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Wildfire Spreads Near Nevada Border

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A wildfire at the foot of the Sierra Nevada has damaged homes after growing to more than 10 square miles and prompting the mandatory evacuation of two small Northern California towns near the Nevada state line.

The unusual winter blaze on the border of Inyo and Mono counties near the Mammoth Lakes resort is 30 percent contained, Cal Fire Capt. Liz Brown said Saturday. Dying winds and rain have helped crews stop the fire's growth.

Twenty structures, including homes and outbuildings, have been damaged or destroyed, Brown said. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.

A few dozen people were evacuated Friday from Town of Paradise and Swall Meadows, two rural communities northwest of Bishop.

The highway from Southern California to Mammoth Lakes, US-395, reopened Saturday though the fire doubled in size overnight. Two-hundred firefighters in 29 crews were battling the blaze, according to Cal Fire.

Seventeen Orange County firefighters in five specially equipped engines drove overnight to reach the fire, according to OC Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. The assistance is part of a statewide mutual aid system that he called the "best in the nation."

This vegetation fire is unusual in that February is usually a rainy month, Concialdi confirmed.

"It just goes to show you how dry it's been," Concialdi said. "Even if it rains, when the wind picks up -- which it does -- it rapidly dries out the vegetation."

The fire's cause is under investigation.



Photo Credit: California Dept. of Transportation, Dist. 9

Shooting Likely Stems From Reported Hotel Party Fight: PD

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A 24-year-old man was hospitalized after a shooting outside a home early Saturday morning that may have stemmed from a fight at a Stamford Hilton party, police said.

It's not the first time a shooting has been reported at the home, Stamford police said.

Police found several shell casings and a pool of blood on the first-floor foyer of a home at 293 Fairfield Avenue but no victim initially when they responded at 2:38 a.m. on Saturday.

Forty-five minutes later, the victim checked into Stamford Hospital with two non-life-threatening bullet wounds in his legs, police said. He was treated and released later Saturday morning.

Sources told police that the victim was involved in a fight with many other people at a party at the Stamford Hilton hotel and that he and his friends left. While they were hanging out on the front porch of the Fairfield Avenue home, someone fired several rounds in their vicinity and hit the victim twice, the sources told police.

Investigators found six of the seven rounds and shell casings reportedly fired. Police are interviewing witnesses and reviewing business security surveillance videos as they work to track down the shooter.

The victim and people on the porch during the shooting are not cooperating with the investigation, police said.

"This residence has been notorious for police involvement and nefarious activity for the last several years," Stamford police said in a news release. "In November 2014 we investigated a Home invasion at this residence in which two shots were fired. Victims were uncooperative at that time and no arrests have been made."

Police ask anyone with information on the shooting to contact the department's detective bureau at 203-977-4417. Tips can be made anonymously.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bruce Jenner Involved in Crash

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Olympian and TV personality Bruce Jenner was behind the wheel of an SUV involved in a chain-reaction crash on Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday that left a woman dead, officials said.

The four-vehicle crash began about 12:15 p.m. in Malibu when a Toyota Prius slowed or stopped in traffic and was struck from behind by a white Lexus sedan, LA County Sheriff's Sgt. Philip Brooks said, noting that traffic on the northbound side was not moving very quickly.

Jenner, driving a Cadillac SUV pulling a dune buggy, then rear-ended the Lexus, sandwiching the Lexus between his SUV and the Prius, Brooks said. The Lexus then spun or veered into the quickly-moving southbound lane of PCH, where it was struck head-on by a Hummer, he said.

The driver of the Lexus, a woman, died. A family of five inside the Hummer was taken to the hospital out of precaution, officials said.

At about 6:45 p.m., a suspected drunken driver drove into a restaurant parking lot and then through the barricade around the crash scene and crashed into the wreckage, deputies said.

The incident did not compromise the crash scene because measurements had already been taken, officials said. The 44-year-old driver was detained on suspicion of DUI.

