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Bridge Collapses After Truck Accident; Investor Says Mothers Can't Be Top Traders; Guns, Drugs and Trayvon Martin

Aired May 24, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, does this country's transportation system need to be safer?

Plus, one of America's top investors say babies kill women's careers.

Ahh. Yes, there he is. Those claims add up.

And a teenager faces federal charges over an underage same sex relationship. Was it abuse or intolerance? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, new concerns about the safety of this country's entire transportation system. Tonight investigators are examining a crumbled heap of twisted metal in the Skagit River. It used to be part of a bridge on Interstate-5, which is just north of Seattle.

Last night, as people were driving along, nearly 80,000 cars a day drive on that bridge, a 150-yard chunk of the bridge suddenly collapsed and fell 120 feet into frigid water taking with it cars and people. There were only two cars on that miraculous thing everyone survived.

People say it appears an oversized truck may have struck a steel beam above the roadway that could have triggered part of the bridge, which was with built in 1955 to collapse. Now for years we've been warned that America's infrastructure is falling apart. It's substandard. That it's pathetic for the richest and greatest country in the world to have such a subpar awful system.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates about 151,000 or a full quarter of America's bridges are obsolete or long overdue for replacement. Our Dan Simon is OUTFRONT in Mt. Vernon, Washington, where the bridge collapsed. Dan, what are you learning about the condition of this bridge?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, first of all, during a week filled with so much heartbreak and misery in Oklahoma, the folks in this community are so grateful knowing that, you know, this could have been much, much worse. I'm going to step out of the frame here and look. You can see for yourself what we're talking about.

You can see those vehicles submerged. You have a good shot of the bridge. This bridge was built in 1955. It had been inspected twice this past year. Now as you talked about, Erin, this is prompting an enormous conversation, a big conversation in this country about infrastructure.

I think it's important to point out that authorities say they know the cause. They say an 18-wheeler made contact with this bridge, an upper part of the bridge and that's what caused the bridge to collapse. Of course, the broader point is if you had a newer bridge, something more updated that this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

But I want you to listen now to one of the victims. At the end of the day, we're talking about three people who all survived nonlife threatening injuries. Listen to a man named Dan Sligh who was headed to a camping trip with his wife when he plunged into the water. Take a look.


DAN SLIGH, INJURED IN BRIDGE COLLAPSE: I saw the bridge start to fall at that point. Momentum carried us right over and as you saw the water approaching, there's just one of those, you hold on as tight as you can and just a white flash and cold water.


SIMON: The depth of that water is 15 feet, also very cold. So hypothermia theoretically would have happened very, very quickly, those victims extremely lucky tonight. Erin, they estimate that it will cost the authorities to $15 million to fix this bridge. They say those repairs could take weeks or maybe even months -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to Dan. Of course, a proverbial drop in the bucket when it comes to the cost of fixing all the bridges in this country at risk of collapse. Tonight, we're hearing firsthand accounts of drivers who witnessed that oversized truck hitting part of the bridge.

As Dan said, they believe that is what caused that part to collapse. One witness told Seattle's King Five just a few feet in front of that truck when it actually collided with the bridge.


DALE OGDEN, WITNESSED BRIDGE COLLAPSE (via telephone): I saw the truck strike the corner, upper right corner of the bridge. It almost tipped the truck over. It came back down and almost instantaneously that I saw girders falling in the rear view mirror.


BURNETT: You just imagine. Another person who witnessed the bridge collapse is Jeremiah Thomas. He is also a volunteer firefighter and he's OUTFRONT tonight. Jeremiah, I know that you, you know, you made a split second decision that could have saved your life. You were coming over it 10 minutes before. At the last second, you decided I'm going to take a different bridge, but then you saw this one collapse. What did you see?

JEREMIAH THOMAS, WITNESSED WASHINGTON BRIDGE COLLAPSE: Boy, it is something, you know, I felt a pit in my stomach as I watched the events unfold. You know, I just -- my peripheral vision catches the dust go up and as a firefighter, I've seen that scene so many times and then to see the bridge start to actually cave to it. It was just surreal. It was just unbelievable.

You know, I felt this pit in my stomach thinking I was almost over there and, you know, then the instincts kicked in and, you know, it was to response mode. I whipped a U-turn on the bridge and got over to the scene as quick as possible.

BURNETT: And I know that's exactly -- your first responder, you might have been the first of the first responders that got there last night. The cars that had gone into the water, that fell 120 feet into the frigid water, what did you see at that moment? Were they trapped in the cars? What was happening?

