tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
>> see you then. on the broadcast tonight -- disaster zone. the worst flash flooding in years overwhelms more than a dozen states. high water rescues tonight. and out west an exploding wildfire forces evacuations in southern california. a family's plea for a teenaged girl's safe return. and fears about what happened to her brother. tonight, an amber alert spreading across several states and a growing manhunt. black boxes. they help investigators after a plane crash, but did you know they're in nearly every new car on the road? and that's got a lot of people concerned about privacy. and meet the millionaires who just hit one of the biggest jackpots of all time. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. i'm lester holt in tonight for brian. we start with the days and days of torrential rains that have left neighborhoods cut off, cars swept away, and have led to evacuations and some dramatic rescues. it's happening across the nation's midsection and it has left scores of communities awash in misery. as we come on the air tonight, flash flood watches and warnings are posted for more than a dozen states. from kansas to tennessee. to give you a sense of the intensity of the downpours they've been seeing, parts of missouri saw 15 inches of rain in two days. parts of arkansas got 10 inches overnight. so far this weather system has left at least two people dead. we begin our coverage in hard-hit nashville and nbc's kerry sanders. kerry, give us a sense of what all that water is doing. >> reporter: well, good evening, lester. more than 200 people here in tennessee were rescued by boat. the power of those flash floods is evident right here. this is the foundation of what
was a one-story office building. those flash floods picked it up and deposited it over here in a parking lot. rain was predicted, but nashville residents didn't expect to wake up to this. eight inches of rain on already saturated ground sent water rushing down city streets and highways, forcing some to shut down completely. it began before dawn. >> a couple more inches and this area is going to be in trouble again. so hopefully this will slow down. >> reporter: but the water kept rising. >> i got up and looked out the bedroom window and i said, oh, my god. >> reporter: making it especially difficult for emergency crews to reach people who managed to escape their homes, only to become stranded. 911 calls began at 4:30 in the morning. at least 35 water rescues were reported. schools opened on schedule, but buses were diverted from flooded areas. by late afternoon, floodwaters
began to recede, revealing the damage. >> all my furniture, everything was just messed up. couches turned over. >> reporter: in missouri, six inches of rain on top of three days of relentless downpours set the stage for flash floods. more than 40 roads remain closed in central missouri. one woman died when her car was swept away and a 4-year-old boy drowned. even with more rain predicted, residents today began cleaning up. >> you cross your fingers and hope everything will come out okay. hope the insurance covers it and go on and see what we can do. >> reporter: in northern georgia, 10 inches of rain washed out several roads. officials are unsure when they'll all reopen. in southern kansas, hundreds of homes damaged. dozens of campgrounds evacuated. after six inches of rain hit the area. tonight, thousands in central tennessee remain without power, but for some who remember the devastating flood of 2010, this was just too much.
>> i know one thing. i've got to move. i can't stay here. >> reporter: tonight, the red cross has opened shelters here in nashville. officials say it's still too early. they are calculating the extent of the damage. lester? >> all right, kerry, thanks. let's bring in weather channel meteorologist mike seidel now in hard-hit hollister. what are we looking at behind you? >> reporter: we're looking at the turkey creek and a massive flash flood before sunrise this morning because of all that heavy rain. the water came up and over the banks. it came roaring through this mobile home park. the power of the water moved this mobile home the length of a football field. the one behind me, this white one, a family of four inside. it was spun around. they ended up on the roof, but then the mom was knocked off the roof. she woman over to that basketball hoop. she hung on for two hours. the fire department came in and rescued everyone. everybody is okay tonight at the nearby red cross shelter. but we're not done with this weather pattern. more heavy rain. look at this.
a swath from kansas through here in southern missouri. nashville, you could be looking at another 4 to 5 inches of rain. locally heavy amounts. flash flood watches continue. it will be some time next week before we can get some drier air into this area. lester? >> all right. mike seidel for us tonight, thanks. moving west, a big battle going on in southern california tonight against a wildfire that has blown up out of control with an army of firefighters trying to contain what is now a raging inferno. nbc's miguel almaguer is in banning, california, for us tonight. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. i want to give you some perspective of the terrain we're in, what this fire is feeding on. there are acre and acre of bone-dry brush. take a look at this field. see how dry this is? it is the perfect fuel for this fire. it's charred across more than 11,000 acres, and it's growing larger every minute. >> if we can get some air support, anything at all will help. >> reporter: from the air, a moving monster. the so-called silver fire exploding out of control at a, quote, critical rate. >> several structures involved.
