NATION IN BRIEF: Mudslides sweep away cars in LA

Mudslides sweep away cars in LA

LOS ANGELES -- Thunderous mudslides swept away cars and pushed furniture out of homes and into the streets in the foothills north of Los Angeles on Saturday as an intense winter storm brought down hillsides in wildfire burn areas.

At least 41 homes were seriously damaged and 500 more were ordered evacuated after heavy rains overflowed debris basins, carried away cement barricades and swept cars into storm drains.

''We've got crews going door to door to tell residents to get out,'' said Los Angeles County Fire Insp. Frederick Stowers. ''Some of the roads up there are a complete mess.''

At least a foot of debris was reported in some houses. Family photographs, furniture and other personal items were spotted among the rocks and debris.

NASA aims for predawn launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA aimed to launch shuttle Endeavour in the early morning darkness today with the last major pieces of the International Space Station.

Stiff wind rattled the launching site Saturday afternoon, but forecasters were hopeful the gusts would subside in time for the 4:39 a.m. liftoff. The odds of good weather were 80 percent.

Endeavour is loaded with a new room for the space station, as well as an observation deck. Once both of those are installed, the orbiting complex will be 98 percent complete.

Police: Guard made up story

CHESTER, Calif. -- A state prison guard has been arrested for allegedly filing two false crime reports, including an attack police had called ''a vicious beating.''

Plumas County sheriff's Sgt. Steve Peay said Todd Posch called 911 on Wednesday to report he was the victim of a hit-and-run crash in front of his Greenville home.

But an investigation found the injuries suffered by Posch, a sergeant at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, were self-inflicted.

Suspect flees into police station

RIVERTON, Wyo. -- Police say a man suspected of stealing a bottle of Schnapps from a Wyoming grocery store didn't have the best escape route planned.

Riverton police say the 26-year-old ran out of the store after grabbing the bottle of booze and a package of cough drops Wednesday and hid in a nearby building, which happened to be the police station.

Police say the man then ran out of the police station, but not before a dispatcher had spied him on the station's surveillance camera and alerted officers.

Planes collide in Colorado; 3 die

BOULDER, Colo. -- An airplane towing a glider and another plane collided in Colorado, sending the two planes crashing into the ground and killing at least three people Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

One of the aircraft clipped the towline of the plane that was pulling the glider, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said. The glider apparently disconnected and landed safely a short time later, according to the FAA.

An amateur video shot at the scene showed a plane tumbling to the ground trailing thick, black smoke and a parachute.