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7-year-old girl hit by car, killed while seeking help after dad’s drunken driving crash, police say

A 7-year-old girl died early Sunday when she was hit by a car as she was trying to get help after surviving a drunken driving crash with her father behind the wheel, according to authorities.

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The girl, identified by The Associated Press as DeSandra Thomas, sent text messages to police in Romulus after her father crashed around 3:30 a.m. on Interstate 94, near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. A preliminary investigation revealed that DeSandra’s father was drunk when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving, hit an abandoned vehicle parked on the side of the interstate and drove through nearby fencing, according to Michigan State Police.

Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said DeSandra believed that her father had been killed in the accident.

“After the crash, she was able to exit the vehicle, collected her belongings, climbed over the fence that was damaged, by the freeway, and started walking toward I-94,” Shaw said. “She was wandering around and she was looking for help for herself.”

Romulus police were able to trace DeSandra to near the interstate using the text messages she sent, Shaw said. However, they were unable to pinpoint her exact location.

A short while after the accident, authorities got a call from a woman who thought she might have struck either a pedestrian or an animal on the interstate. Investigators determined that the woman, who was not identified, struck DeSandra with a vehicle as the girl was attempting to cross I-94.

“It’s a very sad case,” Shaw said. “Here’s a 7-year-old girl that’s not going to go to prom. She’s not going to graduate high school, have kids, have a career.”

DeSandra’s mother, Sandria Burts, described her daughter to WJBK as “a beautiful thing … (who would give you the shirt off her back.”

“She was so helpful,” Burts said. “It’s a void that will never be filled. ... Anybody that she touched she was a blessing to them."

She told WJBK that she was told before her daughter’s birth that she couldn’t have children. She became a foster mother and adopted two children before becoming pregnant with DeSandra, WJBK reported. Burts shared parental custody with DeSandra’s father, her ex-husband, according to WDIV.

“I was angry at first,” Anthony Burts, DeSandra’s step-father, told WDIV. “She told me this morning, ‘That’s not what our daughter would want. She wouldn’t want us to be angry.’”

Charges are pending against DeSandra’s father, WJBK reported Monday. However, Sandria Burts told WDIV that she hoped he would not be charged.

“He has to live the rest of his life knowing that his daughter is not here anymore,” she told the news station. “I hope they don’t charge him. That’s torture enough. Nobody should have to live with the fact that their baby is gone.”

Allura recalls 64,000 pairs of children’s pajamas due to flammability concerns

Allura has recalled about 64,000 pairs of children’s pajamas over fears they could catch fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Two styles are included in the recall. The pajamas were sold at America’s Kids, Boscov’s, Kids For Less and other stores nationwide. 

>> Read more trending news 

The pajamas were also sold online at Amazon.com, CookiesKids.com, CrazyforBargains.com and other websites from September 2017 to April 2018.

The pajamas sold for between $8 and $13.

The first is Allura’s “Sweet and Sassy” -- a 100 percent polyester fleece pajama pant.

The second style includes a onesie under the brand name Delia’s Girl.

It is 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex; the garment has long sleeves with a hood and front zipper.

The recall affects clothes made in children’s sizes 4 to 6x and 7 to 16, in a variety of colors and prints.

See all styles affected on the CPSC recall alert.

The CPSC states that the pajamas do not meet flammability standards and pose a risk of burn injury.

Family members who have purchased these pajamas should return them to the store from which they were purchased to get a refund.

Customers can also call Allura toll-free at 1-866-254-3103 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Those concerned their clothing is affected should email custservice1@alluraimports.com or visit www.AlluraImports.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

Semi-trailer truck transporting hot dogs goes up in flames on Nebraska highway

A semi-trailer truck accident led to thousands of hot dogs going up in flames.

The Omaha World-Herald reported a semi-trailer truck caught fire while traveling on the Dodge Expressway in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

The Nebraska State Patrol said no one was hurt.

Some witness photos show cardboard boxes with stacks and stacks of hot dogs inside burned and charred, with many dogs blackened on the outside.

“This isn’t exactly the kind of Saturday cook out we’re in favor of, but this is the aftermath of a semi truck loaded with hot dogs going up in flames on the West Dodge Expressway,” Nebraska State Patrol Lt. Matt Sutter tweeted Saturday. “Luckily no one was hurt...Just hungry...”

Florida woman beat mother to death over absence from will, police say

“You destroyed my life, so I’m going to destroy you.”

With those words, a Florida woman on Thursday night beat to death her 85-year-old mother for leaving her out of her will, , police investigators said.

