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Hurricane Wilma Fallout in Florida; Murder Missed at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans?; Mother of California Murder Suspect Arrested

Aired October 27, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Welcome. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, a story we had all hoped we had seen the last of, once again, after a storm, the survival of the fittest.


ZAHN (voice-over): Fallout in Florida -- four days after Wilma, two very different views.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Today is going to be better. Tomorrow is going to be better than today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is ridiculous. I feel like I'm in a Third World country.

ZAHN: Out of gas. Out of medicine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is human life. This is human life.

ZAHN: And running out of hope.

Fast and fatal. Amazing video captures the danger.

KATHY HILL, DEER COLLISION VICTIM: That deer came through our windshield like a missile.

ZAHN: Thousands of accidents every day, hundreds of deaths caused by deer -- what you should know to protect your family.

And a CNN investigation, the mystery at Memorial Hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was horrific to see it. I don't think I will ever get it out of my head.

ZAHN: If these detectives say they discovered a murder victim, why do New Orleans cops say they never heard of it?


ZAHN: And let's get started in Southern Florida tonight, because some of its vulnerable citizens -- citizens are getting desperate at this hour.

They have been without power for days and are relying totally on government or private charity handouts of ice, water and food. We are seeing reports of some progress. While nine of the 11 distribution sites in the Miami-Dade area ran out of supplies yesterday, only one so far today.

But the need remains overwhelming, because there's still no electricity in much of South Florida. The hurricane knocked out electricity to roughly six million people on Monday. As of today, about four million still don't have it back. The lack of electricity is keeping most gas stations closed, which means there are still horrific lines, as you can see here, at the few gas stations that are open. Utility companies are now making gas stations and grocery stores a priority.

President Bush came to Florida today. While visiting with relief volunteers at a Pompano Beach church, he said federal, state and local workers are doing the best they can.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Things don't happen instantly. But things are happening. Right here on this site, people are getting fed. Soon, more and more houses will have their electricity back on and life will get back to normal.


ZAHN: And getting electricity back is the key to everything in South Florida right now. But it could be a long, hard wait, as much as four weeks for some people.

And, for seniors, getting help during that wait is a matter of life and death.

Here's Rusty Dornin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't fight, everybody.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Struggling to get their hands on a precious 7-pound bag of ice -- might as well be gold.

For many of the nearly 20,000 seniors living in Century Village retirement community, it's not to keep what little food they have left from spoiling. Ice here can literally save a life, like Carl Cantor's (ph) diabetic wife.

(on camera): It's critical for you to have ice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife's insulin has to be kept cold. And it's very, very important to have ice.

DORNIN: And you haven't had ice for a couple of days. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No ice, no water, no food.

DORNIN (voice-over): For many here, no power means no refrigeration, no cooking, and no communication with the outside world.

The Red Cross food truck arrived at noon, long lines for some who had barely eaten since Hurricane Wilma hit three days ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bread and water with jelly.

DORNIN (on camera): That's it. Now you have got a lunch finally here.


DORNIN (voice-over): Two hours later, the food was gone. But, for many of the seniors who are housebound, if someone didn't knock on their door, they had no way of knowing the food was there.

(on camera): There are people in your building that can't get down here to get food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. Well, Evelyn (ph) really shouldn't come. She's 95.

DORNIN (voice-over): We went with Joan Jaffey (ph) to deliver a meal to her 99-year-old friend, Sabina Raschkopf (ph). It isn't much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All's we got, by the way, were beans -- beans and a roll.

DORNIN: Every building here was hard-hit by the hurricane, roofs blown off and air-conditioners ripped out. And no power means no elevators. So, we walk up three flights of stairs to deliver the meal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And all's I got for you is baked beans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want baked beans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want baked beans? A roll?

DORNIN: But, in situations like this, there is no choice.


DORNIN (on camera): What have you been eating the last few days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of fruit and...

DORNIN: Is it things people brought you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My neighbor brought me bananas.

IRVING SLOSBERG (D), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: As soon as I get some food, I will (INAUDIBLE) Do you need ice?

DORNIN: State Representative Irv Slosberg has promised many things over the last few days and tried to deliver what he could. Today, it was food and ice. Tomorrow, who knows. He says, every day without power becomes more desperate to people here, who are very vulnerable.

SLOSBERG: It's critical if it doesn't come out in a day. It's very -- you could see. I mean, look. Look what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but we're concerned with tarps for our roofs.


