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State news briefs
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STOCKTON  (AP) — The civil lawsuit accusing a Central Valley priest of child abuse is continuing despite the fact that the priest has fled to his native Ireland.

The Diocese of Stockton learned this week that Michael Kelly left the country. A civil jury had found Kelly, a former priest in the diocese, liable for the molestation of an altar boy who said he was abused by Kelly in the 1980s.

Kelly fled just as he was set to testify in the second phase of the trial to determine whether the diocese was also at fault.

The presiding judge told jurors on Wednesday that they would have to decide whether Kelly's absence was an attempt to limit evidence against the diocese.

Attorneys in the case have been allowed to present Kelly's deposition.

6 hurt as car smashes into LA medical building

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles authorities say an elderly driver trying to avoid another car smashed into a San Fernando Valley medical building, injuring six people, three critically.

Police Capt. John Egan said  that the driver of a station wagon tried to avoid hitting a left-turning car and veered into a parking lot at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Her station wagon hit a woman and smashed into the entryway of a medical and dental building, pinning two employees at a reception counter. One employee had two broken legs.

The three victims were taken to a hospital in critical condition but their injuries aren't considered life-threatening.

Three other people were treated at the scene for lesser injuries.

Bill inspired by BART cell service shutdown

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban public agencies from shutting down cellphone service without judicial approval.

The legislation by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla was inspired by a transit agency's decision to turn off wireless communications in its San Francisco stations last year to quell a planned protest. The action by the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority touched off weeks of demonstrations and a national debate over cellphone service control.

Padilla's bill would bar such a blackout unless the agency obtains a court order.

It unanimously passed out of a Senate committee Tuesday and faces additional hearings this year.

BART later adopted a policy that allowed shutdowns only in emergencies, such as a discovery of a cellphone-controlled bomb. The bill would supersede that policy.