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The Charger Bulletin

A Letter From President Kaplan: Sad news regarding a UNH student

by The Charger Bulletin | April 11, 2012

Dear Campus Community

I am deeply saddened to report the untimely death of Stirling Danskin, a sophomore majoring in music and sound recording at the University, has died.  His body was discovered across Boston Post Road several blocks away from the University of New Haven main campus earlier today.  The cause of death is not known at this time but there are no signs of foul play. This incident is still under investigation by the West Haven Police Department.

For students wishing to talk with a counselor on campus, the Office of Counseling Services, located in the lower level of Sheffield Hall, will be open with walk-in hours until 10 p.m. today and from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow. No appointment is necessary. In addition, the University has arranged for grief counseling to be available around the clock through Empathia Counseling Services, which can be reached at 866-713-1978.   Chaplain Martin O’Connor also will be available to meet with students until midnight tonight in his office, located in South Campus Hall, room 205. Chaplain O’Connor can also be reached at 203-641-0538.

The Dean of Students Office will provide information regarding services for Stirling once they have been planned. Please keep Stirling’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely,

Steven H. Kaplan
President

 

Afghans: US Paid $50K Per Shooting Spree Death

by The Associated Press | March 28, 2012

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. paid $50,000 in compensation for each villager killed and $11,000 for each person wounded in a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by a rogue American soldier in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Sunday.

The families were told that the money came from President Barack Obama. The unusually large payouts were the latest move by the White House to mend relations with the Afghan people after the killings threatened to shatter already tense relations.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of sneaking off his base on March 11, then creeping into houses in two nearby villages and opening fire on families as they slept.

The killings came as tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan were strained following the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base in February. That act — which U.S. officials have acknowledged was a mistake — sparked riots and attacks that killed more than 30 people, including six American soldiers.

There have been no violent protests following the March 11 shootings in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district, but demands for justice on Afghan terms have been getting louder since Bales was flown out of the country to a U.S. military prison. Many Afghans in Kandahar have continued to argue that there must have been multiple gunmen and accused the U.S. government of using Bales as a scapegoat.

U.S. investigators believe the gunman returned to his base after the first attack and later slipped away to kill again.

That would seem to support the U.S. government’s assertion that the shooter acted alone, since the killings would have been perpetrated over a longer period of time than assumed when Bales was detained outside his base in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district.

But it also raises new questions about how the suspect could have carried out the pre-dawn attacks without drawing attention from any Americans on the base.

Bales has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and other crimes and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The families of the dead received the money Saturday at the governor’s office, said Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai. He and community elder Jan Agha confirmed the payout amounts.

Survivors previously had received smaller compensation payments from Afghan officials — $2,000 for each death and $1,000 for each person wounded.

Two U.S. officials confirmed that compensation had been paid but declined to discuss exact amounts, saying only that the payments reflected the devastating nature of the incident. The officials spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject.

A spokesman for NATO and U.S. forces, Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, said only that coalition members often make compensation payments, but they are usually kept private.

“As the settlement of claims is in most cases a sensitive topic for those who have suffered loss, it is usually a matter of agreement that the terms of the settlement remain confidential,” Cummings said.

However, civilian death compensations are occasionally made public. In 2010, U.S. troops in Helmand province said they paid $1,500 to $2,000 if a civilian was killed in a military operation and $600 to $1,500 for a serious injury. The Panjwai shootings are different because they were not part of a sanctioned operation, but it is a distinction lost on many Afghans who see any civilian deaths as criminal.

The provided compensation figures would mean that at least $866,000 was paid out in all. Afghan officials and villagers have counted 16 dead — 12 in the village of Balandi and four in neighboring Alkozai — and six wounded. The U.S. military has charged Bales with 17 murders without explaining the discrepancy.

The 38-year-old soldier, who is from Lake Tapps, Wash., is accused of using his 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle to kill four men, four women, two boys and seven girls, then burning some of the bodies. The ages of the children were not disclosed in the charge sheet.

Bales is being held in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The mandatory minimum sentence if he is convicted is life imprisonment with the chance of parole. He could also receive the death penalty.

Families of the dead declined to comment on any payments by U.S. officials on Sunday, but some said previously that they were more concerned about seeing the perpetrator punished than money.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and remains a dangerous area despite several offensives.