>> reporter: in less than 24 hours, this inferno quadrupled in size. 16 square miles up in smoke. >> it hit here very fast. that wind started pushing that fire up over the ridge lines and before they knew it, it was upon the community. >> reporter: this is erratic and aggressive fire behavior, even for seasoned california firefighters. >> i'd like to request five strike teams of crews. >> reporter: at least 15 structures destroyed. >> mandatory evacuations. you need to evacuate immediately. >> reporter: nearly 2,000 people had only minutes to flee the flames. >> i got here and the house was already half burned. >> reporter: dave clark watched his home burn to the ground. >> i knew where a bag of legal documents were so i ran in and grabbed them and ran out. >> reporter: these tinderbox conditions are always dangerous and can be deadly. four firefighters are injured. one neighbor severely burned. for some, there was no time to escape the flames. sheriff's deputies were evacuating locals when the fire
tore through here. they rode out the firestorm and, luckily, survived. a small blaze when it began wednesday, overnight the silver fire became a blow torch. structure after structure devoured during the time when fire typically lays down. >> the wind we got last night was cool, and it even had some moisture in it but it was still 35 miles an hour and continued to push that fire. >> reporter: with an army of nearly 1,000 on the ground and a steady air attack, crews are making progress. but tonight, if the winds return, this fire could be poised to make another dangerous run. wind speeds are expected to gust at around 20 miles an hour tonight. some 500 homes remain threatened. the good news, this blaze is 10% contained. that number rising. lester? >> miguel almaguer in california, thanks. and what began in california with the killing of a woman four days ago has expanded to a manhunt in four states tonight for a murder suspect who is on the run and believed to be
holding a 16-year-old girl. millions have been asked to help if they can, receiving amber alerts on their cell phones. we get our report tonight from nbc's joel fryer. >> reporter: at an emotional vigil just outside of san diego -- >> i love her dearly. >> reporter: friends and relatives of hannah anderson pray for the missing teen's safe return. >> she's a strong girl. i know she's going to come back. >> reporter: the search for 16-year-old hannah, her 8-year-old brother ethan and murder suspect james dimaggio continues to grow, with authorities concerned the suspect may be armed with explosives, they're asking the public not to approach his blue nissan versa if they see it. amber alerts are active in california, oregon, washington and nevada. the children have been missing since their mother's body was found sunday inside dimaggio's home, which was devoured by flames. a second body, possibly ethan's, was also found in the remains. >> the gentleman that was a friend of ours for a long time has taken everything.
>> reporter: the kids' father, brett anderson, spoke directly to his daughter. >> if you have a chance, you take it. you run. you'll be found. >> reporter: like most amber alerts, this one appeared on freeway signs across california. but for the first time in this state, the message appeared another way, by phone. it's part of the new wireless emergency alert system, which sends messages to cell phones where the alert originates. >> when a child is missing, we need to engage the public as the eyes and ears of law enforcement. we need to do it rapidly. >> reporter: but the loud alarm startled many prompting some to turn off the amber alert feature on their phones. >> we really ask them to reconsider because their participation is key to saving lives. >> reporter: so far 656 kids have been saved through amber alerts since they started in 1996. friends and relatives hope hannah's alert will lead to another happy ending. joel fryer, nbc news, san diego. like millions of us, they bought their tickets and crossed their fingers. the difference is, they won.