DORNIN: For many, retirement in sunny Florida was the dream of a lifetime. Now they just dream of survival.


DORNIN: And that is just one retirement community in Boca Raton. There are five others in that area that that state representative has. And he said he doesn't even know if he can get them food tomorrow.

On a more positive note, of course, the weather is much cooler. And, so, there is not the danger for the seniors being inside with no air-conditioning.

Also, we are here in Miami. You can see a very graphic example of what's going on. We have lights over here on this block. And we go across the street. And there are no lights, no electricity over there.

So, every day, you are going to see things like that going on. But, hopefully, they can get some help for these seniors, because they are very isolated from other neighborhoods -- Paula.

ZAHN: Isolated and frustrated.

Rusty Dornin, thanks so much.

Joining me now is one of the men you just heard from. Irv Slosberg is a Florida legislator whose district includes those elderly residents, some of whom we just met.

Good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us tonight, sir.

SLOSBERG: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: So, as I understand it, the average age of the person living in -- in your community is about 80 years old. We saw in the piece, they aren't necessarily ambulatory. They need some help. And I wanted you to react to something the governor of your state had to say about Florida residents yesterday.

Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: People had ample time to prepare, and it isn't that hard to get 72 hours worth of food and water, just to -- to do the simple things that we asked people to do.


ZAHN: So, what would you say to the governor about the ability of the elderly to prepare for hurricanes in your state?

SLOSBERG: Well, first of all, Paula, I didn't see the president come into my district today.

And, as far as what the governor has to say, we had seven days in advance to know that Wilma was coming here, and we should have had some kind of plan for our senior citizens who are our most vulnerable, and we had no plan, no state plan, no fed plan, no plan. There's no plan.

One of my communities, Century Village in Deerfield Beach, there was no food today.

ZAHN: So, how bad could it get for those folks...

SLOSBERG: Amazing.

ZAHN: ... who are still without power and still without food and, with the exception of the run you made today dropping off ice, without ice as well?

SLOSBERG: I think the governor is living in another country than we're living in South Florida, in Boca Raton, in Deerfield Beach, in Delray.

The seniors are taking a real whipping, and they built this country. The seniors are the ones who built this country. And it's just a shame that we are not prepared to deal with our elderly. Like you were saying, with the elevator buildings, you live in an elevator building, you can't get down. You are on the third or your fourth floor, you have a cane or a walker, how are you going to get down? Someone has to have -- you have to go to each house individually. There was no plan.

ZAHN: Well, the governor would argue that there was a plan, but you certainly can't plan for every single possibility that happened in this storm.

But what would you say at this hour is the most critical need of these folks that you feel are all but forgotten by the system?

SLOSBERG: Oh, we need ice. We need water. We need food. We need a daily plan. What time -- is the food coming or is not the food coming? Is the ice coming? Isn't the ice coming? What time is it coming?

Like I said, our seniors are taking a whipping. And I'm just out there fighting for them.

ZAHN: We could see that in abundance in that piece.

Irv Slosberg, thank you for joining us. Good luck to you.

And survival in South Florida now is a matter of hunting, hunting for just about everything, gas, food, ice, water. And, after searching for hours for some place that has the supplies, then, of course, it's wait, wait, wait in lines for hours. And, everywhere, tempers are wearing thin.

Let's check in with David Mattingly, who joins me now from Miami Beach.

I guess you would consider yourself at somewhat of a hot spot of a location. How badly frayed did tempers get there today?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, let me just describe what happened at this particular gas station today, because all of them are different in the way things play out here.

But, here, the line started forming before dawn. People heard that gasoline was going to be starting to be pumped here around 3:30 this morning. So, there were people, like, at 4:30, 5:00, 6:00 coming out here to stand in line and wait for that gasoline. But that tanker didn't arrive until 11:30 today.

And then the gasoline was pumped all day long. And it was gone by 6:00 tonight. And the gas station behind me is now closed. So, that gives you an idea of what -- how unpredictable it is. Even when gas stations are open and have electricity, they don't always have enough gasoline to serve all the customers that are coming their way -- Paula.

ZAHN: Was there a limit to the amount of gas people could buy?

MATTINGLY: Beg your pardon? Say that again, please.

ZAHN: Were people limited as to the amount of gas they could buy?

MATTINGLY: Again, every gas station is different. And that's adding to some of the frustration that people are going through right now. It's because you can go to one gas station and they will only give you 10 gallons at a time.