In the latest violence, a bomb struck a joint NATO-Afghan foot patrol in Kandahar’s Arghandab district late Saturday, killing nine Afghans and one international service member, according to Shah Mohammad, the district administrator.

Arghandab is a farming region just outside Kandahar city that has long provided refuge for Taliban insurgents. It was one of a number of communities around Kandahar city that were targeted in a 2010 sweep to oust the insurgency from the area.

The Afghan dead included one soldier, three police officers, four members of the Afghan “local police” — a government-sponsored militia force — and one translator, Mohammad said.

NATO reported earlier Sunday that one of its service members was killed Saturday in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan but did not provide additional details. It was not clear if this referred to the same incident, as NATO usually waits for individual coalition nations to confirm the details of deaths of their troops.

Singer Whitney Houston Dies at 48

by Christopher Whalen | February 15, 2012

Singer Whitney Houston was found dead on Saturday February 11, 2012. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PT; she was 48 years

(Photo Credit) Whitney Houston performs at the 37th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Houston died Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, she was 48. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

old. Despite her last years being taunt with tabloid rumors and drug addiction, Houston was getting back on track. She had undergone rehab, released a #1 album in 2009 (I Look To You), and had recently finished filming the movie Sparkle set to hit theaters in August this year. Currently, the cause of death is unknown and is under investigation. Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said there were “no obvious signs of foul play and no obvious signs of a cause of death.”

The news of Houston’s death was a shock to her family, friends, and fans. Saturday was the eve of the Grammy Awards, which frantically tried to get a tribute together for the late singer for the Sunday broadcast. Clive Davis was Houston’s mentor and had this to say at his Pre-Grammy event: “I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me. She was full of life, looking forward for tonight. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrated music. Whitney was a beautiful person and she had a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage … so many times. So simply put: Whitney would have wanted the music to go on.”

Dozens of stars have shared all over Twitter, Facebook, and the news of Houston’s immense influence on them. Just a few tweets from those Houston has influenced the most.

Mariah Carey: “Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston.”

Alicia Keys: “I feel sick…. Life is precious, we are fragile souls. Let’s love each other! I miss you beautiful Whitney, the whole world misses you!!”

Jennifer Lopez: “Such a loss. One of the greatest voices of our time. Sending out prayers to her family… #R.I.P.Whitney.”

Wyclef Jean: “The voice of an Angel, the Heart of a Lamb, the spirit of a Lioness, the presence of a Goddess, love you R.I.P Whitney Houston.”

Rihanna: “No words! Just tears #DearWhitney.”

Houston’s true legacy will be her voice. Many have called her the best singer in the world. She was able to span across genres and brought pop, R&B, and gospel all to the top of the charts. Undoubtedly Houston’s biggest hit was “I Will Always Love You,” the theme to Houston’s successful film The Bodyguard. The song went on to spend 14 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and made Houston the first female artist to have a single be certified 4X platinum. Houston wasn’t only known for just one song, she had an entire career of setting and breaking records. The following is just a few of the records Houston holds that truly show the scope of her influence.

- The first female artist to have an album (Whitney Houston) reach diamond certification for sales by the RIAA

- The first and only artist to have seven consecutive #1 hits on the Hot 100

- The first female to ever debut on the Billboard 200 at #1, for her album Whitney

- Guinness lists Houston as the most awarded female artist of all time with over 415 awards

Overall, Houston has sold over 170 million albums, singles, and videos worldwide according to her official website. Houston was a daughter, sister, mother, friend, and idol to her family, friends, and fans. Leaving behind a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, Houston will be remembered as a true legend and one of the, if not the greatest female singer of all time.

Holding Back the Years

by Shannon Livewell | February 1, 2012

Etta James, the fiery blues singer known best for her uncharacteristically sweet ballad “At Last,” died two weeks ago in Riverside, Calif., after a long battle with chronic leukemia. She was 73.

James was one of the first women inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She began her career in 1954, at the age of 15, with her group the Peaches. Her bold delivery and powerful voice quickly separated her from the crowd, as did her groundbreaking choice of material. She was quickly recognized for her talent and left Peaches for bigger, and better things. During this time, it was apparent that James was not just a blues singer, but on her way to becoming a legend.

“This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends, and fans around the world,” James’ longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, told CNN. “She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category.”

