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Teen who caused fatal crash dies

The teen driver whose two friends were killed in a car crash after she asked a passenger to steer while she fixed her hair has been found dead.

Shannan Thompson, 16, had become increasingly depressed since the September accident on Interstate 95 that killed her boyfriend and another friend, according to her mother, Susan Joyce.

Thompson's body was found Friday at a friend's home. Police also found syringes and drug paraphernalia, but the cause of death was not released pending the results of an autopsy.

Joyce said her daughter did not use drugs but had felt guilty since the crash that police say occurred when Thompson asked 18-year-old Robert Cuskaden to steer while she fixed her hair.

Cuskaden, of Palm Beach Gardens, couldn't control the car, which veered onto a median, came back onto the highway and rolled over, killing him and Julie Baghdadi, another 18-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens.

"That left her with so much guilt that she couldn't live with it," Joyce said.

Electrical workers

endorse Arnold

TALLAHASSEE _ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Arnold won the endorsement of the 30,000-member Florida Electrical Workers Association Saturday.

"Keith Arnold will be a governor that will work for the working families, and he is a proven friend of labor," said Danny Johnson, business manager of the Local Union 824 in Tampa.

The Electrical Workers Association is the largest trades union in the 435,000-member Florida AFL-CIO, and Arnold hopes to win that endorsement too. Arnold, a state representative from Fort Myers, said his union support highlights the viability of his candidacy.

Judge refuses payment

of $42,000 hospital bill

MIAMI _ A judge refused a hospital's motion to recover more than $42,000 in medical expenses from the estate of a woman who was run over by a tombstone delivery truck while visiting her husband's grave.

"There appears to be more hospital charges posted after the decedent's death than while she was alive," Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Philip Bloom said.

The truck hit Linda Cassarino, 68, at Southern Memorial Park cemetery on April 24, 1996. She was taken to Parkway Regional Medical Center, which sued to recover $42,108 for the 30-hour stay before she died.

The judge denied the motion Friday by a hospital attorney to force Cassarino's estate to pay in full.

"The hospital bill consists of 13 pages of single space entries in code which would require a CIA agent trained in cryptography and international intrigue to decipher," Bloom said in a three-page order.

The hospital's attorney, Renee Jordan, did not return a call Monday for comment.

Attorney Sheldon Rosenthal, who had employed Cassarino as a legal secretary, decided to fight the suit. He asserted such actions are typical of today's health care industry.

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