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Driver in Bay Area highway collapse had history of arrests
AP wire on Bakersfield Californian ^ | 4/30/07 | Marcus Wohlsen - ap

Posted on 04/30/2007 7:36:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

The driver who crashed a tanker loaded with gasoline and brought down a heavily trafficked highway overpass was given a commercial trucker's license despite a history of criminal convictions, including drug and burglary arrests.

James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland also got a special hazardous materials endorsement last year from the federal Transportation Security Administration. To get it, he had to undergo an FBI criminal history check and an intelligence background check.

"It's reprehensible," said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who chairs both the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security. "Someone with that record has no business driving hazardous materials on our highways."

The elevated section of highway that funnels traffic from the Bay Bridge to a number of key freeways was destroyed early Sunday after flames from James Mosqueda's overturned gasoline truck caused part of that overpass to buckle and collapse onto a roadway below.

Although a predicted traffic nightmare failed to materialize Monday as workers heeded the dire warnings and stayed home, or seized on free public transportation, transit officials cautioned it will be months before things return to normal for Bay Area commuters.

Authorities said drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash, and that Mosqueda may have lost control because he was speeding from a refinery in Benicia to a gas station near the Oakland airport.

He served two years and eight months in prison following a 1996 arrest for heroin possession in Sacramento County, court records show. His criminal rap sheet stretching back to 1981 also includes arrests for burglary, felony drug charges and possession of stolen property, according to the California Department of Corrections and the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.

His brother, Ruben Mosqueda, 44, an artist living in San Francisco, said his brother has been sober for more than a decade and now works as a drug and alcohol counselor with a Hispanic health organization.

"All that happened over 10 years ago," Ruben Mosqueda said of his brother's criminal record. "A lot has changed."

Still, in light of Mosqueda's numerous convictions, the Transportation Security Administration said late Monday it would review whether he should have been cleared to drive a gasoline tanker.

"Under TSA HazMat rules, individuals who have been convicted of certain felonies will not be able to hold a hazardous materials endorsement," said TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley. "In this case, we are going to further investigate this case and look into the individual details."

TSA rules require those convicted of a drug offense to wait seven years before qualifying for the HazMat endorsement. There is also a five-year waiting period after a convict is released from prison. Since Mosqueda was released in 2001, he became eligible in 2006.

There is also nothing that prevents a convicted felon who has served his sentence from getting his commercial truck driver's license in California - so long as he has a clear driving record, CHP Chief Steve Vaughn said.

Still, officials quickly called for a review of rules that allow a person with a criminal background to drive a truck carrying more than 8,000 gallons of gasoline through a densely populated area.

"We should look into the policy that would give a driver with a checkered past like this the ability to drive such a hazardous vehicle," said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Investigators examined evidence at the accident scene Monday to determine what caused the collision and whether Mosqueda was at fault. None one died and he was the only person injured. He walked away from the scene and hailed a cab and remained hospitalized Monday with second-degree burns.

His mother, Alicia Mosqueda, said it was an accident, and he shouldn't be blamed for it.

"It was a real miracle that he was able to walk out alive," she said in a telephone interview. "God knows he had no fault in this. He was just doing his work."

Crews also began hauling away charred debris and engineers prepared for reconstruction, which could take two to three months. Inspectors X-rayed about a dozen pillars supporting the ramp near the collapsed section to see if they could be salvaged, California Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Weiss said.

He cautioned that a scarcity of steel resulting from a building boom, in China and India could slow reconstruction.

"We can't get steel like we used to," Weiss said.

The damaged roads, vital arteries linking San Francisco to its eastern suburbs, carry some 80,000 vehicles a day. Originally built in the 1950s, the collapsed road was retrofitted in the late 1990s to withstand earthquake damage.

Rather than rebuild the ramp to existing blueprints, engineers would likely overhaul the interchange to conform to today's more stringent seismic standards, Weiss said.

Emergency response officials were also doing their own analysis for lessons they can apply to the region's inevitable next earthquake, or a terrorist attack.

"It's almost your perfect tabletop exercise - real pristine, clean, and nobody got hurt," CHP Officer Mike Wright said.

Newsom said city officials were also looking at the tanker crash for clues for how to shore up their emergency response plan.

"Every time we go through this, it's beneficial because we're able to see the gaps," he said. "This is not a dress rehearsal, it's serious, but we didn't lose any lives."

Applying lessons from past earthquakes could also be key to a quick recovery.

After the 1989 Loma Prieta quake collapsed a section of the Bay Bridge's upper span, crews were able to complete the repairs in just one month. The Santa Monica Freeway was reopened in 66 days, well ahead of schedule, after it was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Those projects were sped along by incentive clauses that reward contractors for getting the job done ahead of time and fine them for delays.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's emergency declaration authorized free transit on the Bay Area Rapid Transit rail system, ferries and buses. Many apparently took advantage: Parking lots at outlying BART stations like El Cerrito and Pittsburg-Baypoint filled up earlier than usual as commuters tried to beat the rush they imagined was coming. Others took the day off or telecommuted.

