Infrastructure Daily News 03.21.12

Transportation Sector

. March 20, KTRK 13 Houston – (Texas) Storms strand passengers at Houston airports. A combination of bad weather in north and central Texas, and storms in Houston March 20 led to significant delays at Bush Intercontinental Airport, KTRK 13 Houston reported. Delays for travelers were up to 3 hours in many cases. The night of March 19, about 300 people spent the night sleeping on cots in the baggage claim area. The majority of them were supposed to fly to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, but the severe weather in north Texas forced those flights to land in Houston. Hotels in the area were all booked and no rental cars were available. Passengers described the scene as chaotic. At one point, a ground stop had been issued for both airports in the Houston area, meaning flights could take off, but could not land at the local airports. Source:

. March 20, MSNBC; Associated Press; Reuters – (Texas; Oklahoma) Spring delivers tornado, flooding to central US. The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down March 19 about 25 miles southwest of San Antonio. Most of the damage was to rural homes north of the towns of Natalia and Lytle. Several people suffered injuries. Thousands of customers lost power in San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, where strong winds and rain pelted the area, and power outages were reported in Oklahoma City and Tulsa County. Flights were stopped temporarily at Love Field airport in Dallas, and some 35 flights were canceled March 20 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Dozens of San Antonio streets were closed by high water from flash flooding or by debris. The San Antonio Fire Department reported at least two house fires that may have been caused by lightning strikes. Source: floo…

. March 19, WJLA 7 Arlington – (Maryland) Kids hospitalized in Upper Marlboro crash. More than two dozen students were recovering at a local hospital March 19 after three school buses crashed in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The buses had just departed Fredrick Douglas High School and were loaded with students going home when the crash occurred near Route 301. Paramedics treated 75 students at the scene. Thirty-four others were transported to the hospital where the triage extended to the outside while parents waited in a separate area. Officials said all the students were treated for only minor injuries. Source: 73951.html

. March 19, North County Times – (California) Region: Interstate 8 closed in East County due to snow, ice. The tail-end of the last storm of the winter season moved eastward across San Diego, dropping more rainfall and snow in the region March 19. An additional quarter-inch of rain in coastal and valley areas, and up to 4 inches of additional snow was expected. Schools in the Julian and Mountain Empire Unified school districts were closed March 19 due to snow. In the far reaches of East County, Interstate 8 was closed in both directions from East Willows Road to Imperial Highway due to hazardous road conditions. Source: due-to-snow-ice/article_3934e357-6f33-56b1-be7e-517a01a5e562.html

. March 19, Washington Post – (Washington, D.C.) 2 fired Metro workers plead guilty to stealing $445,000 from agency. Two fired Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) employees pleaded guilty in federal court March 19 to stealing $445,000 in cash from fare machines. A revenue technician and a Metro police officer stole the money and hid it in a spot near Washington, D.C. They would collect the bags of coins and bills when their shifts were done. The individuals both agreed to waive indictment and plead guilty to two counts: theft concerning federal funds and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each faces up to 30 years in prison, potential fines of $750,000, and payment of restitution. Prosecutors said they are still working with Metro to figure out how much money was stolen, and that the figure could rise to $600,000. Sentencing was set for June 15. Source: plead-guilty-to-stealing-445000-fromagency/ 2012/03/19/gIQAtszdNS_story.html

. March 19, Washington Post – (Washington, D.C.) Report: Metro workers abused credit cards. Employees in the planning department at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) have used agency credit cards to buy camcorders, gift cards, Kindle e-readers, and even designer earbuds, according to an investigation by Metro’s inspector general in 2011 that found extensive abuse. The problem was so bad, the report said, that authorities in Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County declined to prosecute, the Washington Post reported March 19. The critical report, dated December 1, 2011, is heavily redacted, with some entire sections, including two of the seven findings and several graphs on “purchase card approval procedures,” blacked out. Metro said the information was marked through because it “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Source: abused-credit-cards/2012/03/19/gIQA193IOS_story.html For more stories, see items 1, 3, 6, 7, 31, 38, 50, and 57

Postal and Shipping Sector

. March 16, United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida – (International) Boca Raton resident charged with mail fraud in corporate identity theft scheme. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and a FBI special agent announced a man was charged with mail fraud in a 26-count indictment. He was arraigned March 16 in Fort Lauderdale. The indictment alleged the defendant, a Brazilian national, offered merchandise for sale through his Internet Web sites, including Brazil Express Import and Export and Sky Air Express. In the Web sites, the defendant offered to ship the merchandise to Brazil and elsewhere at favorable shipping rates. He was able to offer lower rates than his competitors because he fraudulently established new shipping accounts and/or subaccounts with different shipping firms, using the identity of existing corporations, such as Target, Apple Computers, and Walmart. He used these fraudulently obtained corporate accounts to ship thousands of packages throughout the United States and Brazil for customers. When the shipping companies discovered the fraudulent accounts created and used by him, they would credit the respective account of the legitimate corporate account owner. As a result, the shipping companies suffered multi-million dollar losses because of his activities. If convicted, the suspect faces a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years for each count of mail fraud. Source:

Emergency Services Sector

. March 20, – (Arkansas) Arkansas officer critical, firefighter killed after being struck at crash scene. A Jacksonville, Arkansas police officer is in critical condition after he was struck by a motorist while working the scene of a wreck March 19, in an incident that also killed one firefighter and left another in critical condition. The driver of the van that struck them was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of criminal intent to commit second-degree murder, according to KARK 4 Little Rock. He allegedly did not attempt to stop his vehicle, though witnesses said he told authorities his accelerator pedal became stuck. The firefighter was pronounced dead at the scene while the injured firefighter and police officer were transported to area hospitals in critical condition. Source: after-being-struck-at-crash-scene

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