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5-week-old girl chokes to death on hot dog

A 5-week-old girl died after choking on a hot dog given to her by her 2-year-old sister, authorities said.

The death of Cassidy Renee Vega was ruled accidental.

During an autopsy Wednesday, investigators found pieces of hot dog in her airway, said Polk County Medical Examiner Stephen Nelson.

Police said Cassidy's sister fed her the hot dog.

"The mother was home," Haines City police Lt. Morris West said. "I think she went upstairs for a minute."

The parents, Pedro Vega and Crystal Berube, could not be reached for comment.

Couple injured, 3 dogs die when alcohol catches fire

LAKELAND _ A woman cleaning her dog's ears set herself on fire when she tossed a match into a bathtub containing alcohol-soaked cotton swabs.

Aleen McKewen and her husband, Thomas, survived, but both went to the hospital, where they remained Wednesday. Their conditions were not known. Three dogs died, including the collie that was having its ears cleaned.

The fire started when Mrs. McKewen was in the laundry room Tuesday night preparing the collie for a dog show.

She was cleaning the dog's ears with rubbing alcohol and threw the used cotton swabs into a bathtub, said Frank Bass, an investigator with the Lakeland Fire Department.

She used a match to warm a form used to shape the dog's ears and thought she had blown it out when she tossed it in the tub, Bass said.

The match ignited the cotton swabs. When she tried to turn on the water, her clothes and hair caught fire, Bass said. She knocked over the alcohol bottle and the fire spread.

26 people go to hospital after band buses collide

ORLANDO _ A tour bus carrying members of a Wisconsin high school marching band to the Citrus Bowl parade Thursday rear-ended another bus full of band members, sending at least 26 people to the hospital.

The buses were moving at a low speed and none of the injuries were serious, said Sgt. Eric Pedersen of the Orlando Police Department. Several teens complained of neck pain and were carried on stretchers to waiting ambulances. They were later released.

The teens were members of the Marching Wildcats high school band from River Falls, Wis. The uninjured band members performed in the parade as scheduled.

The Amelia Street exit ramp off Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando was closed for more than an hour.

The Citrus Bowl matchup between Arkansas and Michigan is set for today.

Trial in engineer's murder is moved to Jacksonville

ORLANDO _ The trial of a man accused of killing construction engineer Carla Larson has been moved to Jacksonville.

John Huggins would be unable to receive a fair trial in Orange County on charges that he strangled Larson in June 1997, Chief Judge Belvin Perry ruled this week. The trial was scheduled for Jan. 25.

Huggins, 36, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. He also was charged with carjacking, robbery and kidnapping.

Larson, 30, disappeared on a lunch break from her Disney work site, prompting a two-day search. Her nude body was found nearby.

Woman known for holiday lights loses home to fire

JONESVILLE _ Every December for at least 10 years, Shirley Jordan has turned her front yard into a spectacle of 85 electrically lit 3-foot plastic candles, five nativity scenes and hundreds of thousands of little lights.

Tuesday afternoon, her $75,000, 1,300-square-foot brick home was gutted by fire.

Jordan's zeal for holiday displays has earned her a reputation among neighbors and hundreds of gawkers who make the yearly trip to her home near Jonesville, about 10 miles west of Gainesville.

Jordan, 48, insisted Wednesday that her display had nothing to do with the fire. The state fire marshal's office is investigating, Alachua County Fire Rescue spokesman Gregg Martin said.

_ Compiled from Times wires.