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FIRE TRUCK-RESTAURANT CRASH

Fire truck rams California eatery; 14 injured

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) - Two fire trucks answering a call have collided in a Los Angeles suburb, sending one careening into a restaurant and leaving 14 people, including several firefighters, injured, one critically.

Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell says trucks from his city and neighboring Alhambra were responding to a house fire shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday when they slammed into each other at an intersection.

One truck then plowed deep into a restaurant.

Birrell says at least 14 people were injured, one critically. Most of the rest had minor injuries.

Authorities say several were firefighters.

Monterey Park is about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

CITY CORRUPTION

Ex-California city leader gets 12 years in prison

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The former city manager of Bell, Calif., has been ordered to make restitution of $8.8 million in addition to a 12-year prison term for a corruption scheme that nearly bankrupted the small, blue-collar city.

Robert Rizzo apologized during Wednesday's sentencing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, telling the judge he breached the public's confidence.

Rizzo pleaded no contest to 69 counts including conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds and falsification of public records.

THEFT CREW

Police: Nearly 100 burglaries tied to theft ring

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Authorities have uncovered a theft ring that they say might be responsible for nearly 100 burglaries in Southern California.

A statement from the Signal Hill Police Department said police were taking members of the suspected "liquor theft crew" into custody Wednesday.

The statement says the investigation began after the theft in December of several cases of premium liquor from a grocery store. Police made arrests and Signal Hill detectives later determined the same suspects committed other burglaries in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

A Task Force headed by the Seal Beach Police Department was created and police say nearly 100 commercial burglaries have been attributed to the suspects.

NEW LA NEWSPAPER

New Los Angeles newspaper hits the streets

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A new daily newspaper has hit the streets of Los Angeles.

Editors and staffers handed out free copies of the Los Angeles Register early Wednesday at downtown locations including City Hall and the Union Station rail and bus transit hub.

It's the latest expansion by Freedom Communications Inc., owner of the Orange County Register, and follows the introduction of the Long Beach Register and several other small papers in the last year or so.

The debut edition's front page offerings included a story on the amenities and prestige of downtown skyscraper rooftops, and an explanation of why the newspaper was launched, referring to itself as "the new voice of L.A."

It's the first direct challenge to the 132-year-old Los Angeles Times' home market since the Herald-Examiner folded in November 1989.

BURNED MAN-FREEWAY

Badly burned man found on California freeway dies

INDUSTRY, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a badly burned man found on a Southern California freeway with his hands and feet bound has died.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says homicide detectives are investigating.

KABC-TV reports a passing motorist discovered the man Tuesday afternoon on the Interstate 605 connector to State Route 60 in the city of Industry.

The man's hands and feet were partially tied and he had severe burns over his entire body, including his face and head.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say the man appeared to have been assaulted, then lit on fire. He managed to crawl from a wash beneath to the freeway to the roadside.

The victim was not identified.

COLLEGE PARTY BRAWL

Sheriff seeks photos, video from Isla Vista bash

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are seeking photos and video of a melee that erupted during an annual street party in the Isla Vista area near Santa Barbara earlier this month.

The April 5 brawl at the unsanctioned event known as Deltopia resulted in dozens of arrests and injuries to several law enforcement officers.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is encouraging anyone with photographs or video of the unrest to share it with investigators on a website that allows the sender to remain anonymous.

Seventeen-year-old Desmond Edwards has been charged with assault and mayhem for allegedly hitting a University of California, Santa Barbara, police officer in the face with a backpack filled with glass liquor bottles.

Hundreds of people threw things at officers, tore down stop signs, rocked cars and smashed windows.

SHARPER-RAPE CHARGES

Officer: Sharper's DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona detective says the DNA of former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper was found in an examination of one of two women who accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them last year at a Tempe apartment.

Tempe police Detective Kevin Mace said at a hearing in Phoenix on Wednesday that Sharper's DNA was recovered from one of the women's clothing, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other victim.

Mace's testimony came at a hearing in which Sharper's lawyers are challenging the evidence used to keep him in an Arizona jail without bail.

A judge hasn't yet ruled on the issue and will continue the hearing Thursday.

Sharper hasn't yet entered a plea in the Arizona case, but his lawyers say he would deny the allegations.

