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'U SUCK' appears on I-5 traffic sign in Washington

A training error caused an unusual message to appear Tuesday on a traffic sign on Interstate 5 in Washington, officials with the state Department of Transportation said.

>> Read more trending news

Reddit user Bruceinc posted a photo of the sign, which said "U SUCK," on the social media site Tuesday.

“If I had to take a guess it’s probably a worker messing around while doing maintenance on the sign,” he wrote. “You can see the work trucks to the right of the sign in the photo.”

The message appeared on a traffic sign on I-5 approaching Washington State Route 518 near SeaTac.

After the post caused a flurry of comments on Reddit, WSDOT responded, apologizing for the "inappropriate message." Officials said it was “clearly a mistake” and that they are taking steps to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again.

Man accused of spreading nails on road to punish speeding drivers

A Minnesota man is facing a felony charge, accused of tampering with the road outside of his home as a way to punish speeding drivers, authorities said.

Joseph Kurimay, 75, has been charged with one felony count of damage to property, WCCO reported. 

>> Read more trending news 

Kurimay has been under investigation since October, according to the criminal complaint. He is accused of scattering mason nails on the road outside of his home. The criminal complaint says more than 100 vehicles have been damaged due to Kurimay's actions.

Police gathered evidence from employees at a car repair shop and from surveillance video at a hardware store, the criminal complaint said. Police said they linked a credit card used to purchase mason nails to Kurimay, and found a nearly empty box of mason nails during a search of Kurimay's garage.

Kurimay initially denied involvement, but then expressed frustration that authorities had not responded to his complaints about speeding in the neighborhood, so he took matters into his own hands, according the criminal complaint.

Police told WCCO that 115 victims have been identified, and over $22,000 has been reported in damages.

Kurimay could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted, WCCO reported.

A review of Kurimay's criminal record found several speeding tickets, WCCO reported.

‘Tiger’ running amok in Manhattan was actually raccoon, police say

Reports of a tiger running around loose in Manhattan on Thursday had police sending out alerts to residents and local media scrambling for photos of the wayward creature.

People were left scratching their heads in wonder a short time later when police found the animal -- which was not a tiger. It was not even a lion, or a bear. 

It was a raccoon. 

NBC New York reported that New York police officers got a call around 8:30 a.m. about a tiger being spotted near 166th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. Residents near the area were awoken by a Citizen App notification. 

“Police are responding to unconfirmed reports of a loose tiger running around on the street,” the alert read. 

The raccoon was taken into custody a short time later and turned over to Animal Care Centers of New York City, where it was euthanized. 

“The raccoon was brought into our facility and was euthanized as required by law for all vector species animals brought into the shelter,” ACC officials said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “Raccoons, bats and skunks are classified as a rabies vector species, which means it's an animal that can carry and transmit rabies.”

ABC News also reported that multiple calls were made to police from people claiming to have seen the tiger.

>> Read more trending news

The hubbub over the less-dangerous-than-suspected animal was enough to get some residents riled. 

“You’re gonna tell me my roommates and I (in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) were all rudely awakened by a helicopter overhead because some idiot in Washington Heights (Manhattan) MISTOOK A RACCOON FOR A (expletive) TIGER?!?!” a user who calls himself Shwax tweeted

Reporters on Twitter seemed more amused than upset. 

“Not my typical Thursday morning,” tweeted Christine Hauser, of The New York Times. “When trying to confirm a report that there was a tiger on the loose in Upper Manhattan, an inundated @NYPDnews spokesman answers the phone with this line: ‘It’s not a tiger, it’s a racoon.’”

Sarah Kaplan, of The Washington Post, also joked about the situation.

“Who among us has not made the same mistake?” Kaplan tweeted

Another Twitter user summed up the humor of the incident succinctly. 

“What I am getting from this is that there’s still a tiger on the loose in Manhattan and a raccoon who needs a good lawyer,” Sara Kaplow joked

Fugitive nabbed after 37 years when mom’s obituary lists his alias

An Oklahoma fugitive was caught in Texas Thursday morning after 37 years on the run, and law enforcement officials are crediting an obituary with leading them to him. 

Stephen Michael Paris was 22 years old in 1981 -- and 19 months into a nine-year sentence on a drug conviction -- when he escaped from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Muskogee. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the case was adopted by agents there about six weeks ago.

>> Read more trending news

Agents discovered an obituary for Paris’ mother, Joann Rahimi, who lived in Houston before her death on Easter Sunday. The obituary lists Rahimi’s family, including a son, Steve Chavez.

They tracked down the name and found that Paris, now 58, was living and working under that alias in Houston, the Marshals Service reported. He was taken into custody without incident Thursday at his office.

A fingerprint match confirmed his identity. 

‘Tell my mom that I love her if I die,’ teen pleads as van seat fatally crushes him 

Two 911 calls show that a Cincinnati teenager pleaded for help as he was crushed to death by the seat in his van Tuesday afternoon in a parking lot near his school. 

