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Police standoff closes California highway



Published: Sat, July 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Police standoff closesCalifornia highway

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A man led police on a 100 mph chase through the San Francisco Bay area Friday, forcing a standoff that closed one of two major highways between San Francisco and San Jose.

Officers ended the ordeal after four hours by spraying the car with firefighting foam because they believed the driver, Robert B. Sidicane of Nashville, Tenn., had doused himself and the car with gasoline.

When asked by police why he fled, Sidicane responded, "I had important things to do," California Highway Patrol spokesman Fritz Eberly said.

Sidicane, 41, was taken into custody and booked on charges of reckless driving, felony evading arrest and resisting arrest, police said. No hearing date was immediately set.

The chase started about a 40-mile drive away in Livermore when an officer stopped to assist a disabled vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said. Sidicane sped off on Interstate 580 and crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco before heading south on U.S. 101, police said.

The car, a red Oldsmobile with Tennessee license plates, stopped after a spike strip blew out its tires.

Former Ky. governordies at age 60

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, a self-made millionaire who helped create Kentucky's lottery and overhauled the state's public schools, died Friday. He was 60.

Wilkinson, a Democrat who was governor from 1987 to 1991, had been battling a recurrence of lymphatic cancer that was first diagnosed while in office. He died at St. Joseph Hospital, a day after suffering a stroke, said his attorney, Robert Brown.

"His courage and leadership, when faced with the inadequacies of funding for Kentucky schools, will be his legacy and has forever changed the future of Kentucky," Gov. Paul Patton said.

Wilkinson, whose business empire collapsed in bankruptcy last year, started a used-book store as a teenager that grew into a national company. At its peak, Wallace's Bookstores Inc. operated 91 stores on 60 college and seminary campuses.

His administration helped create the Kentucky Lottery, which he had pushed as an alternative to higher taxes, and the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act, which set high performance standards, held schools accountable for their results and greatly increased school funding.

Russians proposeexpedition to Mars

MOSCOW -- Russian space officials proposed an ambitious project Friday to send a six-person team to Mars by 2015, a trip that would mark a milestone in space travel and international space cooperation.

Russia's space program hopes to work closely with the American agency NASA and the European Space Agency to build two spaceships capable of transporting the crew to Mars, supporting them on the planet for up to two months and safely bringing them home, said Nikolai Anfimov, head of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building.

The roughly 440-day trip is expected to cost about $20 billion, with Russia suggesting it would contribute 30 percent.

NASA spokeswoman Delores Beasley said Friday that the Russians have not submitted any formal plan and that the agency would not comment on the proposed trip before then.

Mexican actress' death

MEXICO CITY -- Katy Jurado, the Mexican actress who played a sultry wildcat in some of the top American films of the 1950s and gained an Academy Award nomination, died Friday at the age of 78.

Jurado died at her home in Cuernavaca, 35 miles south of the capital, according to Francisco Corona, spokesman for the National Actors Association. She had suffered from lung and heart ailments.

Most famous in the United States for her role as Gary Cooper's former mistress in 1952's "High Noon," she was nominated for a supporting-actress Oscar for her role opposite Spencer Tracy in the 1954 western "Broken Lance."

She was divorced from actor Ernest Borgnine, who once called her "beautiful, but a tiger." While that phrase defined her most famous film roles, she played a variety of characters in movies such as "Under the Volcano," "The Children of Sanchez" and "Barabbas."

Associated Press




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