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Escaped Quadruple Killer Caught; Is This The Worst Winter to Fly?; "Car Talk" To Become A Reality

Aired February 4, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, is now pleading the Fifth, refusing to turn over the documents subpoenaed by state lawmakers.

Another round of snow set to dump snow and ice from the Plains to the Northeast, over the next day or so. Millions of people will be impacted. Some spots might even get up to a foot of snow. It comes at a bad time for the East Coast, already digging out from a storm that rolled through Monday, leaving slushy roads and forcing thousands of flights cancellations, mostly in New York and Philadelphia areas.

This morning, federal investigates on the scene of a small plane crash in Nashville, Tennessee. Four people on board, believed to be from the same family, were killed. It is not clear at this point what caused that crash. Authorities say the plane was making its second approach to the airport when it went down near YMCA.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden scheduling a closed strategy session with Defense Department official today. The focus: Afghanistan. The Obama administration has been pressing Afghan President Hamid Karzai for months to sign a security agreement that would keep a scaled back U.S. presence there. Today's meeting will reportedly examine how to keep monitoring Pakistan if U.S. troops do not stay in Afghanistan.

I want to show you some pretty incredible video of Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano erupting over the weekend. It's a moderate size explosion Saturday, followed by an enormous blast, leaving a 5 mile cloud of ash, covering 32,000 feet over the Chambo River region. That volcano was about 80 miles southwest the capital city of Ecuador, Quito. Surrounding towns have been evacuated. Imagine being in that area to see that happen.

Those are headlines, guys.


CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy, I tell you, I don't even know how you said the name of that volcano.

BOLDUAN: Yes, a lot of practice.

CUOMO: The volcano's name itself is frightening. All right. A northern Indiana community is breathing a huge sigh of relief. You would not want this guy in your neighborhood on the loose, convicted quadruple murderer, Michael David Elliot. When they gave you three names, you're especially bad.

And this guy brazenly escaped from prison in Michigan. They caught the killer in La Porte, Indiana, ending an intense manhunt. But not before he victimized another person.

George Howell joins from Indiana with all the new developments -- George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Chris, good morning. This is where it all ended, La Porte County, Indiana.

After a high-speed chase, police attempted to make a traffic stop and eventually caught Elliot. He covered a lot of ground in the 24 hours where he escaped crossing through two state lines, stealing two cars in the process, and even kidnapping a woman who managed to get away.


HOWELL (voice-over): A two-state man hunt comes to an end after authorities capture an escaped convict. Authorities spotted Michael David Elliot during a traffic stop in La Porte, Indiana, after he spent 24 hours on the run from a Michigan prison.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: He ran over a couple of stop sticks that some of our sergeants had laid out. So, his tires were going flat. He lost a little bit control of the vehicle. He came up to a T intersection and slide into a snow bank where he wasn't move any further.

HOWELL: It began Sunday night, when prison guards discovered Elliot missing from his cell. It's unclear how he managed to escape. But once outside, he pulled back the fencing of the two security barriers and crawled underneath. His escape then took a dramatic turn when he abducted a woman in Michigan, forcing his way into her car and driving across state lines into Indiana.

OPERATOR: He has a hammer?

CALLER: And a box cutter.

OPERATOR: And a box cutter.

HOWELL: Surveillance footages shows Elliot on the run inside a convenience store paying for gas. While there, his hostage was able to lock herself in a restroom and secretly make this desperate 911 call. Her abductor lurking just outside the door.

CALLER: Yes. Occupied.

Sorry. Taking me longer than what I thought.

OPERATOR: Is that him?


He's knocking on the bathroom door saying, let's go.

HOWELL: Her ploy worked, Elliot left the woman and ditched her jeep just 20 miles in Shipshewana, Indiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say you killed four people, those charges true?


HOWELL: Elliot was serving five life sentences for 1994 conviction for killing four people. Up until now, he was known as a good prisoner.


HOWELL: So after a nearly 200-mile run, Elliot now behind bars here in La Porte County, Indiana. And again, he will stay here facing a range of felony charges from resisting law enforcement to possession of stolen property.

And, Chris and Kate, here's the other thing. Authorities here will be talking to the folks in Michigan about where he will serve that life sentence.

Back to you guys.


BOLDUAN: And how they can avoid this from happening again. That's for sure.

Thank you so much, George.