Kyle Jacob Plush, 16, was found dead by his father about six hours after he made the first 911 call, according to WCPO in Cincinnati. A preliminary autopsy report indicated that he died of asphyxia due to compression of his chest. 

His death was ruled accidental.

“At this time, there is no indication of foul play or evidence of a drug overdose,” Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said in a written statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Kyle.”

>> Read more trending news

Sammarco’s statement did not offer details of how Plush was crushed, but Honda in November recalled 800,000 Odyssey minivans because the vehicle’s second row seats can tip forward if not properly latched. The recall was for vans from 2011 to 2017.

Plush’s van was a Honda Odyssey, though the year was not immediately known. 

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters confirmed to WCPO in Cincinnati that Plush died of positional asphyxiation when he became trapped in a seat, but Deters said it was the van’s third-row bench seat. 

His office is investigating the incident to determine exactly how Plush’s death occurred.

“We are actively trying to identify experts to assist us in this investigation,” Deters told the news station

Officials with the city of Cincinnati and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating why dispatchers, police officers and deputies were unable to find Plush in time to save his life.  

Audio of Plush’s 911 calls, which have not been released by the media due to their graphic nature, indicated that he became increasingly desperate as his condition deteriorated. In the first call, placed shortly after 3 p.m., the teen was gasping for air as he screamed repeatedly for help, saying he was stuck inside his van “at Seven Hills.”

Plush was a sophomore at Seven Hills School, a private academy for grades pre-K through 12. He died in a parking lot near the school’s Hillsdale campus. 

“I can’t hear you,” Plush told the dispatcher, according to WCPO. “I need help. I’m gonna die here.”

The dispatcher either could not hear him clearly or did not understand what he was trying to say. She asked, over and over, “Where are you? What is the address?”

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the teen said.

A timeline established by the news station indicates that Plush got disconnected about six or seven minutes after he placed his first call. Officers who were dispatched when that call ended tried calling him back, but the call went to voicemail. 

When they did not get a response, the officers marked their assignment complete, the WCPO timeline said. 

In his second call, Plush again made it clear that he knew he was dying. 

“This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale.”

“Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.” 

As the second call ended, Plush appeared to struggle to breathe. 

Throughout the second call, Plush could be asking, “Hey, Siri?” It appeared that he used the iPhone voice command to call 911. 

Investigators did not say where in the van they found the teen’s phone. 

It was also unclear when Plush’s second call, which lasted about three minutes, was placed. 

A Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy working a traffic detail at Seven Hills responded to the calls about 10 minutes after city officers marked their assignment complete and 32 minutes after Plush’s first call for help, WCPO reported

The deputy was also unable to find Plush’s van, and though he continued searching, he questioned whether the calls had been a prank. 

The dispatcher pointed out that she put in the 911 system that the caller could be in a thrift store parking lot across the street from the school, Fox19 in Cincinnati reported.  

“I was in there. I just looked in a van over there. I didn’t see anybody in it,” the deputy said, according to the news station

It was not clear if the van the deputy found was Plush’s minivan. 

Plush’s mother, identified by his elementary school as Jill Plush, also called 911 Tuesday evening after she and his father, Ron, determined he was missing.

“My son never came home from school,” Jill Plush said, according to Fox19. “We thought he was at a tennis match, and he never came home from school.”

The parent of one of Kyle Plush’s friends wrote in a Facebook post that the match was to be the teen’s first.

“He had been on the practice squad of the tennis team and was due to play in his first match yesterday,” Jackie Taggart-Boyd wrote. “He didn’t show up. Hours later, they discovered him.” 

Taggart-Boyd indicated that Plush had a physical disability, but did not specify what that disability was. She said it never stopped the teen from trying everything. 

She said her son, Spencer, described his friend as the “most positive person he ever met.”

“I can tell you that Spencer spoke of Kyle often,” the distraught parent wrote. “I only met him a couple of times, but every time Spencer told me a Kyle story, he ended it with, ‘I LOVE Kyle!’”

A Seven Hills School spokesperson said in a statement that Plush started attending the school in the sixth grade. 

“He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply,” the statement read. 

A classmate, Preston Luniewski, told WLWT-TV that Plush was a “spectacular” person. 

“He just lit up the classroom,” Luniewski said. “He would always be in class, paying attention, really productive in that environment.”

Counselors were called in to help students and staff cope with the loss.

The teen’s elementary school, Mercy Montessori, is hosting a community prayer gathering in his memory Thursday night. 

“Some of our older children have siblings who are currently in high school and have been contacting me throughout the day looking for a place to gather,” Patty Normile, principal of the school, wrote on the school website. “We will use the strength of prayer, compassion and empathy to help our Mercy students, alumni family and friends.”

Normile wrote that besides his parents, Plush also has a sister in the seventh grade. 

 

Wasp causes man to drive Jeep off cliff

An Arizona man battling a wasp ended up driving his vehicle off a cliff Friday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

>> Read more trending news 

The man told police that he was distracted while trying to swat a wasp that flew into his Jeep and lost sight of the cliff momentarily, azcentral.com reported. The driver was able to jump out of the vehicle before it plunged off the cliff and became submerged in the lake below.

