November 24, 2014

Fairfield man dies of injuries suffered in wreck caused by icy roads

A 56-year-old Fairfield man has died of injuries suffered in a weather-related accident this past weekend south of Hastings.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports Steven Anthony lost control of his SUV on an icy road Saturday, crossed the center line, and struck a pick-up. The driver of the pick-up and two passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Idaho man clings to life after setting self on fire at Beatrice gas station

An Idaho man is being treated at a Lincoln hospital for life-threatening injuries after walking to a  Beatrice convenience store, pouring gasoline on himself, and setting himself on fire.

Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang says 28-year-old Matthew Luedeman walked up to a gas pump at the Cenex gas station early this morning with no shirt and no shoes on.

“Turned the gas pump on, held the nozzle above his head and poured gasoline on himself. He then set himself on fire,” Lang says. “After the fire had extinguished itself, he went back to the gas pump and attempted to pour more gasoline on himself. Due to the quick action of the clerk at Cenex, she shut the pump off so he was not able to put anymore gasoline on himself.”

Lang says the man went inside the gas station and chased the clerk outside. She called police.

Luedeman cut himself with a pair of scissors, then attempted to cut his throat with an ice scraper. An officer subdued Luedeman with a Taser. He was flown to Lincoln, suffering life-threatening injuries.

Lang says Luedeman has no history of mental illness or substance abuse and it isn’t known what triggered his behavior.

Lang says police have found no reason for his actions and had just been alerted that his family was looking for him.

“At the point that the call came in about him setting himself on fire at Cenex, we were on the phone with Idaho authorities, because they had pinged his cell phone and located him here in Gage County,” according to Lang. “His family had been concerned about him for several days, because he had made some somewhat irrational phone calls to them.”

Lang says Luedeman has been working as a mechanical engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He had no history of mental illness or substance abuse.

Lang says the entire incident was caught on a video surveillance camera. He described the video as graphic and disturbing.

Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, contributed to this story.

Fremont teen found outside in bitter cold dies

A Fremont teen-ager has died after being found outside in the cold Sunday morning by a city worker removing snow.

Fremont police say 16-year-old Jaime Valdez was found outside early Sunday morning in temperatures hovering near zero, with wind chills of around minus 15. Police say relatives took the boy to Fremont Health hospital before officers arrived on the scene. Valdez was transferred to an Omaha hospital. He was pronounced dead later on Sunday.

12-year-old pulled from school swimming pool in Omaha has died

NathanHale2A 12 year old Omaha boy that was pulled from a school swimming pool Thursday has died.

Omaha police have identified him as Demariont’e Brown-Elliot.

Police say Brown-Elliot attended Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School and was in the swimming pool for physical education class.  It was toward the end of the period and the children were given free time to swim.  Other students noticed that Brown-Elliott was not responsive and he was immediately pulled from the pool.  School staff started CPR and that continued until the rescue squad arrived.

Brown-Elliot was taken to Immanuel Hospital in extremely critical condition.

Cold weather fire prevention reminders

Four recent house fires in Omaha could have been prevented. Omaha Battalion Chief Tim McCaw says now that the cold weather is here there are several things you need to do to protect your home.

Chief McCaw says if you are using space heaters make sure you do not overload electrical outlets. Be careful with the cord and do not place it under a rug. The same goes for Christmas tree and other holiday lighting.   Keep space heaters away from blankets, throws and furniture and never leave it running in a room unattended. He says the same goes for candles.

Chief McCaw says fireplaces are another big concern and they have already battled several of those in the past few weeks. One fire in Omaha was caused when flames jumped to the ceiling. He says make sure your fireplace and chimney are properly maintained and regularly cleaned.

Kitchens get quite a workout this time of hear as families prepare holiday meals. Chief McCaw says they also get a lot of calls this time of year about kitchen fires. He says many times fires are caused by food left unattended on the stove.