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State news briefs
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PROSECUTORS: WOMAN SOLICITED UCSC ATTACKER ONLINE: SANTA CRUZ  (AP) — Prosecutors say a 20-year-old Isla Vista woman who falsely reported that she was raped on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus solicited her attacker on Craigslist in exchange for sex.

Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Johanna Schonfield said Friday that Morgan Triplett orchestrated the event by posting online ads seeking assailants after breaking up with a boyfriend.

Authorities say Triplett on Feb. 17 told police she was walking along a wooded path when the alleged rapist attacked her.

Campus police later determined that Triplett made the story up.

Triplett, a University of California, Santa Barbara student, pleaded not guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor of giving false information to a police officer. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports she is due back in court May 23 for a preliminary hearing.

AUTHORITIES TALLY 9 ARRESTS IN NITROUS CRACKDOWN: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say they've arrested nine people so far in a crackdown on nitrous oxide for its illegal use as a recreational drug.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Mike Parker says Friday's arrests were part of federal raids on 17 auto parts stores in Southern California last week.

Four were arrested by Food and Drug Administration agents on federal misdemeanor charges. Five others were arrested on weapons or narcotics charges.

Authorities seized more than 640 nitrous oxide tanks estimated at $20 million in street value. Authorities said more arrests could be expected.

Nitrous oxide is legally used by dentists for anesthesia, to pressurize whipped cream canisters and to speed up race cars. But authorities say its illegal use has spurred fatal car accidents, rapes and teen deaths.

PETALUMA COUPLE KILLED IN I-80 BIG RIG CRASH: DAVIS  (AP) — Authorities have released the identities of the two people killed in a fiery crash on a Northern California highway that occurred after the driver of a big rig choked on food and lost consciousness.

The Solano County Coroner's Office said Friday the victims are 76-year old Phang Phetsomphou and his wife, 74-year-old Bouaket Phetsomphou, of Petaluma.

Authorities say they were in a BMW traveling westbound on Interstate 80 near Sacramento on Thursday morning when they were struck head on by a big rig that had crossed the median.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the truck driver, 45-year-old John Manuszak of Fresno, was driving eastbound when he choked on food, lost consciousness and went across the highway and over the center divider.

Manuszak and three other people in two separate vehicles all suffered minor injuries.

MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO HUMBOLDT CO. MURDERS: EUREKA  (AP) — A man accused of running down three joggers in Humboldt County, killing one, and slaying another woman at her home has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Eureka Times-Standard reports that Jason Warren entered the pleas Thursday in Humboldt County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say Warren ran down the runners on Sept. 27, killing Humboldt State University geography professor Suzanna Seemann and injuring severely her two running partners.

Warren is also accused of slaying 47-year-old Dorothy Ulrich at her home. Her body was found during the hit-and-run investigation.

He is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder plus special circumstances that could qualify him for the death penalty.

The judge also placed a gag order on the case, which bars attorneys from discussing it with the media. TEEN FOIL ATTEMPTED KIDNAP IN SAN DIEGO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police say a teenager was treated for minor injuries after fending off a kidnap attempt as she walked down a street in the Emerald Hills area.

Officer Davis Stafford tells U-T San Diego that a white van was parked on the street when the 17-year-old walked by just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

He says a man in the front passenger seat tried to pull her into the van but she fought back and the driver pulled away.

Stafford says she fell and was dragged a short distance but broke free. He says she was treated at a local hospital for a gash on her forehead.

No arrests have been made.