Kidnapped woman uses insulin pump light to escape car trunk

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

Kidnapped Woman Uses Insulin Pump To Escape

An Alabama woman’s insulin pump saved her life last week, but not in a way she ever imagined.

Brittany Diggs, 25, was lying in the trunk of her own Nissan Altima just before midnight on March 14, hours after being kidnapped outside her apartment in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood by a man wielding a gun. Diggs told “Today” that the gunman kept demanding her money. 

Diggs, a nursing student, told him she was a “broke college student” and didn’t have anything. 

“He was, like, since you don’t have any money, you’re going to help me get money,” Diggs told “Today.” “So he made me drive him to another side of town (and) he tried to rob two other couples.” 

Watch Diggs’ “Today” interview below.

When that didn’t work, the man, who took Diggs’ phone and wallet, forced her into the trunk of the car and drove to multiple ATMs to use her debit card to get cash from her bank account. Hours into her captivity, he pulled into the parking lot of Gas Land in Bessemer. 

Before getting out of the car, he made a threat that Diggs said he’d made multiple times through the night. 

“(He said), ‘If this don’t work, I’m going to kill you,” Diggs said. 

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That’s when a panicked Diggs decided to make her move. She said she had seen a video on Facebook about latches inside the trunks of vehicles, a requirement by law since 2000. 

“I just got the bright idea to use my insulin pump light,” Diggs told “Today.” 

As the man was inside the store, unsuccessfully trying to get more cash from Diggs’ bank account, Diggs held onto the trunk latch and waited. 

“He gets in, he’s yelling, he’s pulling out pretty fast, so I’m, like, ‘Oh, shoot, let me hurry up and get out of here,’” she said. 

Footage from the convenience store’s exterior security cameras captured the moment that Diggs jumped from the moving car, landed hard on the pavement and stood, fleeing into the store. Her captor hit the brakes, but only for a moment, before fleeing in her car. 

Cameras in the store showed Diggs taking cover inside as the owner, Yosef Alsabah, locked the door and called police. At one point, the visibly shaken woman grabbed a shotgun Alsabah kept in the store, fearful the man would come back. 

The store owner took the gun from her and assured her the man was not coming back. 

Alsabah told AL.com the day after the incident that the man tried several times to get cash out of the ATM in his store, but was trying to get more cash than was in the account. He said the man got frustrated and left. 

He was watching the man drive away when he saw the trunk of the car pop open and Diggs roll out, Alsabah said

Her car was recovered in Birmingham, but the suspect remains at large. Birmingham police officials released an image from surveillance video that shows the man’s face.

Diggs told “Today” that she is moving from her apartment because the suspect took not only her wallet and phone, but also her keys. A friend established a GoFundMe page to help her with the expenses of moving. 

As of Monday morning, the page had raised over $16,000, more than double its $7,000 goal. 

“I try to put it in the back of my head, so I can just, you know, get through the day,” a tearful Diggs said. “But that was, like, the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”

2 dead after shooting at Penn State Beaver campus

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 4:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

Penn State Beaver campus in Center Township, Pa.
Penn State Beaver 
Penn State Beaver campus in Center Township, Pa.(Penn State Beaver )

Two people died Wednesday afternoon in a shooting at Penn State’s Beaver campus in what police described as a domestic situation, WPXI confirmed.

Judge resigns after sending woman to jail over perjury, traffic ticket

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

Judge Sends Woman To Jail Over Perjury & Traffic Ticket Then Resigns

A Decatur municipal court judge has resigned after jailing a woman for perjury, saying she’d lied about a traffic ticket.

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Judge Lindsay Jones offered his resignation to Decatur Chief Municipal Judge Rhathelia Stroud on Wednesday, Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jones had earlier told The AJC he was not stepping down.

The controversy began when Shari Hurston Tatum appeared in court Nov. 8 for a traffic ticket. She waived her right to an attorney and jury trial, but demanded a bench hearing, Jones said.

When Tatum reappeared in court Wednesday for that hearing, Jones played video of the traffic incident and decided Tatum was guilty of blocking the intersection and further that Tatum was guilty of perjury. He sentenced her to two days in jail.