the people who bought three winning tickets will share the powerball jackpot worth $448 million. one came forward today in minnesota. two more winning tickets were purchased in new jersey. nbc's katy tur is there for us tonight. katy? >> reporter: good evening, lester. at this stop n shop where this winning ticket was sold and up in minnesota, it was one of those mornings where you looked around and said who is not there? if you thought a winner would not show up to work today, well, you'd be wrong. >> whoo! >> reporter: 45-year-old paul white couldn't have said it better. >> i think i had ten people verify the ticket before i left the office. >> reporter: a project engineer from minneapolis, white only learned he was the big winner after his girlfriend called him at work. >> ron this morning was my boss. he started the day my boss. he's going to end the day my chauffeur. >> here's tonight's first number. >> reporter: white is one of three people with the magic numbers in the $448 million
jackpot. that's $149.4 million over 30 years. white chose the $86 million cash payout. but after taxes, that's only about $60 million. but if you want feeling benevolent, $60 million is more than enough to send 265 students to harvard for four years. if white has any love for coffee and sweets, he could franchise 61 dunkin donuts. and he may not be able to buy a whole dream team, but he could still have lebron james. the two other tickets were purchased in new jersey and at this stop & shop where one of the tickets was sold. the unlucky locals were still smarting. >> i woke up to a screaming wife running down the hallway asking to check the tickets. when i told her we didn't buy it here, i had another screaming wife saying, why didn't we buy it here. >> reporter: as for the winner we know of, paul white, his immediate plans? >> i would guess there might be a party or some vacation in there. >> dominican republic. >> i've spent my whole life trying to figure out what it is i want to do when i grow up.
now i get the opportunity to do whatever i want. >> reporter: and if you notice there have been a lot more major jackpots lately. that's because powerball changed its rules in 2012, upping the price of $1 to $2, which means it's spiraled out of control. also, there's been 34 other $1 million winners from this drawing, which means it was very lucky indeed, lester. >> katy tur in new jersey, for us tonight. katy, thanks. black boxes not just in planes but in your car. keeping track of what you do behind the wheel like how fast you're going, and raising concerns about privacy. later, a baby kidnapped from the hospital. then found and returned to his parents only to find out half a century later, he's not their son. tonight, the fbi dives into a mystery.
tested that got the top rating in front end crash tests from the insurance institute for highway safety. half of the dozen cars tested fared poorly, but the other six performed well. we posted the full list tonight on our website. as those tests show, for decades it's been a great deal of attention on making cars safer. but what many drivers don't know is that in most newer model cars today, a small recorder is keeping track of critical data, just in case of an accident. that information is useful to police and insurance companies. but privacy advocates worry about who is allowed access to that readout about what you are doing behind the wheel. we get our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: at 50 miles per hour, a rare view of a crash test with a human behind the wheel. to learn how a car performed or to gather evidence in a real world crash, investigators are increasingly turning to a car's
event data recorder, a black box. >> just got word that the governor's motorcade has been involved in an accident. >> reporter: when former new jersey governor jon corzine was seriously injured in a car crash, the black box helped determine his police driver was going 91 miles per hour and corzine wasn't wearing a seat belt. >> i apologize to the public. you know, i have no excuse. >> reporter: not unlike a commercial plane, the black box is usually buried deep inside the car. usually in the air bag control module where it monitors the car's speed, engine performance, whether the brakes are applied and seat belts buckled. if the air bags deploy, the black box usually captures and records only the last few seconds of data before the crash. >> from a module like this, we'll see a little precrash data. how fast the car was going. the application of the throttle. >> reporter: crash specialist rusty hait travels the country teaching police officers how to use the information. >> accessing data from cars
involved in a crash should be part of every accident investigation. it gives another data element to work with. it gives us something that's objective. >> reporter: public privacy advocates warn there's no national standards on analyzing black box data and no word on who gets to look at the data about how you and i drive. >> so in many states, insurance companies can access this information without your consent. law enforcement can access this information without first obtaining a warrant. >> reporter: but the boxes don't record video or sound, who is driving or even the road they're on. by september 2014, the government hopes every new car will come with a black box. part of a focus on making cars and drivers even safer. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with word of one of this nation's highest honors tonight for oprah.
announcement from the fbi which says it's reopening a kidnapping case from nearly a half a century ago. one that has left a lingering mystery. it involves a stolen baby and a grown-up man who is now left to wonder who he really is. our justice correspondent pete williams is following this story from our washington newsroom. hello, pete. >> reporter: lester, at the center of all of this is a man in nevada who has had some lingering questions about who he really is, and now the fbi is trying to help find out. the trouble starts one april day in 1964. a baby boy, paul fronczak born to a chicago couple is snatched from a hospital by a woman disguised as a nurse. the crime sets off an intense search, national attention, urgent pleas from the parents. then 14 months later, a child is found abandoned in newark, new jersey. investigators conclude it's the missing boy based on the shape of his ears. but when he was 10 years old, the boy discovered a stash of newspaper clippings about the kidnapping and began to wonder, was he really that stolen child?