THOMAS: That was certainly a concern of mine. When I was driving over to the bridge, you know, the dike kind of blocks my view of the river of where the scene was. So as I'm driving here, I'm thinking, you know, racing through my head, preparing myself for the scene. I'm not sure if I've got cars over the edge, how many cars I've got in the water and worse yet if there was any victims, you know, that were in the river.

So, you know, I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario and I got here. There were quite a few people coming down trying to provide assistance from the freeway. I started yelling out as many of them as I could in terms of trying to determine if any of them were, you know, emergency workers and such. And they could provide a hand to me.

Quite literally, I was one of the first responders on the scene. So, you know, a few of them informed me they had CPR training. You know, I took advantage of that just in the event we would need it. I got down. There was a Burlington police officer that had traveled up to the top side of the bridge there.

And he yelled down to me when he saw that I was a responder and threw a lifejacket down to me so I that could kind of orchestrate a little bit better if I needed to. You know, from there it was just mostly talking to the people that were, you know, trapped out in their vehicles.

The main concern was that they would get rocking on their vehicle trying to get stabilized or something and that the vehicle would succumb to the currents and such. So, you know, there were factors like hypothermia and losing control of the scene. There were a lot of people coming on. And so there was -- it was definitely a scene that as a volunteer firefighter, you know, I've seen a lot of scenes. This was -- this had to have been ranked up there.

BURNETT: Yes, wow. Jeremiah, thanks very much. I know those people were grateful to you that you made the choice to turn around and went and helped them. You know, these acts of greatness that people perform at these moments.

I want to show you this video that we have just literally received. This is surveillance video of the incident when that bridge in Washington collapsed. I want to draw your attention to the top left of the screen and we're just going to show you. There you see it collapsing in. We'll play it again so you can see it. I think it just brings home at least when we were looking at it the speed with which this happened.

You see all of that smoke and debris and then it just goes under. Again, to emphasize this is -- look at that. When you're going over a bridge next time and you think about that that makes you think again. There are 77,000 cars according to estimate that's I've seen that go over this bridge every single day.

So certainly something of a miracle that there were only a couple of cars and three people all of them survived. What happened last night, a miracle that perhaps gives this country a little bit of pause to think about how we can prevent this from happening again when a quarter of the bridges in this country are at risk of that.

This isn't the first time that we've seen something horrific like this happen. You may remember in 2007 a portion of the I-35 Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, 13 people died. That accident sparked a national re-examination of the country's roads and bridges. Not much happened.

In 1983, three people died when a section of I-95 of the east coast broke away falling 70 feet, two cars and an 18-wheel trailer went with it. Three years earlier, a truck in St. Petersburg, Florida, 35 people died in that accident.

The silver bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio collapsed further when you're looking at the history in 1967. It was carrying more weight than it was designed for, 46 people died. The weight on bridges, is that something that is actually measured at any given moment, we know whether it's being exceed or not?

Still to come, a cop shot in the chest and head and survives, miraculous video. We're going to show it to you later in the program.

Plus, one of America's top investors, one of the richest men in the country, the man known as Robin Hood says mothers cannot be elite traders.

And a teenager faces federal charges over an underage lesbian relationship, intolerance or abuse?

And a story we've been following from the beginning, Amy Copeland's miraculous recovery. Everything about her is miraculous from that flesh eating disease. She came OUTFRONT to show us this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So there I'm bending my wrist backward and closed. Bending my wrist forward and then there is also some different things I can do with the muscle signals to actually change the grip to do a pinch mode or some different finger configurations.



BURNETT: And now tonight's out take, so Paul Tudor Jones is a legendary hedge fund manager. His company Tudor Investment Corporation is the cream of the crop. Look at him. You know, he looks like a self assured guy, right? He is also the founder of something called the Robin Hood Foundation. This foundation takes from the rich and gives to the poor.

Every year Paul Tudor Jones holds huge parties and gives all the money, there is no overhead for managing the foundation to kids in need. He is one of the most well known and revered men in finance in America, but sometimes even Robin Hood's true colors are revealed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will never see as many great women investors. Every single investment idea, every desire to understand what's going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience, which a man will never -- which a man will never share about a motive or connection between that mother and that baby.


BURNETT: So it's over. Why you may ask? You know what? There is a specific reason. According to the expert, Paul Tudor Jones --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as that baby's lips touch that girl's bosom, forget it.


BURNETT: Lips, girl and honestly, sorry, who says bosom? Is it possible this billionaire money manager is foolish enough to think that in a symposium full of girls at his alma mater, University of Virginia, he can say these things without the world hearing them? Obviously, it is possible.

