Judge delays decision on Alabama abortion law
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law.
Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals. Three of Alabama's five abortion clinics use out-of-town doctors who don't have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Proponents of the law say it is a safety measure to protect the health of women. Opponents say it restricts abortion through unnecessary regulation.
Small plane crashes south of Birmingham
HELENA, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say four people were hurt when a small airplane crashed in metro Birmingham near the Bessemer airport.
The plane went down Thursday afternoon in Helena.
Authorities say the aircraft was making an emergency landing in Bessemer when it crashed near a home.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen tells Al.com (http://bit.ly/1oaLwtT) the plane departed the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City and was bound for the Dickson Municipal Airport in Tennessee.
Helena police Sgt. Chris Rollan says the plane was carrying a family and the passengers were taken to UAB Hospital and Children's of Alabama.
Rollan says two men who were nearby at the time of the crash pulled some passengers from the flaming wreckage.
Details on the passengers' conditions wasn't immediately available.
Ala. women's prison installs surveillance system
WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Department of Corrections officials say a surveillance system featuring more than 300 cameras has been installed at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka.
Department Commissioner Kim Thomas said Thursday that the surveillance system is part of an effort to improve inmate safety at the facility.
The U.S. Department of Justice earlier this year issued a report saying the prison was not suitable for housing female offenders since it offered them little privacy to shower, use the bathroom and had numerous blind spots that could make it possible for sexual activity to go undetected. Several prison guards have been accused of sexual harassment and abuse.
Thomas says the department understands the impact of the system will depend on how it is managed by corrections officials.
Ala. school safety plan won't include armed guards
RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Franklin County schools officials say their safety plan for the upcoming school year will not include armed volunteers.
Superintendent Gary Williams told Al.com Thursday that the safety plan includes training volunteers, teachers and staff to deal with several issues that could arise, but doesn't include training them to handle firearms.
Williams says the training can be completed online and will begin next week.
The training system is expected to cost the school district $4,000 annually.
4 ejected in Lowndes Co. freeway crash
HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) - State department of public safety officials say four people have been ejected from a vehicle in a crash on Interstate 65 in Lowndes County.
Sgt. Steve Jarrett tells WSFA the single-vehicle accident happened Thursday afternoon about 20 miles of Montgomery.
Jarrett says the four injured passengers have been taken to Baptist South Medical Center.
The crash is under investigation.
Amtrak train hits, kills pedestrian in Ala
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A pedestrian is dead after being hit by an Amtrak passenger train near Tuscaloosa.
WBMA-TV reports that the person was struck Thursday afternoon by a train departing Tuscaloosa.
The identity of the victim wasn't immediately available. No one on board the train was hurt.
Amtrak's Crescent line passes through Tuscaloosa daily on northbound and southbound trips linking New Orleans and New York.
Ala man accused in family sex ring pleads guilty
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) - A south Alabama man accused of being part of a family sex ring has pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy.
Dustin Kent entered the plea during a hearing Thursday in Baldwin County.
Prosecutors dropped incest charges against the 38-year-old man as part of a plea agreement.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 23, when Kent could get 20 years in prison.
Authorities began an investigation that resulted in Kent's arrest following the disappearance of his 19-year-old niece Brittney Wood in 2012.
Wood has never been located, and another uncle she was last seen with killed himself.
Wood's relatives and family friends have since been accused of trading their children for sex. Wood's brother is among more than a half-dozen people charged.
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