaconda, Sunday’s pre-taped special didn’t go that far.

Rosolie, described by Discovery as a snake researcher and conservationist, ended his Amazon jungle encounter with the snake after it encircled his body and began squeezing. Wearing bulky protective gear, Rosolie escaped with a sore arm but uneaten.