<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:35 -0700 Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:35 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Is Umbilical Cord Blood Banking Worth the Cost?]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:05:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/main10.jpg

A newborn child’s umbilical cord contains valuable stem cells. Millions of parents spend thousands to privately bank their baby’s cord blood in the hope that it could be used to cure it of certain diseases in the future. The umbilical cord blood business is huge, estimated at $4 billion dollars worldwide. The Bay Area is home to the biggest private blood bank of them all, Cord Blood Registry (CBR).

“We are the world’s largest family cord blood bank. We have over a half million individual samples in storage,” Cord Blood Registry CEO Geoff Crouse, said.

The company’s website and brochures tout the many benefits of storing cord blood. What they don’t emphasize is that very few children ever receive treatment from their own stem cells.

“There’s a low likelihood of use, but still a probability,” said Crouse. “We’ve had 100 families benefit from using stem cells in their current application.”

That’s 100 families out of the 500,000 who have used CBR’s services.

Those services do not come cheap. Private banking typically costs about $1500 in up-front costs. Families can expect to pay another $150 a year to store the blood indefinitely.

Customer Complaints

Some customers haven’t been happy with the results. Out of 26 unfiltered, or recommended, Yelp reviews, more than half of CBR’s ratings were 1 or 2 stars. Complaints range from problems with customer service, billing, and cancellations to how the company collects samples.

Khash Chamlou wrote one of those negative reviews. “I felt so wronged, and just a victim of this corporation basically,” Chamlou said.

He and his wife live in San Francisco now, but were in Iceland when they signed up with CBR to store their son’s cord blood. Chamlou said CBR assured him there wouldn’t be any problems shipping his blood to the US.

“My number one concern was: Would it get to the office?” Chamlou said.

The sample did get to the lab, but once it arrived, the cord blood was no longer viable. “It just basically died and rotted on the shelf, and they tried to do an extraction, but they weren’t able to get a sufficient sample,” Chamlou said.

Chamlou received an email from Cord Blood Registry’s CEO expressing concern, but that wasn’t enough for him. “It was such a loss for me,” Chamlou said.

CBR’s CEO said the company is different now. “We’ve absolutely changed the process as the industry has evolved, and there’s more and more banks available, internationally,” said Crouse. “Our first recommendation is to bank within the country where the baby is born.”

An Industry With Little Regulation

As the Investigative Unit revealed in February, the private cord blood storage industry is very loosely regulated.

Unlike restaurants or nail salons, cord blood facilities are not regularly inspected. The FDA uses a “risk-based approach” and only inspects about 30 banks each year out of 310.

In some of those inspections, the FDA found unsanitary conditions, including insects.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics tells parents not to pay for private cord blood banking at all. In a policy paper, the organization writes, “Private storage of cord blood as biological insurance should be discouraged.”

The organization says if a child comes down with a serious illness that stem cells could treat, the banked cord blood would likely have the disease as well. In this case, the child might benefit more from a transplant of someone else’s stem cells from a public bank.

Public Donation

“The use of your own child has been oversold a bit by the private or family banks,” said Susan Pontow, Co-Director of the UC Davis Cord Blood Collection Program.

Some hospitals are set up to give families the option of donating their newborn’s cord blood to a public bank where it can be used to treat someone else.

“It’s a way to save a life right after you’ve given life,” Pontow said. “When a mother donates her unit, it can be used for anybody in the whole world. It’s really a global network.”

In California, donated blood is stored at the San Diego Blood Bank. The bank’s CEO, David Wellis, says donated cord blood is much more likely to save a life. “We have about 2,000 cord blood donors registered on the national marrow program, bethematch.org,” said Wellis. “147 patients have benefitted from the cord blood units that we’ve stored [in California.]”

Statewide, 11 hospitals offer the option to donate, but none are in the Bay Area. The state wants to increase awareness about the benefits of public donation and expand the number of hospitals that offer it.

For now, parents who pay for private cord blood banking should know they’re paying for an insurance policy they are unlikely to use.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Carroll
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<![CDATA[Softball-Sized Hail in Texas]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:30:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hail-stormchaser.jpg

Softball-sized hail destroyed the windshield of a car driven by storm chasers in North Texas Sunday afternoon.

Lawrence McEwen and Spencer Basoco were chasing a supercell storm in Erath County southeast of Stephenville when they came upon the intense storm that spawned numerous twisters and several inches of rain.

Cameras were rolling inside as stone after stone slammed into the car, some estimated to be five inches in diameter, shattering the windshield.

One of the storm chasers, covered in shards of glass, put on goggles to protect his eyes as they tried to find shelter out of fear the windshield wouldn't hold.

NBC 5 Meteorologist Brian James referred to the softball-sized hail as ice bombs that explode when they slam into cars or glass.

As the chasers waited out the storm, huge hail stones could be seen bouncing off the ground outside.

The windshield took at least three direct hits and was destroyed by the time the storm subsided.

Neither of the chasers reported any serious injuries.

It is never recommended to be outside during a hailstorm and, even when inside, people are advised to stay clear of windows due to flying objects and debris.

