Eighteen-year-old arrested in bowling ball death of infant

Feb. 9, 1994
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- An 18-year-old man was formally charged Wednesday with the death of an 8-month-old girl, killed when a bowling ball crashed from a highway overpass leading into the Holland Tunnel and bounced into her family's car.

Calvin Settle, of Jersey City, was arrested Tuesday evening and charged in Hudson County Court with the death of the Brooklyn tot, Natalia Rivera, said District Attorney Carmen Messano.

'Based on the investigation so far, we have determined Settle was responsible for the incident,' said the prosecutor. The case, still under investigation, was to be presented to a grand jury 'within a month.'

Settle was ordered held on $150,000 bail, Messano said.

A bowling ball plummeted Sunday evening from the overpass about a mile from the tunnel leading to Manhattan, bounced off a truck and smashed into the Rivera family's 1991 Audi station wagon Sunday evening, striking the girl in the head, Messano said.

Morality in Media, a watchdog group, pointed out the similarity between the death and a recent episode of the controversial MTV cartoon, 'Beavis and Butt-Head.'

Betty Wein, a spokeswoman for the group, said the title characters stole a bowling bowl, loaded it with dynamite and threw it from a building roof.

MTV refuted claims that the girl's death was related to the cartoon, which has been criticized before by groups that claim the characters' antics inspire real violence.

'This is a tragic incident, but it is clearly scapegoating for any individual or group to suggest that a cartoon had anything to do with this horrible, criminal act,' said Caroline Vincent, a spokeswoman for MTV.

Messano said there was nothing in the investigation to indicate a connection between the crime and the cartoon, adding the suspect did not have cable television, although he may have had access to its programming elsewhere.

'It's unlikely he saw it on MTV,' Messano said.

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