CUOMO: Can you imagine being her? He's got a hammer and a box cutter. What she didn't know was, I'm sure he didn't tell her, was he killed two men and two women and burned down the house they were in over some kind of drug situation. That was the allegation.

BOLDUAN: And when he was Shipshewana, that's a really -- that's very near where I grew up. Talk about, small, quaint, quiet -- it was like the most -- I would say a very vulnerable community to someone that dangerous.

CUOMO: Place of unlock doors and that kind of stuff.

BOLDUAN: I called my parents up yesterday morning, to make sure they were locking their doors, because they don't do it all the time. So --

CUOMO: Tough people those Bolduans. That's right. You don't miss with the Bolduans. No, you do not.

All right. Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY: another winter day, another winter storm it seems. And I know it also seems that we've been telling you about flight cancellations every day this season. So has it really been the worst season to fly in years? We're taking a closer look.

CUOMO: And how close are we to cars that communicate? Remember Night Rider? Was he really that special? Maybe closer than you think.

It could help prevent crashes. We're going to take a look.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Let's go around the world now starting in Lebanon where state media is reporting a suicide bombing outside Beirut.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom has the details.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fear is on the rise in Lebanon after a suicide bomber boarded a passenger mini bus on Monday and blew himself up, killing himself and wounding several others.

This is the second suicide bombing in Lebanon since Saturday, the fifth one so far this year. It's very worrying evidence that sectarianism is on the rise here as these bombings have targeted predominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon.


It also shows how the violence from Syria's civil war raging next door continues to spill over into Lebanon.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Mohammed, thank you very much.

And in Saudi Arabia, a man who once weighed over 1,300 pounds has lost more than half of that, after the king there ordered emergency treatment for her last summer.

CNN's Leone Lakhani reports.


LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's been dubbed the smiling man, and with reason. Obese Saudi teenager (INAUDIBLE) is under an intense medical weight loss plan and it's paying off. He's lost more than 700 pounds since August. That's when he was hospitalized by ordered of the king himself. He weighed more than 1,300 pounds. He hadn't been able to leave his bed for three years and had to be taken out of his house with a forklift. Now, doctors say his health is steadily improving.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: That is a good sign. He's lost more than 700 pounds since August.

CUOMO: Amazing. Long way to go, though.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. Long way to go.

CUOMO: A long journey. Everybody's got their own, everybody's got their own.

Speaking of that, we've been on a tough journey this winter, haven't we? I mean, it's really -- it's been hard for everybody, but specially for travelers. The season isn't over yet. We're already being told it may have been the worst winter to fly ever. And we're not even done, as I'm saying.

Consider how it all builds up, the delays from all the snow and the ice. And you got the rebookings, the cancellations which seemed more and more random. An astonishing 40,000 of them came in January alone.

So, let's qualify it. How bad has it been? It's about to create the worst kind of record.

CNN's aviation correspondent Rene Marsh has some answers for us.

Renee, quality lid on this morning, by the way, might I say. And what do we know about how bad it's been?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Oh, well, you know, Chris, you know it's bad when you show up to the airport and people who work here ask you, you're back again, because we have really been here so often, because this has been the story, air traffic snarled back to back days. Analysts say they believe this is the worst it's been in recent years.

Just last month alone, 30 million people had canceled flights.


MARSH (voice-over): Yet another winter storm once again proving when snow falls, planes stop flying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We found out that we were -- flight had been canceled until 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

MARSH: In fact, last month was the worst January for flight cancellations in years. According to flight tracking site Flight Aware, a staggering 40,000 U.S. flights were canceled in January. That's four times more than the past two years. Nasty weather is partly to blame, like this storm that buried New York's JFK. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said it's going to be a couple days before the next flight to Toronto, so I just booked myself a bus ticket.

MARSH: And the one that closed Chicago's O'Hare, rounding planes and freezing fuel pumps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last time I saw my luggage was in Chicago when we rechecked it. It was three days ago -- four days ago.

MARSH: More airlines are now pre-canceling flights to avoid flying in bad weather. That would risk planes and passengers getting stuck or snowed in. Federal rules also cause cancellations. Airlines don't want to risk passengers waiting too long on the tarmac.

That could net fines of more than a million dollars. Some analysts also blame the new rule requiring pilots more rest between shifts.