The National Weather Service was checking on reports that as many as 18 tornadoes hit North Texas on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Lawrence McEwen, Spencer Basoco]]>
<![CDATA[Tornado Levels Ill. Suburb, 2 Dead]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:06:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fairdale+0410.jpg

A deadly and devastating tornado tore through a northwest Chicago suburb Thursday evening, killing at least two people and leaving behind a trail of damage across several counties.

The twister leveled the small town of Fairdale in DeKalb County, killing 67-year-old Geradine M. Schultz and destroying about a quarter of the town's homes, fire officials confirmed. 

A second fatality was confirmed by Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday.

DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller said the second victim found in the wreckage was identified as 69-year-old Jacklyn Klosa.

Miller said Klosa was found in a bathroom around 10 a.m. Friday by rescue workers. She had last spoken to her sister, telling her she was going into the shower to take cover because she didn't have a basement. 

Miller said Schultz, who lives next door to Klosa, was found in the upstairs of her home by family members Thursday.

"She was removed from the home by family members and I took her from there," Miller said. 

An official on Friday morning said one person in the community was unaccounted for. Kirkland Community Fire District Chief Chad Connell said roughly 11 people were taken to hospitals. None had life-threatening injuries.

"The whole town was gone," said Daniel Prothero, who arrived at the scene shortly after the storm. "It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life. It was heartbreaking."

Of about 75 homes in the village of about 150 people, 17 were completely leveled. Roughly every structure in the town was damaged, Rockford Fire Department division chief Matthew Knott added.

"This town is absolutely devastated by the tornado," Knott said.

Sycamore Fire Chief Peter Polarek said there were lots of safety issues to consider and that crews began using heavy equipment to move debris. By Friday morning, crews had twice searched buildings. A third search was planned.

"We hope that our search will be fruitless in the sense that we won't find anybody, but we're going to go through all the spaces," he said. 

In Rochelle, about 20 miles to the southwest of Fairdale, several people were rescued from the basement of a restaurant buried by debris. Fire officials said no fatalities were reported during the rescue at Grubsteakers, but some suffered minor injuries.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian Van Vickle said there was an "outstanding response" from first response entities across Northern Illinois. 

Van Vickle said the storm left about 30 homes in the community uninhabitable or completely destroyed, including his own, and that access to the area would be limited only to credentialed residents until further notice.

The Summerfield Zoo in Belvidere, in Boone County, said it was also hit by a tornado, and two animals were killed. The zoo said no employees were hurt, and the remaining animals were accounted for and noted that the facility was severely damaged. 

"We are heart broken at the devastation," the zoo posted on Facebook Thursday night.

A tornado was first located moving northeast at 40 miles per hour over Cherry Valley near Rockford just before 7 p.m., the National Weather Service announced, and by 7:20 p.m. the tornado was spotted on the ground in DeKalb County. By 7:30 p.m. it had moved toward the Ogle, McHenry and Monroe Counties.

Tornadoes were reported in Marengo, Harvard, Belvidere, Kirkland, Hillcrest, Cherry Valley, Ashton and Franklin Grove. 

Hail the size of golf balls and wind gusts of up to 70 mph were reported in the Chicago-area storms after 7 p.m.

The Red Cross said it planned to deploy crews to help those impacted by the tornadoes. 

Patricia Kemp with the Red Cross said teams planned to assist residents of Rochelle and Kirkland and provide disaster relief to the many areas damaged. 

The storms canceled nearly 900 flights in the Chicago area with 850 flights canceled at O'Hare International Airport and 45 flights canceled at Midway International Airport. 

Tornado watches and warnings were issued across Illinois Thursday afternoon ahead of the storms as severe weather lingered through the late evening hours. 



Photo Credit: Paul Nagaro
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<![CDATA[Heald College, Part of Corinthian Network, Shuts Down ]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:34:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-20-2014-kamala-harris-corinthian.jpg

Roughly 16,000 students enrolled in a chain of troubled for-profit colleges are no longer able to take classes after the schools' parent company, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., announced Sunday it is ceasing all of its operations.

The Orange County-based school network has not yet made arrangements with other schools to find "continuing educational opportunities" at its 28 remaining campuses, which are closing effective Monday, the school said.

CCI added that it would rely on the help of regulatory agencies and partner institutions to place students enrolled at Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York. In the Bay Area, the company operates Heald College campuses in San Francisco, Hayward, Concord and San Jose, among others.

"It hurts as a student to have sacrificed so much time and money into this institution only for it to get shut down," Heald medical assistant student Bryan Lopez told NBC Bay Area on Monday. "I feel like I got slapped in the face by this and I feel sorry for  my peers who were weeks away from graduation."

Lopez said he hopes he can get transferred to another institution to finish the three quarters he has left. "If not, I'd appreciate the school dropping my debt."

Above all, Lopez said: "It hurts more than anything. It's like they just took my dreams and goals away from me and my money and expect me to start from beginning."

The announcement occurs less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education said it was fining the institution $30 million over misrepresentation. The department contends that Corinthian has not addressed allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records, The Associated Press reported.