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938, James was tough-talking and forward in her music — scoring hits with “All I Could Do Was Cry” and “I’d Rather Go Blind,” made popular in this generation due to Beyoncé’s rendition of the songs after playing James in the hit movie, Cadillac Records. But there was also an ache in her voice, even before her very public battle with heroin addiction in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, that showed she wasn’t invincible, especially seen in her interpretation of the classic, “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

“Music was thunder and joy, lightning bolts of happiness and praise, foot-stomping, dance-shouting, good-feeling singing from the soul,” James wrote in her autobiography, Rage to Survive: The Etta James Story. “I was also lucky to have the lungs to keep up with these bad boys. When it came to singing, I was no shrinking violet.”

Beyoncé performed, “At Last” for Barack and Michelle Obama’s first dance after his inauguration in 2009, pushing James’ version of the song back onto the pop charts.

James retired from recording in 2011, after releasing her final album, The Dreamer, in November. She included renditions of tracks by everyone from Otis Redding to Guns N Roses.

“I wish to thank all my fans who have shown me love and support over all these years,” James said in a statement accompanying the album’s release. “I love you all.”

Iranian Woman’s Stoning Sentence Delayed

by The Associated Press | September 15, 2010

Move over, balloon boy. The newest story to face outrageous media coverage and subsequent fervor from those who have become engrossed in it is the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning in Tehran. In fact, the case has been rousing an international uproar from people like Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel Peace Winner Shirin Ebadi, and French president and First Lady Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni that such campaigning has helped to bring about a crusade for saving the forty-three year old woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was convicted of adultery in July.

FILE - This undated file image made available by Amnesty International in London on Thursday, July 8, 2010, shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran on charges of adultery. Ashtiani is now facing a new punishment of 99 lashes because a British newspaper ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as her, the woman's son said Monday. (AP Photo/Amnesty International, File)** EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO SALES**

Though Ashtiani, who is currently having her stoning sentence reviewed by the Iranian Supreme Court after global pressure and criticism, awaits possible execution, she has not left the headlines. According to reports, Ashtiani was convicted of an “illicit relationship” with two men in 2006 just after her husband was murdered the previous year, a murder in which she is suspected to have participated in. An August claim showed a woman identified as Ashtiani confess about being an accomplice. However, her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, says she was probably just tortured into confessing. Beyond that, Ashtiani appears to have been flogged 99 times by authorities in Iran, following a British newspaper running a picture of an unveiled woman who, reports are now saying, was mistakenly identified as her.

Regardless, the Iranian stoning sentence is at the center of a human rights issue that questions the brutality of the punishment. In support of Ashtiani’s freedom, French foreign prime minister Bernard Kouchner has called her stoning sentence “barbaric” and stated that he would go to Tehran to save her, if he needed to. French First Lady Carla Bruni was labeled a prostitute by Iranian media after she signed a petition along with other celebrities to save Ashtiani. Yet, Iran has cut warring words with human rights activists. Despite the support for her stoning sentence to be lifted, Iranian Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehm anparast says the West is sensationalizing the case into something political and unreasonable while Iran is simply following legal protocol: “Western nations must not pressurize and hype the case up. Judicial cases have precise procedures, especially when it concerns murder. If releasing all those who have committed murder is to be perceived as a human rights issue, then all European countries should release all the murderers in their countries.” As of now, the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is yet to be determined.

SeaWorld fined $75,000 for whale trainer’s death

by The Associated Press | August 25, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. – The federal job safety agency fined SeaWorld Orlando $75,000 on Monday for three violations uncovered while investigating the February death of a trainer who was grabbed by a killer whale and dragged underwater.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration categorized the most serious violation as “willful,” or showing indifference or intentional disregard for employee safety. That citation, carrying a $70,000 penalty, was for exposing workers to drowning hazards when interacting with killer whales.

The agency proposes not allowing trainers to have any physical contact with Tilikum, the killer whale responsible for trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death in February, unless protected by a physical barrier.

The OSHA report described Tilikum as having “known aggressive tendencies.” The six-ton whale was one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 after the woman lost her balance and fell in the pool at Sealand of the Pacific near Victoria, British Columbia. Tilikum also was also involved in a 1999 death, when the body of a man who had sneaked by SeaWorld Orlando security was found draped over him.

Sea World trainers were forbidden from getting in the water with Tilikum because of the previous deaths. But the killer whale still managed to grab Brancheau’s long hair as she laid on her stomach on a cement clab in three inches of water. The cause of death was drowning and traumatic injuries.

