Mortgage officials face fraud counts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators on Monday accused three former top executives of collapsed mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. of fraud, saying they misled investors and inflated profits as the company's subprime loan business was failing in 2006.

In a case stemming from the mortgage market meltdown, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit seeking injunctions, and unspecified civil fines and restitution against New Century's former CEO and co-founder Brad Morrice, former chief financial officer Patti Dodge and former controller David Kenneally.

The SEC also wants the three barred from serving as officers or directors of any public company and reimbursement of their bonuses or stock option awards.

Irvine, Calif.-based New Century had been the No. 2 U.S. maker of subprime mortgage loans, extended to borrowers with inferior credit records and the spark that ignited the home-loan bust.

Gas-line blast rocks town, kills trucker

BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — A gas line exploded Monday at a technology plant in northern Illinois, sending aloft debris that killed a man at a nearby highway rest area.

The explosion rocked the NDK America Inc. plant in Belvidere, about 70 miles northwest of Chicago, sending trembles through buildings as far as a mile away and echoing throughout the community of about 20,000 people.

The victim was pronounced dead at the Illinois Tollway Oasis on Interstate 90, Illinois Tollway spokeswoman Joelle McGinnis said. Boone County Coroner Rebecca Wigget identified him as truck driver Ronald Greenfield, 63, of Chesterton, Ind.

Jim Fealtman, a regional sales manager at NDK America's office in Webster, Mass., the company's other U.S. location, said no one at the Belvidere plant was injured in the blast. He had no other information.

Ohio killer to get 1-drug injection

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A condemned killer scheduled to become the first person in the U.S. put to death with a single drug — in an execution that could take longer than previous procedures — arrived Monday at the Ohio death house.

Kenneth Biros, 51, was sentenced to die Tuesday for killing and dismembering a woman he met in a bar in 1991. It would be the first lethal injection under Ohio's switch from using three drugs to a new one-drug execution method.

In the event that method fails, a backup plan allows executioners to inject drugs directly into muscles.

Ohio overhauled its procedure after the failed attempt to execute Romell Broom, a procedure halted by Gov. Ted Strickland in September. Executioners tried for two hours to find a usable vein for injection, hitting bone and muscle in as many as 18 needle sticks that Broom said were very painful.

9-mile chase ends for 13-year-old

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — Police say a 13-year-old girl led state troopers on a nine-mile chase in central Pennsylvania at speeds of more than 100 mph.

Authorities say the pursuit started around 9:30 a.m. Monday when troopers saw a driver weaving in and out of her lane on Interstate 81 in Swatara Township.

Police say the driver wouldn't stop when they tried to pull her over. The pursuit continued onto Interstate 78. Police say the girl finally stopped the 1994 Pontiac Grand Am on an off-ramp near Fredericksburg.

Troopers say the girl was taken into custody and charged with several violations. Her name was not released.