8. Sen. Begich Says It’s Time to Pay Up US in The Hill Column
8. Sen. Begich Says It’s Time to Pay Up US in The Hill Column
(CNN) — Even in the Bible Belt, coroners don’t use the word “miracle” lightly.
But Holmes County, Mississippi, Coroner Dexter Howard has no qualms using the word for the resurrection, as it were, of Walter Williams, who was declared dead Wednesday night.
Howard received the call from Williams’ hospice nurse, who told Howard that the 87-year-old had passed away. A family member called as well, saying the same, Howard said.
Howard and Byron Porter from Porter & Sons Funeral Home in Lexington, Mississippi, drove to Williams’ home to collect the body for funeral preparations. Howard checked Williams’ pulse about 9 p.m. and pronounced him dead.
“There was no pulse. He was lifeless,” Howard said.
The coroner completed his paperwork, placed Williams in a body bag and transported him to the funeral home, he said. There, something strange happened: The body bag moved.
“We got him into the embalming room and we noticed his legs beginning to move, like kicking,” Howard said. “He also began to do a little breathing.”
They immediately called an ambulance. Paramedics arrived and hooked Williams up to monitors. Sure enough, he had a heartbeat, so they transported him to the Holmes County Hospital and Clinics.
“They were in shock. I was in shock. I think everybody at the hospital was in shock,” Howard said.
Neither in his 12 years as county coroner nor during his decade as deputy coroner has Howard seen anything like it. Howard was absolutely certain Williams was dead.
The only reasonable explanation he could think of, Howard said, is that Williams’ defibrillator, implanted beneath the skin on his chest, jump-started his heart after he was placed in the body bag.
“It could’ve kicked in, started his heart back,” Howard said. “The bottom line is it’s a miracle.”
Overjoyed family members are thanking God for saving the life of the longtime farmer they call “Snowball.”
“So it was not my daddy’s time,” daughter Martha Lewis told CNN affiliate WJTV. “I don’t know how much longer he’s going to grace us and bless us with his presence, but hallelujah, we thank Him right now!”
Nephew Eddie Hester told CNN affiliate WAPT he was at Williams’ Lexington home when Howard and Porter zipped up the body bag, so he was more than a little stunned when his cousin called at 2:30 a.m. Thursday and told him, “Not yet.”
“What you mean not yet?” Hester recalled asking his cousin. “He said, ‘Daddy’s still here.’ ”
“I don’t know how long he’s going to be here, but I know he’s back right now. That’s all that matters,” Hester told WAPT.
Howard visited Williams on Thursday at the hospital and said he was still “a little weak” but was surrounded by family members and talking.
Mike Murphy, the coroner for Clark County, Nevada, and past president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, said he couldn’t comment on this specific case without knowing all the details, but he’s read news reports of people returning to life at funeral homes “from time to time.”
Asked if he’d ever heard of a case in which a defibrillator played a role in bringing someone back to life, Murphy said he hadn’t, “but just because I haven’t heard it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”
WINCHESTER, Mass. — State wildlife officials are investigating an unconfirmed report of a mountain lion sighting in Winchester earlier this week.
The last confirmed mountain lion sighting in Massachusetts was in 1858, in the western part of the state. There have been numerous reported sightings since, but none have been confirmed.
The resident told police the mysterious animal was spotted in the Dunster Lane, Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood on Tuesday. Massachusetts Environmental Police responded and saw paw prints that strongly resembled those of a mountain lion – also called a cougar, puma or catamount. The sighting remains under investigation.
Some residents are skeptical. One man says he has spotted a fisher cat in the neighborhood, and thinks that’s probably what the person who reported the mountain lion saw.
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Police were searching for a Rhode Island woman who was reported missing after she left Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Patricia Girardi, 46, of North Kingstown, left Logan at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Police said she was driving a black 2010 Cadillac CTS with New York plate FAC-6796.
Police said a cellphone track placed on her phone placed her near Hartford, Conn.
Girardi was found Friday in Connecticut, in good health, police said.
DERRY, N.H. — Fire officials in Derry said a man and a dog were killed in a house fire early Friday morning.
A passerby spotted the flames, and crews were called to the home on Island Pond Road around 1 a.m.
Firefighters noticed a vehicle in the driveway, which led them to believe someone was inside.
Officials said the victim was a man, and they think he was the homeowner.
“Once the autopsy is completed, we will be able to release the identity of the victim and the cause and manner of death,” Deputy Fire Marshal Max Schultz said.
There is no word on what sparked the flames.
“We’re taking a look at the living room area of the home, and we will be working in there later today to try to look at all the fire patterns and determine where the cause of the fire was,” Schultz said.
According to the fire chief, the cold weather made it difficult to battle the blaze.
“We had a two-alarm fire, and it made it very difficult for the companies to operate,” Chief George Klauber said. “We were able to get water to the scene with a tanker relay with surrounding towns. But certainly the cold weather made it difficult for firefighters to operate at the scene tonight.”