The OSHA report also suggests that trainers not work with other killer whales at the park, either in the water or out of water, unless they are protected by a barrier, deck or oxygen-supply system underwater.

“SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando,” OSHA said in a statement released with the report.

The second citation, deemed serious, was for failing to install a stairway railing system beside the stage in Shamu Stadium. That citation carried a $5,000 penalty.

The third citation was considered “other-than-serious” and was for failing to have weather-protected electrical receptacles at the stadium. That citation didn’t have a penalty.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said the park will contest the citation.

“SeaWorld disagrees with the unfounded allegations made by OSHA today,” Jacobs said in a statement.

Former Warriors Owner Franklin Mieuli Dies at 89

by Heather Brown | April 28, 2010

OAKLAND, Calif. – Franklin Mieuli, whose deerstalker cap, substantial beard, and casual style made him one of the NBA’s most colorful figures in his 24 years as owner of the Golden State Warriors, died Sunday. He was 89.

Mieuli died of natural causes in a San Francisco Bay Area hospital, the Warriors said in a statement.

Mieuli was the principal owner of the Warriors from the time they moved to the Bay Area in 1962 until he sold them in 1986. He won an NBA title with the team in 1975, still the club’s only championship in nearly a half-century in California.

“Franklin was truly one of the innovators in our league, who was so proud of the Bay Area and his ability to maintain a team there,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement Sunday night. “I have always fondly remembered … his warmth and his belief in the importance of sports to a community.”

Leveraging his way into sports ownership through a business producing Bay Area sports broadcasts, Mieuli also once owned a small percentage of the San Francisco Giants. He still had a 5 percent interest in the 49ers, purchased in 1954.

Mieuli was a fixture at Warriors games well into his 80s, wearing his distinctive hat and watching from his courtside seats at Oracle Arena. He became a beloved figure to fans who fondly remembered his ownership tenure with the long-struggling team, which has made the playoffs just once since 1994.

“He was one of the most unique and eccentric individuals that I have ever met, and I’m not sure there will ever be anyone like him again,” said Al Attles, the former Warriors guard who coached Golden State to its sole title.

Mieuli grew up in San Jose and attended the University of Oregon. He became an advertising executive for a San Francisco brewery which, at his instigation, began sponsoring 49ers radio broadcasts.

That association with 49ers founders Tony and Vic Morabito led to his purchase of an interest in the team. He also founded a radio production company, Franklin Mieuli Associates, which produced the broadcasts of the Giants after they moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958.

In 1962, Mieuli headed a group of Bay Area investors, who along with Diners Club bought the Philadelphia Warriors and moved them to San Francisco. After one year of disappointing attendance, Diners Club and several investors wanted out, even threatening to fold the team.

Mieuli bought the shares of all who wished to sell and kept the team in the Bay Area. With no suitable playing venue in San Francisco, Mieuli eventually moved the club to the Oakland Coliseum Arena and changed its name to the Golden State Warriors in 1971, initially playing a handful of home games in San Diego as well.

While Mieuli never had the financial resources of many NBA owners, he kept the Warriors competitive for much of his tenure. They reached the playoffs 10 times between 1962 and 1977, advancing to three NBA finals.

The highlight of Mieuli’s ownership was the 1974-75 season. Led by Hall of Fame forward Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes, the underdog Warriors won the NBA title, sweeping the heavily favored Washington Bullets in four games.

“He always called me his prodigal son after I had left the Warriors to go to the ABA,” said Barry, who played four seasons in the ABA before returning to the Warriors in 1972. “He vowed to do everything in his power to get me back. Thank goodness he did, because without his perseverance, I would never have had the opportunity to return to the Warriors and experience an NBA championship.”

In addition to his NBA title ring, Mieuli had a fistful of Super Bowl rings from the 49ers, often wearing one ring from each team in public. Mieuli played an instrumental role in Eddie DeBartolo’s purchase of the 49ers, leading to their halcyon days in the 1980s.

Besides the differences in bank balances, what really set Mieuli apart from other NBA owners was his lifestyle. The free-spirited Bay Area native was more likely to travel by motorcycle than by limousine, and by the 1960s he had shed his suits and ties for dungarees and colorful shirts, making him distinctive among the buttoned-up businessmen at league meetings.

