Burning railroad bridge collapses in Central Texas
SAN SABA, Texas (AP) - A 300-yard wooden railroad bridge in Central Texas has fallen after catching fire in a dramatic collapse captured on cellphone video.
Lometa (loh-MEE'-tuh) Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Jamie Smart said Thursday that nobody was hurt in the blaze in rural Lampasas (lam-PA'-sis) County. Smart shot the video Sunday showing the bridge over some low ground burning and falling.
Smart says volunteer firefighters from San Saba (san SAH'-buh) also were hand. Smart says he heard someone say "there she goes" and he shot the video.
Authorities are trying to determine what sparked the fire on the bridge built in 1910 and still used to haul freight. The area is about 100 miles northwest of Austin.
A message left with the bridge owner, Heart of Texas Railroad, LP, wasn't immediately returned Thursday.
Suspect sought after man fatally shot at Southlake
SOUTHLAKE, Texas (AP) - Police are seeking a gunman who fatally shot a man sitting in an SUV in the town square of an upscale North Texas city.
Southlake police on Thursday sought clues to the shooting of a 43-year-old man as he sat in the parked vehicle with his wife in the shopping district.
Southlake police Chief Stephen Mylett says authorities are seeking a motive but it appears the victim was targeted Wednesday night. His name wasn't immediately released.
Investigators say another vehicle pulled up to the SUV, a gunman got out and fired several shots then hopped back into his vehicle with another person and they drove away. Police believe one suspect was wearing a mask.
Surveillance video from nearby businesses will be reviewed.
Southlake is 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth.
Man killed in Texas had fake 'anthrax' containers
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Police say an armed robbery suspect who was shot and killed in a South Texas neighborhood had containers falsely labeled "anthrax."
San Antonio police say no dangerous materials were found after the gunman was fatally shot early Thursday by a resident.
Police believe the suspect followed a couple home in an apparent robbery attempt. Sgt. Richard Fischer says the suspect began making demands. A neighbor heard the commotion, grabbed his shotgun, went outside and shot the suspect.
Police say the suspect's car was found nearby. The trunk had containers labeled "anthrax." Hazardous materials experts checked the items and found no dangerous substances.
Police say charges likely won't be filed against the neighbor who shot and killed the suspect. Further details on the investigation weren't immediately available.
Man gets life for razor attack on Texas barber
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (AP) - A man who claimed self-defense has been sentenced to life in prison for grabbing a razor and slitting the throat of an East Texas barber during a robbery.
Jurors in Nacogdoches (na-kuh-DOH'-chihs) earlier convicted Timothy Blanton of Garrison of aggravated robbery. The attack last July at a barber shop in Nacogdoches also left Chester Pleasant with hand and shoulder wounds.
Blanton testified his girlfriend had received texts from the barber. Blanton told jurors that Pleasant asked him to leave and he was doing so - then Pleasant grabbed him and the men fought.
Prosecutors dispute Blanton's self-defense testimony and say he intended to steal cash from the barber.
Records show Blanton, who was sentenced Tuesday, has previous convictions for robbery, criminal trespass, carrying a weapon, burglary and evading arrest.
Federal indictment in real estate investment scam
HOUSTON (AP) - A 52-year-old Houston man who portrayed himself as a pastor running a religious-themed investment program is charged with 24 counts of fraud for what federal prosecutors say was a real estate scheme that cost a Mississippi woman $650,000.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson says Samuel Ray Palasota has surrendered to authorities and was to appear before a federal magistrate in Houston.
An indictment unsealed Thursday describes Palasota as manager of a firm called "The Maker's Resources" where in 2009 he made false promises and representations about reselling foreclosed homes around Houston. Prosecutors say he duped the unidentified Mississippi woman to invest with him proceeds from a $1 million divorce settlement but spent the money on himself.
If convicted, he could get up to 20 years in prison on each count.
Texas lawyer gets prison for mail, medical fraud
TYLER, Texas (AP) - An East Texas lawyer convicted in a mail and medical fraud scheme has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
A federal judge in Tyler on Wednesday also ordered 55-year-old Steven Rushing of Longview to repay more than $929,000. Rushing in February pleaded guilty to mail fraud.
Investigators say Rushing negotiated settlements in civil cases and told clients he would use part of the insurance money they were due to pay off their medical bills. The funds to settle the cases were sent to the attorney who then paid a portion to his clients.
Prosecutors say Rushing diverted some of the money meant to pay hospital and other medical costs to his personal use in cases since 2011.
Parkland takes step toward paying $1.4M settlement
DALLAS (AP) - The board of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas has voted to pay $1.4 million to settle allegations that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid.
The proposed agreement with the U.S. Justice Department was approved late Wednesday. Parkland does not admit liability in the settlement.
The Dallas Morning News reports details remain confidential because the settlement faces approval by a federal judge. The Justice Department and the state investigated in response to a 2010 whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a physician.
Board members also approved an integrity agreement to require independent monitoring of Parkland's billing and clinical practices for five years. The hospital collects about $425 million annually from Dallas County taxpayers.
President John F. Kennedy was taken to Parkland when he was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963.
Texas has 8 of top 15 fastest-growing cities in US
HOUSTON (AP) - New estimates show Texas has 8 of the nation's 15 fastest-growing cities.
Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show San Marcos in Central Texas led the way with a nearly 5% population boom between July 2011 and July 2012. That's the highest rate among U.S. cities with at least 50,000 people.
Of the 10 big U.S. cities with the largest gains, half are in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. Only New York added more people than Houston, which now has a population of nearly 2.2 million after adding more than 34,500 people.
Midland; Conroe, just north of Houston; and the Austin suburbs of Cedar Park and Georgetown also are among the fastest-growing in the country.
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