"I'm mad," said Crystal McSwain, who has a commuter pass for the trans-bay bus, but was taking BART - a more expensive option. "My life is upside down, and I don't know how long it's going to take."


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: California; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: arrests; bayarea; baybridge; california; collapse; driver
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1 posted on 04/30/2007 7:36:08 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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can of worms


2 posted on 04/30/2007 7:37:51 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... In FReeP We Trust ...)
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To: NormsRevenge

If they ever close this loophole, then just wait for the legions of ‘under documented’ Mexican truckdrivers to ram right through it!


3 posted on 04/30/2007 7:39:20 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: NormsRevenge

And the Feds are considering letting Mexican truck drivers have free access to USA highways? Insanity.....


4 posted on 04/30/2007 7:39:51 PM PDT by tflabo (Take authority that's ours)
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To: NormsRevenge
The driver who crashed a tanker loaded with gasoline and brought down a heavily trafficked highway overpass was given a commercial trucker's license despite a history of criminal convictions, including drug and burglary arrests. James Mosqueda, 51,

Rhymes with Al Queda

5 posted on 04/30/2007 7:42:17 PM PDT by tflabo (Take authority that's ours)
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To: NormsRevenge; Grampa Dave; SierraWasp; WSGilcrest; Pete-R-Bilt
Bay Bridge truck fire update...
6 posted on 04/30/2007 7:47:11 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: NormsRevenge

I’m divided on this. He appears to have been clean of drugs, and the crimes were committed quite a long time ago.

Presumably they have the seven year waiting period after a drug conviction in order to confirm that the driver is unlikely to go back onto drugs while driving. Evidently he didn’t.


7 posted on 04/30/2007 7:47:43 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: NormsRevenge
"It's reprehensible," said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who chairs both the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security. "Someone with that record has no business driving hazardous materials on our highways."

Hey Pedro. Everyone that can drive is transporting the same hazardous material

8 posted on 04/30/2007 7:48:26 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Cicero
I’m divided on this. He appears to have been clean of drugs, and the crimes were committed quite a long time ago.

I agree, let the guy try to reclaim his life and earn his living. Nothing about his past has anything to do with an accident for crying out loud.

9 posted on 04/30/2007 7:49:32 PM PDT by Godzilla (OK, who stopped payment on my reality check?)
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To: NormsRevenge

That guy has an unfortunate name - Mosqueda.

Everytime I look at it I think of these words:
MOSQUE
Al QAEDA


10 posted on 04/30/2007 7:49:46 PM PDT by California74
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To: NormsRevenge
He cautioned that a scarcity of steel resulting from a building boom, in China and India could slow reconstruction. "We can't get steel like we used to," Weiss said.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This in the nation that built over 10,000 ships; 100,000+ armored vehicles and 300,000+ aircraft in four years in the early 1940s.

"Free Trade" and "Globalism"----it's a beautiful thing.

11 posted on 04/30/2007 7:50:47 PM PDT by Rockpile
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Cicero

If he has been clean for that many years, I would agree,, he’s lucky to be alive and remains hospitalized, speeding is what it sounds like and he lost control ,, lucky no one was killed due to time of day


13 posted on 04/30/2007 7:54:56 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... In FReeP We Trust ...)
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To: NormsRevenge

IT’S BUSH’S FAULT!!...someone had to say it :)


14 posted on 04/30/2007 7:56:34 PM PDT by RoseofTexas
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To: Tinian

If it was only skin deep, you might have a point.


15 posted on 04/30/2007 7:57:44 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid
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To: California74

Al is his brother.


16 posted on 04/30/2007 7:59:49 PM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: humblegunner

hazmat ping


17 posted on 04/30/2007 8:02:06 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: NormsRevenge

Howlin’s fault


18 posted on 04/30/2007 8:02:34 PM PDT by muleskinner
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To: Rockpile
He cautioned that a scarcity of steel resulting from a building boom, in China and India could slow reconstruction. "We can't get steel like we used to," Weiss said.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This in the nation that built over 10,000 ships; 100,000+ armored vehicles and 300,000+ aircraft in four years in the early 1940s.

"Free Trade" and "Globalism"----it's a beautiful thing.

Like you, I pine for the good old days of colonialism, when we could welsh on contracts without care and screw the hell out of all dusky-skinned heathens.

19 posted on 04/30/2007 8:04:26 PM PDT by Tinian
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To: Tinian
There are many reasons not to allow Mexican trucks into the US.

The fact that you are playing the race card without considering this fact immediately casts you as an illogical Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson wannabe.

