Trio involved in crime spree sentenced to prison terms

Three Florida siblings accused in a multistate crime spree that involved a daring bank robbery in Georgia were given prison time Monday on charges in Colorado, where they were captured after a nationwide manhunt.

Ryan Dougherty was given 18 years, Lee Grace Dougherty received 24 years and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty got 32 years – the maximum he faced – at separate hearings. Prosecutors said Stanley-Dougherty was the one who fired at officers pursuing the siblings before their Aug. 10 capture.

The hearings effectively end the siblings’ stay in Colorado as Georgia authorities await their extradition.

The three were the focus of a cross-country search last year after authorities said they fired at a police officer in Florida and robbed a Georgia bank. The search ended with a police chase in Colorado, where authorities said Stanley-Dougherty fired at officers before the siblings’ car rolled and crashed into a guard rail.


Court halts effort to grant ‘personhood’ to embryos

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday halted an effort to grant “personhood” rights to human embryos, saying the measure is unconstitutional.

The state’s highest court ruled unanimously that a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would define a fertilized human egg as a person violates a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Pennsylvania case and “is clearly unconstitutional.” Supporters of the personhood amendment are trying to gather enough signatures to put it before Oklahoma voters on the November ballot.

Opponents contend the measure would ban abortions without exception and interfere with a woman’s right to use certain forms of contraception and medical procedures, such as in vitro fertilization.


Highway where family died is unsafe, auto group says

The section of highway where an accident sent seven members of a Bronx family flying over a guardrail and plummeting to their deaths has narrow lanes, steep hills, tight turns, inadequate guardrails and no breakdown lane, an auto safety group said Monday.

The Bronx River Parkway “lacks modern transportation engineering features,” said Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the American Automobile Association’s New York City affiliate.

The driver, Maria Gonzalez, clipped a highway divider and damaged a tire Sunday afternoon before her SUV plunged off a highway and six stories down into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, killing three generations of a family, including three children, police said.

Juan Gonzalez, the driver’s husband, blamed the state, at least in part, for the crash. “He says it’s very careless of the state to let that happen,” a relative said, translating Gonzalez’s Spanish. “There’s been several incidents before this. Accidents such as this and they haven’t done anything to prevent this.”


Delta Air Lines is buying refinery to cut fuel costs

Delta Air Lines is buying a refinery in a novel – and some say risky – attempt to slice $300 million a year from its escalating jet fuel bill.

The airline said Monday that it is buying the refinery near Philadelphia for $150 million from Phillips 66, a refining company being spun off from ConocoPhillips. The refinery has struggled to make money, and ConocoPhillips planned to shut it down if it couldn’t find a buyer.

Fuel is the largest and most volatile expense for the major airlines. Consider this: Delta’s planes burned through 3.9 billion gallons of fuel last year, costing the airline $11.8 billion – 36 percent of its operating expenses.

– From news service reports