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US prosecutors seek 7-year prison sentence for VW manager

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 1:52 PM
Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 1:52 PM


            FILE - This January 2017 file photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Schmidt, a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's U.S. diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Detroit federal court. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
FILE - This January 2017 file photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Schmidt, a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's U.S. diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Detroit federal court. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

U.S. prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's diesel emissions scandal.

Oliver Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday in Detroit federal court. In a court filing this week, the Justice Department said he followed a "script of deception" while VW was using sophisticated software to cheat emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles.

Schmidt led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015. Defense lawyers are recommending that his sentence not exceed 40 months in prison, the punishment that was given to VW engineer James Liang.

The government, however, said there's a key distinction: Liang cooperated with investigators while Schmidt did not.

The diesel vehicles were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road. In 2015, according to the government, Schmidt talked with California regulators and concealed the software tricks while offering "bogus technical explanations" of any differences in emissions.

Prosecutors said Schmidt obstructed justice by getting rid of documents that were relevant to the U.S. investigation and giving false information to agents.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, Schmidt said he regrets not telling the truth to California regulators. He said he feels "misused by my own company in the Diesel scandal or 'Dieselgate.'"

"I just want to repeat how sorry I am for violating the law in the United States and putting myself in this situation," Schmidt, 48, said.

He returned to VW in Germany in 2015 but was arrested last January while on vacation in Miami. Schmidt has been in custody without bail for 11 months.

Other VW employees have been charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

Teen recovering after strep throat left her on life support, family says

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:49 PM



Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A teenager who was diagnosed last month with strep throat is recovering after family members said the bacteria behind the illness got into the girl’s bloodstream, causing septic shock.

>> Read more trending news

Jennifer Phillips, the mother of 16-year-old Alexis Patton, told WAND that her daughter started to feel sick on Dec. 21.

“I took her (to the hospital) that next day, Friday, and then by Monday evening, she was intubated on life support,” Phillips said.

She told the news station that doctors determined that the bacteria that causes strep throat, streptococcus, got into Alexis’s bloodstream and settled in her legs. In a GoFundMe account started to help support the family through Alexis’s illness, family friends said Alexis went into septic shock because of the bacteria and had to be put on a ventilator.

“It’s been really hard — the traveling back and forth, the sleepless nights at the hospital over and over. It’s been really rough,” Phillips told WAND last week. “She’s going to have to have a lot of surgeries, a lot of skin grafts and (she will have to) learn how to walk again.”

Family members said on a Facebook page dedicated to updating people on Alexis’s condition that the 16-year-old underwent multiple surgeries. Doctors told her family on Friday that her infection was resolved just over three weeks after she was first hospitalized.

Ok, Update on Alexis, I am sorry I have not really kept u guys in the loop I am sorry, I have been tending to her needs...

Posted by Prayers For Alexis on Friday, January 12, 2018

Family members on Sunday posted a video of Alexis as she continued her recovery.

This is my baby girl, I love her sooooo much.

Posted by Prayers For Alexis on Sunday, January 14, 2018

Phillips warned parents to take their children in to the doctor’s office as soon as they feel ill in light of her daughter’s illness.

“Don’t wait to take your kids in,” she told WAND. “Even if they just have common cold/flu symptoms, make sure they’re getting checked.”

Flu kills Massachusetts mother of 2 as outbreak affects majority of U.S.

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 4:13 PM

Massachusetts Mother Of 2 Dies From Flu, Outbreak Affects Majority Of U.S.

A well-known Massachusetts mother of two who thought she had a simple cold is dead after a bout of the flu turned fatal last week.

Jenny Ching, 51, of Needham, went to a hospital when her symptoms grew worse, The Needham Times reported. Doctors there diagnosed the flu.

The flu quickly turned to pneumonia, and she developed a severe bacterial infection. Ching died Friday, two days after being admitted to the hospital, the Times said. 

She leaves behind her husband, Matt Ching, and their two young sons. 

Ching was a beloved hostess at a Needham Chinese restaurant, and the restaurant’s patrons were among the mourners at her memorial service Wednesday. 

“Such an outpouring of support for the Jenny Ching family tonight,” Tom Keating posted to Facebook on Wednesday night. “The lines of people at the Eaton Funeral Home (were) literally around the corner.”

The owner of Ray’s New Garden, the Chinese restaurant where Ching worked for 28 years, also mourned her death on the establishment’s Facebook page

“Jenny always had a smile on her face and was one of the kindest people to touch so many lives,” the post read. “Please keep Jenny and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

A GoFundMe page established to help her family with expenses described Ching as a beautiful woman with a huge heart.

“She would do anything for anyone,” the page read. “If she wasn’t greeting you with a big smile at the New Garden restaurant where she worked, she was stopping you on the street to find out how you’re doing. She was a wonderful mom, and will be truly missed by everyone who knew her.”