This gas station in particular was unlimited, which is probably why they are closed right now. But, again, people don't know what situation they are getting into when they even pull into these lines and wait to get to that gas station.

ZAHN: David Mattingly, thanks for the update. Appreciate it.

We're going to move on to a different kind of story now. Have you ever seen a deer crash into a windshield? Well, if you haven't, you're going to see it here tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)




ZAHN: It's happened to a bunch of us who drive country roads. It's probably happened to you, too, as well, if you are out there in rural America. Coming up, what can all of us do to avoid it?

Also coming up, a mystery from the lawless days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Why don't the police even know where to start?

Plus, a new development in the killing of the wife of famed defense attorney Daniel Horowitz -- we will have the very latest for you when we come back.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

Now I want to tell you about a chilling mystery that began in those hellish days after Katrina hit New Orleans.

Our investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, has been looking into reports of a gruesome murder that New Orleans Police say they can't even find a trace of. But deputies from faraway New Mexico who had come to help keep the peace are convinced the crime happened in one of the city's devastated hospitals.

Here's what Drew Griffin has uncovered so far.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a mystery carried back to the dry desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a mystery of a murder victim that no one in New Orleans seems to know anything about.

But these deputies from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department are convinced, a woman, possibly, they say, a nurse, died a violent death inside this New Orleans hospital, and no one seems to be doing anything about it.

DET. ANTHONY MEDRANO, BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Every day. I think about that every day. Same thing. I have nightmares. It kind of went away. But I think about it every day.

MATTINGLY (on camera): Do you want to know what happened to that person you saw?

MEDRANO: For her family's sake, I would really like to know. MATTINGLY (voice-over): Detective Anthony Medrano, Sergeant Paul Jacobs (ph) and Deputy 1st Class Lawrence Tonna were part of a 40-man contingent rushed from Albuquerque to New Orleans in the hectic and lawless days after Katrina.

Their mission was to help the New Orleans Police. Divided into two tactical teams, when they arrived, they began patrolling the city's Garden District, arresting five looters. When rescue boats came under attack, the Albuquerque deputies began riding shotgun.

The two tactical teams rescued 203 people off of roofs and porches, arrested or removed boats from looters, but it was the mission one team was given on September 5 that has haunted them ever since.

MEDRANO: It was horrific to see. I -- I think about it all the time.

GRIFFIN: They were sent to the flooded New Orleans Memorial Medical Center. The hospital had been evacuated days before. No one should be inside. But spotters found boats, possibly used by looters. The Albuquerque tactical team was to clear them out.

(on camera): The teams arrived by boat -- the hospital still surround by water. They were here prepared to face looters inside. But what they actually found inside that emergency room, they say, was horrifying.

(voice-over): Immediately upon entering, they began seeing the dead.

DEPUTY LAWRENCE TONNA, BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: There was one right in the lobby area. And, as we cleared the first three floors, there was various bodies inside the -- some of the smaller rooms.

GRIFFIN: Bodies left in the evacuation, on beds, on floors, some wrapped in sheets, others just left -- a total, according to the hospital, of 45 corpses, and all of them, again, according to the hospital, patients who did not survive the ordeal or died just before Katrina struck.

But, when the tactical unit got to the emergency room, one body, they say, was not a patient who had been left to die.

MEDRANO: It appeared that her clothing had been ripped off. And it looked like she died violently.

GRIFFIN: It was the body of a young woman in nurse's scrubs. Her skin, decomposing, made it difficult to determine her race, her pants pulled down to her ankles. She was lying face up on an examining table. And her head was in a pool of blood.

MEDRANO: It seemed like she had been shot.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Shot? Not-blunt force from a fall or anything like that? She looked like she had been shot there on that bed?

MEDRANO: To me, that's what it appeared like.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Deputy Lawrence Tonna saw the same woman.

TONNA: On a floor in a pool of blood, obviously died a violent death.

GRIFFIN: According to their boss, Sheriff Darren White, a total of five deputies reported the same scene. And that is where the mystery begins, because the sheriff here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, finds himself and his deputies trying to help solve a murder that the New Orleans Police Department can find no evidence ever happened.

NOPD spokesperson Captain Marlon Defillo would not appear on camera, but told CNN there was no reported homicide at Memorial Medical Center. And, he says, NOPD detectives were inside Memorial on a number of occasions and did not see any homicides. Captain Defillo denied CNN's request to talk with those New Orleans Police detectives whom he says were inside Memorial.