Look, even his bosom buddies flanking him on the symposium panel crossed their arms and sat up extremely straight and look like they wanted to be anywhere else as a calm totally relaxed, legs spread out, large and in charge PTJ double down on how women can't cut it, can't be an elite trader.

You know what? Is it possible that this is a sick joke? The PTJ is just playing us all? Because you know what, we checked. According to his company's most recent SEC filing, Tudor owns shares in Wal- Mart, the parent of Parent's Choice baby formula, Costco, the parent company of Kirkland baby formula, Abbott Labs, the company behind Similac and Elocare and Mead Johnson Nutrition, the company that makes Nutrigen, Enfamil and Enfagrow.

In fact, Paul Tudor Jones invested in 15 of the best 20 selling baby formulas in America. Maybe he's not obsessed with girls tops. Maybe he's obsessed with his own bottom line. More baby formula means more money for Paul Tudor Jones. So, of course, he doesn't want any baby lips on bosoms. As they say on Wall Street, maybe he's just talking his talk.

Dean Obeidallah is a political median with us. As can you see, I tried to make light of this, OK.


BURNETT: What the heck is thinking, because clearly, he thinks it?

OBEIDALLAH: This is unreal. Don Draper once said this stuff.

BURNETT: Don Draper! Wow!

OBEIDALLAH: Paul, if you're watching, the 50s are calling. They want their mentality back. This idea and it's unbelievable because women have made such great strides. There are 20 U.S. senators who are women, the most ever. We have the most female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies ever.

If this mentality says that somehow women are genetically inferior to have certain jobs, which definitely has an impact on the minds of men saying, you know what? Maybe you shouldn't get paid as much as us. Maybe there is a reason there is a gender gap in wage.

You don't believe that a woman could do the same job because of emotions or love of a baby, whatever reason you want to give yourself for why you should not treat women equally or not. This mindset furthers it. That's the problem with it. He's done some really good stuff. It's not like he's a horrible human being.

OBEIDALLAH: Maybe he feels it absolves it.

OBEIDALLAH: He does. He has a model wife. I hope they make a statement on the couch. I don't think that's going to punish. They can shake it out of it. This is really wrong. Women are making great strides. Your comment actually creates the glass ceiling and makes it harder for women to breakthrough that.

There is an article in time today. Female traders have done better often because they're not as emotional. The testosterone of men and the rise of the stock market and let's be honest, I lost money in 2008 in the stock market, I was pretty emotional.


OBEIDALLAH: Stocks go up. I feel good. Stocks go down --

BURNETT: Like we said, even Robin Hood was a legend. Thanks very much. We appreciate it, Dean. OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.

BURNETT: Still to come, a new development in the London terror investigation. Two women arrested in connection with the meat cleaver murder of a British soldier.

Plus, in one state the number of heroin overdoses surged. The controversial plan lawmakers are using to save lives.

And dramatic video of a plane that suffers a technical malfunction in mid air, we sent our shout out to the crew tonight.


BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, heroin, a deadly problem. So while health officials say heroin use is actually going down nationally. In Minnesota, the number of people who have died from overdosing has jumps and dramatically so. So prosecutors there are taking a whole new approach charging drug dealers with murder, third degree murder.

Just as a lot of people in the country are saying that people that do drugs ordeal drugs shouldn't get prison time. In an OUTFRONT investigation, George Howell tells us that families who've lost loved ones to heroin believe the new tactic could save lives.


BECKY SCHEIG, LOST SON TO HEROIN OVERDOSE: I wish we had our son back. I wish it was different. I wish we weren't doing this.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After your son's death, when you learned that he died of a heroin overdose, what went through your mind?

BILL SCHEIG, LOST SON TO HEROIN OVERDOSE: My primary emotion through all of this has been anger. I'm angry that Andrew is dead. I'm angry about the way it happened.

HOWELL (voice-over): The 19-year-old Andrew Sheig, it was just two months ago his mother found him dead in his bedroom. Both parents say they knew Andrew struggled with alcohol and prescription drug abuse and they were vigilant in trying to get him help to stay clean. But then they say Andrew tried heroin.

BECKY SCHEIG: We think you're going to try heroin once or any other of these drugs once. It's like playing Russian roulette. If you're going to party and somebody hands you a gun and says, you know, let's play Russian roulette, would you do it?

HOWELL: And that's the problem.

