August 2, 2015

Colorado woman charged in fiery fatal crash on I-80 in Nebraska

Police-car-lights[1]A Colorado woman has been charged in a fiery fatal crash on Interstate 80.

The Nebraska State Patrol says 36-year-old Laura Foster has been charged with motor vehicle homicide and driving while intoxicated in the wreck in west-central Nebraska.

According to NSP, 43-year-old Angela Miller of Ravenna died in the crash.

NRP reports Miller was traveling east on I-80 near Paxton when her pick-up was rear-ended by an SUV driven by Foster. Miller lost control of the pick-up, it crossed the median and ran onto the westbound lane of traffic, crashing into a semi tractor-trailer carrying hazardous material. The tanker burst into flames.

A hazardous materials crew had to clean up the mess.

The patrol closed I-80 between Paxton and Sutherland for a time Thursday night due to smoke from the burning semi.

Brent Weithorn, KXPN, contributed to this report.


Florida woman who drowned puppy in airport restroom sentenced

A Florida woman accused of drowning a 3-week-old puppy in the restroom of a central Nebraska airport has been placed on probation for two years.

57-year-old Cynthia Anderson of Edgewater apologized and pleaded for mercy during her court appearance in Hall County in Grand Island Thursday.

In May, Anderson pleaded no contest to a charge of cruel neglect of an animal resulting in its death.

The Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island stopped Anderson from boarding a flight on January 23rd, because the puppy was not in a proper container. Authorities say Anderson was seen entering the restroom. Another woman later reported finding the carcass of the Doberman puppy in a toilet.

AK-47 Bandit, wanted in Nebraska bank robbery, strikes in Iowa

The suspect held up the Mason City, Iowa, credit union on Tuesday.

The suspect held up the Mason City, Iowa, credit union on Tuesday.

Authorities believe the man who held up a credit union in Iowa this week is the suspect known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” who’s wanted in multiple bank heists in several states, including one in Nebraska.

Police Lieutenant Rich Jensen, in Mason City, Iowa, says the man walked into the Iowa Heartland Credit Union on Tuesday, armed with a semi-automatic AK-47 assault rifle. He demanded money, forced employees into the vault, then fled in a Toyota Camry.

“In previous robberies, the suspect used a dark-colored Nissan Maxima with chrome door handles,” Jensen says. “The suspect left behind an improvised explosive device that was rendered safe by the FBI and the local fire marshal.”

Though he was wearing a ski mask, Jensen says it’s believed he’s the same suspect responsible for robberies in at least four other states, including a 2014 hold-up in Nebraska City. Jensen says he’s very dangerous.

“This suspect shot and wounded a Chino, California, police officer after robbing a bank in 2012 and has since been linked to four bank robberies and one attempted bank robbery in multiple states, using the same rifle,” Jensen says.

Lieutenant Andy Bjelland, with the Chino (California) Police Department, says the Chino robbery happened after the suspect phoned in a bomb threat at another facility as a distraction before robbing the bank.

Upon arrival at the bank, an officer interrupted what appeared to be a carjacking by the suspect. He fired at the officer and left the officer seriously wounded. The officer has had several major surgeries since the incident but is now back on duty.

Bjelland says ten days later, the suspect unsuccessfully attempted to rob a bank in Sacramento, California, and then three days later, he robbed a Vacaville, California bank. Since then, he robbed a North Bend, Washington, bank in July 2012, a Rexburg, Idaho, bank in November 2012 and the First Nebraska Bank branch in Nebraska City, Nebraska, in August of last year.

While the suspect fled the Mason City bank in a dark-colored 2007-to-2009 Toyota Camry, he had previously used a chrome-packaged 2009-to-2011 Nissan Maxima. Bjelland calls it “a significant change.”

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the man’s capture.

Three arrested in October armed robbery of Kearney credit union

Three men suspected of robbing a Kearney credit union last year have been arrested.

U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg reports 29-year-old Patrick Wigley and 28-year-old Thomas Dunlap have been arrested in Chicago. They are to be transferred to Lincoln by United States Marshals.

crime-scene-houseThe third suspect, 28-year-old Clifton Hudson, has been arrested in Kearney and will also be transported to Lincoln to face charges.

According to federal prosecutors, on the morning of October 17th two men wearing work clothes and hardhats entered the Kearney Eaton Employees Credit Union. One pulled what tellers believed to be a handgun. Both jumped the counter, herded employees into an office, and forced them to lie on the floor.

The suspects bound the hands of the employees, went into the vault, and took nearly $123,000.

Brent Weithorn, KXPN, contributed to this report.

Former Panhandle police chief fined for lying on form

gavel thumbnailA former western Nebraska police chief has been fined $2,000 and stripped of his law enforcement certification for filing false documents with the city of Minatare and the state Law Enforcement Training Academy.

49-year-old Robert Regester was convicted on two counts of abusing public records after entering a plea of no contest.

Prosecutors accuse Regester of lying on forms submitted to the city and the academy on which he claimed to have completed a firearms course. Regester completed only one of the 20 hours of continuing education required by law.