Regarding the earlier crash, Brooks said he did not know why the Prius stopped or slowed in the first place. The sheriff's department said it planned to review cellphone records to see if anyone was on the phone before or during the crash. 

Jenner was not hurt in the crash. He was cooperative with deputies, passing a field sobriety test and offering to give a blood sample, Brooks said.

Deputies said there was "no evidence" Jenner was being chased by paparazzi.

"It's unlikely due to the fact that there was traffic and other cars stopped, so that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's always possible," Brooks said.

Jenner reportedly told deputies that he was being followed by paparazzi on PCH "like always" but that he was not trying to get away from them, an LASD Sgt. told NBC4.

Photos from the scene showed a wrecked white Lexus facing a black Hummer with a smashed front end.

PCH was closed between Malibu Canyon and Corral Canyon roads during the investigation. Lanes reopened by about 9:20 p.m.

Authorities did not give out information about other the victims of the crash and said five were hurt.

Officials first said four cars were involved, then changed to only three. Deputies later clarified a final number of four vehicles involved in the crash.

Kevin LaBeach and Kate Larsen contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Splash News

Yale to Offer Treatment for Anyone Who Had Contact With Possible Meningitis Patient

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Yale University and public health officials continue working to identify anyone who had contact with an undergraduate student hospitalized with "probable bacterial meningitis," according to the school.

Yale Health Director Paul Genecin wrote in a letter to the Yale community that "although meningitis is a serious disease, the risk of transmission is low" and that officials are "working aggressively" to find and contact people on campus "who may have had extended contact with our student" and offer them preventative care at a special clinic. 

"Despite the low transmission risk, we want you to be aware of the symptoms of bacterial meningitis, which include high fever, headache, stiff neck, and a skin rash," Genecin said. "If you experience any of these symptoms, please go to Yale Health (55 Lock Street) immediately. Moreover, if you are feeling unwell for any reason – even if it is a minor sore throat – we’d like to encourage you to come to see us. We are always happy to treat a cold and rule out more serious illness!"

The student, who has not been identified, is receiving treatment for  possible bacterial meningitis at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

"The student's condition is being closely monitored and our primary concern is that the student makes a swift recovery," an advisory on Yale's website said.

Meningitis is not airborne and is only transmitted through "close, extended contact," according to Yale Health. The bacterial illness can't be spread "by shaking hands; breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been; touching doorknobs, clothing or sports equipment; or food," Genecin said.

To help prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis, avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your mouth, such as water bottles, towels, drinking glasses, eating utensils, toothbrushes and smoking materials. Genecin also advises to cough or sneeze into a tissue or sleeve and to "wash your hands thoroughly and frequently."

More information is available by calling the meningitis hotline at 866-924-9253 or visiting the Centers for Disease Control website. Genecin said that the university will continue to provide updates on the possible meningitis case on the Yale Health website and Yale Emergency website.

Snowy Weather Brings Business to Local Ski Resorts

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The recent snowy weather across the state brought big business to local ski mountains and the next storm promises more.

“It’s good powder and there’s not a lot of ice out there. Everything is looking pretty good for a good day of snowboarding,” said John Mooney from Bristol, who was at Mount Southington Saturday.

“It was nice, you know. The snow is great. There’s people but not too many. So, you’re not worried about bumping into anyone,” said Theresa Salvito, also from Bristol and at Mount Southington.

At Mount Southington all 14 trails were open. The snow depth was anywhere from two feet to five feet.

“This season has been fantastic. We’ve had a lot of snow. Early on we had some tough weather in December but it turned around very quickly in January,” said Jay Dougherty, Mount Southington general manager. “We’re able to make a lot of snow really fast, get 100 percent open early on, and it’s been great ever since.”

Now the staff here is looking forward to even more snow. It’s good for the mountain and to get people to think about coming here.

Some people are simply trying to make the best of this busy stretch of wintry weather.

