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March 6, 2008 at 6:00 AM
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Lawyer: Accident result of texting

ALTON, Mo., March 6 (UPI) -- A Missouri lawyer who hit three mailboxes with his pickup truck says he was not drunk -- he was texting.

Edward Unsell, 56, of Alton received misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and obstructing a police officer after hitting the three mailboxes and some shrubs while driving, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Unsell admitted to drinking beer earlier in the evening, but maintained he was not driving drunk.

"There was no way I was drunk," he said. "They won't find a person who will say I was intoxicated."

Rather, Unsell said the incident was the result of his attempt to send a text message to his wife while behind the wheel.

"I took my eyes off the road," he said.

He said he left the scene because his nose was bleeding and he feared police would take him to the hospital and tow his truck. Unsell phoned police after returning home, but refused to meet with a deputy because he felt he needed to lie down, he said.

Thief fails to nab ATM with stolen loader

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla., March 6 (UPI) -- A would-be thief in Florida failed in his attempt to steal a cash-dispensing machine using a stolen front-end loader, authorities said.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said the unknown criminal abandoned the construction equipment outside a Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., Bank of America, where the hard-to-steal ATM is located, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Dani Moschella said no suspects had been arrested and the office was attempting to obtain surveillance video footage of the attempted theft.

5 pounds of pot found at recycling center

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 5 (UPI) -- Police in San Jose, Calif., said workers at a recycling plant found five pounds of marijuana in a trash bag at the facility.

Officer Jermaine Thomas said workers at the GreenTeam recycling center called police Friday morning to report their find, the San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday.

Thomas said the marijuana plants could have come from anywhere in the country. He said it was not clear whether the bag they were found in was meant to contain lawn clippings or other recyclables.

Police said one pound of cannabis can fetch as much as $750.

Principal on leave after kids eat on floor

CAMDEN, N.J., March 5 (UPI) -- Camden, N.J., school officials said a vice principal has been placed on leave after she allegedly made children eat their lunch while sitting on a gym floor.

Kenneth McIntosh, head of the Camden Education Association, said Sumner Elementary School staff were notified Monday that Vice Principal Theresa Brown has been placed on leave, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

Angel Cordero, who helped to organize the parents of the affected students, said a fifth-grade class was forced to eat their lunches on the gymnasium floor for two weeks. He said the move was a punishment after one of the students spilled a water-cooler jug while attempting to move it.

He said the children in the class are all Hispanic.

"These kids are ESL (English as a Second Language) kids who came from other countries. They're humble," Cordero said.

Camden school spokesman Bart Leff said the incident is being investigated.

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