ANDREW BAKER, HENNEPIN COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: You have absolutely no way of knowing the dose he used yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, is equivalent to the dose you're getting tomorrow. It could be that very next dose that kills you. HOWELL: More and more people seem to be taking that gamble in the twin cities according to Hennepin County medical examiner, Andrew Baker. In that county alone, Baker says four people died of a heroin overdose in 2008, but he says that number has been on the rise to 37 dead in 2012 alone.

The solution -- County Attorney Mike Freeman says it means getting tougher on the people selling heroin instead of charging a person for drug dealing. Prosecutors are using a state law allows them to pursue a more serious charge of third degree murder for unintentionally causing another person's death.

MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY: These are the cases in which the dealer clearly knew or should have known that giving the addict that much drug could kill him.

HOWELL (on camera): But knew or should have known, I mean, how hard is that to prove if court?

FREEMAN: But these are not easy cases.

MICHELL GOODWIN, UNIVERSITY OF MINNEAPOLIS LAW PROFESSOR: How do you find the person who provided the drug? How do you prove that it was that person who actually provided the drug? How do you prove that this is the person that said this is how much you should take of the drug? I mean, all of that is very difficult unless you have a dealer or a provider who just confesses.

HOWELL: Law Professor Michell Goodwin says so far six cases have been brought against defendants charging them with third degree murder including the people who allegedly sold heroin to Andrew Scheig. So far the county attorney's office has only had one successful conviction. But Mike Freeman says it's worth it.

FREEMAN: If we can send a message with our third degree charge and conviction that this is something people ought to be very careful about or you could do some real time, we've done part of our job.


HOWELL: So this is the beginning of a new trend in the Minneapolis area to try to curve the problem of heroin overdose and just in the past 18 months we know that six defendants have been charged with third degree murder but four of those suspects charged this year alone. Prosecutors say that most of the defendants end up pleading out of court to try to avoid a trial, but they hope with the tough new penalties will at least make drug dealers think twice -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thanks very much to George Howell. It's startling.

Still to come, we have new photos of Trayvon Martin released today and these are a game changer, possibly, for George Zimmerman. We'll give you a chance to make your decision.

And a teenage girl faces felony charges over a same sex relationship. Is it because she's a lesbian or because the other girl was underage? We have an investigation.

A miraculous story of recovery, Amy Copeland on the mend after life threatening flesh eating disease attacked her body. She's OUTFRONT tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before I couldn't do -- button a button, but now that I can do those things, it's just a step in the right direction.



BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the frontline.

We begin with two women who have now been arrested in connection with the brutal death of a British soldier on the streets of London. They've been released from police custody. Police though are still holding three men in connection with the case, two in the hospital and suspected of the killing. These were the men captured on video, this one with the bloody hands holding the meat cleaver.

The third was arrested on suspicion to conspiracy to murder. The incident classified as a terror attack. And as Seth Jones of Rand tells us terror continues to be alive and well around the globe.

Riots have continued now for a fifth day in Stockholm, Sweden. Police spokesman says gangs set fire to two schools, a police station and 30 cars. Twenty-nine have been arrested. Tensions in the area have been rising following the death of a 69-year-old man earlier this month in an immigrant community. He was shot and killed by police officers who say he was threatening them with a machete and analysts with IHS says there is a risk the riots could spread to other Swedish cities.

And we have dramatic video tonight involving Evan Ebel, you may remember him, the man who died in a shootout with authorities in Texas just days after police say he killed the prison chief in Colorado and he fled to Texas. In the lead-up to the shootout, Montague County Sheriff Department James Boyd pulled Ebel over for a traffic violation. Didn't know who he was. Pulled him over.

We have the video taken now from Boyd's dash cam. We've gone through it frame by frame with the sheriff's department. I want to warn you it's graphic. I want to tell you something you should know before you watch it.

Boyd right now is alive and well. So, now, we'll show it to you. Here's what happens. Boyd approaches Ebel's car. He touches the trunk which is a routine we're told to show -- look at that -- they aren't ambushed.

Boyd is not even able to say a word. You saw Ebel, he fired four shots. You see Boyd there lying on the side of the road. Barely moving.

One bullet hit him in the chest traveling through his vest, his cell phone. The second entered his jacket. A third carved a groove in his head. He had to have a surgery that same day to remove a bullet and bone fragments. He had a titanium plate placed in his skull.

But you know what? He's returning to work this weekend. That is incredible.

Well, it has been 659 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, the three major stock indices posted their weekly loss this month. Investors are concerned the Fed stimulus program might be coming to an end. That stimulus program, of course, has flooded this country with money and enabled interest rates to stay low.

Well, our fourth story OUTFRONT, new images tonight of Trayvon Martin, and these images involve guns and drugs. And yes, they paint a different picture of the teen than the one the Martin family wants you to see.

Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Martin 14 months ago, released the shocking photos and text messages as part of evidence they plan to use to defend Zimmerman when his second- degree murder trial begins next month.

David Mattingly is OUTFRONT with the story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Are these the photographs of a troubled and violent teen? Pictures and text messages from Trayvon Martin's phone, made public by George Zimmerman's defense attorney, suggest the 17-year-old was no stranger to pot, to guns, and to fighting.

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm not sure if it's recreation or whatever, but he is very used to fighting. That he has used drugs in the past, and, again, many 17-year-olds have, but that he has as well.

MATTINGLY: Three months before he encountered George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin sends text messages about a fight, saying his opponent didn't bleed enough, only his nose.

Less than a week before the fatal encounter, Martin texted, "I hid my weed," "It's wrapped," and "I got weed and I get money Friday."

The attorney for Martin's family says the messages, the images, and their implications are irrelevant.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Are they trying to say George Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon Martin because of the way he looked? It's the same stereotypical mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of the car and chase Trayvon Martin. And that's just unacceptable in America.

MATTINGLY: Trayvon Martin was unarmed the night he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. But a week before, he seems to be trying to sell an automatic pistol and apparently turns down an offer of $150.


BURNETT: All right. David, you know, when you look at that, prosecutors have anything to say about the photos of the texts which obviously are designed to create a very different picture than we've seen so far of Trayvon Martin's character.

MATTINGLY: That's right. So far, the prosecutors have been doing all of their talking inside the courtroom. In fact, they wish that the defense would be quiet about all this. In fact, they're going to the judge again asking for another gag order request to be placed.

So right now, that looks like just a defense trying to shoot one over the bow of the prosecution, saying if you go after the character of George Zimmerman in this case, we're going to do the same thing to Trayvon Martin. It's possible that a jury may never see those pictures and they may never see those text messages if the judge decides not to allow them.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. Thank you very much, David Mattingly. Of course, they may not see them but there is not a jury yet, right? They could, you know, they might end up seeing them because they're watching TV.

MATTINGLY: That's right.

And this is central Florida, though. They had to go through the Casey Anthony trial. They found a jury in that case. They'll probably find a jury in this case as well. People who think that even though they have been exposed to it, they can make a good decision.

BURNETT: All right. David Mattingly, thank you very much. You're going to be covering that trial.

And now to an OUTFRONT update on Aimee Copeland. She's the 25- year-old Georgia graduate student whose miraculous recovery we've been following now for a year. Aimee lost both hands, both feet and her left leg after contracting a deadly flesh-eating bacteria last may. She was on the zip line with her friends, had an accident and after that accident doctors gave her a 1 percent chance of survival.

But Aimee has beaten every single odd. I spoke to her earlier this week. And after, well, talking about how great she looked, I asked her how she's doing.


AIMEE COPELAND, FLESH-EATING DISEASE SURVIVOR: Thank you so much. I feel awesome. I'm sitting here at my house with my new bionic hands, which just allow me to do so much more. So I'm feeling more independent and better than ever.

BURNETT: Those hands are amazing. It looks as if you just have gloves on. I mean I know we saw you getting the hands when you were using them on Friday. You were doing all kinds of things, cutting fruit, vegetables, picking up really small things.

I mean, how do those hands work?

COPELAND: Well, it's very crazy. I don't really know the in- depth details. But there are two electrodes on my foreman, one on top and one on bottom. And what I'm basically doing is bending my wrist forward and bending my wrist back or what, you know, I feel is my wrist.

And this gives signals to the hands to open, so there I'm bending my wrist backward and close, bending my wrist forward, and then there is also some different things I can do with the muscle signals to actually change the grip to do a pinch mode or some different finger configurations.

BURNETT: Some people might think, well, you got a prosthetic hand, it's going to look like a prosthetic. Like I said, it just looks like you have a gray glove on. I mean, they're perfect.

COPELAND: Absolutely. Yes. The technology today, especially with Touch Bionics, i-Limb, I mean it's the most realistic looking hand out there. And it's pretty much the exact same size that my hand was before.

So, it really feels very life like to me. It almost feels like an extension of my own arm rather than like a tool or a prosthesis, like some of the other styles do.


I know that you -- you talked about, you know, once saying you love to cook. You know, clean. You want to do all those things. I know you're still getting used to them.

But do you feel like you're going to be able to do all of those things, like you would have been able to do before?

COPELAND: Absolutely. I feel like things are going to be so much easier now. I mean I sprayed the spray bottles. I've used the broom.