Defillo's account, however, is backed up by the Orleans Parish coroner, who says, while there is a remote chance a murder victim's body has not yet been processed, right now, he has no evidence of a murder at Memorial and thinks the Albuquerque detectives -- quote -- "just got it wrong."

Back in Albuquerque, Sheriff Darren White concedes, his deputies took no photos of the crime scene, but he says he believes his deputies and says he would not be surprised if, in the chaos after Katrina, the New Orleans Police Department somehow missed a murder case.

DARREN WHITE, BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF: As a detective, no matter where you are in this country, you become the voice of the victim. Her family will never know what happened to her. And that's going to play on any -- any good law enforcement officer.

GRIFFIN: He and his deputies are coming forward, he says, not to criticize, but to help solve a mysterious murder they are convinced was committed inside Memorial Hospital.


GRIFFIN: And, Paula, Tenet Healthcare, the owners of Memorial Medical Center, did comment to CNN for this report, saying they couldn't confirm any of it, a spokesman saying that the company knows of no employee deaths or reported rapes, saying this report is unconfirmed and uncorroborated by their facts. In fact, that spokesman says, "We're just not aware of this" -- Paula.

ZAHN: Drew Griffin, thanks so much for the update.

And there is some breaking news to report on a story that we have been following for a week or so now, the murder of the wife of Daniel Horowitz. Tonight, it seems that the mother of the 16-year-old defendant has been arrested on charges of accessory to murder and is now in jail.

In Martinez, California, our Ted Rowlands joins me now.

Ed, I was just reading a small part of the affidavit. I guess what got her into trouble was, she tipped her son off to the presence of police after the murder? Is that what the charge is?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That may have been some of it.

What we do know is, tonight, that Esther Fielding is being held on $500,000 bail. She's being held as an accomplice to murder. What we don't know is the exact thing that brought her into custody. We do know that she was arrested today, about the same time that her son was making his second court appearance.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): With his hair cut short, in court today, 16-year-old Scott Dyleski looked like an average teenage boy. He nodded a few times as the judge read the charges against him, first- degree murder. He did not enter a plea.

Dyleski is accused of killing 52-year-old Pamela Vitale, the wife of lawyer Daniel Horowitz. According to a law enforcement official close to the case, Vitale was found bludgeoned to death, with a cross carved in her back. Court documents indicate that, on the night of the murder, Dyleski was with his girlfriend. A search warrant issued after the murder says Dyleski told friends he was going to her home to have sex with her. The home was searched and the young woman is now being represented by Gloria Allred.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: My client is a potential witness in this case, and I don't think at this time it would be appropriate to say for whom.

ROWLANDS: Those who know Dyleski continue to wonder how he could go from Boy Scout and baseball player to accused murderer.

Mitch House (ph) and Elena Zadadovic (ph) say Dyleski was their baby-sitter as recently as a few weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's broken a lot of hearts. Even people that -- that cared about him, like me, but didn't love him like family or anything, I mean, it broke my heart.

ROWLANDS: They say Dyleski started to change after his older sister, Denika, was killed in this car crash in 2002. They say that's when he started dressing in dark Goth clothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was picked on in school. He wasn't a popular kid. And, when he started to dress up in this black, Goth- like outfits, he was picked on for that as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last time I saw him, I said hello to him. He just sort of looked at me like he was totally vacant. I thought, well, I know he heard me, but he's just staring at me like he's never met me before.

ROWLANDS: Scott Dyleski is being held on $1 million bail. If found guilty of the charges against him, he faces 26 years to life in prison.


ROWLANDS: Scott Dyleski's next court appearance is November 9. We expect that his mother will, most likely, make her first court appearance tomorrow -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, Ted, is there any suggestion at this hour that she herself was involved in the commission of this crime or just that she tipped off her son that perhaps he should go stay at his girlfriend's house because cops were crawling all over their property?

ROWLANDS: There's no indication that she was involved in the murder itself, only that she was an accomplice and that she, most likely, did tip him off to stay at his girlfriend's house. In the affidavit that was filed, she said it was because the roads were blocked off. Obviously, investigators disagreed with that and have charged her with this crime. And she's in jail tonight.

ZAHN: Ted Rowlands with our breaking news out of California tonight.

We will take a short break. We will be right back.


ZAHN: I wanted to warn you now that our next story contains some graphic video.

How many times have you been driving when a deer jumps in front of you from out of nowhere? I know it's happened to me. It happens to a lot of you that are driving in areas, in some cases, overrun by deer. In fact, in a typical year, more people die from collisions with deer -- this is kind of hard to believe -- than in bus crashes, train crashes and airline crashes combined.

