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Kokomo Tribune (Newspaper) - March 4, 1994, Kokomo, Indiana Vol 143 No 180 KOKOMO Kokomo nd Friday March SO cents Meeting the cast Tenyearold Kokomo Lady Wildkat fan Valerie Barth has her cast signed by Koko mo center Jessica Rush at Memorial Gym nasium Thursday The state runnerup Lady Kats conducted an autograph session to show appreciation for their devoted fans Rush was a member the Lady Kats which have won two state championship and were runnersup in an amazing threeyear stretch Tribune photo by Anne Farrar Attacker targets Tonya Harding BEAVERTON Ore AP Tonya Harding told police she was assaulted in a city park near the apartment complex where she has been staying with friends Harding suffered scrapes and bruises and a sprained wrist in the attack which occurred about 11 Thursday Police said it was possible she was targeted Harding told investigators she was walking from her pickup truck through McMillan Park to the apartment complex when a man knocked her down from behind police spokesman Mark Hyde said today The man then jumped on her back and a struggle ensued The assailant who didnt say anything fled when Hard ing set oft a personal alarm Hyde said She ran back to her friends apartment Harding where she called police Harding was taken to a hospital where she was treated for bruises on her knees and elbows and a sprained left wrist Hyde said Police searched the park but failed to find the suspect Inside Business Classified Local News of Chrysler hoping to boost production DETROIT AP Chrysler Corp says it wants to expand pro duction by more than onethird and add up to jobs to meet demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Dodge Ram pickup truck and other vehicles If the automaker gets agree ments it wants from labor gov ernments and suppliers it would spend billion to increase annual production to million vehicles worldwide by 1996 Thats the year the current United Auto Workers union contract comes up for renegotiation In 1993 Chrysler built mil lion vehicles Chrysler directors last Septem ber approved spending billion to expand production On Thurs day they decided to raise that amount by million We have to strike while the iron is hot and nowhere is the demand hotter than in Jeep and Dodge Ram pickup truck Chairman Robert Eaton said Thursday after the directors met in Auburn Hills If we dont move ahead now we might miss opportunities for improved sales in North America including exports to Mexico under NAFTA At the same time we could lose the jobs that new sales could Eaton said the plan could add jobs but detailed only new hires including 900 at a Fen ton plant that had been scheduled to shut Jan uary Some of the new jobs were accounted for in the billion spending plan OKd in September Parts of the plan require cooper ation from the United Auto Work ers union local and state govern Transmission plant may shift into a higher gear By DAVE PHILLIPS Tribune staff writer With increased truck sales comes greater demand for auto matic transmissions Nobody knows that better than the workers at Chryslers Kokomo transmission plant They are already working overtime and weekends to meet current demand for Chrysler trucks and sport utility vehicles The pjant will likely see pro duction increases under Chryslers latest plan to boost truck output Trieres no doubt were demanding a lot out of our said Kenny Hill presi dent of United Auto Workers Local 685 which represents hourly employees at the plant The plant has added nearly workers since 1992 to boost output The plant produced million transmissions last year Plant officials are expanding capacity by retooling lines and installing new equipment But officials say there are ho plans to add a third shift on fulltime basis We need the extra shift for maintenance and said Hill The plant supplies fourspeed automatic transmissions for the Jeep Grand Cherokee three speed and fourspeed automatic transmissions for the stillpopu lar Jeep Cherokee and a revised threespeed automatic transmis sion for the Neon subcompact The plant provides two four speed transmissions one lightduty trucks and one for heavyduty trucks for the Dodge Ram The plant will also supply a fivespeed transaxle fora Y10 dieselpowered version of the Dodge Ram ments and suppliers Eaton said Honestly if there hadnt been anything appearing in the press I would have liked agreements with the union before we announced plans to expand pro duction Eaton said Were not asking for anything special We just want the kind of agreements were getting in North Eaton said If those dont come through we wont do It means more jobs I know Frank Massey chairman of UAW Local 7 told the Detroit Free Press in a report today If s looking pretty Local 7 rep resents workers at the Jeffersort North Assembly Plant in where Chrysler plans to add a third shift later this year Man gets 8year sentence Accident claimed Kokomo mans life ByMIKEPALUCK Tribune staff writer A Kokomo man who took full responsibility for a drunken dri ving accident that killed another local man Nov 29 was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday the maximum prison term allowed for a Class C felony con viction Howard Superior Court 3 Judge Randy G Hainlen imposed the sentence on Rufus Dow 45 2105 E Joyce Drive Apartment A after hearing emotional testimony from four members of the victims family and Dow himself Dow was charged with operat ing a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death and four other offenses following the Nov 29 traffic accident at the intersection of Taylor and Washington streets that claimed the life