1 dead, 1 injured in Airport Expressway crash

A driver was killed and a passenger was injured early Wednesday in a crash on the Airport Expressway.

The crash happened in the eastbound lanes of the Airport Expressway near Northwest 27th Avenue. The driver hit the guardrail in the single-car crash.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, a passenger in the car had to have his arm amputated at the scene. That passenger was then taken to Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center.

Firefighters said a child inside the car wasn’t injured.

All lanes reopened about 9 a.m.
 

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Navy aircraft crash leaves 3 missing in Philippine Sea

Three people are missing after a US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday.

The Navy transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers when it went down around 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time.

Eight people have been rescued and are in good condition aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy said in a statement. Meanwhile US and Japanese ships and planes are searching the area for the three people who remain missing.

The names of those who were onboard are being withheld pending the notification of their next of kin, the Navy said.

The crash happened approximately 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa as the C2-A Greyhound aircraft was on course to land on the Reagan. It had been transporting passengers and cargo from the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan to the aircraft carrier.

A Navy public affairs officer told CNN the plane was on approach to the carrier, but didn’t know how far away it was.

The Reagan is operating in the Philippine Sea as part of an exercise with Japan’s naval defense force.

The cause of the crash is not known at this time, according to an initial statement from the US Navy 7th Fleet. “I have been informed from the US military that engine trouble may have caused (the crash),” Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday.

Troubled year for Navy in Pacific

It’s been a difficult year for the Navy in the Pacific following a spate of incidents that led to the deaths of 17 sailors.

In August, the Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of his duty as the commander of the US 7th Fleet, following a deadly collision between the destroyer USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship off Singapore that left 10 US sailors dead. It was the fourth incident involving a US warship in the Pacific this year.

In June, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off Japan, killing seven US sailors.

Those two fatal collisions were “avoidable” and “numerous failures occurred on the part of leadership,” a Navy report concluded earlier this month.

In May, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a South Korean fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula. And in late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay, damaging its propellers.

The Navy launched multiple investigations, a safety pause, and reviews in the wake of the accidents.

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South Carolina lacks lethal injection drugs

South Carolina lacks the drugs it needs to execute a death row inmate, who was scheduled to die on December 1.

The inmate, Bobby Wayne Stone had been convicted of killing a police officer, Sgt. Charlie Kubala in 1997. As the execution looked unlikely to happen next week, Stone was granted a stay of execution by a US district judge on Tuesday.

South Carolina lacks three drugs: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The first (pentobarbital) puts the prisoner to sleep, the second (pancuronium bromide) brings on paralysis, and the final agent (potassium chloride) stops the heart.

“All of those drugs are expired or we’re unable to get them and we’ve returned them to the manufacturer because they have been expired,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the states Department of Corrections in a Monday press briefing.

Drugs used for lethal injection have become harder to get as manufacturers don’t want their products used in executions.

“The reason we don’t have the drugs, despite intense efforts to get them is because the companies that make them, the distributors who distribute them and the pharmacists that may have to compound them don’t want to be identified,” said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

States search for execution drugs

This has caused several states to scramble to find the drugs while trying to come up with alternatives.

Stirling wouldn’t talk about what other protocols South Carolina is looking at, except to say, “We’re looking at every option.”

States that are in similar situations have switched to a one-drug lethal injection, used compounding pharmacies to create or mix drugs, and looked to new cocktails.

Nevada seeks to use a new three-drug cocktail that includes fentanyl for an execution, which is under legal challenge.

In August, Florida executed Mark Asay using etomidate, a drug that had not previously been used in the US for lethal injection in place of the sedative, midazolam.

Although death sentences are still being handed down, many states are not scheduling executions because they don’t have the drugs needed for lethal injection. Executions have decreased in recent years, but increased this year to 23, up from the 20 in the previous year, according to Death Penalty Information Center.

South Carolina governor advocates shield laws

On Monday, Gov. McMaster and Stirling pushed South Carolina legislators to pass a state shield law, which would keep entities and drug suppliers used for lethal injections confidential.

McMaster said that states are struggling to procure the drugs used in executions because suppliers and people involved don’t want to be identified.

“They are afraid that their names will be made known and they don’t want to have anything to do with it, for fear of retribution or exposure of themselves, their families, their businesses… all perfectly good reasons,” the governor said.

“So here we are at a dead stop and we can’t do anything about it unless and until our legislature enacts the shield law.”

But critics have slammed such shield laws, which have passed in several states including Ohio, Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma as secrecy. They say states are able to change their lethal injection practices with different drugs without any public input or oversight, and hide what they are doing.

South Carolina has 39 inmates on death row and has not carried out an execution since 2011.

Death row inmates there have a choice of the electric chair or lethal injection — the vast majority (46 out of 48) have selected the latter after the drug option was introduced in 1995.

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