WATCH: Highway severely damaged after tanker truck explodes

Published: Thursday, June 01, 2017 @ 5:20 AM

SCENE: Tanker explodes after crash on Colorado highway

A busy stretch of Interstate 25 in Denver was severely damaged after a tanker truck caught fire and exploded Wednesday. The driver of the truck suffered injuries, but was pulled from the truck by passing motorists and workers.

RELATED: Tanker truck explodes after wrong-way crash on I-75 in Dayton

Firefighters responded to Interstate 25 in southern Denver around noon local time after the semi caught fire, CBS affiliate KCNC-TV reports. 

The station reports a preliminary investigation found a blown tire on the semi sparked the blaze, causing the tanker to explode, but an official cause was not released. 

RELATED: IWitness7 viewers capture Dayton I-75 crash, fire, explosion

A witness told KCNC-TV he saw the semi lose control and hit a barrier just before the fire started.

“When he came to a stop I could see fuel, on the road northbound,” said Dave Fretz, a witness to the incident. “It was smoking and there was some flames happening in the back part of it. I knew this guy was in a truck and I didn’t see him come out of the truck.”

VIDEO: ODOT camera captures I-75 crash, explosion

PHOTOS: Images from fiery wrong-way crash on I-75

Fretz told the station while he went to check on the driver’s side of the semi, two Colorado Department of Transportation workers had pulled the driver from the passenger’s side and were helping him away from the fire.

RELATED: Stunning video of Atlanta I-85 fire and bridge collapse 

Fretz said the driver was suffering from a head and arm injury, but the official condition of the driver was unavailable. 

All 10 lanes of the highway, five in each direction, were shut down for several hours for crews to extinguish the blaze, forcing over 200,000 daily commuters to be diverted around the scene. By the Wednesday evening commute, three lanes were open on the southbound side of Interstate 25, but the northbound lanes remained closed into Thursday morning. 

KCNC-TV reports the Colorado Department of Transportation will work overnight with hopes to reopen the remaining lanes by the Thursday morning commute. 

CDOT workers said damage to the highway on the southbound lanes went about three inches deep into the pavement, but crews had yet to evaluate the extend of damage to the northbound lanes. 

Officials said they will need to remove the toxic mixture of chemicals, foam, and water still in the roadway before repairs could be made. 

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George Zimmerman, unemployed, $2.5M in debt, gets public defender in latest legal battle

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:55 PM

George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)
George Zimmerman testified September 2016 about the man he said shot at him during an alleged road-rage incident in 2015. (Via WFTV.com)

A judge in Seminole County, Florida, has granted George Zimmerman a public defender to represent him in his latest legal battle.

>> Read more trending news

Zimmerman told the judge that he’s indigent, unemployed and has $2.5 million in debt and liabilities, according to court documents.

Zimmerman is facing a misdemeanor stalking charge that was filed by the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office earlier this month.

A sheriff's report said an investigator, Dennis Warren, contacted Zimmerman in September on behalf of Michael Gasparro, who is making a documentary on Trayvon Martin. The series is being produced by rapper Jay-Z.

Zimmerman allegedly told Gasparro, "Help Dennis out and give him a heads up. I'm going to find him. And I'm bringing hell with me."

He allegedly texted Gasparro and said, "Dennis is a (expletive) who bothered my uncle in his home. Local or former law officer, he's well on his way to the inside of a gator as well. 10-4?"

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the indigent applications are rarely scrutinized by the court because they are done under oath.

“As long as you can show your liabilities outweigh your assets, you are maybe entitled to a public defender and you are maybe entitled to the cost of defense,” Sheaffer said.

Zimmerman is scheduled to be in court May 30.

Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 of the 2012 shooting death of Martin, an unarmed teenager. of unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin.

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Sandy Hook families sue Infowars' Alex Jones over hoax claims

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 4:11 AM

Fast Facts about Radio Host Alex Jones

Family members of six victims of the deadly 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and an FBI agent have filed a defamation lawsuit against Infowars' Alex Jones over his claims that the massacre was a hoax.