So I know it's just a matter of time before I can do everything else. The one thing that is kind of standing in my way at this point, of course, is that I'm still in the wheelchair and I'm still waiting for that left leg. But there is not a doubt in mind once I get to that left leg, I'm going to be up and moving and being able to do everything just as I was before.

BURNETT: And what about that leg? I know you've talked about, you know, your frustration. You want to be out and about and out of that wheelchair. Do you think that that's going to has been? That you're going to be successful at getting that? I know the company that made your hands doesn't also make legs, but the leg that you want.

COPELAND: The leg that I want is made by a company out of Germany called Otto Bock. It is the C-Leg. It is sort of frustrating for me right now because health insurance is taking a very long time. Now, they don't cover the leg because it's over my yearly allowance. However, I'm going through an appeal process. And if that does work out at minimum, it takes about 90 days.

So, you know, even if it does happen, I'm going to have to wait a very long time. I'm doing everything in my power right now to try to push that forward, to try to get moving as quickly as possible.

BURNETT: And, Aimee, the thing that amazes me now talking to you, you just have joy and enthusiasm. And so many people wouldn't be able to. How you are dealing now with the roller coaster of emotions?

COPELAND: You know, things are really calming down quite a bit. I think every step that I make towards becoming more functional such as the hands is just a step away from some of the frustration, from say not being able to do certain things like before I couldn't do -- button a button or zip a zipper. Now that I can do those things, it's a step in the right direction.

So, those frustrations become less and less frequent. I'm just able to embrace so many more things that I love doing. That is just helping tremendously. I'm just so thankful for all the support that I've gotten so that I've been able to accomplish so much this far.

BURNETT: And how do you focus on that, on the things you love doing, on the good things? I mean, I know there are times, obviously, it's got to be hard to do that. But how do you do it?

COPELAND: Well, I think it is focusing on the little things, you know? And not getting swept away by the small stuff that seems to be huge at the time.

So when something goes wrong, you know, you just have to kind of have to let it roll off your back and then really embrace those small victories every day to make it balance out. If you focus too much on the negatives and you don't focus on the positive things, that you're just going to get overwhelmed.

I think it's really important to stay in tune with things that are going really well in your life and just be grateful for that, because although I've had quite a few drawbacks in my life, I still think I -- my life is full of blessing. And, you know, you see people every day that remind you of that. And just to be grateful because, you know, just -- I'm glad for what I have.

BURNETT: Well, I think so many people are grateful just to hear you and thank you for sharing that and for sharing a little bit of yourself with us, Aimee. It's wonderful to talk to you again. COPELAND: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me and for giving me the opportunity to get the great hands, because without you, Erin, I would not have them.

BURNETT: Well, that is wonderful. I can not tell you how amazing we all felt that we were able to just be a little tiny small part of it. So thank you, Aimee, for letting us be a part of it.

COPELAND: Thank you.

BURNETT: And just an amazing, amazing person there, inspiring to watch her.

Still to come, a teenager is facing federal charges over a same- sex relationship. Was it really abuse or is it because she is a lesbian?

Plus, imagine you were on a flight and you looked out the window and you saw this.


BURNETT: Tonight's shout-out is pilots forced to make an emergency landing at London's Heathrow Airport. A British Airway's plane bound for Oslo had to turn back because of a technical fault. As you can see, there is smoke coming out of one of the plane's engines, pouring out of one of its engines. The plane did land safely. And of the 75 passengers and five crew members, only three were treated for minor injuries. Just look at that engine. It was like that in the air.

All right. I want to check with Wolf Blitzer now, who is in for Anderson on "A.C. 360."

Hey, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much. For days now, we've been seeing the terror in Oklahoma. Tonight, you're going to hear the first terrifying moments as people realized a monster was upon them.


911 DISPATCHER: We'll get them out there as soon as we can.


911 DISPATCHER: We'll get them out there as soon as we can. Thank you.

Moore, 911.


BLITZER: We're going to have a bunch more of the frantic 911 calls ahead on "360." Also, an alleged crime that makes you stop and think twice, to make sure you heard it correctly. Get this. An Army sergeant at Ft. Hood in Texas is under investigation in connection with a prostitution ring. And here's what's even more shocking. That sergeant's job, he worked in sexual abuse prevention and counseling. Drew Griffin has that story for us.

It's all ahead on "360" -- Erin.

BURNETT: Amazing.

All right. Wolf, thank you very much. See you in a few minutes.

And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: a teen facing felony charges for an underage same sex relationship. Here's the question, is it abuse or intolerance?