And, if you have never been hit, you are about to see what it's like. It is frightening, amazing video.

Here's consumer correspondent Greg Hunter.


GREG HUNTER, CNN CONSUMER CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Running into a deer in a suburban convenience store outside Boston, as this news report shows...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lost doe, affectionately dubbed Bambi, browsed the aisles a few times, bumping over some gum and cereal displays. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTER: ... can be pretty funny.

Getting up close and personal this way is no joke. On highways like this across America, the number of dangerous accidents involving cars and deer has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1.5 million deer-vehicle crashes happened in 2003. Disturbing scenes like this...


HUNTER: ... happen more than 4,000 times a day.

This collision was caught on camera by DriveCam Video Systems. It shows how easily even an alert driver can be caught by surprise. On American roads, crashes between motorists and deer have become more deadly. According to the Insurance Institute, collisions with animals, mostly deer, killed 201 Americans, a 27 percent increase over the year before, and injured more than 13,000. It's estimated, deer crashes cost more than $1 billion in damage.

HILL: In the middle of Topeka, Kansas, the capital of Kansas, the middle of a big city, nobody thought a -- thought a deer would ever be in the road.

HUNTER (on camera): Greg and Kathy Hill, along with their four kids, were on their way home from a soccer tournament in Topeka, Kansas, on Mother's Day 2002. They were traveling in the near lane, 65, 70 miles an hour, when an SUV in the far lane hit a deer, catapulted it over that wall and into their windshield.

HILL: That deer came through our windshield like a missile.

HUNTER (voice-over): Kathy was knocked out and so severely injured, she lost all memory of what happened. But her children filled her in.

HILL: It went straight down the middle of the van and ended up in the very back seat, in between my two -- my two youngest children. And they were covered with glass. They were covered with blood. They were covered with guts of the deer.

HUNTER: Her husband, Greg, was killed by the impact. Another driver who witnessed the crash later told Kathy about her husband's final moments.

HILL: She said, when she approached the driver's side of the van, that he was trying to turn his head backwards to make sure the kids were safe. And then he died.

The accident was May 12, 2002, when it was Mother's Day. So my husband's last Mother's Day gift to me was my children.

HUNTER: This time of year is one of the most dangerous for collisions. November is mating season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; When they are in season, pretty much the males have sex on the brain so they are running any female that's in heat, they'll breed with as many females as they can.

HUNTER: They're chasing them.

And if it's over the road, they don't care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, over the road, four-lane, two- lane. Really makes no difference.

HUNTER: Wildlife expert Ted Bassett has a contract with North Carolina's Wake County to pick up and dispose of dead animals found by the roadside.

(on camera): You work in one county.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One county only.

HUNTER: How many do you pick up?


HUNTER: 30 deer carcasses a day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 30 deer a day.

HUNTER: All hit by cars?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five days a week all hit by cars.

HUNTER: That's dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very dangerous.

HUNTER (voice-over): Bassett also blames the increase of these crashes on the hunting season.

(on camera): What do hunters do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hunters get in the woods and actually force the deer out on to the streets just by being in the woods. And the deer run out in the highways then.

HUNTER: The third factor is suburban sprawl where the new roads, shops and development cut back on the natural living space for the deer, sometimes with very confusing results.

Recently in Indiana, this deer got lost in a shopping mall. In Iowa, this deer entered a restaurant but couldn't figure out how to leave.

And amazingly league, at this metro station in Washington, D.C., a deer walked right down the escalator and straight out on to the platform. (on camera): If you are talking on your cell phone, does your chance of hitting a deer go up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really does. You have to be so careful.

HUNTER (voice-over): Sergeant Scott Keyser of the Maryland Highway Patrol says don't be distracted and pay close attention to the road, especially this time of year.

(on camera): What makes deer so dangerous?

SGT. SCOTT KEYSER, MARYLAND STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: They are so unpredictable. They can spring out at a moment's notice. You may see them. You may not see them. You just have no idea. You have to be ready for anything.

HUNTER (voice-over): Often it's better to actually hit the animal than trying to avoid it with a panic swerve. A highly dangerous maneuver as seen in this police road test.

But it's a common response, say transportation experts with often deadly consequences. As in this crash that killed three people in Utah last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities say the driver swerved to miss the deer, causing a rollover.