The man was not injured in the incident, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

Cocaine, pipe found in inmate’s prosthetic leg after jailhouse overdose

A Maine woman in jail for a probation violation now faces a drug charge after she overdosed while in custody -- and medical workers found cocaine and a crack pipe stashed inside her prosthetic leg, police said. 

Sonya Marie Engelhardt, 41, of Skowhegan, was booked into the Kennebec County Jail on a violation of her release on prior charges, according to the Kennebec Journal

“Once inside the jail, Engelhardt overdosed and was transported to Maine General Medical Center,” read an affidavit obtained by the Journal. “According to Deputy Savage, once at the hospital, the nursing staff took a crack pipe out of Engelhardt’s prosthetic leg that had a little baggie in it with a usable amount of crack cocaine.”

>> Read more trending news

Engelhardt, who recovered from the overdose, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the bail violation charge, as well as a charge of unlawful possession of cocaine, the newspaper reported. Her attorney requested bail and a contract with Maine Pretrial Services, an alternative sentencing option to which defendants can be assigned. 

He suggested the contract include a provision that her prosthetic leg can be searched at any time for drugs, the Journal reported

Engelhardt was on deferred disposition in a previous case that involved burglary and theft charges from another county, the newspaper said. Prosecutors said they would move to terminate that deferral, meaning Engelhardt would face a sentencing hearing in that case.

The previous case, out of Somerset County, saw Engelhardt charged with burglary and theft in November, charges that stemmed from a July incident in Athens, Maine, in which a New York man was shot. 

When police and emergency personnel responded to a call from a woman who claimed she picked up a man along the side of the road who had been shot in the buttocks, Engelhardt was driving the car, the Journal reported at the time

Investigators eventually learned that the shooting had taken place at a camp located off a rural road in Athens. 

Engelhardt and one other person were charged with theft of fuel to run the camp, the newspaper said. They were also charged with burglary because the owner of the camp, who was not involved in the shooting or other crimes, had not given anyone permission to stay there. 

It was not immediately clear if anyone was ever charged with shooting the victim. 

11-foot alligator takes dip in Florida pool

A deputy from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office thought his Friday night shift was getting off to a slow start until he received a call about an alligator in a swimming pool.

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The deputy documented the call with photos and video, which was posted on the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. The first photo shows an alligator that almost appears to be floating in the pool. But as the video clip shows, the alligator proved to be feisty as the trapper removed it from the pool. The last set of photos shows the alligator on the front lawn of the residence.

The alligator was 11 feet long, according to the deputy. 

It was unclear how the alligator made its way into the pool.

Hear them sing: Man builds terrifying Furby organ

He had a seven-year dream that has finally come to fruition, and that dream involved Furby, dozen of Furby toys. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Sam Battle, who runs the YouTube channel Look Mum No Computer, said he had the first idea of the Furby Organ years ago, and after combing through eBay and thrift stores, he was able to collect enough of the hot toy from 1998.

>> Read more trending news 

Then the hard work began. He had to strip, rewire and reprogram the interactive toys so they would produce individual notes and could be controlled by a electronic piano keyboard, Gizmodo reported

It took Battle 44 Furbys and “a heck of a lot of soldering,” Mashable reported.

The rest, they say is history.

Startup offering to preserve brain with '100 percent fatal' procedure for $10,000

Need a way to hold on to your memories forever? One startup is offering a special, but fatal, procedure to help you keep your brain active.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers at Nectome, a medical company founded by MIT graduates, have discovered a way to maintain brain functionality after death with high-tech embalming, a process used to prevent a body from decay. 

“Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family,” co-founders Robert McIntyre and Michael McCanna wrote on the business’ website.

 >> On AJC.com: If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain could start eating itself

They will target patients suffering from terminal illnesses. The individuals will be sedated, connected to heart and lung machines, and injected with the embalming chemicals while they are alive. 

The procedure is “100 percent fatal,” the founders warned, but the solution “can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass.”

The analysts believe their investigations will help future scientists “recreate consciousness” and retrieve information from the brain’s molecular details. 

>> Related: A few glasses of wine a day can keep your brain ‘clean,’ study says

“You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,” McIntyre told MIT Technology Review.

“If the brain is dead, it’s like your computer is off, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t there,” added Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist and president of the Brain Preservation Foundation -- the organization that awarded McIntyre for his recent work on preserving the pig brain.

>> Related: Scientists worry brain-wasting 'zombie deer' disease could spread to humans

The surgery is not yet available to the public as they are still unsure if the memories will be found in the dead tissues. However, they are inviting prospective customers to join a wait list for a $10,000 deposit, which is fully refundable. So far, 25 people have signed up. 

“When a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned,” McIntyre said. “That was fine for a while, but we get more powerful every generation. The sheer immense potential of what we can do increases, but the wisdom does not.”

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