“I’ll definitely go sledding and more snowboarding and probably build a snowman but I’m ready for spring and summer, that’s for sure,” Salvito said.

The three other ski mountains in Connecticut are also reporting great conditions with all trails open.
 

Another Round of Snow Moving In

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The wintry scene in Enfield might be nice to look at but it’s making it harder to get around, from snow covered roads to growing snow banks.

The snow storms also mean longer drives for Cheri Colson who lives in Enfield and works in Hartford.

“A 27 minute trip takes about an hour and 15 minutes on a good snowy trip up the highway,” says Colson.

She might not be looking forward to more snow. But Jon Potter definitely is.

“I’m pumped up. I’m ready for some more snow, money making snow, you know. We’re all happy with it. It’s what keeps us busy,” says Potter.

Potter helps plow parking lots. He was enjoying a night to finally get some sleep and rest up after a series of storms.

“It’s keeping everybody busy at least 40 hours a week, snow removal, plowing, got to keep the ice melt on the walks, keep people safe,” says Potter.

To help town plow crews, people had to get their cars off the streets in Enfield Saturday due to a parking ban that began at 9pm.

“I’m moving the car to the driveway because I guess we’re getting a big snow storm, again,” says Gloria Tamayo of Enfield. “I’m heading to Columbia for a couple of months so I’m not worried about the snow anymore. I’m done with the snow. I’m done with it.”
 

Tax Returns Found in the Streets

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Tax returns for hundreds of people were found in the middle of a Philadelphia street.

Yvette Santiago told NBC10 her husband spotted hundreds of papers in the street outside their home on the 1900 block of East Cheltenham Avenue Saturday morning.

“He thought it was garbage,” Santiago said. “But then he said, ‘Oh my God, look!’”

What he initially believed was trash was actually tax documents full of personal information.

“You have the name, social security and date of birth,” Santiago said.

Santiago showed the documents to NBC10’s Christine Maddela who took them to local accountant Michael Falco. Falco told NBC10 the documents were actual tax returns, showing where people work, their income and even information about their children.

“For the people who have documents here this could turn into a nightmare,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is unbelievable. Just terrible. Credit card theft you can stop. You’re only limited to a certain liability. This goes way beyond that because you can actually file a false tax return and get a refund. IRS paid out over $5 billion last year in false refunds from information that was stolen.”

Falco says the next step is figuring out how the documents ended up on the street.

“Who’s responsible for this getting out there because as a preparer, you’ve got a responsibility to make sure this information doesn’t get out,” he said.

Christine Maddela reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department who told her to notify the IRS once the office opens Monday. She is also tracking down the agency that prepared the tax returns.
 

Arrest in Assault of Emanuel's Son

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Chicago police arrested a man Saturday in connection with the assault and robbery of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 17-year-old son.

The offender, who has not been identified because he was charged as a juvenile, allegedly confessed to the crimes and was charged with robbery and aggravated battery.

The incident occurred Dec. 19 in the mayor's neighborhood in the 4200 block of North Hermitage.

The mayor's son, 17-year-old Zach Emanuel, was walking in the block when he was approached by two unknown male offenders who grabbed him and went through his pockets. The offenders took his phone and then fled the scene, according to police news affairs.

Zach Emanuel sustained injuries that required medical treatment, according to Kelley Quinn, a spokesperson for the mayor.

"The Mayor and Amy are grateful to the dedicated men and women of the Chicago Police Department for their hard work, and they would like to thank everyone who shared kind thoughts and wishes for their son's well-being," the mayor's office said in a statement.


Chipotle Twitter Hacked, Obscenities Posted

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Hackers apparently seized the Twitter account of popular fast-casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill early Sunday morning, tweeting obscenities and replacing the brand's main icon with a swastika before the account was recovered, and the offensive tweets deleted, hours later.