And that is the debate that is growing tonight after 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt rejected a plea deal for having a relationship with a 14- year-old female classmate. Florida sheriffs say the fact this case involves a same-sex relationship had nothing to do with the felony charges but not everyone agrees.

Sara Ganim investigates OUTFRONT.


SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities in Indian River, Florida, say this is a sexual predator.

KAITLYN HUNT, 18-YEAR-OLD: I'm scared of losing my life, the rest of my life, not being able to go to college and be around kids and my sisters and my family.

GANIM: Instead of trying out this month for a college cheer team, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt is defending herself against charges she sexually assaulted a child. Except that child is Hunt's high school classmate, a friend who also played on the varsity basketball team, the problem is that hunt is a senior. The younger girl, a freshman, age, 14.

KELLEY HUNT SMITH, KAITLYN HUNT'S MOTHER: To hold someone accountable for a felony, for having a relationship with a peer seems outrageous to me.

GANIM: It's not just the law that seems outrageous to the family but the punishment. Kaitlyn Hunt is facing 15 years in jail and a lifetime labeled as a sexual predator.

She turned down a plea that would have offered house arrest and probation because it would mean two child abuse felonies on her record.

KELLEY HUNT SMITH: The decision like that is like the lesser of two evils, you know? Her life has been destroyed already.

GANIM: But the parents of the younger girl say Hunt knew the relationship was not appropriate.

LAURIE SMITH; ALLEGED VICTIM'S MOTHER: We had actually told Miss Hunt that this was wrong.

GANIM: Court documents show police believe based on a Facebook message, quote, "She knows she's 18 and there can be consequences for their relationship."

JIM SMITH, ALLEGED VICTIM'S FATHER: We had no alternative but to turn to the law. And use it as basically a last resort.

GANIM: The sheriff on this small town near Vero Beach says this is not about anyone's sexual orientation. This is the law. In Florida, a 14-year-old can't consent to sex.

Imagine the pressure a freshman might feel being approached by an older classmate.

SHERIFF DERYL LOAR, INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, FLORIDA: We have had cases in the past where we have had same-sex similar circumstances, albeit some of the evidence may not have been as intriguing, I guess. We've also obviously had 18-year-old males with relationship with 14- year-old females.

GANIM: Police recorded a phone call where both girls admit to the relationship. Hunt is not the first high school senior to find out that sex with a freshman is in some places illegal.

But her family believes the younger girl's parents wouldn't be upset if Kaitlyn was a boy.

KELLEY HUNT SMITH: We would not be here if the parents were not bigoted. To take it criminally I feel like they're using the age law to pursue their agenda.

GANIM: A claim the other family rejects.

JIM SMITH: It didn't come from us because that's not how we feel.

GANIM: When Hunt goes to trial in June, she'll have the backing of the ACLU. The state attorney Bruce Colton told CNN, quote, "I do think it's a shame that this case couldn't be settled in some other way."

(on camera): Hunt's lawyer says they never asked for this case to be completely dropped. What they wanted was a lesser charge, a misdemeanor that could some day be wiped off of her record, so she wouldn't have to spend the rest of her life explaining this mistake -- Erin.


BURNETT: Thanks very much to you, Sara.

And OUTFRONT tonight, Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "Dr. Crew on Call," our legal analyst Paul Callan and radio show host Stephanie Miller, who also happens to be gay.

All right. Thanks to all of you for taking the time.

Dr. Drew, let me start with you.

You know, officials say, look, these laws are meant to protect children from being molested, from being influenced by older adults. Now, Kaitlyn says this relationship was consensual, it was herself, cheerleader, a younger girl, basketball team.

What do you think, could this have been consensual or do you buy the pressure argument?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Well, Erin, you missed the point. Someone that age cannot render consent. They're not of an age where they can actually consent to any relationship with anybody.

BURNETT: Legally.

PINSKY: Well, and, by the way, neurobiologists and psychologists all tend to agree that 16 is sort of a cut-off below which kids are really affected adversely by sexual relationships. It doesn't matter, same sex or otherwise.

And I think a lot of people are aware that many of the states have protections for the younger kids, for kids under 18, regardless of the age of the other child. I've seen many young males under the age of 18 prosecuted for sex with kids 14, 15, 16, who may be within a year on two of their age group depending what state this is. The problem is they are forever then labeled as a pedophile.

BURNETT: Right. Which of course, Paul, makes it more complicated. Now, I understand everything Dr. Drew's saying. But we all were young once, too, and I was fully aware that there were generally in that case, it was older boys dating younger girls who were 14 or 15, the boys were 16 or 17 and there were sexual relations. Nothing ever happened.