DANIEL BAKER, CEO, FLIGHTAWARE.COM: Everyone is favor in more safety and certainly passengers want their crew to be rested, but there's no question when a pilot can work fewer hours in a week and fewer hours in a day in between flights that there's going to be more delays and cancellations.


MARSH: All right. Well, you know, it's more than just a pain in the you-know-what when your flight is canceled or delayed. Mass Flight which looks at data as far as airlines go, they say that because of all these disruptions, it's cost passengers more than $2.5 billion and the airlines between $75 million and $150 million -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: So painful.

And Chad just came out here and told us some 500 flights have been canceled this morning. And it's only 6:45 here on the East Coast. So, there you have it. Thank you so much, Rene.

Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY: since you can't necessarily communicate with other drivers, maybe your car can speak for you instead. New technology could be coming to keep you safe. Find out why the government could soon require it. We'll have a look.

PEREIRA: And with so many snow days, it starts to get muddled. So, one principal took his announcement to the next level. We'll show it to you. It's our must-see moment coming up. Will you do the fandango?



PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Cars that can talk to each other. Really not that long ago, that would have just sounded like science fiction, right? But the federal government is now pushing from mandate for all new cars to be equipped with special technology that would allow them to communicate certain data that they believe could help prevent facet (ph).

So, we bring in Jim Meigs, the lucky man, editor-in-chief of "Popular Mechanics" magazine. What a gig. First of all, good morning. Let's talk about this. Break it down. How would they actually get these cars? We know the cars right now have so much technology already on board. How would they communicate with one another?

JIM MEIGS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF POPULAR MECHANICS: Basically, there would be like a little radio in your car that would communicate to other cars nearby on the road. So, let's say you're coming around a bend, and all of a sudden, all the cars in front of you out of sight come to a stop. You get an alert that says basically slow down now and you can avoid an accident.

At first, it just might be something that would be an alert to the driver, but eventually, this could be part of a system would actually let cars drive autonomously or you could take your hands off the wheel and the car will drive itself.

PEREIRA: And what's amazing about this, transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, saying yesterday that they think, they believe, they're putting a lot of faith in this, it could prevent 80 percent of crashes, ones that are not related to DUI, obviously. That's pretty astounding.

MEIGS: And that actually is quite incredible, but it won't happen overnight, because you need to have some critical mass of cars. It doesn't have to be all of them, but you need enough cars communicating to each other --

PEREIRA: Sure. You can't just have one or two.

MEIGS: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: So, what do you think of it? I mean, it's kind of like, as a gear head yourself --


BOLDUAN: What do you think of this idea? Do you think that it's a good idea or does it take away the beauty of driving a car, kind of take it out at the driver's hand?

MEIGS: That's a question that all car lovers are asking right now. And, the answer is a little bit of both. If it becomes a heavy-handed system that steps in and takes control of the car from you all the time, obviously, nobody wants that.

CUOMO: It's an easy line to cross. I was in this buddy's Mercedes and he has this device that tells you when the car in front of you is getting too close and it makes the steering wheel vibrate.

MEIGS: Right.

CUOMO: And if you go onto the line of the dividing thing --


CUOMO: It makes a different sound.


CUOMO: It was kind of annoying.

MEIGS: When you get used to that, actually, that can be a real -- that can be a good feature. A lot of people like those features and different kinds of --

CUOMO: But then do you start relying on it and stop using your head?

MEIGS: This is a question you have with autopilot in airplanes. You know, anytime you bring in a new technology, it might make things safer, but also, it might open the door to other new issues that we need to focus on.

PEREIRA: So, usability, safety, obviously a big concern, as you can predict, is privacy.

MEIGS: Here's the question. Who's going to own this data? You know, if the cars are just talking to each other, speed, location, this is a good thing, and we'll definitely make car safer. But if you're connected to a broader system, if it's stored maybe --

CUOMO: What's the fear? Play out the anxiety.


MEIGS: You go a little too fast and all of a sudden, you get a ticket in the mail. There's a record of everywhere you've driven for the last two years somewhere in some file. Now, they're saying this won't happen, but I think, you know, after all the NSA scandal, certainly a proper mechanics, we cover this privacy question all the time. People are suspicious. They don't completely trust any authority to not to use that data or misuse that data.


PEREIRA: Yes. How far out we're looking, 10 years?

MEIGS: They're saying they want to get the rules written by the end of the Obama administration. That's not aggressive at all. In fact, the car makers have been asking for guidance on this. They're ready to go.

