The latest local news

Prince’s estate files wrongful death lawsuit against Trinity

WQAD News -

Rock Island, Illinois – The family of music superstar Prince has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Unity Point Health.

The lawsuit, filed in the Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, argues that a doctor and a pharmacist at UnityPoint Health’s Trinity Hospital in Rock Island, Illinois failed to properly investigate and treat Prince’s opioid overdose in 2016.

Back in April of 2016, Prince’s private plane made an emergency landing at the Quad City International Airport.

Emergency responders revived the singer with two shots of Narcan.

The singer died about a week later at his estate after an accidental overdose to the powerful opioid Fentanyl.

“We will have much to say when the time is right,” said attorneys for the Nelson family in a statement to WQAD News 8. “We have client interests to protect at the moment, including our theory of the case.  What happened to Prince is happening to families across America.  Prince’s family wishes, through its investigation, to shed additional light on what happened to Prince.  At the same time further light on the opiate epidemic will hopefully help the fight to save lives.  If Prince’s death helps save lives, then all was not lost.” Last week, investigators on the case said no one will be criminally charged for Princes Death. They said they could not determine who supplied him with the drugs.

WQAD News 8 has reached out to UnityPoint Health for comment.

“UnityPoint Health is unable to provide comment on pending legal matters.” said Brian Boesen, Interm Regional Marketing Director.

Van drives through crowd in Toronto leaving 9 dead , 16 injured; Suspect in custody

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Nine people are dead and 16 are injured after the driver of a van plowed into multiple pedestrians in Toronto, police said.

The driver of a white van collided with multiple pedestrians on a busy street north of downtown Toronto on Monday, leaving numerous people injured along a trail of destruction stretching up to a mile, officials said.

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale confirmed casualties.

The suspected driver was in custody and the van has been located, Toronto Police media representative Gary Long said.

A law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto tells CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate.

Seven patients from the incident were received at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The hospital was unable to provide details on the severity of those injuries.

Stephen Powell, district chief for Toronto Fire, confirmed that there have been multiple casualties. A large presence of Toronto fire, police and EMS personnel are on the scene, Powell said.

The incident happened in the North York area at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, police said. Powell said the suspect covered between a half-mile and a mile in the vehicle.

Authorities have not said publicly if the vehicle collisions were intentional. In recent years, individuals have driven vehicles into crowds of pedestrians in fatal attacks in major cities including Barcelona, New York, London and Nice.

Chelsea Luelo, who works at Capriccio Café, saw the incident and said she thought the driver was hitting people intentionally.

“It looked like he was going straight, halfway through the sidewalk,” Luelo said.

‘Pandemonium broke loose’

Mary Tan shared two photos showing people injured in the incident.

A witness, Raj Irshad, said he saw multiple bodies on the ground.

Irshad works at an Esso gas station about a block from where the van is reported to have driven onto the sidewalk. He said he did not see the initial collision but saw the aftermath. He also saw multiple emergency vehicles in front of his gas station.

One witness told CNN network partner CTV that he was out for a cigarette when he saw the van hit a man walking through the intersection.

“And then, just pandemonium broke loose, just everyone was going crazy,” he said. The vehicle was going 60 to 70 kph, he estimated.

One witness, who was driving at the time, said he at first thought the driver was having a heart attack until he saw the white van speeding and striking people on the sidewalk.

“He’s just hitting people one by one, going down,” the witness said. “It’s a nightmare.”

Bersat Noorai, the manager of Taftan Kebab, said he saw the white van hit the bench in front of his restaurant. He then ran outside and saw two or three people on the ground.

One man, who appeared to be in his early 20s, was losing a lot of blood, and Noorai said he brought him a towel and water and called 911.

‘She’s face down on the concrete’

Another witness, Christian Ali, said he came onto the scene and saw bodies and evidence of the destruction.

He first saw a man unconscious at the side of the road and figured it was a terrible accident after he saw debris from a car.

“Two blocks over, I saw another gentleman unconscious in the middle of the road and a policeman leaning over him holding his neck,” Ali said.

About a block up, he saw a woman who looked like she had died.

“She’s face down on the concrete, a lot of fluid coming out of her head,” Ali said.