The school was unable to sell off all its schools under a deal with the U.S. Department of Education, it said in a statement, though it has sold 56.

"Largely as a result of recent state and federal regulatory actions, we were unable to complete a sale, and our only option was to close our schools," CEO Jack Massimino wrote in a letter to students posted on the school's website. 

California Attorney General Kamala Harris sued Corinthian in 2013 for allegedly misrepresenting how many of its graduates were placed in jobs in actions she called “unconscionable” and “predatory." She also alleged that the chain advertised that it offered classes it did not.

It agreed the next year to sell 85 campuses and close a dozen more in an agreement with the Department of Education, which was closely monitoring school data, according to information submitted to a federal regulatory agency.

Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions, according to the AP. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.

NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez and Bay City News contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Bicyclist Dies in Sunnyvale, Major Traffic Collision]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:27:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bike26.jpg

A bicyclist died Monday morning near Fremont High School in Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale's Department of Public Safety issued the "major traffic collision" alert at 8:20 a.m. at the intersection of Fremont and Mary avenues. Traffic is affected in all areas, police said.

The death did not involve a student, police said.
 



Photo Credit: Alan Waples]]>
<![CDATA[Community Mourns 9-Year-Old Stabbed to Death]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jordanmemorial.jpg

Amidst the growing mounds of candles, flowers and teddy bears, were a San Francisco Giants balloon or two - a nod to the game of baseball that 9-year-old Jordan "Jordy" Almgren loved during his short life.

"This little guy was the most energetic on the team," Jordy's Little League coach Mike De Lambert told NBC affiliate KCRA on Sunday night. "Great smile. And he was infectious, in a positive way, to everybody that he came in contact with."

"He was really kind, really nice," said Kiran McWilliams, a longtime family friend.

The third grader at Timber Point Elementary School and avid "Angels" baseball player was killed Sunday morning in his Discovery Bay home in the 1800 block of Frost Way, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

About 3 p.m. that same day, 18-year-old William "Billy" Schultz, who friends say attends Liberty High School, was arrested at a Kaiser hospital in Antioch in connection with the brutal death after an alert nurse recognized him from social media, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Westermann said. She recognized him as being a suspect in the stabbing and told authorities that he was in the emergency department. What injuries he sustained were not made public.

Schultz is a friend of the boy's 9-year-old brother. Why someone would stab the third grader to death is still a mystery.

"Some things are just random," Westerman said, adding that "we're just trying to piece together what happened. what went wring and get a sense of this mess."

But neighbors said Schultz was always at the Almgren's home and may have been living here temporarily. Some say Schultz was kicked out of his own home, and may have been kicked out of the boy's home at some point as well.

One of Schultz's friends, Robbie Jones, said Schultz seemed OK to him.

"I just saw him at the gym," Jones said. "It didn't seem like anything was wrong with him."

Deputies said they are investigating Schultz's mental health background, but would not confirm on Sunday night whether he was last detained on a mental disorder hold for someone who may be dangerous.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the sheriff's office at (925) 646-2441.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[College Network End Classes for 16K]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 05:54:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP726758529250.jpg

Roughly 16,000 students enrolled in a chain of troubled for-profit colleges are no longer able to take classes after the schools' parent company, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., announced Sunday it is ceasing all of its operations.

The Orange County-based school network has not yet made arrangements with other schools to find "continuing educational opportunities" at its 28 remaining campuses, which are closing effective Monday, the school said.

CCI added that it would rely on the help of regulatory agencies and partner institutions to place students enrolled at Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York.

“Now we're going have to make a mad dash to find another option. For some of us this was our last resort," said Krisa Mata, a student who said she took out loans to attend CCI's Everest College in Reseda.

"It's the first thing I saw on my phone when I woke up. I have no idea what I'm gonna do now," she said.

The announcement occurs less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education said it was fining the institution $30 million over misrepresentation. The department contends that Corinthian has not addressed allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records, The Associated Press reported.

The school was unable to sell off all its schools under a deal with the U.S. Department of Education, it said in a statement, though it has sold 56.

"Largely as a result of recent state and federal regulatory actions, we were unable to complete a sale, and our only option was to close our schools," CEO Jack Massimino wrote in a letter to students posted on the school's website. 

California Attorney General Kamala Harris sued Corinthian in 2013 for allegedly misrepresenting how many of its graduates were placed in jobs in actions she called “unconscionable” and “predatory." She also alleged that the chain advertised that it offered classes it did not.

It agreed the next year to sell 85 campuses and close a dozen more in an agreement with the Department of Education, which was closely monitoring school data, according to information submitted to a federal regulatory agency.

Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions, according to the AP. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UC Berkeley Nepali Students Fundraise for Water Filters]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 23:56:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/water_napel_quake.jpg

The devastating earthquake in Nepal is affecting many people and students in the Bay Area.

At UC Berkeley, the Nepali Student Association is springing into action to help. Members are taking stock of what happened, with some saying they have family members who lost homes, or they have a tie to people who did not make it.

The students and an adviser are trying to do what they can to help with one immediate need--clean water and sanitation.

After the massive earthquake that ripped across the Himalayan nation, more than 2,500 people are believed to have been killed.