"We apologize for the very offensive messages sent out from our account earlier tonight," Chipotle said in a tweet after the account was restored. "We were unfortunately hijacked temporarily."

The first tweet indicating the account had been hacked was posted at 1:59 a.m. ET on Feb. 8th. Several subsequent tweets were posted, and included racial and homophobic slurs. The tweets targeted President Barack Obama and several government agencies.

The brand's bio tag was also changed to: "The official Twitter account of @TUGFeds and @TheCeltic666," two handles that reappeared in the tweets. The location was changed to "The Bharath Household."

By 3:13 a.m. ET, the swastika image had been replaced with a stock Twitter "egg" image, and the offensive tweets had been deleted.

Any attempt to access Chipotle's website during the hack were redirected to the Twitter page for @TheCeltic666. The account tweeted several ominous messages before the hack took place. At 7:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, the account tweeted, "Sorry, @ChipotleTweets!"

The popular fast-casual chain's other social media accounts, including its Facebook page and Instagram page, appeared to be unaffected early Sunday.



Photo Credit: AP

Police Arrest Man Who Robbed Two Businesses: PD

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Police arrested a man suspected of robbing a Dunkin Donuts and Price Chopper in Putnam late Friday night.

Ralph Green, 33, of Putnam, is facing multiple charges including robbery.

Police identified him as the man who implied he had a gun and demanded cash at the Dunkin Donuts at 323 Kennedy Drive at 10:30 p.m. Friday, fled and then did the same at the Price Chopper down the road at 251 Kennedy Drive minutes later.

Putnam police responded first to the Dunkin Donuts and then to the Price Chopper aft4er receiving 911 calls from both stores.

A K-9 unit and responding police officers apprehended Green at the Price Chopper and connected him to both crimes.

No one was injured.

Police charged Green with two counts of robbery, criminal attempt, two counts of breach of peace, two counts of first degree reckless endangerment and interfering with police. He is being held in custody on a $250,000 bond until he is arraigned in Danielson Superior Court.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock

One Injured in I-95 South Crash

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One person was sent to the hospital after a multi-car crash in Branford.

State police responded to the  accident early Sunday morning area near the Branford Service Plaza on I-95 South.

The condition of the injured person is unknown.

Stratford Woman Killed in Bridgeport Crash

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A Stratford woman died in a two crash in Bridgeport early Sunday morning.

Firefighters extricated Nancy Keller, 53, of Stratford, from her car after the car she was in collided with another vehicle at 1:20 a.m. on Sunday at the Noble Avenue and Crown Street intersection. An ambulance transported her to Bridgeport Hospital, where she later died of her injuries.

Bridgeport Police Department's serious accident team responded and the crash remains under investigation. Police have not released information on the circumstances or cause of the fatal accident.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Extinguished in Westport Garage

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A Westport police officer and firefighters extinguished a garage fire at a house in town Sunday morning, according to the local fire union.

Firefighters responded, as well, to the Woodside Lane home at 6:42 a.m. on Sunday after a resident smelled smoke and called 911 upon discovering her garage was on fire, the fire union, IAFF Local 1081, said on its website. Everyone in the home at the time evacuated and the flames didn't go beyond the garage.

A Westport police officer who was first on scene initially knocked out the fire with a dry chemical extinguisher and firefighters put it out completely and took over once they arrived, according to the fire union. A moderate amount of smoke spread into the home, so firefighters ventilated the building.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

The fire union cautions residents to make sure at least a three-foot area is clear of any "combustible materials" around any heating units.

Limited Space to Move Towering Snow Piles Before Storm

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Crews were out early Sunday, trying to make room for the next round of snow as towns across the state are running out of places to put it.

After a couple of major snow storms, islands of snow have built up in parking lots like at the Corbins Corner mall on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford. Some snowbanks are so tall, it’s hard for drivers to see around them.

So, the shopping center brought in West Hartford contractor D&H Concrete to move all this snow away. But as they start to run out of places to put the snow, there’s only one direction it can go, and that’s up.

