At least 9 missing in fiery tunnel crash

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Authorities scrambled Monday to find at least nine drivers who apparently escaped from vehicles trapped in a weekend tunnel inferno that killed three people on a key transportation route.

Thirty-one vehicles were involved in the pileup in the curving tunnel on Interstate 5, but the California Highway Patrol has accounted for only 23 people, including two men and a 6-year-old boy who were killed.

If all of them were at the wheel at the time of the crash, excluding the boy, that leaves nine unaccounted for drivers. The number could be higher if there were passengers in those vehicles.

Bush pushes back on spending bills

ROGERS, Ark. - President Bush admonished Congress on Monday for failing to send him a single spending bill yet, and warned lawmakers to trim their plans or face rejection.

'You're fixin' to see what they call a fiscal showdown in Washington,' Bush told a friendly audience in this northwest Arkansas community.

'The Congress gets to propose, and if it doesn't meet needs as far as I'm concerned, I get to veto,' Bush said. 'That's precisely what I intend to do.'

The budget year began Oct. 1, and federal agencies are operating on a stopgap bill for now.

Social Security sees first baby boomer

WASHINGTON - The nation's first baby boomer applied for Social Security benefits Monday, signaling the start of an expected avalanche of applications from the post World War II war generation.

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a former teacher from New Jersey, applied for benefits over the Internet at an event attended by Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. Casey-Kirschling, who now lives in Maryland, was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, making her the first baby boomer - a generation of nearly 80 million born from 1946 to 1964, Astrue said.

Casey-Kirschling will be eligible for benefits after she turns 62 next year.

An estimated 10,000 people a day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the next two decades, Astrue said.

Crews searching for autistic hiker

ELKINS, W.Va. - More than 50 emergency responders and volunteers searched Monday for an autistic hiker who strayed from his parents in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area.

Jacob Allen, 18, of Morgantown, was hiking with his parents, Jim and Karen Allen, on Sunday afternoon when he got ahead of them and didn't answer when they called out his name, said Chris Stadelman, public information officer at the command post.

The family declined to speak with the media but thanked searchers for their efforts and asked for the public's prayers, Stadelman said.

Two co-defendants to testify against O.J.

LAS VEGAS - A second co-defendant in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery case told a judge Monday that he will plead guilty to a reduced charge and testify against Simpson and four others in the alleged hotel room theft of sports collectibles from two memorabilia dealers.

Walter Alexander, 46, of Mesa, Ariz., told the judge he will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony, in the alleged hotel room theft of sports collectibles from two memorabilia dealers.

Alexander could face between one and six years in prison.

Sen. Craig appeals judge's refusal

MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday in his ongoing attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in connection with an arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting.

Craig's appeal was filed at the court in St. Paul less than two weeks after Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter refused to overturn the guilty plea, saying it 'was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and ... supported by the evidence.'

Craig, a Republican, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August after he was accused of soliciting sex in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June.

Missing retirees found dead in Ky.

LEBANON, Ohio - Two women found dead six months after vanishing on a shopping trip likely missed their highway exit in northern Kentucky and then got stuck after going down an embankment, authorities said Monday.

A hunter discovered the car in a dry creek bed Sunday and the nearby remains of Mary Ellen Walters, 68, and Ada Wasson, 80, about 40 miles northeast of Louisville, Ky., said Maj. John Newsom of the Warren County sheriff's office.