BURNETT: I mean, in terms of legally, nothing ever happened.

CALLAN: Very true. You probably could drive drunk in those years as well. I mean, there were a lot of --


BURNETT: No, no, look, I'm not defending it. I'm just saying it does happen all the time.

CALLAN: But the laws have changed radically and we're much more protective of children. The law says hey, 14 is too young, OK. We have to pick an age. It could be 14, it could be 12, it could be 11.

Most states say 14 is too young to have sex with a kid. And the defendant in this case is 18. That's the age of adulthood. Now, I know they're saying this is a homophobic prosecution but what are we going to say, doesn't count if it's same sex? It does count. The law is the law.

Now, the prosecutor here maybe could have brought it as a misdemeanor instead of a felony. He had discretion. We like our prosecutors to be sensible.

But we're not going to have a special set of rules just because this happens to be gay sex as opposed to heterosexual sex.

BURNETT: Stephanie, what's your take on what Paul and Dr. Drew are saying?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Erin, I don't see how any normal person, this isn't ludicrous. When I was 14 and a freshman in high school I had a 17-year-old boyfriend who was a senior. The thought that my parents would have had him arrested when he turned 18 I think is ludicrous to most people.

PINSKY: They didn't have to wait to 18, guys. They didn't have to wait until 18.


PINSKY: They could have done it at 17 in many states. Happens all the time.

MILLER: As Erin mentioned, I turned out to be gay, so if an older person always influences a younger person, I guess he didn't turn me straight.

CALLAN: Can I ask you this question? At what age should a child be protected? 12? 11? When do you think it should be criminalized to have sex --


PINSKY: By the way, the developmental specialists agree, 16.

MILLER: -- consensual relationships when we're in our teen.

PINSKY: You can't consent under 16.

MILLER: She has to go through life as a sex offender?

CALLAN: I'm asking a simple question. Where's the line? What age? Eleven, would it be OK at age 11?

PINSKY: Who determines it?

CALLAN: The voters in Florida say it's 14. OK? Fourteen.

BURNETT: Now, let Stephanie answer.

CALLAN: Go ahead, Stephanie. MILLER: OK. If you're saying this is sexual battery, what are we defining as sex, between two girls in a consenting relationship?

CALLAN: Is there a special rule for gay sex, you're saying? I'm not clear on what you're saying.

BURNETT: I think the point --

MILLER: I'm saying this was a consensual relationship between two girls in high school that developed a relationship. You cannot tell me homophobia is not part of this.

CALLAN: Well, if she had been 12, would it be a crime?

BURNETT: Hold on, what about the point Stephanie is making? I understand the point both you and Dr. Drew are making but what about that point, Dr. Drew. The homophobia plays a part. While we may think it's inappropriate for kids that age that have sex, a lot of them do, but not all --


PINSKY: Listen, the parents put a stop to this relationship. Why don't they leave the poor older girl alone? They already put a stop to it, they made their point, don't make her a pedophile. That's what I'm saying.

The fact that they're continuing to go after the 18-year-old does make you suspect there is some homophobia involved here. They stopped the relationship. That was allegedly their goal. OK, fine. Let it be done at that.

CALLAN: You know, I have seen the latest offer from the prosecutor. He's offering now a child abuse count with essentially community service, no jail, and the possibility that this could be expunged at some point in her future. So, he's dropped down the charges considerably.

And I think she rejected it. She's facing 15 years on this count. Very, very serious count.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we're going to hit pause on this, but we're going to keep talking about this as a serious issue. And we're going to bring our three guests back. And we want you to weigh in with what you think.

We'll take a break, but up next, we'll share why today is such a special day.


BURNETT: Tonight, I honor my friend Mark Haines. Mark died two years ago today and only recently have I been able to laugh instead of cry at some of the things Mark would do. April 19th was Mark's birthday and our regular show didn't air due to breaking news, manhunt in Boston. Now, I intended to celebrate only his birthday now and not his death day. But Mark gets celebrated every day in how we do our jobs, how we delight in the insane and crazy things in life, too.

Today being the Friday of Memorial Day weekend makes me think of the things Mark would have done this weekend. He would have lamented how absolutely terrible his Mets are, he might have gone to Philadelphia to watch the men's final four lacrosse playoffs since he loved lacrosse. And he would have spent every minute with his beloved family.

Here's to Mark, who remains a life in my life that I will celebrate no matter what the technical day.

"A.C. 360" with Wolf Blitzer starts now.