KEYSER: Most importantly, stay in your lane. Unfortunately if that means you have to strike the animal, you are less likely to hurt yourself or anybody else by doing that.

HUNTER: There's no consensus on how to deal with the problem of deer crashes. Some have suggested fencing, reflectors, sterilization, special hunting seasons to cull the herds, warning signs, reintroducing natural predators, animal underpasses, many of these solutions can cost millions of dollars. Is it worth the money? Just ask Kathy Hill.

HILL: If somebody wants to ask us if it's worth it, they need to come talk to my children to ask what's missing in their life, what kind of man my husband was. Is it worth it? Absolutely.


ZAHN: So heartbreaking to hear that story. And I mean, I guess what's so staggering is how you add these collisions with deer. There are more of those than what did you say, bus accidents accidents...

HUNTER: 1.5 million times a year collisions.

ZAHN: Amazing. So, what can you do to keep safe?

HUNTER: Right now is the time that deer are in the mating season. October, especially November and the males are chasing the females. So here are my tips. Number one, be careful, especially at dusk and dawn. That's when most deer collisions happen. Number two, don't panic swerve. State police tell us that if you see a deer at the last second just hold on, apply the brakes and don't swerve unless you are absolutely sure you can stay in control.

Number three, slow down. This is a time of year when deer are out. And if you slow down you increase your reaction time and decrease damage and, of course you, you slow down at dusk, dawn and this time of year.

ZAHN: You came armed with some whistles. Now, these are the center of a huge controversy because some people think these are very effective. Others say they are a waste of money. How do these work?

HUNTER: I asked the Maryland state police sergeant Scott Keyser, these things don't work, do they? He said actually our research shows they do work. And the problem is, if you take a tight shot of it, he says, the problem is when you mount these in the front of your car, some mount them when they are pointed down. Some have them pointed up or they get bugs and dirt and debris in there and then they don't work. But he says, according to the state off Maryland, the highway patrol, their research says it works.

ZAHN: Do you have to be going at a certain speed for it to work?

HUNTER: I think at least 30 miles an hour.

ZAHN: Otherwise it's not going to make any noise.

HUNTER: It's really fascinating and very tragic. It's hard to believe that many accidents happen a year. Greg, thank you.

Coming up, we're going to change our focus to that huge political story and the huge political headache for the president tonight: Harriet Miers pulls out. The White House back to square one with a Supreme Court vacancy. So what went wrong?


ZAHN: Right now I want to take you beyond the headlines of one of today's biggest stories. Harriet Miers' nomination to be on the U.S. Supreme Court has been withdrawn. Chief national correspondent John King joins us from Washington with more on the political fallout and whether there is worse to come.

Hi, John. How embarrassing is this for the White House tonight?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a huge defeat for this president not only to have to withdraw a high stakes nomination, but a high stakes nomination that had gone to a close personal friend of his. So, it's a huge embarrassment for the president. And of course it comes at a bad time, a low point of this presidency. He's already struggling in the polls.

Remember, this is about the time we were supposed to be, according to the Bush administration, celebrating the compromise on Social Security, moving on to tax reform. Instead, you have this nomination derailed, the war in Iraq increasingly unpopular and the prospect of that CIA leak grand jury coming to a conclusion that could be more trouble for this president.

And more broadly in the Republican party you have the question, the who's on first question. The president is in trouble right now. Tom DeLay is in trouble right now. Both the party and the president, Paula, in a very tough time right now.

ZAHN: Well, let's come back to the more narrow issue of Harriet Miers' failed nomination. For a normally very disciplined White House, a lot of people were surprised how badly bungled this was. Who is to blame here?

KING: Well, the president is to blame. The president picked Harriet Miers after looking at a list of other judges. And there will be a lot of analyzing of this in the days ahead.

A couple of things stand out. Number one, they listened to the Democrats and some Republicans and said, go outside what Senator Pat Leahy, a Democrat, called the judicial monastery. The president did that. He paid a price for it because his own base going back to Ronald Reagan has wanted to reshape the Supreme Court and they would not accept this nominee. And when the base activists wouldn't accept it, they scared the Senate Republicans and they turned on the president.

That is the biggest failure there. And in trying to fix it from there on out, they made a host of additional mistakes. But the first one was the president decided to try to avoid a fight with the Democrats. And what he got was a fierce fight with fellow Republicans.

ZAHN: Let's move on to what might happen tomorrow, an expectation that some kind of an announcement might be made of the CIA leak investigation. What is the White House getting prepared for here?