So Reverand Tinian, how many fake racist "hate crimes" have you staged lately? You have to put yourself at the center of a manufactured incident before you get to cry racism, you know.

20 posted on 04/30/2007 8:07:09 PM PDT by bluefish (Are you really that thick, or are you simply trolling for fun?)
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To: NormsRevenge

Prolly a Communist or Rudy Giuliani voter too!


21 posted on 04/30/2007 8:07:10 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (We all need someone we can bleed on...)
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To: Revolting cat!

More likely a RAT teamster.....


22 posted on 04/30/2007 8:08:25 PM PDT by clintonh8r (It is better to be feared than to be respected.)
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To: Tinian; tflabo

I think the issue is that we’d have a whole lot less access to background info on Mexican drivers.


23 posted on 04/30/2007 8:11:58 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: NormsRevenge
".."We can't get steel like we used to," Weiss said..."

Damn! Didn't we used to make that in the United States?

24 posted on 04/30/2007 8:12:26 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Anti-Bubba182

ssshhhhhh, we still have an infestation or two of good steel mills here and we sell most of that abroad, I think..


25 posted on 04/30/2007 8:14:42 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... In FReeP We Trust ...)
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To: NormsRevenge

I don’t understand why this sort of truck (i.e. designed to carry thousands of gallons of hazardous material) isn’t required by law to be equipped with a mechanism that prevents it from exceeding 55 or 60 mph. Most accidents involving fuel tanker trucks seem to happen at high speeds on highways. This guy is said to have been “speeding” in a 50 mph zone — with a built-in speed limiter, he wouldn’t have been able to speed by very much over the 50 mph limit.


26 posted on 04/30/2007 8:15:40 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: NormsRevenge

Mosque/ Queda? hmmmmmmmm


27 posted on 04/30/2007 8:17:02 PM PDT by Minutemen ("It's a Religion of Peace")
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To: Rockpile

The US steel industry shares the blame for its own demise.


28 posted on 04/30/2007 8:22:08 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s......you weren't really there)
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To: NormsRevenge
"It's reprehensible," said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who chairs both the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security. "Someone with that record has no business driving hazardous materials on our highways."

Hypocrite.

29 posted on 04/30/2007 8:23:37 PM PDT by bannie
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To: mylife
Hey Pedro. Everyone that can drive is transporting the same hazardous material

Yeah, and anyone can get his hands on some restricted radiological materials by plunking down $10 for a smoke detector.

The amount of gasoline this guy was carrying was more than 2.5 orders of magnitude larger than what a typical car carries. That's a pretty huge difference.

30 posted on 04/30/2007 8:24:15 PM PDT by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: Anti-Bubba182
"We can't get steel like we used to," Weiss said..."
We can't produce much of anything anymore- pathetic. ("virtual steel"?)
31 posted on 04/30/2007 8:24:31 PM PDT by Minutemen ("It's a Religion of Peace")
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To: NormsRevenge
Will the DUmmie conspiracy freaks and Rosie O start claiming that "...a fire alone couldn't have destroyed that roadway...it must have been explosive devices planted there to make it collapse...just like on 9/11!"?
32 posted on 04/30/2007 8:25:47 PM PDT by Former Dodger ( "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Einstein)
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To: GovernmentShrinker
I don’t understand why this sort of truck (i.e. designed to carry thousands of gallons of hazardous material) isn’t required by law to be equipped with a mechanism that prevents it from exceeding 55 or 60 mph.

As has been noted, much of the blame lies (but will never be placed) on politicians who set artificially-low speed limits in so many places that speed limits are widely ignored even in those cases where they are necessary.

That having been said, a driver's logs should indicate whether he has a habit of speeding. No need for speed-restricting devices.

33 posted on 04/30/2007 8:29:31 PM PDT by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: California74; tflabo

You are pretty close. He has an Arabic name. I believe that very roughly translated his name means “place of the base”.
ie: His family a long time ago lived near a military base or
fort. Maybe!

With that anglo first name my bet is that he is a Christian Lebanonee.


34 posted on 04/30/2007 8:29:38 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: Minutemen

See Post #34


35 posted on 04/30/2007 8:32:09 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: Godzilla
Nothing about his past has anything to do with an accident for crying out loud.

What do you think caused the accident? I can think of only one thing: speeding. Let's just say hypothetically he was doing, oh, 80, when he decided he'd better slow down a little because it's getting a little hairy through "the maze", but he waggles a little, clips a pillar, and crashes.

Wouldn't such behavior be an echo of his former irresponsible self?

36 posted on 04/30/2007 8:33:18 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: NormsRevenge
There is also nothing that prevents a convicted felon who has served his sentence from getting his commercial truck driver's license in California - so long as he has a clear driving record, CHP Chief Steve Vaughn said.

So is he insinuating that convicted felons, who presumably have served their sentences, should not be allowed to operate a truck?

