August 12, 2007 in Nation/World

Rain slows bridge recovery effort

The Spokesman-Review

Divers looking for five people still missing since the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge were hampered Saturday because heavy rain had strengthened the current in the Mississippi River.

Overnight thunderstorms dropped as much as 2 inches of rain on the region, making the river dangerous for divers around the twisted bridge wreckage, a Navy spokesman said.

They were back in the water by 11 a.m., but coordinators pulled them out around 8 p.m. when rain, thunder and lightning returned to the area.

“If they feel they’re not safe anymore or conditions change, they’ll stop again,” said Randy Mitchell, an Army spokesman working with the Navy team.

The delay came after a two-day period in which the military divers recovered three bodies. That brought the confirmed death toll to eight, and reduced the list of known missing to five.

Family and friends gathered Saturday for a double funeral for a mother and daughter killed in the collapse. The bodies of Sadiya Sahal, 23, and 22-month-old Hana, of St. Paul, were among the three recovered Thursday and Friday.

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Man attacks four women in salon

A 41-year-old man stormed a beauty salon and bludgeoned four grandmothers with a hammer, fracturing one’s skull, before making off with less than $90, police said.

Thomas Leyshon III, of Mountain Top, was arrested after a daylong manhunt Friday.

The women, aged 56 to 76, did not resist but were beaten anyway, witnesses said. At least one required surgery.

“It takes a coward to go after some old women,” said Andy Chopka, grandson of victim Jeanna Chopka.

Authorities allege Leyshon attacked a co-owner of Hairem Family Hair and Nail Care while demanding money from the register and the women’s purses. The victims were treated at hospitals for head and facial injuries.

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