Monday, July 28, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Police search for man in sexual assault case

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Cincinnati Police are searching for a man who forced a 21-year-old woman into his van in Winton Place early Sunday morning and forced her to perform oral sex while pointing a rifle at her head.

The man then threw the woman on the street near the back of Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum. A passerby found the woman hysterical and wandering Gray Road shortly after the 3 a.m. sexual assault, police said.

Police have only a sketchy description of the rapist and his blue work van. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040.

2 hurt after teen driver flees party

MOUNT HEALTHY - Two pedestrians were seriously injured early Sunday when a 16-year-old unlicensed driver struck one of them and then hit several parked vehicles - one of which hit the other pedestrian - in a parking lot of the Compton Groves apartment complex, police said.

Neither pedestrian was identified; both were taken to University Hospital, where their conditions were not available Sunday night.

Sgt. John Wert of Mount Healthy Police said a male pedestrian was struck by the teen girl's car, suffering head injuries and a broken leg. A female pedestrian suffered internal injuries, he said.

All apparently were at a party at the 7701 Compton Road apartment complex when the girl said she fled the gathering about 4 a.m. after being harassed and having water dumped on her, Wert said. The teen, who had a driver's learner permit, got in a vehicle and drove off, striking the man and cars, then hitting a tree and flipping over, he said.

A juvenile aggravated vehicular assault charge and driving without a license count are pending against the girl, Wert said.

She suffered cuts and scrapes in the incident and was treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, he said.

Trucker who sued can keep higher award

A truck driver from Akron who was fired after complaining about racial harassment at his job can collect an $800,000 jury award, a federal court in Cincinnati has ruled.

The ruling came despite a $300,000 cap on punitive damages for federal civil-rights violations. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals worked around the cap by allowing James Hall to collect damages under both state and federal civil rights laws.

Hall was fired from his job at Consolidated Freightways Corp. in 1997 after telling the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that his bosses allowed other truckers to belittle him because he's black. Hall worked out of the company's Richfield terminal, 17 miles south of Cleveland, for 13 years.

Consolidated said it fired Hall because he was caught lying about hours he worked and not because of his complaints about racial slurs.

Lawyers for Consolidated Freightways have acknowledged that racial hostility was rampant at the Richfield terminal.

Wildlife exhibit banned from state fair

INDIANAPOLIS - Declaring that they want out of the "zoo business," state wildlife officials have canned an Indiana State Fair display that allowed visitors to view caged wild animals.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources had sponsored the exhibit for decades, giving fair visitors an up-close view of deer, raccoons, birds and other native Indiana species. But next month's fair will pass without the caged animals.

The animals had been housed in chain-link cages behind the fairground's Natural Resources Building, and represented the wildlife found in wetlands, woodlands and other habitats.

DNR officials said some animals were injured and had been borrowed from rehabilitators.

Others had been abandoned when young and were raised at a DNR wildlife area.

Disaster-preparedness course to be offered

Three Greater Cincinnati area disaster-preparedness agencies are teaming up to offer a five-week training course called the Community Emergency Response Team.

The disaster preparedness course, sponsored by the American Red Cross, the Emergency Management Association and the Cincinnati Fire Department, will be on Wednesday evenings between 6 and 9 p.m. starting this week.

Classes will be on the fifth floor of Longworth Hall, 700 Pete Rose Way, Queensgate.

For more information about the program, call (513) 579-3010.

ISTEP exam changes double number tested

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Rigorous new federal standards will double the number of Indiana students taking the ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress) test this year.

The new rules will also drive up the state's cost of administering the test to nearly $19 million - $7 million more than last year's test.

In recent years, only third-, sixth- and eighth-graders took the exams. This year, all students in third through ninth grade will take the exams.

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