Originally created 05/02/04

Across the southeast



Airline deaths prompt call for federal study

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Two congressmen concerned about safety in the fast-growing regional airline industry after a crash last year in Charlotte resulted in the death of 21 people want a federal study of the issue.

The U.S. General Accounting Office will probably examine the Federal Aviation Administration's oversight of regional airlines at the request of U.S. Reps. James Oberstar, D-Minn., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

On Jan. 8, 2003, a commuter plane operated by Air Midwest crashed 37 seconds after takeoff from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, killing all 21 aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident on sloppy maintenance, poor federal oversight and excessive weight in the back of the plane.

Denying abortion to prisoner ruled legal

NEW ORLEANS - Medical workers in a south Louisiana jail did not violate a prisoner's civil rights by preventing her from having an abortion, a federal court ruled Friday.

In its opinion, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the prison's policy of requiring a court order for elective medical procedures was reasonable.

"It is undisputed that the abortion was not medically necessary," the court wrote.

This was also the first time an inmate had requested an abortion, meaning the prison could not have had an official - and unconstitutional - policy to deny abortions to inmates, the court held.

Agent shoots own leg in safety presentation

ORLANDO, FLA. - A federal drug agent shot himself in the leg during a gun safety presentation to children in what police describe as an accident. His bosses, however, are still investigating the incident.

The Drug Enforcement Administration agent, whose name was not released, was speaking April 9 to about 50 adults and students organized by the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association, witnesses and police said.

He drew his .40-caliber duty weapon and removed the magazine, according to the police report. He then pulled back the slide and asked an audience member to look inside the gun and confirm it wasn't loaded.

Witnesses said that when the agent released the slide, one shot fired into the top of his left thigh. The gun was pointed at the floor.