“About 20 seconds after that, I came upon a crowd of about 30 people … probably about five people on the ground, bleeding,” he said, adding that pedestrians were performing CPR.

Prime Minister Trudeau: ‘Our hearts go out to anyone affected’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early Monday afternoon that he was just learning about the incident.

“Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours,” he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said there was a tragic incident on Yonge Street.

“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the front-line responders who are working to help those injured,” he said.

Smoke from a controlled burn caused some problems at a Davenport school Monday

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A controlled burn of prairie grasses conducted by Davenport Fire Department on Monday, April 22 ended up causing some problems for students at recess at nearby Adams Elementary School when winds shifted direction, sending heavy smoke over the school's playground.

Numerous complaints of kids with itchy eyes and trouble breathing were reported around 11:30 a.m. According to a release from Davenport Community School District spokeswoman Dawn Saul the children were quickly brought inside and parents were notified of the situation. Children with asthma and other breathing difficulties were particularly affected.

The fire department suspended the controlled burn following the shift in the wind. Medical personnel were sent to the school, but no students were transported for further treatment, although some were sent home for the day.

Adams Elementary is located on N. Division Street.

The controlled burns were being held at Marquette Park, Junge Park, Eastern Avenue Park and Duck Creek Park, according to a post on the City of Davenport's Facebook page.

During controlled burns, the fire department recommends that persons with smoke allergies or asthma keep their windows closed when a burn is being conducted and for several hours afterwards. These persons may also wish to leave their homes if they are able during the burn to avoid smoke exposure.

Bettendorf fire station to double in size by June

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF-- When it's all said and done, the State Street Bettendorf Fire Department will nearly double in size by June 1, 2018.  Leaders at the department say the $1.7M expansion is needed to accommodate their growing community.

Every passing year on the force brings about change. Ask Assistant Fire Chief Steven Knorrek.

"When I first started, we had a drive-thru bay on the side that's closest to City Hall, and that disappeared," remembers Knorrek.

Right now, the change is work on new fire bays and a driveway at the department.

The fire station's not the only place growing, with two major developments in downtown. One is the Bridges lofts right next to the fire station, and then the new Acentra Credit Union that will bring in new people and new jobs according to Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher.

"You'll see a lot of change yet this summer, and then you'll see some other buildings popping up this fall. And by next summer, you're going to see a really transformed downtown," says Gallagher.

A new wave of change downtown and a new fire department to go along with it.

"We're adding on three bays and two of the existing bays are being remodeled," says Knorrek.

More spaces, bigger spaces, to store taller trucks.

"We've purchased a new truck that's going to have a higher ladder, so our taller buildings will have a new truck that's downtown. Most of the buildings being built will be taller buildings," says Gallagher.

The idea is that more people will live and work in the new downtown, so Mayor Gallagher says fire expansion needs to happen sooner than later.

"Trying to stay ahead of the curve, making sure public safety is number one. So we will have that fire station up and running before people occupy the buildings," says Gallagher.

The city is changing and growing towards a more vibrant future.

"Things are really happening in Bettendorf," says Gallagher.

WQAD journalists rake in Associated Press awards at banquet

WQAD News -

EAST PEORIA, Illinois — WQAD News 8 journalists and photographers brought home three first place and two second place awards at the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters awards banquet held on Saturday, April 21.

Reporter Elizabeth Wadas garnered three first place awards, including the overall “best reporter” category. Photojournalist Stephanie Mattan also added two first place awards.

Wadas and Mattan took first place in Best Light Feature for this story about Mississippi River Monsters. They also pulled in another first place in the Best Spot News category for this story about a man who miraculously escaped a fire and even managed to save his beloved saxophone.

Photojournalist Andy McKay got in on the awards action, teaming up with Wadas for second place in the Best Sports Report category for this story about a local man making it big as a Major League groundskeeper for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Finally, former WQAD reporter Jenna Morton and Mattan teamed up for a second place award in the Best Videography category for this story about a neighborhood barbershop in Rock Falls.

Fire breaks out during bed bug fumigation at house near Moline La Rancherita

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois — A fire broke out at a home next to La Rancherita 2 restaurant near the intersection of Ave. of the Cities and 16th St. in Moline on Monday afternoon as it was being fumigated for bed bugs.

