Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

VW executive apologizes but says scandal not his fault (w/video)

WASHINGTON — Volkswagen's top U.S. executive offered deep apologies yet sought to distance himself Thursday from the emissions scandal enveloping the world's largest automaker. He asserted that he and other top corporate officials had no knowledge of the cheating software installed in 11 million diesel cars.

Though he said he hadn't been briefed on the preliminary findings of the ongoing internal investigation, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told a congressional subcommittee that a tiny group of software developers in Germany was responsible for the computer code that enabled the cars to trick U.S. government emissions tests. Three lower-level managers have been suspended.

"To my understanding this was not a corporate decision, this was something individuals did," Horn said, adding that he felt personally deceived.

That explanation left members of the House panel investigating the scheme incredulous.

"I agree it's very hard to believe," Horn conceded.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was among the lawmakers who said he could not accept VW's characterization that "this was the work of a couple of rogue engineers." He added, "This didn't happen in one day."

Collins, an engineer, said it appears that VW executives "are complicit in a massive coverup at the highest levels that continues to this day."

For more than two hours, Horn, the 51-year-old German, sat calmly, occasionally sipping from a cup of water as news photographers' camera shutters clicked away. As the elected officials expressed anger, disappointment and skepticism at the company where he has worked for nearly half his life, Horn apologized but provided little new information.

More than a month after the company first confessed the emissions-rigging to U.S. regulators, Horn said it doesn't yet have a detailed plan for fixing the nearly 500,000 "clean diesel" cars sold in the United States with the suspect software since the 2009 model year. Such a solution will likely take up to two years, he said, adding that each car might require between five and 10 hours' work by a mechanic to meet clean air standards.

The cars are safe to drive, the government says, but Horn suggested Volkswagen could compensate some owners, possibly by paying them for the lost value of their vehicles.

Comments
Pasco sheriff: Man arrested after stabbing driver, kicking officer

Pasco sheriff: Man arrested after stabbing driver, kicking officer

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was arrested Tuesday night after jumping on top of a car, stabbing the driver multiple times and kicking an officer in the face, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Roscoe James, 42, was walking down Morningside...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn’t headed to the Stanley Cup final

The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn’t headed to the Stanley Cup final

TAMPA — Washington is on to Vegas. The Lightning is not. So we asked the Times' Lightning coverage team for the single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn't headed to the Stanley Cup final. Here's their answers:Roger Mooney, staff writer: Th...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

TAMPA — Hours before the puck drops at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talks about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We don’t want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, who...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH — Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is converting its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retiring coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers died in June 2017 afte...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Familiar softball foe upends Land O’Lakes’ state title hopes

Familiar softball foe upends Land O’Lakes’ state title hopes

VERO BEACH — To become the first Pasco County team and just the third from the area to win consecutive state titles, Land O’Lakes knew it had to get past a familiar — and determined — opponent in Thursday’s Class 6A championship game.The Gators faced...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior on-set, at his production company, and during press junkets, according to a report.CNN reports that 16 people have spoken out against Freeman’s alleged misco...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A white supremacist killed her twin. Why did she forgive him?

A white supremacist killed her twin. Why did she forgive him?

As a fifth-grader, Aleesha Mance wrote an essay about her sister’s killer, explaining how peer pressure and drugs led the 17-year-old to make a deadly choice. In high school, she searched for his name online. She read news articles about a tee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

TAMPA — Work is underway to improve pedestrian safety on Bayshore Boulevard, the signature Tampa roadway popular among walkers, joggers and bicyclists where a mother was struck and killed by a car Wednesday while pushing her 21-month-old daughter acr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Three men charged with street racing in Bayshore Boulevard crash are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High School

Three men charged with street racing in Bayshore Boulevard crash are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High School

TAMPA— The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg confirmed Thursday that the three men involved in the Bayshore Boulevard crash that killed an Ohio mother and critically injured her 21-month-old daughter are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High Schoo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

TAMPA — Before Jessica Raubenolt was fatally struck by a speeding black Mustang on Wednesday, the gray skies she had seen all week had turned blue so she decided to take her baby out in the stroller. Her husband David had just completed his flight ce...
Updated: 2 hours ago