Gabriela Perero, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated battery of a person 65 years old or older, according to Broward County jail records. She is being held without bail. 

Perero’s arrest report, which is available online, states that medics with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue went to Luisa Perero’s home around 9:15 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of an elderly woman suffering from chest pains. When they arrived at the elderly woman’s condo, they found Luisa Perero suffering from injuries consistent with a beating. 

They also found Gabriela Perero, who told the medics that she attacked her mother in a rage, the arrest report said. Fort Lauderdale police officers were called to the scene. 

“I guess I’m going to jail. I beat up my mom,” Gabriela Perero said, according to the arresting officer’s affidavit. 

The officer said that Perero continued to make incriminating statements.

“I pushed her down, grabbed her and tore the skin off her arm,” Perero said, according to the affidavit. “I did it all. I don’t want her to die.”

>> Read more trending news

Luisa Perero was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition, the affidavit said. The victim, whose visible injuries included cuts to the back of her head and skin torn off both arms, was briefly declared dead but emergency personnel were able to restore her heartbeat. 

Suffering from bleeding on the brain, she was placed on life support and died Friday of her injuries. 

Gabriela Perero told investigators she was angry because her siblings were receiving inheritances from their mother, but she was not, despite being the one caring for the elderly woman. According to the arrest affidavit, she told detectives she became enraged over the ongoing dispute and began ransacking her mother’s home, where she was also living temporarily. 

Perero said she broke picture frames and flung around paperwork, but was still angry and turned on her mother, the document said. She said she threw her mother to the floor, causing a bleeding head wound, and grabbed her by the throat. 

It was then that she told her mother she would destroy her, according to the affidavit. 

Perero told investigators that after the beating, she took her mother into the bathroom and washed the blood off her body, the affidavit said. She then put her to bed and called 911. 

Pug gets mug shot, jail time after day on the run

A dog from New Jersey would have quite a tale to tell if she could talk, but her adventure netted the pug a mug shot and a booking number. 

Bean the pug somehow got out of her home and was found after she sneaked through a few yards in Cape May, NJ.com reported

Police caught up to the four-legged perpetrator, or pup-etrator, and tried to get her to hop into the police car.

Bean couldn’t because “her short little legs couldn’t make it into the car, so I had to lift her up,”police said in a Facebook post.

>> Read more trending news 

Bean now has her own mug, or pug, shot, with the caption that says, “This is what happens when you run away from home. This guy was captured sneaking through yards on the 1300 block on New Jersey Avenue #pugmug.”

Bean was held in a cell for a few hours until officers could track down her owner. A neighbor found the department’s post and told Bean’s owner about it, NJ.com reported

The pair were reunited and, as police posted on Facebook, Bean “has been released on bail.”

Her family thanked police for finding Bean and told them that the pup was asleep at home after her excursion, NJ.com reported

National Hot Dog Day 2018: 7-Eleven, Love's Travel Stops and more offering discounted, free dogs

National Hot Dog Day is July 18, and multiple restaurants across the country are offering discounted dogs to celebrate. 

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Here are some of the places with National Hot Dog Day offers:

Philly Pretzel Factory

This regional soft pretzel bakery is offering its all beef Dietz & Watson dogs wrapped in American cheese and a Philly Pretzel for $1.

7-Eleven

The convenience store is offering $1 Big Bite hot dogs.

Hwy 55

At most locations in North and South Carolina, this retro 1950s restaurant will serve Southern-style dogs for 99 cents from 2 to 5 p.m. Today reported that all 138 national locations of the restaurants will participate in the offer, but customers will need to download the My Hwy 55 Rewards Program app or have a punch card to get the deal. There is a two hot dogs per person limit.

Sonic Drive-In

Sonic offers corn dogs for 99 cents every day from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Love's Travel Stops

Customers can get free hot dogs from one of Love’s Travel Stops 41 locations from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, but it’s not just limited to hot dogs. Customers who present a barcode at the travel stop can get a dog or another roller grill item -- such as egg rolls, tornados, roller bites and others -- for free. The bar code can be accessed at Love’s official FacebookTwitter or Instagram pages.

Before rushing out to get a discounted hot dog, be aware that every location may not participate in these deals and some stores and restaurants are not in every state. Be sure to call ahead if you want to take advantage of these offers.

Obama describes ‘strange times,’ criticizes ‘strongman politics’ in Nelson Mandela speech

Former U.S. President Barack Obama described “strange and uncertain” times during a speech commemorating Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday.

It is the former president’s first high-profile speech since leaving office, the Associated Press reports. The address marks the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.

>> Read more trending news 

While not directly mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, Obama said, “Each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.”