After the Warriors won the title, he put the trophy in the back seat of his sports car for a year, taking it out whenever he visited a public place so the fans could see it up close.

“Franklin Mieuli was one of the most colorful and passionate individuals I have ever met and basketball fans in Northern California certainly owe a debt of gratitude to him for helping establish NBA basketball in the Bay Area,” Warriors owner Chris Cohan said. “I don’t think anyone will ever forget the 1975 championship team and the excitement that Franklin and that group of underdogs brought to fans of all ages.”

Mieuli eventually sold the Warriors to Jim Fitzgerald, reportedly for less than $20 million. Cohan is exploring another sale of the club, which was judged to be worth $315 million by Forbes magazine late last year.

Beyond professional sports, Mieuli’s company, still a thriving concern, produced the English language radio broadcasts from the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif.
Mieuli is survived by his longtime female partner Blake Green, son Peter Mieuli, daughter Holly Buchanan and seven grandchildren.

Jackson family to face doctor charged in death

by Brittni DeHart | April 5, 2010

From The Associated Press

More than a dozen members of Michael Jackson’s family plan to appear in a courtroom where the doctor charged with causing his death is due for a hearing.

Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The hearing agenda Monday is procedural — assigning a judge to try the case and setting a preliminary hearing date. Also at issue will be a medical board request to revoke his license to practice.

Allan Parachini, spokesman for the Los Angeles courts, said in addition to family members a large contingent of media from around the world also is expected and the sheriff’s department is preparing for a crowd.

Jackson, 50, died last June after being rushed to a hospital from his Beverly Hills home.

Bin Laden threatens US over alleged 9/11 plotter

by Liz De La Torre | March 25, 2010

From The Associated Press

CAIRO – Osama bin Laden threatened in a new message released Thursday to kill any Americans al-Qaida captures if the U.S. executes the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks or other al-Qaida suspects.

In the 74-second audiotape aired on Al-Jazeera television, the al-Qaida leader explicitly mentions Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in 2003. He is the most senior al-Qaida operative in U.S. custody and is currently detained at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In 2008, the U.S. charged Mohammed with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. Pentagon officials have said they will seek the death penalty for him. Four of his fellow plotters are also in custody.

“The White House has expressed its desire to execute them. The day America makes that decision will be the day it has issued a death sentence for any one of you that is taken captive,” Bin Laden said, addressing Americans.

After his March 2003 capture in Pakistan, Mohammed described himself as the architect of numerous terrorism plots and even claimed that “with my blessed right hand,” he had decapitated Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl was found beheaded in Pakistan in 2002.

Mohammed, appearing in June 2008 for the first time since his capture five years earlier, said he would welcome becoming a “martyr” after a judge warned him that he faces the death penalty for his confessed role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Yes, this is what I wish, to be a martyr for a long time,” he declared.

The U.S. is still considering whether to put Mohammed and the four fellow plotters on military tribunal. The Obama administration is also looking into recommendations for civilian trials, and is expected to announce a decision soon.

Al-Qaida is not known to be holding any Americans captive now. But the Haqqani group — the Pakistan-based Taliban faction closest to al-Qaida — is holding American soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl who was captured in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. It released a video of him in December.

Bin Laden also said President Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of his predecessor George W. Bush by escalating the war in Afghanistan, being “unjust” to al-Qaida prisoners and supporting Israel in its occupation of Palestinian land.

“The politicians of the White House were and still are wronging us, especially by supporting Israel and occupying our land in Palestine. They think that America, behind oceans, is safe from the wrath of the oppressed, until the reaction was loud and strong in your homeland,” he said of the Sept. 11 attacks. “Equal treatment is only fair. War is a back-and-forth.”

Bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere in the rugged, lawless border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The prospect of giving Mohammed and the four fellow plotters a civilian trial in New York City has led to protests by residents and relatives of Sept. 11 victims who fear that such a move could again make the city a terrorism target and that they should instead face a military trial.

Earlier this month, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if Obama agrees to try the five in military tribunals, he will press fellow Republicans to vote to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Graham told CBS television’s “Face the Nation” March 7 that reversing Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to try the suspected terrorists in a civilian court in New York City would be seen as an act of leadership by the public. The White House is reviewing Holder’s plan and no new recommendation has been presented to the president. A decision is not expected for several weeks.

