National briefs: Car plows into parade in Virginia

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DAMASCUS, Va. -- About 50 to 60 people were injured Saturday when a driver described by witnesses as an elderly man drove his car into a group of hikers marching in a parade in a small Virginia mountain town.

The crash occurred during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, near the Tennessee state line about a half-hour drive east of Bristol.

Damascus Police Chief Bill Nunley didn't release the driver's name or age but said he was participating in the parade.

Chief Nunley said the man's 1997 Cadillac was one of the last vehicles in the parade and the driver might have suffered an unspecified medical problem when his car accelerated to about 25 mph and struck the crowd on a two-lane bridge along the town's main road. The driver was among those taken to hospitals.

Foul play on rails ruled out

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The commuter train derailment and collision that left dozens injured outside New York City was not the result of foul play, officials said Saturday, but a fractured section of rail is being studied to determine if it is connected to the accident.

A National Transportation Safety Board member, Earl Weener, said the broken rail is of substantial interest to investigators and a portion of the track will be sent to a lab for analysis.

Seventy-two people were hospitalized Friday evening after a Metro-North train heading east from New York City derailed and was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Most have been discharged.

Police: Officer shot hostage

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- A New York college student being held by an armed home intruder was shot and killed by a Nassau County police officer who had responded to a report of a home invasion at an off-campus home, police said Saturday.

Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head Friday morning by an officer who opened fire after the masked intruder, Dalton Smith, pointed a gun at the officer while holding the 21-year-old junior in a headlock, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said.

The Nassau County police officer fired eight shots at Smith, who has what police have described as an "extensive" criminal background, Lt. Azzata said. Smith was hit by seven bullets and died. Ms. Rebello was shot once in the head, he said.

Pleads guilty to $2.1M fraud

WASHINGTON -- Kevin Richard Halligen, who convinced lawyers, lobbyists and others in Washington's elite intelligence community that he was a former British spy and allegedly conned them out of millions, pleaded guilty Friday in District of Columbia federal court to defrauding former business associates out of $2.1 million.

Mr. Halligen, 51, lived in Washington and worked as a "security consultant" from 2005 to November 2008, until he drained his bank accounts and fled, leaving behind a string of creditors, from lawyers to limo drivers to housekeepers. He was arrested in Oxford, England, after a year on the run, and he was extradited to the United States in December to stand trial.

Also in the nation ...

Inmates at jails in Indianapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia face the nation's highest levels of sexual abuse at the hands of guards, according to a new federal report based on surveys of inmates at U.S. jails and prisons. ... The pilot of a US Airways plane with malfunctioning landing gear managed to successfully land the aircraft on its belly at Newark Liberty International Airport early Saturday, transportation officials said.

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