In brief: Distractions cited in crash

Oklahoman Published: January 29, 2009
INVESTIGATION

Distractions Cited in crash
WASHINGTON — The pilots of two Phoenix news helicopters had so many distractions they lost track of each other, resulting in a midair crash that killed four, a federal safety panel said Wednesday. National Transportation Safety Board said the probable cause of the July 2007 crash was that the two helicopters drifted too close together because the pilots were focused on watching a police car chase and reporting the event for their television stations.

COURTS

MAYOR DENIES KATRINA FRAUD
JACKSON, Miss. — The mayor of a Mississippi city devastated by Hurricane Katrina pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he lied to get disaster assistance to repair his damaged beachfront home. Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr is the highest-ranking public official so far to be charged with fraud related to the storm that slammed the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005.

GIRL TAKES DEAL IN TAPED ATTACK
BARTOW, Fla. — One of five teenagers accused in the videotaped beating of a Florida girl has accepted a plea deal. Mercades Nichols, 18, pleaded guilty Tuesday to battery and tampering with a witness. The State Attorney’s Office said a kidnapping charge was dropped. Nichols was among a group arrested in 2008 and accused of attacking a 16-year-old classmate. The attack was recorded on video and broadcast.

DEATH

Fall injuries claim acrobat
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.