ot Stephen L Gonzales N Webster St Kokomo police have reported that Gonzales was traveling south on Washington Street in his 1993 CMC pickup truck when he turned onto Taylor Street with the green light and his vehicle was struck by a 1986 Ford Taurus dri ven by Dow Police said Dow was westbound on Taylor Street which is a oneway street going east After the initial impact the vehicles collided a second time and came to rest on an abandoned service station lot according to an accident report and court testimo ny Thursday Police reported that Gonzales was partially ejected through the drivers side window of his truck and suffered serious head injuries in the collision The accident occurred about Nov 29 and Gonzales was pronounced dead at Nov 30 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapo lis officials said Dow was treated at Saint Joseph Hospital Health Center for a cut on the forehead A blood sample taken at the hospital and released to police by subpoena revealed that Dow had a bloodalcohol level that was twice the amount to be considered intoxicated in Indi ana officials said Feb 4 Dow pleaded guilty to the Class C felonv charge of OWI resulting in death and a Class A misdemeanor count of possession of a handgun without a permit Hainlen heard testimony from Kokomo police members of Gon zales family and Dow along with arguments from Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ronald C Byal and Deputy Public Defender William C Menges Jr before imposing sentence Byal asked the judge to sentence Dow to nine years in prison eight years for the OWI resulting in death conviction and one year for the handgun conviction with the sentences to run consecutive ly Menges said some prison time was justified in the case and asked Hainlen to impose a pre sumptive fouryear term for the felony conviction with a concur rent sentence for the handgun conviction Hainlen said two unusual cir cumstances separated Dow from other prisoners in the Howard County Criminal Justice He said Number 1 Dow wasa firsttime offender who Number 2 had killed someone Those usually do not go the judge said After considering the testimony and other factors in the Hainlen sentenced Dow to four years in prison for the OWI result ing in death and added four years for aggravating circumstances Those circumstances were DOWS bloodalcohol level at the the accident and the fact that a reduced or suspended sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the offense Hainlen also said that according to reports Dow had a history of using illegal Hainlen suspended Dows dri vers license for six years Please see Page 8 Tragedy crashes into international models life A former city resident By MIKE FLETCHER Tribune staff writer At Feb 20 Melissa Armstrong pulled in front of Le Chic Bakery Co on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach as I she routinely does I The 22yearold international model was loading bakery goods into the rear of a delivering truck I She was working for Joy Wallace iCatering Production Services and was picking up goods at the bak ery Minutes later a man now charged with drunken driving changed her life dramati cally A blue 1993 Toyota dri ven by Ken neth D Mar quis 39 Miami Beach pulled in front of the bakery and struck Armstrong pinning her between the truck ana car Armstrong a former Kokomo resident was rushed to Jackson Hospital in Miami Armstrong Beach Her injuries were so severe that surgeons amputated both legs below the knees She is currently in the intensive care unit in the Ryder Trauma Center at the hospital Marquis the man whose car struck her was arrested by Miami Beach City Police on a felony charge of driving a vehicle while intoxicated causing injury Marquis told police that he was looking for a friend and didnt see Armstrong He admitted to having con sumed a few drinks before the accident according to a police report At the time of the accident her motherAPlorence Armstrong was in Florida on vacation and was able to be at her daughters side Her father Frank Armstrong said it was fortunate that his wife was there to care for their daugh ter Frank and Florence Arm strong live in Kokomo Frank Armstrong a 34year employee of Delco Electronics recently returned from Miami He plans to go back as soon as he can Melissa a 1988 graduate of Kokomo High School moved to Florida in 1992 to pursue her modeling career her father said She has modeled for magazines in Austria France New York Chica go and Miami Beach She also thinking of enrolling at Miami University where ironically she was going to train to be a teacher for the dis abled Recently she had been training to be a head chef in the catering business her father said The womans father said that doctors indicated that Melissa would possibly be able to walk run and do everything she used to within four to six months with the help of artificial legs Friends wanting to send letters or cards to Melissa should send them to her address in Florida 321 Michigan Ave Apartment 2 Miami Beach Fla 331396837 According to her close friend and busings associate Alice Cunis Melissa is still in trauma She hasnt opened her eyes yet but when I saw her last nighf Wednesday she squeezed my she said Everybody was excited because its the most weve seen out of her since She also said that if Melissa still wanted to work in the catering business they would ensure that she has a job If necessary they would redesign the kitchen for her needs She is a very special person and a very hard Cunis said People say anybody can be replaced Thats not true of her Nobody coulA replace
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