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FBI questions worker about sighting of Levy



Published: Tue, July 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



FBI questions workerabout sighting of Levy

WASHINGTON -- FBI agents went to a hardware store today to talk to an employee who says he believes Chandra Levy ordered keys from him at least a day after police have said she was last seen.

Three agents interviewed John Woodfolk, a 16-year employee of W.J. Candey Hardware, located across the street from Levy's health club. Police have said the last confirmed sighting of Levy was April 30, when she canceled her membership at the club.

Woodfolk says he believes Levy was in the store sometime during the first week of May. He said she ordered what he thought were house keys and said she would be back to pick them up. He recalled her paying with a credit or debit card, but store employees have been unable to locate a receipt.

"She had her hair pulled back like in one of those photos. ... It was her," he told The Associated Press.

Police have said they researched Levy's financial transactions. They never indicated any activity after April 30. Authorities have said she used her laptop computer at her apartment on May 1, but that they have no idea what happened to her afterward.

Asked why he had not come forward sooner, Woodfolk replied, "I wasn't asked about it."

Amusement park ridecrashes; dozens injured

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- The wheel of an amusement park ride sheared off its axle and crashed to the ground at Michigan's Adventure Amusement Park on Monday, injuring two dozen people and leaving some riders stranded for hours before rescuers could remove them from swinging cars.

The ride, a variation on a Tilt-A-Whirl called the Chaos, broke free early Monday evening. The ride begins spinning horizontally and gains speed, turning vertically until it resembles a speeding Ferris wheel. The ride fell at about 6:30 p.m. while nearly vertical, leaving riders in the top cars stuck in mid-air.

"They were lucky nobody got hit when it hit the ground because pieces were flying everywhere like missiles. They got real lucky," said Mike McFarland, whose 13-year-old daughter was stuck on the ride until 10 p.m.

Rescuers had to wait three hours to begin removing passengers because authorities feared the wheel was unstable and would fall sideways, Fire Chief Kevin Blanchard said.

Dr. Jerry Evans, from Muskegon's Hackley Hospital, said 25 to 30 people were on the ride, and all but two were transported to hospitals. The last riders to be rescued, 41-year-old James Burtchett and his 13-year-old son Ryan, were not removed from their bottom car until after 11 p.m. Evans said they appeared to be seriously injured.

Gunmen hijack busin southern Russia

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- A bus carrying at least 40 people in southern Russia was seized today by gunmen demanding safe passage to an airport in a resort town not far from separatist Chechnya, officials said. At least two people were reported injured.

Security forces quickly sealed off the airport at Mineralnye Vody, where the bus was heading, said Viktor Beltsov, spokesman for the Ministry of Emergency situations. A special anti-terrorist squad was sent to the airport.

The gunmen were demanding the release of five Chechens currently serving jail terms for a May 1994 bus hijacking in the same region, said Igor Trubitsyn, Federal Security Service spokesman.

Trubitsyn said the gunmen were armed with one grenade, 2.2 pounds of TNT and one submachine gun. However, he added that authorities had received conflicting information on the number of gunmen.

The Interfax news agency quoted Russian officials as saying negotiations were underway with the hijackers near the Mineralye Vody airport, where the bus stopped.

AIDS program in Africa

UNITED NATIONS -- Nigeria plans to launch the largest AIDS treatment program in Africa using cheap generic drugs on Sept. 1, a U.N. special envoy said.

The 10,000 adults and 5,000 children who will receive a drug cocktail are just a tiny fraction of the more than 2.6 million Nigerians infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

But the Nigerian government's commitment demonstrates that within Africa efforts are under way to tackle the epidemic that has infected about 26.5 million people across the continent, said Stephen Lewis, special envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

"It's a quite extraordinary intervention, a measure of the president's determination that they maintain the level of the pandemic where it is and try to turn it back," Lewis told a press conference on Monday. "They recognize that if Nigeria fails, then much of Africa will fail."

Associated Press




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