Over 14,000 people gathered at a cricket stadium in Johannesburg to hear Obama’s speech, which was streamed live on Facebook. 

Obama’s appearance comes one day after Trump’s joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in which Trump sided with Putin over his own country’s intelligence on whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

>>Related: Trump-Putin summit: Trump takes Russia's side over intelligence community

Without mentioning Trump directly, Obama said politicians who push “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment” are moving “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago.”

He attacked “strongman politics,”saying that “those in power seek to undermine every institution ... that gives democracy meaning.”

He also added that “it’s a plain fact” that racial discrimination “still exists in the United States and South Africa.”

Obama added that the world’s governments and powerful elites were partially to blame for not delivering on its promises -- leaving countries on the brink of civil war.

That is why, Obama said, some of the world is “threatening  to return to an older and more dangerous and more brutal way of doing business.”

Obama’s speech honored the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Prize winner by drawing on Mandela’s powerful legacy of human rights, CNN reported.

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years in his fight to end South Africa’s apartheid rule.

He was released in 1990 and became South Africa’s first black president.

Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.

IHOP celebrating 60th birthday with pancakes for 60 cents

Fresh off of admitting their name change to IHOb was a publicity stunt, IHOP is celebrating its 60th birthday with what it does best: pancakes.

The restaurant chain announced last week that it would give away 60-cent short stacks July 17 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to celebrate its birthday.

>> Read more trending news 

“The IHOP name is synonymous with pancakes, pancakes, pancakes -- a rallying cry that sets our menu and our restaurants apart from every other dining destination,” IHOP Chief Marketing Officer Brad Haley said in a July 10 news release. “To celebrate six decades of pancakin’ and the love our guests have shown us since we first opened our doors back in 1958, we’re treating folks to a 60-cent short stack of our world-famous buttermilk pancakes -- the pancake that started it all -- on Tuesday, July 17.”

Related: IHOb goes back to IHOP, says it 'faked it to promote new burgers'

As with most offers of this kind, the price and participation varies by location. The offer is only available for dine-in customers and there is a limit of one 60-cent short stack per person.

Those interested in getting a short stack for 60 cents can contact their nearest IHOP about the offer at IHOP.com.

Man impersonating police officer tries to pull over real cops in unmarked car

An Arizona man was charged last week with impersonating a police officer after he pulled over two state troopers who were patrolling in an unmarked car. 

Matthew Allen Disbro, 44, of Mesa, was booked Wednesday into the Maricopa County Jail. 

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said two troopers were patrolling State Route 51 in an unmarked yellow Ford Mustang when they saw a black Dodge Charger, equipped with police-style lighting, through their rear window. The troopers ran a registration check on the license plate and discovered the car belonged to a private citizen.

A few moments later, the driver of the Charger activated his flashing lights and tried to pull the Mustang over, officials said in a news release. When the troopers did not pull over, the driver pulled up alongside them and started yelling and waving, indicating that they needed to pull over. 

The troopers turned the tables, activating their own lights and pulling the driver, later identified as Disbro, over, the news release said

Disbro, who was taken into custody, works as a uniformed, armed security guard, investigators said. His Charger was not only equipped with lights, but also with a police siren and radio scanner.

>> Read more trending news

“Motorists need to feel confident that when they are pulled over by law enforcement they are dealing with a state-certified peace officer,” Department of Public Safety Maj. Deston Coleman said in a statement. “Criminal behavior like that exhibited by the suspect undermines public confidence and makes it difficult for troopers and other law enforcement officers to perform their job.”

Investigators released images and a brief video of the Charger in an effort to find any citizens who were pulled over by Disbro under the guise of a police officer. Anyone who had contact with him in that way is asked to call investigators at 602-644-5805.

Couch caper: Abandoned sofa in Palm Bay becomes viral outdoor living room

It was fun while it lasted, but it appears a couch that sat abandoned along a busy road in Brevard County, Florida, for weeks, attracting a comfortable social media following, has been taken away.

For weeks, the solitary sofa – with no living room to call home – nevertheless found a following, if not a home without walls, windows, rugs or even a roof. 

Palm Bay residents say the couch had been sitting empty along on Palm Bay Road. For most, it was a roadside eyesore – until the community decided to showcase it.

Soon there was a table, mini-fridge, artificial plants, more furniture and even a TV.

Not to mention lots of onlookers.

>> Read more trending news 

With the couch’s new-found fellow furniture came real-life visitors, who came to see the spontaneous setup and just had to stop for a picture.