The owners were not home but Iowa – Illinois Termite and Pest Control inspectors had been on the premises to exterminate bed bugs, according to Moline Fire Inspector Jerry Spiegel. No one was hurt.

Spiegel said the fire was caused by excessive heat during the fumigation.

Slight smoke and fire damage was visible to the exterior of the home, but Spiegel could not confirm the amount of loss at this time.

The fire was under control by 1:45 p.m. but traffic in the area would be partially blocked until about 2:30 p.m., said Spiegel.

When asked for comment, Iowa – Illinois Termite and Pest Control refused.



Iowa governor defends secrecy surrounding firing of ally

WQAD News -

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday defended the secrecy surrounding her firing of a longtime ally accused of sexual harassment, saying she doesn’t have to release more information while insisting the matter was handled appropriately.

The Republican governor repeated her claims that the allegations against Iowa Finance Authority director David Jamison were credible and that she terminated him swiftly as a result. She said she won’t specify the allegations to protect the confidentiality of the victims who reported misconduct, and that she doesn’t have to give any further reason for the termination because Jamison was an at-will employee.

Reynolds also defended her decision not to recuse herself from the matter despite her longstanding work and political ties to Jamison.

“I have a lot of friends and colleagues that I have worked with over the years. We said we had a zero-tolerance policy and that means that applies to everybody,” Reynolds told reporters.

The governor spoke after her office, responding to open records requests from The Associated Press, said it had no evidence showing why the allegations against Jamison were considered credible and created no records detailing why he was terminated on March 24.

Reynolds and Jamison have known each other for 20 years, dating back to when they were county treasurers and leaders of the Iowa State County Treasurers Association. Days before he was fired, Jamison tried to arrange a meeting with Reynolds to “catch up.” Records released Friday show the two had breakfast in February at a restaurant whose name the governor’s office redacted.

“I certainly feel for David. I know that if I was in his shoes I would want people to give me the benefit of the doubt without judging me unless they had some actual facts of wrongdoing,” said Wayne Clinton, who served on the Story County Board of Supervisors when Jamison was treasurer and said he had done an “outstanding job.”

Clinton said the governor must have felt there was reason to terminate Jamison and that “it might have been a prudent move on her part” given the national #MeToo movement.

In a letter Friday, governor’s office general counsel Colin Smith said that a Reynolds aide received verbal “reports of sexual harassment” during a meeting on March 23. Smith didn’t explain who made the reports or what they entailed. Jamison was terminated in-person the next day by Reynolds’ aides without an investigation. Reynolds announced in a press release that she had ordered the firing after receiving “credible” allegations, which she later said involved multiple employees.

Reynolds last year supported a law change requiring Iowa government agencies to release the “documented reasons and rationale” when union and other public workers are fired or demoted following misconduct investigations. But the governor’s office said that requirement doesn’t apply to Jamison because he was a political appointee who could be fired for any reason.

Reynolds’ response to Jamison’s firing contrasts with her support late last year for Iowa Senate Republicans to release details of a report on workplace culture in the chamber. The report followed the state’s agreement to pay $1.75 million to a former Senate GOP caucus aide who was fired after reporting harassment. Reynolds said last month the Jamison case is different because it involved multiple victims seeking privacy.

Jamison hasn’t responded to messages seeking comment, and his alleged victims haven’t spoken publicly.

Iowa Freedom of Information Council director Randy Evans has criticized the secrecy surrounding Jamison’s firing and called on Reynolds to release more information.

“The governor is kidding herself if she thinks the people of Iowa will let her stick with her staff’s ‘we can’t comment on that’ non-explanation about Jamison,” he recently wrote in a column.

More ups than downs when it comes to our temperatures this week

WQAD News -

Some high clouds from time to time but otherwise another beautiful spring day!  Temperatures are already approaching 70 degrees.  This will make it the second straight day we’ve felt temperatures above the normal high.  And we plan on making it a trifecta.

After seeing the mercury drop around the mid 40s tonight, comes another shot of readings topping around the 70 degree mark.  A fairly weak front will be passing through the area that evening.  However, not much moisture will be available, so just a few broken clouds will be expected.