Students said they want to help, but at first, it was a rush to try and reach family.

"I tried to reach them," Cal student Lakpa Sherpa said. "I was so worried, and at around 4 a.m., I got a hold of them. That's when I was relieved, and I knew that they were all safe back home. Unfortunately, as days goes on, I hear that many friends didn’t make it."

Another student, Puja Dahal, said the people in Nepal will need fresh water to get through the aftermath of the magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

"We believe this is the most critical thing right now, which is water," Dahal said. "We’re going to buy water filters or purifiers for people in Nepal. "We're currently working to get organizations to help us get water purifiers to Nepal."

Organizers have set up a GoFundMe page for their cause. They said they will hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Airport Shuttle Causes Crash, Kills Teen on 80 in Solano Co]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 22:06:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

An investigation is underway into what caused an Airport Super Shuttle to cause a deadly crash, killing a teenage girl.

It happened about 1 a.m. Sunday on westbound Interstate 80 in Solano County. The 17-year-old teen pulled over to the shoulder. Another car with three people in it pulled in behind her.

That is when police said an airport shuttle driver slammed into that second car, pushing it through a fence. The shuttle then hit the teen's car, which slammed into the teenager standing nearby. The girl died, and everyone else had minor injuries.

Investigators said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla, Elon Musk Twitter Accounts Hacked]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:30:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-05-2014-tesla-logo-emblem.jpg

The Twitter accounts for Tesla and its founder Elon Musk were hacked Saturday.

The hacker or hackers promised free Teslas. The tweets went out to more than 2.5 million of Tesla's followers. Hacks directed readers to a residence in Oswego, Illinois.

Musk regularly teases news about Tesla or another of his companies, SpaceX, on the hacked account.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rescued Baby's 25-Year Reunion]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:22:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dumpster-robin-barton-dads.jpg

A man who was rescued from a Southern California dumpster as an infant has been reunited with his birth father after 25 years, thanks to the Santa Ana police officer credited with once saving his life.

Robin Barton's adoptive family only recently told him his infamous origin story: that he was left to die in a  dumpster until his rescuer discovered him and resuscitated him.

Barton, known as Baby "Adam" in the news reports surrounding the 1989 rescue, was barely breathing when officer Michael Buelna found him in Santa Ana. Buelna was investigating a stabbing in the area when neighbors waved him down, saying they'd heard a baby crying.

Barton, now 25, and Buelna reunited earlier this week. "When I first met him, it was slightly overwhelming. But it was just a wonderful moment," Barton said.

Barton said he and Buelna caught up on each other's lives when they reunited.

In their meeting, Barton mentioned that he was looking for his birth mother, who served time in prison for abandoning her child and was eventually deported.

Bartone hoped his mother might hear the story of his reunion with his rescuer and find him. Instead, news reports caught the attention of Barton's birth father, Marcos Meza, who'd been looking for him for years.

On Sunday, they finally met, along with two of Barton's five sisters. The reunion was thrilling, he told NBC4.

"Shock and awe, joy, happiness. I'm just overwhelmed," Barton said.

He was able to speak with his mother as well by phone, he said -- Santa Ana police said she was deported to Mexico after being released from prison.

Sunday morning, Barton was able to pose for pictures with both of his fathers -- all thanks to the police officer who stopped what he was doing when residents told them they'd heard a baby crying.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Beth Slepp-Paz/Archival photo]]>
<![CDATA[9-Year-Old Attempts Aerial Record]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:42:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/042615+Guinness+Aerials+Record.JPG

A 9-year-old girl from Orange County, Califronia, was head over heels Saturday as she attempted to break a world record for most consecutive aerials.

Ollivia Nguyen completed 42 of the handless cartwheels on a mat in an Anaheim gym in front of a cheering crowd and a Guinness World Record camera, according to her mother.

"In the beginning it feels easy because I have a lot of oxygen but at the end my breathing kind of gets heavy," Nguyen said in a practice before the record attempt.

Nguyen practiced for over six months to accomplish the feat, said her current coach, Sarah Eshom.

"We've worked on different techniques," Eshom said, "and once we found the technique that best fit her we started building up the numbers. We went from 10 to 20 to 30 and then now she's doing 40 consecutive with no problem."

The current record for “Most Consecutive Aerials-Breakdance,” is six, Anthony Yodice, a spokesman for Guinness World Records North America Inc., told the OC Register.

The idea of Nguyen breaking the record came from a conversation her mother, Nicholle Aguilar, had with another of Nguyen's coaches.

"(He) said, 'You know I think that she can really do this,'" Aguilar said. "He kind of put this in her heart or the inspiration in her heart."

The attempt was recorded and sent to Guinness World Record officials to verify the two-and-a-half minute video, according to the OC Register. Two certified gymnast instructors and a notary were present at the event.

"I believe in her and I knew she could do it, so we pursued it," Aguilar said at the pre-record attempt practice.



Photo Credit: Kevin Dahlgren]]>
<![CDATA[Napa High School Girls' Soccer Coach Arrested]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:12:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vargs_julian_mugshot.jpg

A Napa High School girls' soccer coach has been arrested after police said he tried to have sex with one of his players.

