Posted On: March 30, 2009

Pastor Found Guilty of Routinely Spanking Teen for Alleging Sexual Abuse

An Elgin, IL, pastor has been found guilty on two counts of battery for beating a teenage girl with a piece of crown molding during weekly ‘counseling’ sessions. Rev. Daryl Bujak, formerly of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Elgin, was sentenced to twelve months of supervision, ordered to perform 80 hours of community service, and handed a $350 fine for his conduct. According to reports, Bujak was approached by the parents of the girl in March 2005 when the girl began making allegations of sexual abuse against her stepfather. Neither Bujak nor the girl’s mother believed those allegations to be true. Thereafter the pastor began a series of weekly meetings with the girl in which he would spank her 15 to 25 times depending on how she had behaved the previous week (as reported to the pastor by the girl’s mother). Bujak was found not guilty of violating a state law that requires clergy members to report allegations of sexual abuse. According to reports, Bujak told the girl that he was a former police officer who had dealt with sexual abuse cases before and that he did not have to report the alleged abuse because ‘nothing had really gone on.’ Bujak claims that the parents of the girl had given him permission to incorporate corporal punishment as part of the counseling.

The counseling sessions ceased around October of 2005 when stepfather Matthew Resh of Ingleside, IL , was charged with sexually abusing the girl. Resh is awaiting trial in McHenry County where he faces five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault. According to church treasurer Robert Steele, Bujak resigned in August of 2008 for reasons reportedly unrelated to the battery.

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Posted On: March 24, 2009

Tragic Montana Plane Crash Kills 17

A single-engine turboprop plane crashed while landing last Sunday in Butte, Montana, killing all seventeen on board the aircraft. According to reports, the aircraft departed Oroville, California, bound for a ski vacation in Bozeman, Montana. The aircraft, which was designed to carry 10 passengers, was carrying 7 adults and 7 children at the time of the crash. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus reports that the aircraft crashed into a cemetery about 500 feet from the airport in Butte while attempting to land. Authorities do not know the reason why the flight was diverted from Bozeman to Butte. The aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turbo prop, was reportedly manufactured in 2001 and registered to Eagle Cap Leasing Inc. in Enterprise Oregon.

Both overloading and icing have been speculated the cause of the plane crash. Overloading is a possible cause as the aircraft, which was licensed to carry ten, held fourteen passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the total weight of fuel, passengers, and luggage on board the aircraft. The weather conditions at the time of the crash were indicative of those that may cause icing. Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall compared the crash to a 2005 disaster near Bellefonte, Pa., which also involved a Pilatus PC-12. In both instances, the weather conditions were conductive to icing at lower elevations. Turboprop planes, such as the Pilatus PC-12, rely on deicing boots to de-ice wings. These boots, which are strips of rubber-like material on the leading edge of the wings and the horizontal part of the tail, inflate and contract to break up ice on the wings. According to the NTSB, a key to the investigation of the accident will be whether the pilot changed the position of the aircraft’s wing flaps for landing as this often causes icing problems. The fatal plane crash closely follows the Buffalo plane crash last month which killed fifty. Icing has also been speculated to have caused that crash.

Posted On: March 20, 2009

Four Injured in Chicago Loop Motor Vehicle Accident

Four people suffered serious injuries this morning in a two vehicle car accident at the corner of Franklin and Madison Streets in downtown Chicago. According to the Chicago Fire Department, the crash occurred when a Chevrolet Ventura van carrying four women passengers collided with a Pontiac Sunfire also carrying four. The cause of the crash is still under investigation however the impact was such that the van was left overturned on the sidewalk at the northwest corner of the Chicago intersection. All four of the passengers in the Sunfire were critically injured in the crash. Two of the injured were taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and two were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The four women inside the van refused medical treatment. The identities of all the car accident victims have not yet been released.

Information related to how the crash occurred has not yet been made available as the accident remains under investigation. The Chicago car accident was fully secured by emergency personnel by 1:30 a.m. according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

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Posted On: March 17, 2009

Chicago Rapper Killed in Motorcycle Accident

A South Side rapper was killed last weekend in a motorcycle accident near the corner of 95th Street and Forest Avenue. The fatal crash occurred when a westbound van making a left turn at Forest Avenue collided with a motorcycle being driven by 27 year-old Reginald “St. Nick” Coleman of the 400 block of West 95th Place. Coleman was pronounced dead around 9:00 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. The driver of the van, 22 year-old Omari Dollison of the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue in Chicago, received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way according to Chicago Police. Both Dollison and a van passenger were uninjured in the motorcycle accident.