he recently talked his parents into taking a dna test. result? no match. he was not their child. now age 49, he wants to know who is he. and whatever became of that stolen baby? first the fbi says it could not help because the case files were long lost, but now agents have found those files and are hoping that advancements in forensics and some public attention might provide the answers, lester. >> remarkable story. pete, thanks. margaret pellegrini has died. she was one of the original munchkins who appeared in the "wizard of oz." back in 1939. she played one of the sleepyhead kids who wore a flower pot on her head. later she often spoke at schools reminding kids there are two roads you can take in life, the wrong road and the right road. margaret pellegrini was 89. with her death, only two of the 124 original munchkins are still alive. and karen black has died. she was oscar nominated for her role in "five easy pieces" and had memorable roles in "easy rider" and "nashville."
in a career spanning four decades. karen black passed away after a long battle with cancer. she was 74. it's this country's highest civilian honor. today president obama names 16 distinguished americans recipients of the presidential medal of freedom. among them, bill clinton and oprah winfrey. the late sally ride who was the first american female astronaut in space. the late senator daniel inouye of hawaii. country music legend loretta lynn, ben bradley, former executive editor of the "washington post" and baseball great ernie banks. when we come back here tonight, making a difference. and an extraordinary outpouring after we first told you about the folks helping a lot of young caped crusaders face their fears.
finally tonight, a follow-up to a "making a difference" report we brought you last month on an organization called "heart heroes." it provides capes to kids battling forces beyond their control. they've got heart problems. and lifting their spirits goes a long way. after our story, many viewers responded and nbc's kevin tibbles has an update for us tonight. >> oh, look at that. >> reporter: in spite of three open heart surgeries, nothing is
going to slow 5-year-old crusader cyrus rixie down. not in his shiny new cape. >> he's been through so much. incredibly strong kid. >> he's had three open heart surgeries. >> reporter: these are heady days in the superhero business. >> we're just plugging away trying to get cape requests out the fastest we can. >> this is her signature cape. >> reporter: two mere mortal moms from omaha, nebraska, who each raise kids with congenital heart defects. founded heart heroes four years ago to help other children battle illness with extra special powers. >> we knew that this story would reach a lot of people and that we would get, you know, a lot of requests. but we had no idea. >> look at that little smile. >> reporter: since our story first aired last month, traffic on the heart heroes website soared 12,000%. more cape requests than in all previous years combined. >> it's been crazy, but it's been a good crazy. >> reporter: e-mails like this
one, now arrive daily. my 12-year-old son is scheduled to have open heart surgery. i am terrified. >> it's a hard time. and when that happens, you want to put the request out to anybody that can say a prayer for your child. >> reporter: let's face it. any kid facing the fear and uncertainty of a medical procedure wants to take it on like a boy or girl of steel. >> they feel empowered. and resilient. and invincible in these capes. >> reporter: the home-grown group now holds fund-raisers like this one at tcby, hoping to keep the capes coming for kid like cyrus. >> it's also fun because he likes to wear capes and he's really into superheroes. >> the cape. >> reporter: right here on earth, not a bird or a plane but heart heroes filled with newfound courage. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. and that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt sitting in
tonight for brian. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. good night. good evening. thank you for joining us. i'm raj mathai. i'm janelle wang in for jessica aguirre. a developing story -- a man has been arrested in the shooting death of a 19-year-old san jose state student. she was shot saturday night sitting in a car in san jose. police say they don't know if she was the intended victim for an innocent by stander. nbc bay area's correspondent joins us with more on the investigation. george? >> reporter: detectives just out here on san salvador between 2nd
and 3rd, gathering evidence for their investigation. they made an arrest, 23-year-old johnny lazano. not saying what his involvement is. he was at the scene saturday morning. the victim's family told me 19-year-old kimberly was out with her friend friday night going into saturday morning. they were celebrating their last night together as her friend was going to san diego to go back to school. police say when the car they were in drove up near the intersection of san salvador/2nd when shots were fired. and one of the bullets went into the car and struck chico and she died at the hospital. investigators figured out certain people at the scene. an officer, center/coyote thought he recognized people resembled ones they were looking for. one was a felon. had a loaded gun. they took johnny lazano downtown. while interviewing him they developed enough information to