>> Read more trending news

Ching’s obituary read that she would be remembered for her smile, her kindness and her devotion to her family.

“Most importantly, Jenny will be remembered for her boundless love for her two sons, David and Dennis, of whom she was so proud,” the obituary read

Her family asked that, instead of flowers, mourners contribute to an education fund for Ching’s sons. 

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the current flu season is a dangerous one, spreading quickly across the country. Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan told ABC News on Wednesday that the season, which began earlier than usual this year, is reaching near-epidemic levels.

Part of the problem is that this year’s most prevalent flu strain is H3N2, or Influenza A. That strain is particularly severe and harder to contain than other strains of the virus. 

“Whenever (H3N2) shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths,” Jernigan told ABC News

This year’s flu strain has been particularly hard on younger patients. 

Kyler Baughman, 21, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 28 of complications of the flu. The bodybuilder succumbed to organ failure brought on by flu-related septic shock, his family said.

In Ohio, Jonah Rieben, 4, died Saturday of complications of the flu. An 18-month-old boy from the Toledo area also died of the flu Monday. 

Edwin Hawkins, gospel star behind ‘Oh Happy Day,’ dead at 74 

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:04 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

Edwin Hawkins, 'Oh Happy Day' singer, dead at 74 Edwin Hawkins died on Jan. 15, 2018, of pancreatic cancer, according to his publicist. He was the musical mind behind the Edwin Hawkins Singers top 10 hit "Oh Happy Day." The call and response hymn that began as a local favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area eventually became an international hit in 1969. Hawkins was a part of a musical family out of Pleasanton, California. His brother was the late Walter Hawkins.

Grammy winner Edwin Hawkins, the gospel star best known for the crossover hit "Oh Happy Day," has died.

»RELATED: Photos: Notable deaths in 2018

Hawkins died early Monday at his home in Pleasanton, California. He was 74 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, publicist Bill Carpenter told The Associated Press.

The Edwin Hawkins Singers reached the top 10 on the pop charts with "Oh Happy Day," a call and response hymn that began as a local favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area and became an international hit in 1969.

The following year the Hawkins singers backed Melanie on her top 10 hit "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance for "Oh Happy Day."

Hawkins, part of a musical family, was studying interior design at Laney College in Oakland, California, in the late 1960s and working with a group he and his friend Betty Watson had put together, the Northern California State Youth Choir, according to the New York Times. The group recorded an album, “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord,” which was only slated to raise money for a trip to Southern California for a gospel competition. That album brought along their hit song “Oh Happy Day.”

“It was recorded on a friend’s little two-track machine,” Hawkins explained to The Modesto Bee in 2008. “It was never intended for commercial purposes at all.”

Over the years, “Oh Happy Day” has been covered by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Susan Boyle and several other artists.

“I wasn’t planning to go into the music business,” Mr. Hawkins once said, adding, “The record’s success decided my fate.”

The New York Times contributed to this report.

Related

Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:16 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:26 PM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

Update 1:20 p.m. Jan. 16: Officials said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the 13 siblings taken from a California home after they were held captive by their parents for an undisclosed period of time are recovering.

The siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, were in stable condition Tuesday.

“They’re very friendly, they’re very cooperative and I believe that they’re hopeful that life will get better for them after this event,” said Mark Uffer, CEO of the Corona Regional Medical Center.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department Capt. Greg Fellows said Louise Anna Turpin, the mother of the children, was “perplexed” when police arrived at the family’s home Sunday. Authorities said they had received no prior calls to the house and said there were no early indications that either Linda Anna Turpin or her husband, 57-year-old David Allen Turpin, had any history of mental illness.

Original report: A California couple was arrested Sunday after 13 siblings, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were allegedly held captive in a home, with several children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

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In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment. Bail was set at $9 million apiece, according to the news release.

Early Sunday, a 17-year-old called 911 and said she had escaped from her residence in Perris, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The teenager claimed that her 12 brothers and sisters were “being held captive” in the residence by her parents. 

When deputies met with the teen, she “appeared to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated.” Deputies went to the residence and said they were “shocked” to find the teen’s 12 siblings, seven of whom were adults ranging in age from 18 to 29. All of them appeared to be “malnourished and very dirty,” according to the release.

The parents were subsequently arrested, deputies said.

The six children, including the teen who escaped, were taken to a hospital in Moreno Valley for treatment, deputies said. The adults were being treated at a hospital in Corona.

David Turpin’s parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, told ABC News they were surprised and shocked at the allegations, KABC reported.

According to the California Department of Education website, David Turpin is listed as principal of the Sandcastle Day School, which was operated out of his home. The address listed for the school is the same residence where the 13 victims were discovered, CNN reported.

The school opened March 21, 2011, according to the website, and was categorized as a private school for students in grades one through 12.