Officers arrested Julian Vargas just before 1 a.m. Sunday after the 16-year-old contacted them. The teen told investigators Vargas has been suggesting they have sex all week long. He then allegedly sent the victim a photo of his genitals on Saturday.

Police are now investigating if there are any other victims.



Photo Credit: Napa Police]]>
<![CDATA[Raw Video: Truck Goes Up in Flames]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:35:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bell-gardens-tanker-fire-710.gif

A huge ball of flames engulfed a gasoline tanker truck on a freeway outside of Los Angeles on Sunday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles and causing a traffic nightmare.

The double-tanker truck was hauling 8,800 gallons of gas on the southbound 710 Freeway when it jackknifed near the Florence Avenue exit in Bell and exploded in flames, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Dozens of firefighters arrived just after 3:30 p.m. to battle the huge fire, which could be seen as far as downtown Los Angeles.

Crews managed to extinguish the flames about an hour later. No injuries were immediately reported.

The driver escaped the crash with minor bumps and bruises, fire officials said. A passenger in the truck was also OK.

"(The driver) heard a loud pop. He looked in his rearview mirror and he noticed that the rear trailer had overturned," said CHP Officer Juan Galvan.

Northbound lanes of the 710 Freeway reopened about 9:30 p.m. after an hours-long closure that backed up traffic for miles.

Southbound lanes were expected to remain closed through mid-Monday morning, CHP officials said.

Crews were working to clean up what was left of the charred tanker and Caltrans officials were assessing the severity of the damage to the road.

The cause of the crash was unclear. CHP officials said no other vehicles were involved in the wreck.

NBC4's Kate Larsen contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Man Had 18 lbs of Pot at Airport]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:23:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cocaine-Pot-Drugs-LGA-Arrest.jpg

A leaky suitcase led to the arrest of a New York man who is accused of attempting to board a flight at LaGuardia Airport with several pounds of marijuana and a few ounces of crack cocaine in his baggage.

Airport screeners contacted Port Authority police at about 11 a.m. Saturday after noticing liquid leaking from a checked bag that emitted an odor of marijuana, investigators said Sunday.

After finding marijuana inside the bag, police traced it to Kelvin Smith, 55, of the Bronx, who was waiting for a flight at a US Airways gate, investigators said. Police learned that Smith had checked in an additional bag and found that it contained more marijuana wrapped in plastic and 2.8 ounces of crack cocaine.

Smith's two bags contained 18 pounds of marijuana, investigators said.

Smith was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.

It was unclear whether he had retained an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Court records indicate that Smith has 41 prior convictions for drug offenses, investigators said.


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<![CDATA[Who Were the Americans Killed in the Everest Avalanche?]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:39:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Americans-Died-Avalanche.jpg

As the first group of survivors from Saturday’s earthquake-triggered avalanche on Mount Everest were flown to Nepal's capital, the U.S. State Department confirmed that three Americans were among the 17 people killed in the disaster.

Filmmaker Tom Taplin, Google executive Dan Fredinburg, and camp doctor Marisa Eve Girawong all died in the avalanche. Here’s more about their lives:

______________________________________________________________

Google issued a statement Saturday confirming the death of executive Dan Fredinburg who was the head of privacy for innovation lab Google[x].

Fredinburg had been scaling the mountain for the past three weeks with three other Google employees through U.K.-based tour company Jagged Globe, according to NBC News. The three were found safe, according to Google.

"Sadly, we lost one of our own in this tragedy," the statement read. "Dan Fredinburg a longtime member of the Privacy organization in Mountain View, was in Nepal with three other Googlers, hiking Mount Everest. He has passed away. The other three Googlers with him are safe and we are working to get them home quickly."

Actress Sophia Bush, who Fredinburg dated from 2013 and 2014, expressed her sadness over his passing on social media.

"Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all," the actress said in a statement on Twitter and Instagram. "He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth.”

______________________________________________________________

Marisa Eve Girawong, from Edison, N.J., was described as an emergency room physician assistant. A Seattle-based mountaineering company said she was serving as a camp doctor for its team on the mountain when she was killed in the avalanche.

She was an avid rock climber and mountaineer who was pursuing an advanced degree in mountain medicine, Madison Mountaineering said in a statement. She attended school in Chicago and had successfully reached the summits of Mt. Washington and Mt. Rainier.

"Our hearts are broken," the company said in a statement.

______________________________________________________________

Tom Taplin, 61, was a Denver-born filmmaker working on a documentary about the Mount Everest base camp at the time of the avalanche, NBC affiliate KUSA reported.

His wife, Cory Freyer, told NBC News he was a photographer, filmmaker and mountaineer, and had written a book about his experiences climbing South America's tallest peak, Aconcagua, in the early 1990s.

She also said that it was on that trip that Taplin broke his arm after falling into a crevasse. However, he was able to pull himself to a place where he was reached by other mountaineers, she added. He was able to successfully climbed the mountain the next year, she said.

"It sounds trite, but he died doing what he loved doing," Cory Freyer told NBC News.