>> Related: Woman spends 20th anniversary in jail for minor traffic violation

“Tatum’s perjury was characterized as misbehavior before the court, and treated as a contempt of court process, for which she was sentenced to two days in jail,” Jones said.

Tatum said she was embarrassed and ended up spending her 20th wedding anniversary in jail.

After The AJC on Thursday published an article about the incident, Jones sent a letter refuting the idea that he had resigned. 

“I have not offered my resignation to Ms. Merris or the City Commission, nor have I spoken with Ms. Merris or the Commissioners as of this date relating to my judgeship,” Jones wrote on Thursday.

But Decatur officials say Jones had resigned verbally in conversation the day before with Stroud.

“After listening to his report and sharing my concerns and subsequent expectations for what had gone forth in the Court earlier, Judge Jones tendered his verbal resignation to me last night,” Stroud said in an email to Merriss.

Stroud further said she accepted the resignation immediately on behalf of the city.

Jones said on Sunday he meant only to maintain that he would not change his order in Tatum’s case and that he intended to seek further clarification from Stroud.

“I had no intent to offer the resignation of my position to Judge Stroud, I was merely expressing my intent do so in the future if the political pressures being exerting upon me to change my order were to persist,” Jones wrote.

Based on his resignation, Jones is no longer a member of the City of Decatur Municipal Court, Merriss said.

Woman arrested, accused of threatening to ‘kill everybody’ on Southwest flight

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

A passenger was removed from a Southwest flight after threatening to kill everyone on it.
Rob Carr/Getty Images/Getty Images
A passenger was removed from a Southwest flight after threatening to kill everyone on it.(Rob Carr/Getty Images/Getty Images)

A woman was arrested after she was accused of smoking on a plane and threatening to kill passengers on the flight.

KOIN reported that the woman was on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon to Sacramento, California,  Saturday. Passenger-recorded video appears to show a woman yelling at crew.

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“I swear if you don’t (expletive) land I will (expletive) kill everyone on this (expletive) plane,” the woman says in the video.

KOVR reported that the witness who recorded the video said the woman, Valerie Curbelo, 24, was caught smoking in the bathroom of the plane and attempted to interfere with the smoke detector. She was told to go back to her seat when she began yelling and making threats. According to the witness, Curbelo had to be restrained by crew members for the last 30 minutes flight, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.

Curbelo was arrested by law enforcement at the gate. She was booked into the Saramento County Jail and making criminal threats.

Curbelo spoke to KOVR from her jail cell. She said she smoked because she was anxious, but she did not provides and explanation for the threat she is accused of making, or what she was anxious about. 

“I don’t know,” Curbelo, who is from Sandy, Oregon, said. “It was not me. It was not me.”

Curbelo wouldn’t say why she was flying to Sacramento.

Southwest airlines provided a statement to KOIN on the incident:

“Our Crew in command of Flight 2943 traveling from Portland on Saturday afternoon safely landed on-time in Sacramento following an inflight disturbance. Our reports from Flight Attendants indicate a Customer violated federal laws by both smoking onboard an aircraft and by tampering with a smoke detector in an aircraft restroom. Our Crew enforced the regulation and that was followed by the passenger outburst. The safety of our Crew and Passengers is our top priority and we take all threats seriously. The Pilots declared an emergency to receive priority handling from air traffic controllers, and our Crew handled the situation onboard until the plane landed and local authorities stepped in. The flight carried 136 Customers and a Crew of five.”


The Sacramento Bee reported that Curbelo has an arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

Who is Akayed Ullah, suspect in New York explosion?

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 11:29 AM
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 2:08 PM

Who Is Akayed Ullah?

Four people were injured Monday morning when an explosive device went off in an underground passageway near Times Square, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Among those injured was a man suspected of strapping the device to himself and carrying it toward Times Square.

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>> Related: New York explosion: Suspect, 3 others injured in 'terror-related' attack

New York Police Commissioner James O’Neil identified the suspect as Akayed Ullah, 27.

Explosion Reported At New York City Port Authority Bus Station