"We're going to have to bring in an excavator," Dale Morin, of D&H Concrete, said. "We're going to have to pile it. There's going to be piles higher than the light poles. We're going to have to stack it, just keep stacking it."

It’s not only a safety concern, but also a business concern to open up more parking spaces for people.

However, there are limited places to dump the snow in that area because there are new buildings in the plaza where crews used to put the snow before.

The crews hope to bring in a large truck to haul the snow away before the piles get too tall, but that won’t happen before more snow comes Sunday and Monday.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Golf Legend Billy Casper Passes Away

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Billy Casper, who was known by his peers as one of the greatest golfers who ever lived and in Connecticut as a four-time golf champion, passed away Saturday evening at the age of 83.

Casper participated in Hartford golf tournaments now known as the Travelers Championship. Tournament organizers tweeted condolences about his passing.

"We are saddened to hear about the loss of the great Billy Casper, a four-time champion in Connecticut," @TravelersChamp tweeted.

The San Diego native won 51 PGA Tour events, the seventh-most all-time. He two U.S. Open titles and the 1970 Masters (fellow San Diegan Gene Littler was second) and was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978.

He was known by people in his home town as a wonderful, kind, charitable man.

After retiring, Casper spent a few years on the Champions Tour where he won two more majors. He developed a successful golf course design and management company and spent countless hours raising money for children's charities.

Casper's biggest impact might have been felt playing for the USA. He's won more points in Ryder Cup play than any American in history.



Photo Credit: PGA

Rollover Crash Closes Part of I-84 West in Union

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A rollover crash closed the two left lanes on Interstate 84 west in Union near exit 74 just before 2 p.m.

There is no word on injuries.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock

UConn Students Hospitalized With Illnesses

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Three UConn students were hospitalized due to illnesses sweeping the campus.

"UConn has received several reports over the last few days of students with nausea, vomiting, weakness or other symptoms consistent with viruses, gastrointestinal illnesses, and/or the flu," UConn media spokesperson Stephanie Reitz told NBC Connecticut in an email. "It’s the height of a particularly tough flu and virus season, so unfortunately, this is not a surprise. These illnesses also can spread easily in areas where many people live in close quarters, such as among roommates and friends in residence halls."

UConn brought three students to Windham Hospital to be assessed and treated.

"Tests will take place there to determine if they have the flu or another type of GI illness," Reitz said. "We’ve also heard from many others across campus who’ve reported being ill in recent days, and we’re providing treatment at Student Health Services for those who need it."

It's unknown at this time whether there's a particular virus outbreak at the campus.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Hartford Declares Snow Emergency

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Hartford has declared a snow emergency and announced schools and city offices will be closed Monday due to snow in the forecast.

The city has also issued a parking ban that will start at midnight Sunday and last until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

“We need as many cars as possible off the streets to plow effectively,” Mayor Pedro Segarra said. “The storm is expected to be the heaviest during the day tomorrow and it’s much more difficult to move vehicles when snow is on the ground. Residents should start preparing for the storm as soon as possible.”

Residents who don't have access to off-street parking are asked to move their cars to one of the following places during the storm: 

• Morgan Street Garage
• 2 Holcomb Street lot
• Keney Park Entrance lot — Ridgefield Street
• KDA Center lot — Naugatuck Street
• Pope Park Center lot — Park Terrace
• Metzner Center lot — Franklin Avenue
• Colt Park lot — Wawarme Avenue
• Elizabeth Park lots
• All Hartford Public Schools parking lots

Residents should move vehicles from the parking lots when the parking ban expires. If your car is towed, the city asks you to call the Hartford Police Department at 860-757-4000. It costs $93.59 to retrieve a towed vehicle and owners will also be fined with a $99 ticket.

More snow parking locations are available on the Hartford website.

