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State news briefs
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DRIVER REACHING FOR DRINK HITS WOMAN, 3 CHILDREN: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Authorities say an unlicensed driver reaching for a spilled drink ran onto a sidewalk in San Diego and struck a mother and three children.

It happened Thursday afternoon in the Rolando neighborhood.

Police say the 18-year-old driver reached for a drink that fell from the console and lost control. Her BMW crossed lanes and drove onto the sidewalk, hitting a woman and her three children.

Fire officials said that one child was trapped but a half-dozen bystanders lifted up the back of the car to free her.

Police say a 6-year-old girl suffered a broken leg. Her two sisters, ages 4 and 5, and their mother had scrapes.

The driver wasn't arrested but the crash investigation continues.

EX-STATE SENATE CANDIDATE SUES OVER SCHOOL CLOSURE: CARLSBAD  (AP) — A former state Senate candidate has filed a $21 million lawsuit against California for shutting down her one-room private university.

Xanthi Gionis sued Wednesday in federal court, alleging breach of contract and state code violations.

Gionis founded Aristotle University in Carlsbad. Some students said class met once a week and consisted mainly of videos. The for-profit school was ordered to close in January.

The lawsuit names state officials, a former nursing instructor at the university and Sen. Mark Wyland, a Carlsbad Republican who'd reportedly called the school a "diploma mill."

Wyland says the state Department of Consumer Affairs found the school was taking advantage of students but Gionis says she was the victim of a smear campaign that derailed her Senate run.

MORE CA CITIES MOVING TO SHUT MARIJUANA CLINICS: SAN BERNARDINO . (AP) — More California cities are moving against medical marijuana dispensaries following a state Supreme Court ruling permitting them to ban the clinics.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says San Bernardino authorities raided a clinic on Thursday, seizing 30 pounds of marijuana and citing four people for operating a pot shop. The city's also sent closure notices to some 30 clinics with threats of $1,000-a-day fines.

In Riverside County, the Beaumont City Council will consider a ban on May 21 and Murrieta officials are considering drafting one.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in a Riverside case. Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos says he's trying to shut down 10 remaining dispensaries. He wants the U.S. attorney's office to notify property owners that the clinics are illegal under federal law.

LAKE ELSINORE INSTALLS FLOATING TOILETS: LAKE ELSINORE (AP) — Heads ahoy! Floating toilets have returned to Lake Elsinore.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says two solar-powered johns were launched at the Southern California resort this week. They replace two decade-old toilets removed last season.

The toilets, which resemble wooden cabins, could help boaters avoid a long journey back to shore. They're near the southwest shore of the lake where public restrooms are sparse.

Each has two stalls and uses lake water to flush. A double-hulled holding tank prevents anything from, ahhh, muddying the waters. The toilets will be periodically towed back and pumped out on shore.

State and federal funds paid for the toilets, which cost $65,000 each and should last a decade.

Several other California lakes also have floating restrooms.

EMPLOYEE INJURED IN DRIVER CRASH AT HOSPITAL: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Authorities say a man driving a minivan crashed through a window at Valley Medical Center Friday morning, injuring a hospital employee.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kurtis Stenderup says one of their deputies was finishing up paperwork at a hospital security office just before 4 a.m. when he heard a loud crash.

Stenderup says he responded to the scene of the crash in a few seconds, and found the driver and a hospital employee were both injured.

The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident because the hospital lies in an unincorporated area of San Jose.


ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR CONTRACTOR: SANTA BARBARA  (AP) — Santa Barbara County authorities have issued an arrest warrant for an unlicensed contractor who is accused of scamming nearly $5 million from people who lost their homes in two wildfires.

The Santa Barbara News-Press reports 63-year-old Penny Estes is charged with grand theft, diverting construction funds and financial elder abuse. Estes remains at large and hasn't been seen in a year.

Authorities say Estes attended meetings following the wildfires and talked about her company that made fire-resistant building blocks. She then allegedly collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in advance fees before falling out of contract. Some of the homes were left unfinished.

Authorities believe Estes used construction funds she collected to cover hotel stays, department store purchases and travel expenses.