Photo Credit: Madison Mountaineering, Cory Freyer, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NY Daily News Truck Driver Dies]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:09:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/daily+news+driver+killed+crash.jpg

A 24-year-old driver for the Daily News was killed Sunday morning when his delivery truck collided with a green outer-borough taxi in Brooklyn, police said. 

The accident happened around 5:45 a.m. at the intersection of Nostrand and Flushing Avenues in Williamsburg.

Dash cam video taken from a car not involved in the accident shows the Daily News truck approach the intersection at a yellow light before it collides with the taxi.

The collision was so violent that it sent the Daily News truck toppling over.

When police arrived they found the driver, identified as Jonathan Long of Brooklyn, unconscious and suffering from traumatic injuries.

Long was taken to Woodhull Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

“The Daily News offers Mr. Long's family its deepest sympathies,” a company spokeswoman wrote in an email. 

A 58-year-old passenger in the truck was also taken to Woodhull Hospital. He is listed in stable condition.

Delivery truck drivers often don't wear seat belts and drive with their doors open, as they're continuously hopping in and out of their trucks.

The 26-year-old taxi driver was treated at the scene. His taxi license has been suspended just two weeks after he started driving a taxi, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said. 

Police are still investigating what caused the accident.

No arrests have been made.


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<![CDATA[NJ Woman Among More Than 3,500 Dead in Nepal Earthquake]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:02:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/042615nepal.jpg

Marisa Eve Girawong, a physician's assistant from Edison, New Jersey, was among the more than 3,500 killed in an avalanche at a Mount Everest base camp, according to a mountaineering company.

Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering's website described Girawong as an emergency room physician's assistant who was serving as the team's camp doctor. She was an avid rock climber and mountaineer who was pursuing an advanced degree in mountain medicine, the site said.

"She is loved by all of us in base camp and a great addition to our team and helped us tremendously," Garrett Madison said in a satellite phone dispatch from the mountain. "She will be missed greatly. We're very sorry for her loss."

East Orange General Hospital, where Girawong worked previously as a physician's assistant, issued a statement mourning her loss.

In New York City, members of the Nepali community were grieving for the thousands of people killed in their homeland.

Luna Ranjit, a staffer at the Adhikaar Nepali Center in Queens, said she felt somewhat at a loss.

"It's sort of a sense of helplessness to be so far away. I wish I could be there with my friends and family and do something about it," she said.

Ranjit said she hopes that even from so far away she can help connect people to resources and bring attention to the tragedy.

An estimated 40,000 Nepali immigrants live in the New York City area. Many were planning to gather for a prayer vigil Sunday.

If you are looking for a loved one or have information on someone who may have been a victim, click here.

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<![CDATA[Newborn's Remains Found in Ca. Yard]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:41:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/150425-infant-remains-westmont.jpg

The remains of a newborn were found in a Westmont backyard Saturday, sheriff's deputies said.

A homeowner in the 1500 block of West 104th Street, an unincorporated area east of Inglewood, reported finding the remains just after 10 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said in a statement.

The 1- to 3-days-old baby was apparently dismembered, deputies said. "Significant portions" of the infant's body were missing.

Neighbors were asked to look in their yards and trash cans for "suspicious items that have been discarded," deputies said.

"Detectives would like to speak with any females who were recently pregnant, are no longer pregnant, and the baby is absent," deputies said.

Britany Placencia, 9, said she found a body part while playing with her dog in her backyard, then ran to tell her mother.

"The dog was sniffing the ball... so I was going to get the ball and I got it. I saw the leg," the girl said.

The girl's mother came out, saw the leg near a bicycle and called 911. Then she found a baby's head in her side yard.

"This was kind of shocking to me, when you hear anything about an infant," said neighbor Lawrence Alston.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Football Star Shot, Killed]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 06:01:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jameer-Bullard.jpg

Jesse Kato wore his son's varsity letter jacket as he asked the public to help find the person responsible for his death. 

"As a son he's a good person," Kato said. "Anybody, any help. If you know who did this to my son bring him to justice."

Kato's son, 18-year-old Ja'Meer Bullard, was a local high school football star who was shot and killed overnight in Camden, only a block away from his home. 

Bullard's family said he was walking to a nearby store with his younger cousin on Green and Mechanic streets shortly after midnight Saturday when a gunman suddenly opened fire. 

"I just opened the door for him," said Bullard's grandmother. "I opened the door for my grandson and I heard the gunshots."

Bullard was struck by the gunfire but managed to get his cousin to safety. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital where he died from his injuries at 1:11 a.m.

"He shouldn't have to die like that," his grandmother said. "He didn't do nothing to nobody. He always was a good kid. He was going places. They just took him out." 

Bullard was a Junior at Woodrow Wilson High School and a star running back and linebacker for the school's football team. He also received a recruitment offer from Temple University and was set to showcase his talent at a Nike invitational next week. 

"From the moment he touched the football, everyone knew he was going to be a special player some day," said Bullard's coach Preston Brown. 

Brown told NBC10 Bullard was excited to play college football and use his skills to get off the streets of Camden and start a new life. 