>> Sandy Hook parents accuse Alex Jones, Infowars of defamation, seek damages

According to The Associated Press, the suit, filed Wednesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, says the plaintiffs were harassed and threatened because of his claims. They seek "monetary and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs," the AP reported.

This is just the latest legal action against the conspiracy theorist over his Sandy Hook statements. He is facing two similar lawsuits filed last month in Texas.

>> Read more trending news 

Jones has not publicly commented on the most recent lawsuit, but said last month that even though he initially "questioned the PR and the talking points that surrounded the Sandy Hook massacre," he soon "began to believe that the massacre happened, despite the fact that the public doubted it."

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sandy Hook parents accuse Alex Jones, InfoWars of defamation, seek damages

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 12:36 PM

Fast Facts about Radio Host Alex Jones

The parents of children who died in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, have accused conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and InfoWars of defamation and seek damages in excess of $1 million.

>> Read more trending news

Two lawsuits filed on behalf of Neil Heslin, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa allege that Jones and his media organization spread false information related to the tragedy.

One of the suits also names Jones’ employee, Owen Shroyer, as a defendant.

Heslin’s suit arose from accusations InfoWars made in 2017 that Heslin was lying about holding his son’s body and seeing a bullet hole in the child’s head.

“This heartless and vile act of defamation re-ignited the Sandy Hook ‘false flag’ conspiracy and tore open the emotional wounds that (Heslin) has tried so desperately to heal,” a petition filed in Travis County District Court said.

>> Related: Man sues Alex Jones, InfoWars for $1 million, says they defamed him in Fla. shooting

The second suit was filed after InfoWars aired programming that claimed an interview De La Rosa did with CNN was faked, and pushed it as “evidence” of a government cover-up.

“Those statements in 2017 were part of a long history of lies peddled by Jones,” said Mark Bankston, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’ ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people. Enough is enough.”

The pair of lawsuits marks the third to be filed against Jones and his company in recent weeks.

>> Related: Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones apologizes for spreading fake 'Pizzagate' story

Marcel Fontaine is suing Jones for more than $1 million after he used an image of Fontaine that portrayed him as the shooter who killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February.

Fontaine is a Massachusetts resident with no ties to the deadly shooting.

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Rape victim wins $1 billion verdict in civil suit against security company

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:11 AM

Hope Cheston (left) and lawyer, Chris Stewart, during a news conference after Cheston was awarded $1 billion in a civil lawsuit.
WSBTV.com
Hope Cheston (left) and lawyer, Chris Stewart, during a news conference after Cheston was awarded $1 billion in a civil lawsuit.(WSBTV.com)

A Georgia rape victim was awarded a $1 billion settlement verdict Tuesday by a Clayton County jury in a civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The rape occurred in October 2012 when Cheston was 14. 

Hope Cheston, who is now 20 years old, sued a security company whose employee, Brandon Lamar Zachary (pictured), was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years in prison.(Clayton County Sheriff's Office)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s policy is to not name rape victims, but Cheston has chosen to speak out after the verdict. 

“Sexual assault is sexual assault,” Cheston said at a news conference Wednesday. “It’s not right, and it needs to be punished.”

She said the verdict was a pleasant surprise that validates her struggles and emotional pain.

>> Read more trending news 

“For the longest (time), I thought it would be pushed under the rug and no longer mattered ... but come to find out 12 strangers feel like what I went through and my story and how I feel six years later is worth a billion dollars,” Cheston said.

She originally filed the civil suit against the apartment complex, HACC Pointe South Inc., the property management company, Hammond Residential Group, Inc., and the security company, Crime Prevention Agency Inc.

HACC Pointe South Inc. and Hammond Residential Group Inc. were eventually dismissed from the suit.

The State Court of Clayton County ruled in Cheston’s favor against the security company, handing her the huge settlement, according to a statement from her attorney. 

“This is a huge victory for women,” Cheston’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said at the news conference.

Stewart said Crime Prevention Agency Inc. has since changed its name to International Security Agency Inc., which he said has prompted a subsequent lawsuit.

“You can’t change names or try to hide from your responsibility,” Stewart said.

Zachary, who is now 28, was arrested on charges of rape, statutory rape and child molestation, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. 

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