CUOMO: They already have it, though, a little bit. I mean, you already have some --


MEIGS: There's two different kinds of systems. One is based in the car using cell phone technology and radar and other things. This would be a new communications -- actually, they've set aside some bandwidth for this special type of communication. But it would probably integrate with those other systems and become a kind of whole --

PEREIRA: I want to come -- I want to switch jobs with you or spend a day in your life and we'll go test it out together. How about that?

MEIGS: You got it.

PEREIRA: Jim Meigs from "Popular Mechanics," thanks so much for walking us through some of this. V to V and what it's called.

Time now for our "Must-See Moment." After a season full of bad weather, Kentucky principal found a way to get a little creative with an unusually dull announcement.


(SINGING) School is canceled. School is canceled because it's cold. So, everyone grab a snuggie and watch TV or maybe read.

PEREIRA (voice-over): Grab a snuggie and watch TV or maybe read. That is Stevens Elementary School (ph) principal, James Del Widely (ph) says after almost ten closings or delays, he was trying to put a bit of an inspiring twist.

CUOMO (voice-over): A play on what song?


CUOMO: Well done. Well done.

PEREIRA: He got some help from one of the drama teachers for the call and they hit the high note.


BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to say. Applause for the high note. I think we should give him the slow clap on that one, right?

PEREIRA: I love it.



CUOMO (on-camera): I like that one. I like that he had on the hockey jersey too. The other guy --

BOLDUAN: You didn't see they also had snuggies that they're --

CUOMO: Where were those teachers when I was in grade school?


CUOMO: I had nuns who had a little bit of that --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, the desperate search for a Virginia police captain who disappeared last week. Could two persons of interest hold the key to the mystery? We'll take you through it.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a fisherman says he was lost at sea for more than a year turning up on a remote island 5,000 miles from where he began. But is this castaway telling the truth?



CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, February 4th, seven o'clock in the east. And we're starting with a news blast for you, the most news you can get anywhere. Come on, let's go.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Did I authorize it? Did I know about it? Did I approve it? Unequivocally, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are facing not one, not two, but three storms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a hammer and a box cutter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say he filled (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say they found nearly 50 envelopes of what they believe to be heroin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In their minds, I have to be guilty because I was her boyfriend.


CUOMO: We start with this, stocks overseas taking a beating. Japan got another four percent -- 14 percent for this year already. Markets in China also a mess, this, as Wall Street gets back to work after Monday's 326-point slide. We're going to tell you what the sell-off could mean for you in just a few minutes.

BOLDUAN: New this morning, federal prosecutors turning up the heat on Chris Christie. New Jersey's U.S. attorney, a job once held by Christie himself, has slapped the governor's office with a subpoena, all while the embattled Christie was telling a radio audience he had nothing to do with a Bridgegate scandal.


CHRISTIE: Did I know anything about the plan to close these lanes, did I authorize it, did I know about it, did I approve it, did I have any knowledge of it beforehand? And the answer is still the same. It's unequivocally no.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Unequivocally no. And according to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Christie's popularity is taking a big hit. Back in November, 24 percent of Republicans backed the New Jersey governor to be the GOP nominee in 2016. That number has plunged to 10 percent. And two months ago, when Americans were asked their choice for president in 2016, Christie had a two point lead over Hillary Clinton. Now, Clinton leads Christie by 16 points.

PEREIRA: Afghanistan's president has reportedly been in secret peace discussions with the Taliban. "The New York Times" reports Hamid Karzai made the move without involvement of the U.S., although, the talks haven't produced much, they would strain Karzai's relationship with President Obama already frayed over Karzai's refusal to sign a security pack, allowing American troops to remain in Afghanistan at the end of the year.

CUOMO: There are new developments and a shocker out of California. An educator accused of sexual abuse by a former student in a YouTube video is now under arrest. And the emotional video posted last month. Twenty-eight-year-old Jamie Carillo confronted the woman she says began abusing her when she was only 12 years old.


Andrea Cardosa now faces 16 felony counts of sexual abuse involving two alleged victims. Cardosa could face life in prison.

BOLDUAN: Also this morning, federal investigators are on the scene of a small plane crash in Nashville, Tennessee. Four people on board believe to be in the same family all were killed. It's still not cleared what caused the crash. Authorities say the plane was making its second approach to the airport when it went down near YMCA.