u 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL FALLS OFF CALIFORNIA CLIFF: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 10-year-old girl was badly injured when she apparently fell off a Southern California cliff.
Los Angeles fire officials say the girl was with her family on Saturday when she fell about 15 to 20 feet down the cliff at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. Rescuers were able to reach the girl and she was taken to a hospital where she’s listed in critical condition with head injuries.
The Point Fermin cliffs, in Los Angeles’ San Pedro neighborhood, have a history of fatal falls including the2007 death of University of Southern California kicker Mario Danelo.
u JUDGE ORDERS $1M RETURNED TO CALIFORNIA WOMAN: LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the government to return more than $1 million seized in a traffic stop to a California woman, plus interest.
Tasha Mishra, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., sued earlier this year after Nebraska authorities seized the $1,074,900 in cash she says was her life savings earned over years as an exotic dancer.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said Thursday in an opinion that government lawyers failed to prove the money was connected to illegal drugs, as it had claimed, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Saturday.
A Nebraska state trooper seized the money after a March 3 traffic stop on Interstate 80 near North Platte.
Police arrested a husband and wife in the car, who told officers that friends — Tasha and Rajat Mishra — had given them the money to invest in a New Jersey night club.
The two people were released without charges, but state officials kept the money, saying a drug-sniffing dog had indicated drug residue on the cash and the large amount indicated it was obtained in the illegal drug trade.
Tasha Mishra filed a claim to get the money back, but the government argued she had no standing to object to the seizure because she wasn’t in the car at the time it was taken.
The judge disagreed, saying fingerprints on the bags containing the money belonged to the Mishras, and the Mishras showed they had claimed the earnings on tax returns and provided details about an agreement they had to buy part of a New Jersey bar.
Bataillon said he was troubled by a Nebraska State Patrol policy to convert the cash into a cashier’s check and destroy the money, which means there’s no way to rebut accusations that it was tainted with drug residue.
He also said the police dog’s indication of drugs on the cash was of little value as evidence.
u SERVICE HONORS 2 FIREFIGHTERS KILLED IN ARIZ. : NEWPORT BEACH (AP) — Two cousins who were killed in an Arizona wildfire last month with 17 other members of an elite Hotshots firefighting crew were remembered in California on Saturday.
A public memorial service was held for Grant McKee, 21, and Robert Caldwell, 23, at a church in Newport Beach. More than 300 people attended, including firefighters from Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.
Tools, uniforms and boots were displayed near an altar next to McKee’s and Caldwell’s portraits, according to the Orange County Register.
The cousins were among 19 firefighters who were killed June 30 when they were overrun by flames. The crew’s 20th member survived.
McKee was engaged and training to become an emergency medical technician. Caldwell was a newlywed and worked as a squad boss with the Hotshots.
McKee’s former youth football coach Kirk Norton spoke of his upbeat attitude and relentless spirit.
“I met him as a team player and he went down as a team player,” Norton said. “I really miss my hero.”