KING: The White House is getting prepared, Paula, literally, to have a very different senior staff than it has as we speak tonight. Now, they are hoping that doesn't happen, but they understand that there's the possibility one, two, perhaps even more than two senior administration officials could come under the microscope of the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Karl Rove is one of the investigative targets of this grand jury. The vice president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, is another one. And everyone in the White House will tell you this tonight: They don't know what will happen. There are an enormous number of rumors and speculation flying around town tonight, late tonight, as people talk to their lawyers and go back to their lawyers.

But this is the bottom line at the White House: If anyone on the staff is indicted, they will immediately resign. So we could have a very different look of the senior White House staff this time tomorrow night.

ZAHN: All right, but John, besides the potential house cleaning here, how else will this administration confront the reality, if there is an indictment or two?

KING: Well, the president will come out and say that those people are gone and they'll have a chance to defend themselves in court, and that he is going to move on.

Some see a potential opportunity here. It's tough to look at the silver lining, if you will, but many have said the Harriet Miers debacle and even this leak investigation is a sign of a presidency that has for too long had the same small group of people making all the decisions. If the president needs to shake up the place, some people think a month, two, three down the road could get some benefit, if you will, of what is a very tough time.

ZAHN: John King, back from traveling all over the world, all different kinds of assignments. Frankly, I'm glad to have you back on politic for the night. Appreciate it, John.

Our political unit tells us that since 1900, Harriet Miers is only the eighth Supreme Court nominee who has failed to be confirmed.

Now, here's a list of presidents and the years their nominees failed. Notice a pattern? Well, with the exception of President Hoover, failed nominations seem to come in pairs. President Bush might want to consider that before making another choice, if history repeats itself.

Coming up next, a bus tour like no other. Today, at last, some New Orleans residents get to see their homes or what's left of them for the first time since Katrina's wrath. We'll ride along with them in just a minute.


ZAHN: We return to New Orleans now for another dramatic story. Imagine for two months you simply couldn't go home, to see if anything was left of the life you once knew.

Well, today, we went along, as some people from New Orleans' 9th Ward finally made that painful journey to the neighborhood they hadn't seen since Katrina hit.

Here's Daniel Sieberg.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is for you, it's your opportunity to at least see your area.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Pat Simon and her mother, this is not the homecoming they had in mind. They're among the dozens of lower 9th Ward residents who will soon see their devastated homes, some for the first time.

PAT SIMON, LOWER 9TH WARD RESIDENT: I don't like this. I didn't want to -- I am only here because of my mama. And I know her house is gone. It was over there where the breach was at and everything. So I'm only here because of her.

SIEBERG: As the bus drives up and down streets destroyed by flooding, we also meet Bishop George Albert and his wife, Vernette (ph). Their church is in the lower 9th Ward, as is their house.

GEORGE ALBERT, JR., LOWER 9TH WARD RESIDENT: Yeah, man. I'm over here now, and I'm telling you, man, it's like nothing we've never seen before, man.

SIEBERG: Home after home, unrecognizable. At times, no one says anything.

ALBERT: We've weathered many storms here in New Orleans. And as always, we packed a few clothes to go and come right back. There's nothing to come back to.

SIEBERG (on camera): For a few minutes, people were allowed to get off the bus, but just to see an example of what the houses look like here in the lower 9th Ward to illustrate that nothing could be saved here.

(voice-over): Under the ground rules for this trip, people aren't allowed to get out and inspect their homes. They aren't happy about that restriction, but officials say it's necessary, because the houses are not structurally sound, and because bodies are still being recovered.

SIMON: Wait, wait, wait. Just one minute. This is my house. This is my house.

SIEBERG: Pat strains to make out a few belongings, and reminders of what was once normal life.

SIMON: I got mail in the box.

SIEBERG: She's determined to get whatever remains in her home.

SIMON: I think about it all the time. There is something. I think of what some of my things are made of, the material that it's made of. It survived. And I want to go in there to retrieve it. I wouldn't care if I come out with one item, I want it. It's mine.

SIEBERG: But George manages to persuade the driver to briefly pull over at his home.

ALBERT: It's hard, man. I mean, you know, we invested a lot in our home. Our memories are here. Raised our children here. The wife and I built this home, and to see it devastated like this is just heartbreaking.

SIEBERG: A couple of days before Katrina hit, Vernette (ph) hosted a going-away party for her son. The ribbons remain.

As the tour wind down, George still believes he'll come back.

ALBERT: And as you know the song says, only the strong survive. And we will survive.


