MOTORIST FACES TRIAL IN ELECTROCUTION DEATHS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man has been ordered to stand trial for vehicular manslaughter in spite of his attorney's argument that the electrocution deaths of two good Samaritans trying to help after the crash were not his fault.
The lawyer, Andrew Flier, said he could find no case in history comparable to that of Aman Samsonian, the driver of an SUV that hit a fire hydrant and electrical pole. Two women who witnessed the crash waded into electrified water to help and died. The driver and others suffered electric shocks.
A Los Angeles judge who heard testimony Wednesday from eight witnesses including a man whose wife perished concluded that Samsonian was driving with gross negligence and had a disregard for the safety of others when he caused the accident. Arraignment was set for Aug. 7.
M4.3 EARTHQUAKE SHAKES KERN COUNTY WILDERNESS: LAKE ISABELLA (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 has shaken a sparsely populated area of Kern County south of Lake Isabella.
The USGS says the tremor occurred at 9:46 a.m. Wednesday, 11 miles south of the tiny community of Weldon and 25 miles northeast of Tehachapi.
The quake occurred at a depth of less than two miles.
The region is at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada.
PERSECUTED GAY IMMIGRANT ALLOWED TO STAY IN US : SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal judges have permitted a gay Filipino immigrant to stay in the U.S. despite deportation orders because he has suffered persecution for his sexual orientation in his native land.
In a decision issued Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco says 37-year-old Dennis Vitug was harassed and threatened by police in his native Philippines for being a homosexual.
He moved to the U.S. in 1999 and overstayed a tourist visa while working in the Los Angeles area and studying fashion design.
Vitug became addicted to methamphetamine and was convicted of possession several times.
An immigration appeals panel had ordered him removed from the country over the drug convictions.
The court said Wednesday that Vitug was persecuted in the Philippines and ordered officials to withhold his removal.