While never realizing big label success, Coleman was very popular in the local club and bar music scene. He was a founding member of Chicago based White Chalk and was known for the unifying message of his music. According to the family, the tragic death of Coleman came just months after the passing of his wife leaving his three young children without parents. A memorial is planned for this week at Kingdom Church International in Park Forest where Coleman’s brother is a pastor. Coleman is survived by a mother and three sisters living in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

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Posted On: March 13, 2009

Illinois Amtrak Truck-Train Collision Kills One

A St. Louis woman was killed yesterday when an Amtrak train struck her pickup truck in Hartford, Illinois. The Illinois train accident occurred at the intersection of Seventh and Olive streets around 7:25 a.m. The accident victim has been identified as 31 year-old Heather Sheree Balven of the 7500 block of Hoover Avenue in St. Louis. Balven was employed as a geotechnical engineer with Terracon Consultants Inc., a subcontracting outfit that was hired to help construct an Alaskan oil pipeline to the area. Eyewitness Robert Preston said that he saw the truck approaching the intersection just before the collision. He reports that he did not hear the train sound a horn until it was at the railroad crossing at which point he saw the truck fly ‘about 75 feet in the air.’ The intersection where the train accident occurred is not equipped with crossing signs or lights.

Balven’s truck came to a halt about 75 yards north of the railroad crossing. Balven was killed on impact according to the Madison County Coroner’s Office. Amtrak reports that none of the 64 passengers or crew members aboard the train suffered injuries. The train was bound from St. Louis to Chicago and was travelling between 50 and 60 mph at the time of the collision. The Hartford Police Department is still investigating the tragic train accident.

Posted On: March 9, 2009

Dolton, IL, Man Crushed to Death in Truck Accident

A south suburban man was fatally injured when he was pinned between a car and a truck last Saturday around 12:00 a.m. John Lockhart, 48, of 9602 S. Hoxie Ave. in Dolton, IL, was crushed to death while attempting to start his vehicle at the corner of West 195th St. and Dixie Highway in South Suburban Markham, IL. According to reports, Lockhart was under the hood of his vehicle when the car started. The vehicle rolled forward pinning Lockhart against a truck. Police have determined that the incident was an accident.

Lockhart was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 12:18 p.m. according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. An autopsy shows that Lockhart died from multiple injuries as a result of the Illinois truck accident.

Posted On: March 5, 2009

Illinois Parents: Overall Safety of Child Car Seats in Question

A Chicago Tribune investigation has uncovered disturbing data regarding the safety of infant car seats. The probe revealed government reports showing that nearly half of child car seats failed crash tests. These reports were never publicized leaving even some manufacturers in the dark. According to the Tribune, one crash test video showed a car seat flying off its base and smashing a baby dummy into the back of a driver’s seat. This potentially defective car seat was one of thirty one out of a total of sixty seats tested that either flew off base or exceeded other injury limits in frontal collisions. Parents are left to wonder if the child seats in their cars are defective and what might happen in a real car accident. The car seat test results were found buried in reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted to evaluate 2008 vehicle safety and not car seat safety.

The investigation highlights how little information is currently available to Illinois parents regarding car seat safety. Child car seats do not currently come with any sort of safety rating giving parents no way to determine seat safety. For example, two of the most expensive car seats actually had the poorest crash test results. Safety seats are also designed in such a manner that certain seats fit better with certain car models. This information is also not readily available to the consumer. New Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded to the safety seat exposure last Friday ordering a “complete top to bottom review of child safety seat regulations.” LaHood also asked that the NHTSA make crash test results more readily available to consumers so that Illinois parents can make informed decisions when purchasing car seats. While the tests were described as research, the results for two seats were so disturbing that the government instituted recalls. The infant seat exposed in the above mentioned crash video was not recalled. Around 7,000 children were injured and 63 killed in crashes while strapped into infant safety seats in 2007.

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Posted On: March 3, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Results in Two Deaths and One Injury

A fiery rollover car accident caused two deaths and one injury on Chicago’s West Side last Saturday. The deadly car crash occurred in the Garfield Park neighborhood around 2:50 a.m. The Chicago car accident occurred when a northbound vehicle traveling on S. Pulaski Road scraped the east curb. The vehicle then struck several parking meters and a light pole before it split in half and became engulfed in flames. The vehicle finally settled on its roof near the intersection of West Monroe Street.

The tragic Chicago car accident left two dead and one critically injured. Jermaine Becton, a 29 year-old resident of 6514 S. Kedzie Ave., was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County around 4:50 a.m. according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. Fire Media Affairs spokesman Joe Roccasalva said that firefighters were able pull Becton and a yet unidentified woman from the vehicle. The ensuing fire prevented the firefighters from extricating a second unidentified woman from the car. The surviving woman was receiving treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital as of last Saturday. She is listed in critical condition. The accident is under investigation by the police Major Accident Investigation Unit. The police have yet to determine who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

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