ZAHN: Survive, but with a lot of pain. Daniel Sieberg reporting for us.

People on the ground expect the tours to run possibly through the weekend, next weekend and maybe even beyond, and the good news for these folks who have to deal with this harsh reality is that grief counselors will be on hand for all of those painful journeys.

Still ahead, we're going to turn back to the story of the day. Harriet Miers. She is the first woman whose Supreme Court nomination has failed. How do people feel about her defeat? Jeanne Moos went searching for sympathy. Stay with us.


ZAHN: And we're back at just about nine minutes before the top of the hour. Time to check the news about your money. Here's Erica Hill with the HEADLINE NEWS business break.


ZAHN: Appreciate it, Erica. Thanks so much.

And after all the political moves and countermoves, I wondered if anyone out there feels sorry for Harriet Miers. So Jeanne Moos did some asking.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She got machine-gunned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, she did, all right. There's a part of me that feels sorry.


ZAHN: You've been hearing from all the political pundits all day long. Find out what real people are thinking about her defeat tonight, next.


ZAHN: We're back. It's been a really rough day today for Harriet Miers, who withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court. And as our Jeanne Moos points out, the honor of being a presidential nominee ain't what it used to be.


MOOS (voice-over): The president and cartoonists called her a pitbull in size 6 shoes, but the pitbull got eaten alive, insulted on the Web, lampooned on late-night TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for being here on "Jeopardy," Ms. Miers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just don't ask me any legal questions.

BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": At least when Clinton talked about tapping the woman down the hall, he was just having sex with her.

MOOS: But the jabs from the right were what knocked her out.

BAY BUCHANAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: The president has made a terrible, terrible mistake.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: We're talking about the Supreme Court. This is not a reward for, you know, best attendance at office of legal counsel meetings.

MOOS: Her qualifications, or lack thereof, were a lightning rod for ridicule. "I've never been a judge, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

As for the mutual admiration she and the president felt, her own words served as a self-inflicted, kill-two-birds-with-one-quote punch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear diary, George W. Bush is the most brilliant man I've ever met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the most brilliant man I ever met.

MOOS: And though we laughed, it wasn't without a tinge of guilt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel bad for her, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure she's very glad that it's over, because I feel pretty much poor Harriet, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Capitol Hill is, you know, it's contact sport up there. You float the balloon, and sometimes it gets shot at. And I mean, that's one of the whole problems...

MOOS (on camera): She got machine-gunned.


MOOS (voice-over): One minute, it was Harriet Miers dream come true, nominated to the Supreme Court. The next minute, supreme humiliation, with Harriet Miers look-alike contests pitting her against Darren's mom from "Bewitched," comedian Amy Sederas (ph), and even Alice Cooper.

And who among us could withstand a hairstyle retrospective?

But not everyone was saying there but for the grace of God go I. Not Nancy Grace, anyway.

NANCY GRACE, CNN HEADLINE NEWS HOST: No, I don't feel sorry for her. She'll go write a book. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no pity for her, per se.

MOOS (on camera): See, I feel bad for her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he kicks puppies, so you know.

MOOS (voice-over): At least they didn't accuse Harriet Miers of doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She likes puppies, too.

MOOS: WIP, withdraw in peace, said one Web site. It's better to have been nominated and withdrawn than never to have been nominated at all. But Harriet Miers doesn't agree, thinking back to her happy nomination.

HARRIET MIERS, FORMER SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I have a special note this morning for my mom. Thank you for your faith.

MOOS: Let's hope her 91-year-old mom wasn't surfing the net or watching TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn't a choice based on friendship. We're not even that close.


MOOS: Wonder if she'll ever wear that blue suit again without feeling blue.


ZAHN: Jeanne Moos reporting. And here's a bit of irony. Harriet Miers now goes back to her job as White House counsel, and guess what she'll be doing? Helping in the search for a Supreme Court nominee.

Before we let you go tonight, I wanted to come back to some of the breaking news out of Martinez, California. We've been following the case for several weeks now about the young boy accused of murdering the wife of that famous defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. He was arraigned today, but the breaking news tonight is that his mother has now been arrested for being an accessory to the crime. As we understand it, from reading this affidavit we just got a look at for the first time, the mother allegedly told her son about the police presence in the area the night of the slaying, and advised him to spend the night at his girlfriend's house, because the road had already been blocked off.

That is the latest from here. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Appreciate you joining us. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. "LARRY KING" starts right now.


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