“I thought it was hilarious,” said Palm Bay visitor Diane Monroe. “I had to come down and see and take pictures so I can go home and show my grandkids.”

The Palm Bay Couch, as it’s now called, even has its own Facebook page with more than 5,000 followers.

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Visitors to the Facebook page commented Monday evening that volunteers had cleaned it up and taken it away. It’s not clear who took it or where exactly it’s going.

People who have stopped for photos have been sharing their stop at the sidewalk sofa.

Despite the roadside couch comfort, it also brought controversy. Some nearby business owners said the couch created a traffic nuisance. City leaders in Palm Bay and West Melbourne were also trying to figure out whose city limits control the couch creation.

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The Saint Jones River Water Management District was also notified because of the couch’s proximity to a canal.

Still, an abandoned couch's ability to bring strangers together is an incredible thing.

“It’s so much better following something fun and cute… rather than all the negative,” said couch visitor Charlene Palazzo. 

911 delays during Fourth of July holiday resulted in newborn’s death, family says

A mother in Omaha, Nebraska, said that her newborn died after her calls to 911 for help went unanswered. 

Joanna Coddington told KETV she called 911 three times after delivering her baby girl at home on July 5, three months before her due date.

>> Read more trending news 

Coddington and her mother said they tried to call 911 for over 15 minutes from several phones, but kept getting a busy signal, KETV reports.

They raced the child to the hospital, where the baby later died.

“Nobody knows what the possibilities are if 911 could have came. But the end result is the same and that's that Baby Angel isn't with us,” said Coddington’s mother, Theresa Kerby.

Douglas County 911 director Dave Sleeter told KETV that emergency dispatchers were tied up with people complaining about fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

He said that 434 fireworks complaints were reported on July 5, compared to 171 on the same day last year.

“The next day, I learned it was mostly fireworks calls. Non-emergencies. That just infuriated me, because real emergencies, of life and death, were not able to get through. All because someone’s sleep was inconvenienced,” said Kerby.

Sleeter said that the dispatch center is reviewing this incident and is considering setting up a non-emergency number for the public.

Beach umbrella spears woman at New Jersey beach

A gust of wind and a beach umbrella have left a woman from the United Kingdom with an injury to her ankle. 

Police said Margaret Reynolds, 67, was injured when a part of an aluminum umbrella went through her right ankle in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said the injury was caused by the force of the wind, The Asbury Park Press reported.

Firefighters had to cut part of umbrella using a bolt cutter to be able to remove it from Reynolds and to be able to transport her to an area hospital, The Asbury Park Press reported.

No other details, including her condition, have been released, The Associated Press reported.

Rugrats return: Nickelodeon green lights series, movie

Nickelodeon is bringing a part of our childhood back to the small, and big, screen.

The children’s television network has given the green light to bring back Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica, better known as “Rugrats,” E! News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Nickelodeon announced it will be producing 26 new episodes and a live action movie that will incorporate CGI characters, Variety reported.

No airdate or cast have been announced, but production has begun. The movie is set to be released on Nov. 13, 2020.

“Rugrats” originally aired starting in 1991 and ran for nine seasons over 13 years, E! News reported

It is the latest of a series of reintroductions of classic Nickelodeon shows. “Double Dare” has started new episodes. An “Invader Zim” TV movie is planned. “Blue’s Clues” is set to for reboot and a “Rocko’s Modern Life” movie is scheduled for later this year. 

Boy shot in head with BB gun speaks, eats for first time since incident

A Florida boy has uttered his first words since suffering brain damage from a BB gun shot to the head.

Elijah Hill, 12, continues to improve each day.

“A week and a half ago, my baby was fighting for his life. Just look at him now,” said Ashantae Hill.

Monday, the 12-year-old ate on his own for the first time since he was shot by another child July 2 in a Brunswick neighborhood.

>> Read more trending news 

“In the beginning, my baby was just completely lifeless,” Hill said.

Hill said she was told there wasn’t much hope for her son.

“The bullet entered through his left temple and it traveled through his brain and it’s now sitting in the back of his right side of his skull,” she said.

But just days later, this little guy fought back.

“Today was my first time I heard my baby speak in almost two weeks,” Hill said.

Now breathing on his own, talking, and eating, Hill calls her child's recovery a miracle.

“I’m so grateful today to have my son with me alive and breathing, and he’s getting better by the day, better by the day,” she said.

If you would like to help the family with Elijah’s medical costs, click HERE

Photos: Prince Louis christened

Prince Louis' christening portraits revealed: Kate Middleton, royal family stun in new photos

Update 8:08 a.m. EDT July 17: The British royal family has released an additional photo from the christening of Prince Louis, the youngest son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hope that everyone enjoys this lovely photograph of Prince Louis as much as they do,” Kensington Palace tweeted Monday.