"Right now my heart is real heavy having lost Ja'Meer to senseless gun violence in the city of Camden," Brown said. 

No arrests have been made. Police continue to investigate.

If you have any information on the shooting, please call Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Anthony Roccia at (856) 365-3122 or Camden County Police Detective Mark Lee at (856) 757-7420.



Photo Credit: Facebook.com]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Officer Had Pot in Storage Locker: DA]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:36:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/06-04-2014-damian-sjpd.jpg

A San Jose police officer has been charged with possessing large amounts of marijuana after it was found in a storage unit he rented out, the Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Office said Friday.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Vanier said 44-year-old Son H. Vu, a 21-year veteran on the San Jose police force, was scheduled be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Friday on charges of felony possession with intent to sell and maintaining an illegal stash location. But Vu did not enter a plea Friday, and his arraignment has now been delayed until Monday.

“It is deeply disappointing that an officer sworn to uphold the law would so brazenly break it,” said Vanier in a statement. “This office and the San Jose Police Department stand together against illegal drug dealing in our community, no matter who the dealer is.”

A judge set Vu's bail at $100,000. If he is convicted, he faces up to three years and eight months in prison.

Vu's illegal drug stash was found on June 3 when a storage company owner cut the lock on the officer's unpaid storage space, according to Vanier. The owner said a large amount of pot was inside. One source told NBC Bay Area that officers found 20 pounds of marijuana in the unit.

Investigators found Vu was the renter of the space and seized more than 12 pounds of pot, along with grow lights. They also found in Vu's car $5,700 cash and digital files on police calls related to marijuana grow houses.

The officer has been on paid administrative leave since his first arrest in June.

After his arrest, Police Chief Larry Esquivel said: "We will not tolerate such conduct, especially criminal conduct, and we will hold those responsible for their actions."



Photo Credit: Damian Trujillo]]>
<![CDATA[NY Officer Fatally Shoots Suspect]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:11:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/42515cops.jpg

A 24-year-old robbery suspect was fatally shot Saturday during a "violent physical struggle" with two detectives in a Manhattan apartment building, police said.

Authorities withheld the name of the suspect pending notification of his family.

As two detectives approached the sixth-floor apartment in the East Village, where the suspect was believed to be, the suspect bolted out a window and down a fire escape, said New York City Police Department Chief Jim O'Neill. The detectives caught up with him in a hallway and a "violent physical struggle" ensued, the chief said during a news conference.

During the struggle, the suspect grabbed a hand-held radio from one detective and struck him in the head with it, O'Neill said. The fight continued for about five minutes before one detective drew his weapon and fired a single shot, hitting the suspect in the torso, he said.

The suspect, who was wanted in connection with the robbery of a woman on Thursday, died at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital, O'Neill said.

The incident occurred at 1:45 p.m. at a halfway house at 538 E. Sixth St.

The two detectives, who were not identified, were taken to a hospital, where one was treated for injuries to the head and shoulder.

The suspect was accused of confronting a 21-year-old woman on Thursday as she was giving a presentation at City College, according to the NYPD. The two then argued in a hallway and the suspect repeatedly punched the woman and stole her purse, which contained her keys, cash, credit cards and identification, investigators said. He fled the scene and eluded a police search.

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<![CDATA[3 Sites are Frontrunners for New Palo Alto Police Station]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 18:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1128-2014-PaloAltoPD.jpg

Three city-owned parcels are the frontrunners for a new state-of-the-art cop shop in Palo Alto, according to a report.

The former Los Altos treatment plant at 1237 San Antonio Rd., a PG&E switching station at 3120 West Bayshore Rd. and parking lot C-6 at 250 Sherman Ave. are under consideration, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The new building would house the police department, the 911 emergency dispatch center, and fire department administration. The city council is slated to discuss the project and the parcels at a study session on May 6.

The City Council said it will pay for the $57 million project with transient occupancy tax-backed certificates of participation, a financing tool that does not require voter approval.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Google Exec Killed in Everest Avalanche Triggered by Earthquake ]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 19:54:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP03050618355.jpg

Google executive Dan Fredinburg was confirmed dead in an avalanche on Mount Everest which was triggered by a massive 7.8 earthquake in Nepal Saturday that claimed over 3,200 lives.

Fredinburg, 33, was a privacy director on the Google X team, and was involved in projects such as the driverless car. He was climbing Mt. Everest with three other Googlers during the avalanche when he received a major head injury and passed away, his sister Megan wrote in an Instagram post.

"We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us," his sister wrote. "All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is everything to us."

Fredinburg's boss, Google privacy director Lawrence You, wrote that the Google Crisis Response team has launched a "Person Finder" for Nepal, and is working to update satellite images to help with the recovery effort.

Google is also committing $1 million to the response effort and plans to have gift-matching efforts available for their employees soon. "Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, and with Dan’s family and friends during this terrible time," You said. You added that the three other Googlers who were hiking Mt. Everest with Fredinburg are safe and Google is initiating efforts to bring them back to the U.S. safely.