MALDEN, Mass. — A Billerica man was arrested after his dump truck crashed into a Malden home Thursday.
The crash happened at 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Pleasant and West streets, police said.
A woman who was inside the home suffered a sprained ankle and another person was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The driver, Keith Douglas Bouthillette, was placed under arrest.
Firefighters are concerned the home is structurally unsound, so the truck won’t be removed yet.
The driver of the truck was also taken to the hospital as a precaution.
BOSTON — Shell Oil Co. has agreed to pay $4 million to resolve allegations it got Massachusetts funds to help upgrade underground gasoline storage tanks while also collecting from its insurers.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said Thursday the claims by Shell and a joint venture company involved more than 100 Massachusetts gasoline stations.
Coakley said the state fund is designed to help speed underground storage tank cleanups. Companies must disclose if they also make insurance claims for the same expenses, and reimburse the state if they get insurance payouts. She said Shell sued its insurers for the costs in 1993 and later settled, but didn’t inform the state until 2012.
Massachusetts has reached similar reimbursement agreements with other major oil companies.
Shell said it’s pleased to resolve the issue and looks forward to continued participation in the Massachusetts program.
STOUGHTON, Mass. — A Stoughton woman has been arrested and charged in what police have called “one of the worst cases of elder abuse” they have seen.
Police said on Feb. 21 they found Marie Bois Belfort, 75, in a basement bedroom with the thermostat off and the thermometer reading 51 degrees.
“She as in a small basement room that could be equated to a cell,” said Stoughton police Deputy Chief Rob Devine.
The woman had bed open sores and was dehydrated and malnourished, police said.
“Probably some of the worst that we have seen. These officers have been here for 20, 25 years and a lot of them have never seen conditions like what this woman was being kept in,” Devine said.
The woman’s caregiver, Sandra Calixte Lucien, a 48-year-old registered nurse from Stoughton, was arrested. The woman was found in the basement of Lucien’s Paradise Circle home.
Lucien said she took Belfort in because no one else would care for her, police said.
Belfort had a home health aide paid to come to the house three times a week. Caramel Duberson, an aide assigned to Belfort working for Best of Care, told police she complained to her superiors and asked to be taken off the job. Best of Care did not comment on the case Thursday.
“This is the worst of the worst because you are stealing someone’s dignity and, in this case, endangering their life,” Devine said.
Lucien was charged with permitting serious injury to an elder. She posted $25,000 bail and was released.
According to court papers, Lucien is Belfort’s niece. Police are not certain if the two are actually related.
The 75-year-old woman remains hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital.
HINGHAM, Mass. — A 21-year-old Hingham woman was arrested Thursday after police said she left an infant in a car while she ordered drinks at a local restaurant.
Police said an off-duty Boston police officer, Detective Joseph King, was eating at the Stars on Hingham Harbor restaurant on Otis Street around 9:45 a.m. when he observed a woman with an infant drinking at the bar.
King said when she ordered another drink, the server refused. After being refused the drink, she walked out with the infant, police said.
Around 10 minutes later the woman re-entered the restaurant without the 2-month-old and was again refused a drink.
King alerted local police and met officers in the parking lot.
“I kind of had a hunch,” King said. “I walked to the back of the restaurant and I saw the car I thought she left in earlier, and I looked in the back and I saw a baby seat.”
The woman, who was identified as Stacy Ducharme, approached her vehicle and told officers it was her car.
Police got Ducharme’s keys, opened the door and under a blanket was the infant, who was awake and in good condition.
Police said they were able to determine the infant was in the car alone for around 20 minutes.
Ducharme’s eyes were red, glassy and bloodshot, police said, and she began to question officers why they were there.
Police said at that point Ducharme began to create a disturbance in the parking lot as they tried to get more information from her.
Ducharme was arrested and the infant was taken to South Shore Hospital for an examination.
The Department of Children and Families was also contacted and officials went to the hospital.
The car was towed, police said, and Ducharme was charged with reckless endangerment and disturbing the peace. She was arraigned in court Thursday.
DCF is investigating.
BOSTON — A Maine man faces several charges after allegedly biting a transit officer in the neck during a struggle, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said.
Transit police were called to the Chinatown MBTA station on Wednesday at about 7 p.m. for a report of an assault. When they arrived, the victim told police he had no prior relationship to his attacker and the assault was unprovoked.
When police approached the alleged assailant near the entrance to the station, he became combative and hostile and refused to follow officers’ commands, police said.
The man was later identified as Rueben Thomas, 32, of Houlton, Maine.
When officers tried to remove Thomas from the entrance, a violent struggle ensued and Thomas bit one of the officers on his neck, police said.
Thomas will be arraigned Thursday in Boston Municipal Court-Central Division on various assault charges.
The officer was transported to a local area hospital for treatment and released.