The passage of this front will produce a minor dip in temperature with lower 60s for highs Wednesday to upper 60s on Thursday.

Another front will track through the area by Thursday night producing our next and only chance for showers for the rest of the week.  They’ll be enough cool air behind it that we’ll likely not get out of the 50s on Friday.

Fortunately,  much warmer air will not be too far behind with 60s, 70s and sunshine just in time for the weekend.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Union supporters march during WIU contract negotiations

WQAD News -

MACOMB, Illinois — A march of support rallied around Western Illinois University union members as they negotiate the terms of their contract with the administration.

A negotiation session started at 2 p.m. Monday, April 23 in Macomb. That’s where faculty, instructors, counselors, advisers, students, and community supporters walked across campus in the “March to Mediation.”

Simultaneously, union members and supporters rallied at the Quad Cities campus. Faculty and students gathered to watch the Macomb March on Facebook live.  They also shared testimonials on video.

In preparation for the march, supporters gathered Sunday evening to make signs pushing for fair contracts. UPI Local 4100 WIU Chapter posted photos of the sign-making process on Facebook.

WIU Professor Jim La Prad described the march as an act of solidarity, saying it “demonstrates our unity as we stand for a mutually beneficial future” for WIU employees, students, members, and the community.

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since December of 2016.  According to Professor La Prad, during the summer of 2017, a contract extension was signed, but no changes were made.

He said union members have been asked to take a permanent salary cut that’s based on an old contract.  In their negotiations they are looking for an equitable pay structure and have tossed around the idea of enacting a merit-based system.  The U.S. Department of Labor describes merit pay as raises based on performance.

Professor La Prad said he didn’t expect an agreement out of Monday’s negotiation, which is the last one scheduled for the year.  But he said more could be scheduled.

As negotiations have been underway, the union has been empowered with authorization to strike; this vote took place Wednesday, April 18.  This doesn’t necessarily mean there would be a strike, but it means the union could file an intent to strike at any time.

After strike authorization was given Union President William Thompson issued the following statement:

“We stand for a mutually beneficial, future: a better future for our students, for our members, for WIU’s employees, and for our community. Our goal with contract negotiations is to move Western Illinois University forward while allowing the institution to retain and attract quality faculty and academic support professionals. Unfortunately, management is not yet on board with this plan, so we decided to have this vote to allow the bargaining team to call a strike if management continues not to listen to our united voice. In the spring of 2016, UPI worked with management and deferred a previously negotiated 3% salary increases leading to a $3.2 million give back to Western from our members. We additionally gave up a 1% raise (worth $470,000 a year). We aren’t asking for the world, but the University can afford to give us a reasonable contract that will allow us to keep and retain the high quality faculty and staff that will provide a better future for all of us and make Western Illinois University, the Right Choice for our students.”

Waffle House murder suspect Travis Reinking now in custody, police say

WQAD News -

Watch Video

CNN) — Travis Reinking, the man accused of killing four people at a Nashville-area Waffle House on Sunday, is now in custody, Metro Nashville police said Monday.

The arrest capped a day-long manhunt for the suspect police say unloaded an assault-style rifle at the restaurant in Antioch early Sunday morning.

The tragedy sparked a cycle of shock, grief and anxiety among residents throughout Nashville.

Nashville public schools started “lock-out” procedures Monday while Reinking was on the loose. Police warned residents to keep their doors locked.

It’s not clear what Reinking did during his roughly 35 hours on the run.

BREAKING: Metro Nashville police says Waffle House suspected shooter Travis Reinking is in custody

— Dave Boucher (@Dave_Boucher1) April 23, 2018

Earlier story: (CNN) — Across Nashville, the mood oscillates from shock to grief to anxiety.

More than a day after a semi-naked gunman shot up a Waffle House and killed four people, 160 law enforcement officers are scrambling to find suspect Travis Reinking.

Nashville public schools are following “lock-out” procedures Monday while the killer is at large. Police say residents should keep their doors locked as authorities scour the woods and other places Reinking may be hiding.