Fredinburg's Instagram and Twitter page is filled with pictures and posts about his Everest trek. "I want everyone to think like Google [x] and have the heart of an adventurer," his Instagram page says. His last Twitter post is on April 24. "Day 22: Ice training with @michelebattelli means frequent stops for morning cappuccino," it says.

Actress Sophia Bush, who dated Fredinburg from 2013 to 2014, posted on instagram that the loss has left her with "no adequate words." "Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all," Bush wrote. "Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny."

Bush described Fredinburg as a "a dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world." "His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so," she wrote.

Mike North, one of Friedenberg's closest friends, said that Friedenberg's passion was climate change. “He is the most incredible person I have ever met in my life,” North said. "His will to do anything is beyond anyone else’s I have ever seen."

North found out early Sunday that Fredinburg was killed in the avalanche triggered by the 7.8 earthquake. Fredinburg’s girlfriend broke the news. “It was pretty garbled but basically what I heard was that the avalanche had come to the camp," North said. "He seemed all right at first but then wasn’t and he ultimately passed away."

North said Fredinburg had "two Everests he had to climb on this trip." "The first Everest, which was the hardest, was getting Google to allow him to go climb Everest — the second, climbing Everest," he said.

Video footage shows Fredinburg zipping himself up in yellow North Face gear, as he gets ready for last year’s Mt. Everest trip. He can be heard saying: “This is how you get ready for Everest.” That trip was also a tragic one, because several of his sherpas died in the avalanche. “After that he went to an orphanage there — so this year he was planning to dedicate the climb to all the orphans," North said.

He also planned to plant a flag on top of Mount Everest with the word “NEAT” on it promoting his organization SaveTheIce.org, a goal he was not able to accomplish. "He was in his early 30s, so if you want to talk about lives affected, if he had been able to live a complete life, we could be talking about a billion lives that could be benefacted by this man,” North said.

Jagged Globe, the company that organized the Everest trek for Fredinburg and his team, issued a statement on the death of Fredinburg on their site.

The first of many private memorials for Fredinburg will be taking place Sunday.

 

Day 20: Saving ice on top of Kala Patthar. Everest Basecamp in the background is a climate change hotspot. #Savetheice

A photo posted by Dan Fredinburg (@danfredinburg) on



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[How to Help Victims of the Nepal Earthquake]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:00:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Nepal-Earthquake-25-April-2015-2.jpg

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the estimated damage from the magnitude-7.8 quake and strong aftershocks that killed at least 4,000 people and devastated Nepal could cost between $100 million and $10 billion.

World leaders and global charities offered emergency aid as hospitals in the poverty-stricken Himalayan nation were overflowing with injured people, NBC News reported. The United States is sending a disaster response team and $1 million to help the people of Nepal, The Associated Press reported.

As the world continues to learn the scope of the disaster, here are ways you can donate:

WORLD VISION

The humanitarian aid group had staff on the ground when the earthquake hit. Members of the organization said survivors need food, water and shelter, spokeswoman Laura Blank told NBC News.

“Infrastructure is down all over the city,” World Vision’s operations director in Kathmandu Philip Ewert also said. “Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday.”

To make a donation to the organization to address these needs, you can visit their Nepal page or text NEPAL to 777444 to donate $10.

RED CROSS

Volunteers and staff at the Nepal Red Cross Society are providing aid, but they have limited stocks of emergency relief items available in the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

"We are extremely concerned about the fate of communities in towns and villages in rural areas closer to the epicenter," said Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC's Director for Asia Pacific. “We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life.”

For information on how to donate, visit the IFRC website.

GLOBALGIVING

The organization hopes to raise 1 million dollars and has created a Nepal-specific page outlining specific issues they hope to address with the funds.

“Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter,” the organization said on its page. “Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organizations.”

GlobalGiving says it will provide updates about how the funds are being used. You can donate here.

AMERICARES

An emergency team from the AmeriCares India office is preparing shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors. The organization stocks emergency medicine and relieft supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in time of crisis, and launches comprehensive recovery programs.

"Our emergency response team is en route to Nepal and we are prepared to help any way that we can," AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said in a statement. "This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the families suffereing."

To donate to AmeriCares International Disaster Relief Fund, you can click here.

UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in Nepal providing critical emergency aid to children and families.

"UNICEF expects children, an estimated 40 percent of Nepal's poplulation, to be among the worst affected by the earthquake. The first priorities are lifesaving interventions—getting essential medicines, nutrition, and safe water to children and families in immediate need," the organization's website said.

To support the UNICEF relief efforts in Nepal, you can donate here.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps' team is on the ground in Nepal working to get a better understanding of the conditions. The team is focused on delivering lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities. Mercy Corps will be helping communities immediately start to rebuild homes, schools, help people return to work and process the trauma.

To support Mercy Corps' earthquake response team, you can donate here.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Twittersphere: NBC Bay Area, Telemundo Staff at Comcast Cares Day]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:54:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/CDdXi81UEAAEdS5.jpg+large.jpg

NBC Bay Area and Telemundo employees are rolling up their sleeves to volunteer and make a difference in the community.

It is the 14th annual Comcast Cares Day, the nations largest single-day corporate service event.



Photo Credit: @BayAreaProud]]>