• BOY CATAPULTED ACROSS ROOM WHEN TRUCK HITS SANTA ROSA HOME: SANTA ROSA (AP) — Authorities say an 11-year-old Sonoma County boy is lucky to be alive after a pickup crashed into his bedroom, split his bed in half and catapulted him across the room and through a closet door.
Liam Fitzsimmons was sleeping in his Santa Rosa home at 4 a.m. Monday when the truck barreled through the wall.
The 11-year-old, who was not badly injured, tells the newspaper he remembers waking up in his closet amid crumbled plaster and wood.
The driver ran away but was arrested several hours later in Novato.
Police say 23-year-old Timothy Charles Bendana could face charges including hit-and-run with injury, possession of marijuana and running a hash lab.
• PICKUP TRUCK KILLS 71-YEAR-OLD WOMAN SLEEPING IN HER BED: LANCASTER (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say a man crashed his pickup truck into a house and killed a 71-year-old woman sleeping in her bed.
A Monday sheriff’s statement says 25-year-old Aaron Daniel Benson was driving a silver Toyota Tacoma in Lancaster late Sunday night and ran into several vehicles on both sides of a street.
The truck then rammed into the house and came to rest on top of the woman, who was the only one home and was declared dead at the scene. Her identity has not been released.
Benson was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. He’s being held on $1 million bail.
• JOSHUA TREE CLIMBING AREA CLOSED WHILE RAPTORS NEST: JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK (AP) — A rock climbing area at Joshua Tree National Park has been temporarily closed because two nesting raptors have made it their home.
The park said in a statement Monday that the climbing area known as the “Towers of Uncertainty” has been shut down and the closure may last until June.
The park says the pair appears to have finished building a nest and the closure is meant to ensure the protection of the species until they abandon it.
The closure is unlikely to last past June 15.
• MAN ATTEMPTS GUINNESS RECORD AS OLDEST PILOT: PLACERVILLE (AP) — A 95-year-old Northern California man is trying to set a Guinness World Record as the planet’s oldest active pilot.
Peter Weber Jr. flew three looping circles around an airfield near Sacramento on Monday, reportedly qualifying him for the record book.
Guinness lists Cole Kugel as the oldest pilot ever. Kugel, who lived in Longmont, Colo., flew for the last time in 2007 at age 105.
He died the same year, the newspaper reported.
Weber says the record keepers have designated a new category: Oldest qualified pilot still licensed and flying solo.
He has been a pilot for 72 years and says he flies about twice a month.
Weber, who began military service as a private, retired from the Air Force in 1970 as a lieutenant colonel.
• LATE CHINCHILLA RANCHER’S PETA SUIT DISMISSED IN CALIFORNIA: VISTA (AP) — A California judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by an elderly chinchilla rancher against the animal rights group PETA.
Lurlie Adams — who died at age 90 in December, two months after filing her suit — alleged that her reputation was ruined when PETA described her now-shuttered Adams Valley Chinchilla Ranch in press reports as a “fur farm” that mistreated and killed the furry rodents.
U-T San Diego reported Monday that Superior Court Judge Timothy Casserly found that Adams was not entitled to damages because PETA’s claim was protected by free speech.
PETA and one of its donors bought the chinchilla ranch and shut it down.