July 24, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Four missing after plane crashes in lake


LUDINGTON, Mich. – A pilot who volunteered to fly a man with cancer, his wife and a doctor to the Mayo Clinic on Friday was rescued by boaters in Lake Michigan hours after his small plane crashed into the water, authorities said. The search for a co-pilot and the three passengers was ongoing.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brandon Blackwell said Jerry Freed, 66, of Alma, was rescued hours after the plane lost power and crashed a few miles off the coast of Ludington. He was in good condition at a local hospital.

An air and marine search continued for co-pilot Earl Davidson, Alma schools superintendent Don Pavlik, his wife, Irene, and Dr. James Hall.

Don Pavlik was diagnosed earlier this year with cancer of the esophagus and Freed and Davidson had volunteered to take him to the Rochester, Minn., medical center, Costanzo said.

The plane left Alma, about 150 miles northwest of Detroit, Friday morning. It went down shortly after 10 a.m. a few miles off the shore of the resort town on Michigan’s west coast.

About 10 minutes before the plane went down, the pilot reported a loss of power to an air traffic controller at the Minneapolis Center, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The small plane took off about 9 a.m. Friday from Gratiot Community Airport south of Alma, said airport assistant manager Lucas Locke. Carol Freed said her husband had checked the plane Thursday and had no concerns.

Fight over prisoner leads to fatal crash

PONTIAC, Mich. – A feud between two women who claimed to love the same prison inmate led to a high-speed chase and crash that critically injured one of the rivals, killed her friend and left the second rival facing murder charges.

“It’s unbelievable,” Pontiac police Chief Valard S. Gross said as he described the escalating dispute that ended with Wednesday’s deadly crash.

According to Gross, Torrie Emery, 23, and Danielle Booth, 20, had been feuding for some time, leading to an earlier police complaint. According to Emery’s family, the dispute was over a 23-year-old man serving time in a Michigan prison.

On Wednesday, Emery was driving when she saw Booth in the passenger seat of a car driven by Alesha Abernathy and started chasing her, Gross said. Emery had her 3-year-old daughter in the car with her.

Abernathy ran a red light and plowed into a dump truck, knocking it onto its side but not injuring the truck’s driver.

The crash killed Abernathy and critically injured Booth. Emery and her daughter weren’t hurt.

Emery appeared on video at her arraignment Friday on charges of second-degree murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm and child abuse.

“We apologize to the family about what happened,” Emery’s aunt, Tamika White, said after the hearing. “This Facebook stuff is just a mess. They’re going on Facebook about a guy that neither one have – that’s in the penitentiary.”

Tea party leader resigns over blog post

WASHINGTON – The tea party leader who penned an incendiary and racially derogatory blog post has resigned his position with a prominent conservative group, refusing to apologize but saying he no longer wished to be used as “ammunition” in the “war for the future of this country.”

“I am going to continue to fight on the side of liberty but it is clear that doing so with any affiliation with the Tea Party Express is not the best way to do so,” commentator Mark Williams wrote, according to a letter circulated by the Sacramento, Calif.-based political action committee.

A portion of the larger tea party movement shunned Williams and his Tea Party Express earlier this week, citing a blog post in which Williams wrote a mock letter to Abraham Lincoln from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.

“Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!” the letter read.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email