“I think right now, you’re going to be looking in the general wooded area around Antioch, where he could have gotten so far,” CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore said.

“If you keep in mind that he’s still got this main currency — which is going to be a firearm — he can get pretty much whatever he wants.”

That’s the chilling reality facing many residents, including some who’ve spotted police and search dogs looking through their neighborhoods.

“It’s very possible that he’s carjacked somebody, stolen a car, taken somebody,” Moore said. “We won’t know until there are reports of missing items or missing people.”

There have been no credible sightings of Reinking, 29, since Sunday morning, Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.

He said a resident in a neighboring county found an abandoned laptop bag near a truck stop with a handwritten ID tag reading “Travis Reinking.”

But there was no laptop inside, and it’s unclear whether the bag was abandoned there before or after the Waffle House shooting.

Tragedy and heroism

Reinking arrived at the Waffle House in Antioch, part of the metro Nashville area, just before 3:20 a.m. Sunday.

He sat in his pickup truck for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes “just looking at people inside the restaurant,” Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said.

Then, wearing only a green jacket, the killer got out with an “assault-type rifle” and fatally shot two people outside the Waffle House, police said.

He continued his rampage inside the restaurant, killing another two people. His motive remains unclear.

The carnage stopped only because of the heroics of a customer, James Shaw Jr., who monitored the gunman’s moves from afar and jumped into action when he saw an opportunity.

Shaw “saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped. So he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter. At that point, the gunman then fled,” Aaron said.

Shaw denied that he was a hero, saying his actions were “a selfish act” to save himself.

Shaw has started a GoFundMe account to assist victims of the shooting, a GoFundMe spokeswoman told CNN. Within hours, the $15,000 goal had almost been met.

A bizarre escape

Reinking fled the scene of the shooting completely naked, police said. They suspect he went to his apartment, put on a pair of pants and may have escaped into the woods.

“A man believed to be Travis Reinking was last seen in a wood line near Discovery at Mountain View Apts. on Mountain Springs Drive near the Waffle House,” police tweeted. “The man was seen wearing black pants and no shirt.”

A police helicopter and a police dog tried to track the suspect after the shooting, but the dogs lost the scent, police said.

Nashville police said more than 80 officers are now searching for Reinking with the help of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

“He’s murdered four times with no apparent reason and no apparent motive. So we’re very concerned,” Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said.

Police have warned residents to keep their doors locked and “eyes open.”

Sheriff’s deputies 400 miles north of Nashville in Tazewell County, Illinois, where Reinking recently lived, are also on high alert.

What we know about the suspect

Reinking is from Morton, Illinois, and police believe he moved to the Nashville area last fall.

He worked in construction but was fired from a job about three weeks ago, police said. Reinking started with another construction company last Monday, but did not show up for work Tuesday.

The 29-year-old has a history of delusions and run-ins with the law.

In May 2016, Reinking had a delusional episode and told first responders that he believed pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him, according to a police report.

Reinking’s family also told police he had made comments about killing himself.

Last summer, Reinking was arrested by the Secret Service for trespassing near the White House.

Reinking said he wanted to meet with US President Donald Trump and told a Secret Service officer at the northeast entrance that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had a “right to inspect the grounds,” according to a Metropolitan Police Department incident report dated July 7, 2017.

He was charged with unlawful entry, an arrest report states, but the charges were dismissed after he completed community service.

At the FBI’s request, Reinking’s Illinois firearms authorization was revoked, and four weapons — including the AR-15 style rifle used in Sunday’s shooting — were seized.

Authorities in Tazewell County, Illinois, later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, who gave them back to his son, police said.

After Sunday’s shooting, investigators found two of Reinking’s weapons, including one at his apartment. But police say they’re concerned he might have the two others with him.

The lives lost

The four people killed were all under 30 years old.

Two of them were fatally shot outside the restaurant: Waffle House employee Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, of nearby Goodlettsville, and customer Joe R. Perez, 20, of Nashville.

Inside, the gunman killed two more young adults: 23-year-old Akilah Dasilva of Antioch and 21-year-old DeEbony Groves of nearby Gallatin.

Two more shooting victims, 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner and 24-year-old Sharita Henderson, were hospitalized.


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