>> See the photo here

Matt Porteous, who took the photo, also shared the image on Instagram.

“It was an honour and a privilege to photograph the christening of Prince Louis,” he wrote.

>> See the post here

Original report: The British royal family released four official portraits Sunday from the christening of Prince Louis, the youngest son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

>> PHOTOS: Prince Louis christened

According to Kensington Palace, Matt Holyoak took the new photos last Monday at Clarence House after the 2-month-old prince was christened at Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace.

>> Prince Louis christened: Prince George, Princess Charlotte join royal family at ceremony

In the portraits, Catherine, formerly known as Kate Middleton, beams as she holds the newest royal. Prince William and children Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 3, also smile for the camera in three of the shots.

>> Read more trending news 

Other photos include Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Kate's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton; her brother, James Middleton; her sister, Pippa Middleton, who is pregnant; and Pippa's husband, James Matthews.

>> See the photos here

Man walks nearly 20 miles to get to job after car breaks down, boss gives him his own vehicle

A man in Alabama no longer has to walk where he needs to go. 

Walter Carr was all set to start a new job with Bellhops Moving, but his car broke down. Instead of calling off, or borrowing a set of wheels, he started walking, starting at midnight, to get to the job nearly 20 miles away, WBMA reported.

Pelham police officers saw him walking, offered him a ride and took him to breakfast before taking him to the moving job. 

Carr had been walking for about four hours when police offered him the ride, WIAT reported.

Jennifer Lamey hired Bellhops Moving, and Carr, and posted to Facebook about his dedication. His story made it all the way to the home office and the company’s CEO Luke Marklin.

>> Read more trending news 

Marklin made sure that his employee would not have to walk to work again and gave him the keys to his own car, a 2014 Ford Escape. 

Lamey also started a GoFundMe campaign in the name of Carr. She had hoped to raise $2,000, but in one day, raised more than four times that amount.

Mom accused of having sex with son's 15-year-old friend, giving them weed and alcohol

A Tennessee woman has been charged with statutory rape after police say she had sex with a 15-year-old boy. 

>> Watch the news report here

According to the arrest affidavit, Melissa Lumpkin of Arlington had some of her son's friends over after a football game in 2016.

The victim told police that Lumpkin gave him and three other boys alcohol and marijuana, which she drank and smoked with them, according to police documents.

Court records said Lumpkin was sitting on the couch with the teen when the other boys went out to smoke. While they were alone, he started touching her and the two started kissing. 

>> Read more trending news 

Eventually, the boys returned and Lumpkin stopped kissing the teen, the affidavit said. Later that evening, the teen reportedly began kissing and touching Lumpkin again. The victim said Lumpkin stopped kissing him and went into her bedroom, according to the affidavit.

The arrest affidavit said the victim waited two hours for his friends to fall asleep. He then woke her up, and the two had consensual sex, according to the arrest affidavit.

The boy told some friends the next day what had happened. One of his friends told their father, who informed the victim's family. 

Lumpkin was arrested Thursday.

Read more here.

Costco removes Polish hot dogs from its food court menu, Sam’s Club resurrects the fan favorite

If Costco won’t serve the Polish hot dog at its food court, then Sam’s Club will. 

Costco announced last week that it was pulling the Polish hot dog, or kielbasa, along with other food court favorites from its menu, giving the space to healthier food like acai bowls, The Washington Post reported. Hot dog fans were up in arms over it, even starting a Change.org petition to bring it back. 

>> Read more trending news 

But there is hope for hot dog-loving shoppers: Sam’s Club.

The Costco competitor has listened to the pleas and are offering its quarter pound Polish hot dogs for 99 cents starting July 23, the “Today” show reported.

And you don’t have to have a membership to the club to partake, Us Weekly reported.

A Sam’s Club spokesperson told “Today” that the company added to the menu in response to Costco dropping theirs.

Seagull steals man's wallet, flees to rooftop; here's how volunteers got it back

A man's wallet was stolen by an unlikely thief last week in Massachusetts.

According to The Associated Press, the man was walking down Main Street in Gloucester on Friday when a seagull swiped his wallet, which was sitting on top of a pizza box he was carrying.

>> Read more trending news 

The gull retreated to a nearby rooftop, where volunteers were able to get the man's wallet back from the plumed pickpocket using a bucket truck.

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken shared more details about the incident, complete with photos, on her Facebook page Friday night.

>> See the Facebook post here

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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