Mexico-bound bus crashes in Texas, killing 2

by Liz De La Torre | March 16, 2010

From The Associated Press

CAMPBELLTON, Texas – A crowded bus carrying young families and spring breakers toward Mexico went careening off a Texas highway and flipped onto its side Tuesday, killing two people and forcing dozens of bloodied passengers to climb to safety through broken windows and an emergency exit.

The Americanos USA bus left San Antonio with 42 people on board and was headed to the Mexican border city of Matamoros, with planned stops in Falfurrias and McAllen, Texas.

About 45 miles from San Antonio, the bus driver heard a loud noise before the bus veered from the right lane of Interstate 37. The bus spun toward the grassy median and landed on its right side, said Chuck Garris, the emergency management coordinator for Atascosa County.

Daryl Champagne, 17, of San Antonio, who was on his way to South Padre Island with two high school classmates for spring break, said he was thrown through a window and was wedged between the bus and the ground before he managed to crawl free.

“I think we did a 180. We flipped and I was out the window,” said Champagne, who had cuts from glass all over his back. “I went through to the ground and was out of the bus.”

His classmate, Karlo Castilleja, 18, said he was pinned in the bus with three people on top of him and his face in the dirt.

“I was scared when I was pinned down. I couldn’t breathe,” said Castilleja, who was able to work himself free as other passengers got their bearings and got up.

They were among 25 passengers treated at South Texas Regional Medical Center. Those 25 passengers were in stable condition or preparing to be discharged, hospital spokeswoman Danielle Flores said. Two others who were initially taken to the hospital for treatment were later airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, she said.

Four passengers were transported to Brooke Army Medical Center, where they were in stable condition. Another five were airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio, where one person was in critical condition, hospital spokeswoman Julie Wiley said. The condition of the other four was undetermined.

A male and female passenger were killed in the crash, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said. He declined to give their names or ages.

Garris said when he arrived at the scene, stunned passengers with cuts on their heads and bruises were waiting for medical treatment. Most of the passengers were adults, although there were a few small children, he said.

“People were all sitting on the grass stunned, wondering what happened,” Garris said. “It was a mess.”

The bus windows were shattered, and luggage, pillows and purses littered the median. It had rained overnight and early Tuesday, but investigators were unsure if weather factored into the accident, Texas DPS Trooper Jason Reyes said.

Reyes said there was no initial indication the driver, 47-year-old Irma Morado, was impaired. Garris said Morado helped remove passengers from the bus. She has not been charged.

Investigators suspect equipment failure may have caused the crash, Vinger said. Authorities on the scene said the tires on bus appeared intact.

The National Transportation Safety Board is not planning to investigate because its initial assessment turned up no new potential safety issues involving the company or crash, agency spokesman Keith Holloway said.

The NTSB for the same reason is not investigating a March 5 bus crash near Phoenix that left six passengers dead, Holloway said.

The NTSB has long advocated that motor coaches include seat belts and other occupational safety devices, but the recommendations have yet to be turned into law, in part because of strong lobbying by bus companies.

Americanos USA, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc., has a good federal safety record.

Before Tuesday, the company’s vehicles were involved in 10 accidents in three states in the last 30 months, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records. Tuesday’s crash was the company’s fifth involving injuries and second involving fatalities. One person died in a January 2009 crash in San Diego involving one of its vehicles. The company’s driver was not cited.

With 137 motor coaches in service, Americanos has been involved in one accident for every 13 buses. By comparison, Greyhound has been involved in one accident for every eight buses.

In the last two years, inspectors placed Americanos USA vehicles out of service following 11.2 percent of their inspections, about half the national average of 22.3 percent. Inspectors placed the company’s drivers out of service after only 1.8 percent of inspections, a far lower rate than the national average of 6.6 percent.

A spokeswoman with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the agency had just heard about the crash and was beginning to gather information.

Bonnie Bastian, a spokeswoman for Greyhound’s parent company, FirstGroup America, said the company is assisting with the investigation.

She said two buses were dispatched to the crash site to pick up uninjured passengers — one for those who wanted to continue on to Mexico and the other for those who wanted to return to San Antonio.

For 18-year-old passenger Jacob Medina, even getting back on the road felt uneasy.

“I’m afraid to get in the car, honestly,” said Medina, whose father had come to the hospital to pick up him and his two injured schoolmates.

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