You can call 211 if you need a shelter to stay at to keep warm. The following shelters are open 24 hours if it's below 25 degrees:

• McKinney Shelter: 34 Huyshope Ave, (860) 722-6922
• Immaculate Conception Shelter: 560 Park St, (860) 724-4823
• South Park Inn: 75 Main St, (860) 724-0071

Click here for more information on school delays and cancellations, organization closings and parking bans.

Possible Yale Meningitis Patient Improving: Officials

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The Yale University undergraduate student hospitalized with "probable bacterial meningitis" is getting better, according to the school.

"I write with another update on our student with a probable case of bacterial meningitis," Yale Health Director Paul Genecin said. "I’m pleased to be able to tell you that the student has shown signs of improvement over the last 48 hours. I know the student’s family and friends have been touched by the outpouring of support they have received from members of our community."

The student has not been identified at this time.

Genecin wrote in a previous letter to the Yale community that "although meningitis is a serious disease, the risk of transmission is low" and that officials are "working aggressively" to find and contact people on campus "who may have had extended contact with our student" and offer them preventative care at a special clinic until 6 p.m. Sunday. 

The Yale Health Acute Care Department is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 55 Lock Street and there's a 24-hour hotline students can call at 866-924-9253.

"Despite the low transmission risk, we want you to be aware of the symptoms of bacterial meningitis, which include high fever, headache, stiff neck, and a skin rash," Genecin said. "If you experience any of these symptoms, please go to Yale Health (55 Lock Street) immediately. Moreover, if you are feeling unwell for any reason – even if it is a minor sore throat – we’d like to encourage you to come to see us. We are always happy to treat a cold and rule out more serious illness!"

The university is closely monitoring the student with possible meningitis.

Meningitis is not airborne and is only transmitted through "close, extended contact," according to Yale Health. The bacterial illness can't be spread "by shaking hands; breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been; touching doorknobs, clothing or sports equipment; or food," Genecin said.

To help prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis, avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your mouth, such as water bottles, towels, drinking glasses, eating utensils, toothbrushes and smoking materials. Genecin also advises to cough or sneeze into a tissue or sleeve and to "wash your hands thoroughly and frequently."

More information is available by calling the meningitis hotline at 866-924-9253 or visiting the Centers for Disease Control website. Genecin said that the university will continue to provide updates on the possible meningitis case on the Yale Health website and Yale Emergency website. Information about the disease and how to prevent it is also available on emergency.yale.edu.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Victim ID'd in Jenner Crash

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As the investigation into Saturday's fatal four-vehicle crash on Pacific Coast Highway focused in on whether there was any criminal intent, authorities Sunday released the victim's name.

Kim Howe, 69, of Calabasas, died when her Lexus veered or was pushed into oncoming traffic just after noon on Saturday, Feb. 7, in Malibu near Corral Canyon Road, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Philip Brooks said.

The department is investigating the fatal traffic collision, gathering cellphone records and conducting interviews, Brooks said.

Howe rear-ended a Toyota Prius, and was then hit herself by reality TV star Bruce Jenner's SUV after Howe's car hit a Prius, Brooks said. For a reason that's still under investigation, Howe's car was pushed into the southbound lane of PCH, where it was hit by a fast-moving Hummer.

If any of the drivers, including Jenner, are found to have acted with "criminal intent," they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, according to Brooks.

None of the drivers are being investigated for vehicular manslaughter so far, he said.

Deputies have asked for the drivers to turn over cellphone records to detectives, Brooks said. If they don't comply, they may seek a warrant for the records.

Jenner was cooperative with the investigation, taking and passing a field sobriety test as well as voluntarily giving blood for more testing, deputies have said.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Jenner said: "My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones, and to all of those who were involved or injured in this terrible accident.

"It is a devastating tragedy and I cannot pretend to imagine what this family is going through at this time. I am praying for them. I will continue to cooperate in every way possible."



Photo Credit: Rene Luna
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