It's time the nanny state either enacts the immedate death penalty for all felons, or accept the fact that these folks who are released from jail will need to do something to make a living. Maybe not a truck loaded with gasoline, but trucking sounds like a pretty good job for somebody who just got out of the clink and needs to reestablish a life of some sort. It ain't like they haven't already "been away from home" for a while already, right? Might as well hit the open road (and not the freeway overpass).

37 posted on 04/30/2007 8:37:41 PM PDT by kittycatonline.com
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To: TaMoDee

It’s a common Spanish name. Just Google it.


38 posted on 04/30/2007 8:37:46 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: tflabo
"And the Feds are considering letting Mexican truck drivers have free access to USA highways?"

My first thoughts, having read this.

39 posted on 04/30/2007 8:39:27 PM PDT by KoRn (Just Say NO ....To Liberal Republians - FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!)
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To: NormsRevenge; KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle

The TSA and FBI pooches are walking funny today.


40 posted on 04/30/2007 8:39:54 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("The arrogance of ignorance is astounding" NVA 4/22/07)
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To: NormsRevenge

Another totally useless government agency.


41 posted on 04/30/2007 8:40:31 PM PDT by GregoryFul (Peace through strength!)
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To: bluefish
The fact that you are playing the race card without considering this fact immediately casts you as an illogical Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson wannabe.

Heh -- I live 12 miles north of Hazleton and think Mayor Lou Barletta is -- Da Man! I am very much against illegal immigration. But I don't think Mexicans are inherently unable to maintain or drive trucks safely. I also believe our LEOs are just as capable of enforcing safety regulations against brown skinned people as those with more or less melanin.

I also gave up reading WorldNut Daily sometime in 2001.

42 posted on 04/30/2007 8:43:15 PM PDT by Tinian
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To: NormsRevenge

Confidential to FEMA and first responders: Add this to all emergency plans ... gasoline fires DO cause steel support beams to fail. Next time, don’t let it burn.


43 posted on 04/30/2007 8:45:20 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("The arrogance of ignorance is astounding" NVA 4/22/07)
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To: NormsRevenge
“His brother, Ruben Mosqueda, 44, an artist living in San Francisco, said his brother has been sober for more than a decade and now works as a drug and alcohol counselor with a Hispanic health organization.”

Well this makes a good headline, but does his past behavior have any relationship to the accident?

You could argue that with the risk posed by driving these materials, that no amount of time is enough after criminal activity.

One thing is for certain, lawyers will get even wealthier with this case.
And truckers insurance premiums higher or less available.

44 posted on 04/30/2007 8:46:50 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Never bring a knife to a gun fight, or a Democrat to do serious work...)
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To: ChildOfThe60s
The US steel industry shares the blame for its own demise.

So true. It bears repeating.

45 posted on 04/30/2007 8:49:38 PM PDT by Tinian
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To: Tinian

when we could welsh on contracts

I take umbrage at your remark. It should be ‘welch’ not ‘welsh’. I am the latter, not the former. Thank you. (Insert Smilie).


46 posted on 04/30/2007 8:50:30 PM PDT by Never2baCrat (I used to be modest, now I'm perfect!)
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To: supercat

My grandad died in a tanker crash.
Shit happens


47 posted on 04/30/2007 8:54:06 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: dr_lew

Yup, You’re right. That’s the trouble with transliterasions.

I took a shot at the Arabic -——


48 posted on 04/30/2007 8:55:46 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: supercat

I don’t think it’s really safe for one of these trucks to go over 60 mph in any circumstances. The maximum safe speed for these vehicles is a good deal less than the maximum safe speed for many other vehicles. Not only are they filled with explosive material that makes a crash a lot more dangerous than crashes involving other kinds of heavy cargo trucks, but the tremendous weight of the liquid fuel makes for a long braking distance.

I was about 1/2 mile away from the White Plains, NY propane tanker crash in 1994. The driver apparently fell asleep and hit the concrete support of an overpass. The exploding tank turned into a missile, flew 300 feet (in my direction), landing on a house full of sleeping people on a residential street. It sounded like a huge bomb had exploded, to people at least a mile from the explosion site. Several houses were burned down, and 23 people injured, included a 30 weeks-pregnant woman who was severely burned (as was her husband), and whose baby had to be delivered by emergency C-section and reportedly suffered some brain damage as a result of the trauma to the mother and/or the premature birth. Many of the residents of the block have experienced lasting psychological problems (post-traumatic stress disorder). There’s no way a truck loaded with groceries or building products can have this kind of effect, but fuel tankers are in a category of their own.


49 posted on 04/30/2007 9:00:15 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: Never2baCrat
Sorry -- I did a Dictionary.com search on it before posting.
50 posted on 04/30/2007 9:01:39 PM PDT by Tinian
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