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PATH train crashes, hurting 34 riders

A commuter train from Manhattan pulling into the station for its final stop crashed into the bumpers at the end of the tracks Sunday morning, injuring 34 people and shutting down service indefinitely.

No injury in the PATH train's 8:30 a.m. crash was considered life-threatening, though several victims were taken away on stretchers or put in neck braces as a precaution, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said. The injured -- who mostly sustained cuts and bruises -- were taken to three area hospitals for treatment, and most, if not all, were expected to be released later in the day.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but city police said it appears that a mechanical failure is to blame. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are investigating.

Passengers on the train, which had departed earlier from Manhattan, said it had been a routine trip until they suddenly were knocked around by the impact.

Zimmer said one of the two train tracks might be reopened Sunday afternoon. Officials hoped the other would open in time for Monday's morning commute. Additional bus and ferry service will be provided.

Zimmer said updated information on service disruptions would be posted on the city's and Port Authority's websites.

-- AP

Bus driver charged in fatal accident

The driver of a tour bus that struck, dragged and killed a man walking in Manhattan late Saturday was charged with driving while intoxicated and vehicular homicide, the NYPD said Sunday.

Steve Drappel, 57, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was charged in connection with the 10 p.m. accident at 47th Street and Ninth Avenue.

Drappel, driving a Travel Lynx sightseeing bus with about 40 passengers aboard, struck Timothy White, 29, of Philadelphia, as he was crossing a street in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, according to police. His body was dragged several yards and found beneath the bus with severe torso wounds, police said. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead, they said. No passenger was injured.


Report: State prisons are 88 percent filled

A review of state records has found that New York's prisons are running at about 88 percent capacity.

Gannett's Albany bureau is reporting that state prisons have as many as 8,000 excess beds at the system's 67 facilities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to lower the excess bed count by 3,700 to save the state roughly $72 million. Up to six prisons may be closed.

State officials say the number of empty beds can be misleading. The state Department of Correctional Services said that nearly 2,500 of the open beds are considered "restricted vacancies." Those beds need to be kept open to move in prisoners who may get sick, have mental-health issues or become a security risk.

Another 1,700 beds must be retained in case of fluctuations in the prison population.

-- AP

Leona Helmsley estate wins ruling

A New York judge has blocked animal-welfare groups from trying to influence how much of the late hotel magnate Leona Helmsley's multibillion-dollar estate is spent on caring for dogs.

Though Helmsley wanted most of her trust to go toward that purpose, the Manhattan Surrogate's Court judge ruled that the organizations had no standing to intervene in the estate's decisions.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society and other organizations had argued that of the $450 million the estate's trustees had given out, only $100,000 had gone to dogs.

Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle called the April 15 ruling "a setback," but said the groups' legal fight would continue.

Helmsley died in 2007. Her dog, Trouble, had her $12 million trust fund reduced to $2 million.

-- AP

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