DIPLOMAT SUED

Ex-housekeeper sues Kenyan diplomat over pay

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A former housekeeper has sued a Kenyan consular official alleging she took her passport and paid her a fraction of what she was promised after bringing her to work in Los Angeles.

Twenty-four-year-old Aqulina Mwelu George filed a civil lawsuit in federal court late Monday seeking six months of back pay and damages from her former boss.

The lawsuit alleges that consular official Angela Soila Kasaine agreed to pay George $9.27 an hour to care for her daughter and perform housework in a contract filed last year with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. Once she got here, George claims she was offered only $300 a month though she worked 11 hours every day.

A woman who answered a phone listed for Kasaine hung up Wednesday when called by The Associated Press.

CALIFORNIA HOMES

California home prices surge in March, sales fall

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A research firm says California home prices have surged to a new six-year high amid lackluster sales.

DataQuick said Wednesday that the median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums reached $376,000 in March, up 6 percent from $355,000 the previous month and up 20 percent from $313,000 in March 2013. It is the 25th straight month of annual increase and the highest level since January 2008.

Slightly less than 33,000 homes sold in the state last month, down 13 percent from the same period last year. It was the lowest March sales tally in six years.

DataQuick says low inventories kept a lid on sales.

DOCTOR INVESTIGATED-PRESCRIPTIONS

Orange County doctor investigated in OD deaths

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - The state medical board is investigating an Orange County doctor in the deaths of two patients who died of prescription drug overdoses.

Board spokeswoman Cassandra Hockenson tells the Orange County Register that officials are seeking to suspend or revoke the medical license of Dr. John Petraglia, a Newport Beach-based pain management specialist. He has not faced criminal charges.

One of the patients who died was Tabatha Salo, a 23-year-old graduate of Costa Mesa High School. Her mother tells the newspaper that Salo sought treatment from Petraglia for back pain and again following breast-reduction surgery.

Officials say Petraglia didn't investigate when tests showed Salo was taking higher doses than prescribed.

Petraglia's lawyer says he'll file a formal response to the medical board accusation but won't respond in the media.

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT PAY

School district shakeup after high pay revealed

LAWNDALE, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California school district board has voted to replace its president and appoint a new interim superintendent to replace Jose Fernandez, who was placed on paid leave after coming under fire for his outsized compensation.

The Los Angeles Times reports Hugo M. Rojas was elevated to school board president and Bob Cox was promoted to superintendent of the Centinela Valley Union High School District.

Rojas confirms the FBI has contacted the district regarding Fernandez's $674,000 salary. Rojas says he is prepared to cooperate fully with both the FBI and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

The board also authorized district staff to begin a search for a company to investigate Fernandez's salary, which prompted outrage among parents and teachers when it was reported in February.

HOMELESS DEFENDER STABBED

California man slain defending homeless person

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are searching for suspects in the fatal attack on a father of three who was stabbed while defending a homeless man in San Bernardino County.

KABC-TV reports 39-year-old Donnie Reed died early Sunday at a hospital of a stab wound to the stomach. One of his friends was also stabbed, but survived.

Reed and his friends had just left a sports bar in Rancho Cucamonga when they noticed a group of people taunting a homeless man. When they confronted the group a fight broke out and Reed was stabbed.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact sheriff's officials.

BODY IN FREEZER

Arrest in California case of body in freezer

CERES, Calif. (AP) - Police in Northern California have made an arrest in the case of a body found inside a freezer at an auto body shop.

Ceres police say 26-year-old Jacob Medina Cervantes, the shop's owner, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Tuesday morning after coming to the police station voluntarily to talk to detectives. Ceres is located about 100 miles east of San Francisco.

It was not immediately clear what prompted police to arrest Cervantes or whether he had retained an attorney. Police Sgt. Jose Berber said detectives were not releasing additional details pending identification of the body.

Police discovered the remains on Monday while assisting the owner of the property that houses the auto body shop with a complaint against Cervantes.

Detective Darren Venn tells the Modesto Bee the man's body was intact. The cause of death is also pending.

GRIFFITH PARK FIRE

Small blaze in LA's Griffith Park contained

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles firefighters have knocked down a small blaze in Griffith Park.

Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott says the fire early Wednesday burned vegetation in an area between Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.

More than 40 firefighters contained the flames in just over an hour. No structures were threatened and no one was injured.

Griffith Park sprawls over more than 4,200 acres of wilderness and landscaped parkland in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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