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story.lead_photo.caption This image taken from video provided by KGO-TV shows the car that police say struck several pedestrians Tuesday in Sunnyvale, Calif., before crashing into a tree.

Driver meant to hit walkers, police say

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — A California motorist told investigators Wednesday that he deliberately drove into a crosswalk in a quiet Silicon Valley suburb, hitting seven people and injuring eight, but did not say why.

Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, was being held on eight counts of attempted murder as four of the victims remained hospitalized with major injuries. A 13-year-old girl was in critical condition.

Peoples did not resist arrest after the incident Tuesday night and was talking to investigators, Sunnyvale police Capt. Jim Choi said.

“He did not say why he did it,” Choi said. “He did indicate that it was an intentional act.”

Peoples’ mother, Leevell Peoples of Sacramento, said she couldn’t imagine any situation in which her son would deliberately crash into innocent people other than something related to the post-traumatic stress disorder she said he experienced after serving as an Army sharpshooter in Iraq.

“Unless the car malfunctioned, he would not have done that. He’s like the perfect, model citizen,” she said.

Isaiah Peoples, an auditor for the Department of Defense in Mountain View, Calif., received inpatient treatment for PTSD in 2015, his mother said.

Top teacher says ‘empathizing’ is key

RICHMOND, Va. — Rodney Robinson, who has been a teacher for 19 years, including spending the past four at a school inside a juvenile detention center in Richmond, Va., was named Wednesday as the 2019 National Teacher of the Year.

Robinson’s selection from among 57 award-winning teachers around the country was announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“I give my kids empathy, not sympathy, and that’s the key,” Robinson said. “It’s all about empathizing — understanding their situation, but teaching them how to overcome.”

Robinson, 40, became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to get her high school diploma growing up in poverty and segregation in rural Virginia.

As part of the honor, Robinson will spend the next year traveling the country advocating for students and teachers. He said he plans to focus on equality for all students and recruiting more black and Hispanic men as teachers.

Robinson is among just about 2 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools who are black men.

Twitter tool aims to foil vote roguery

Twitter on Wednesday unveiled a new reporting tool designed to prevent deliberate attempts to misinform voters.

As part of the social media company’s efforts to curb election manipulation and interference, the tool allows users to flag posts with misleading information about, for example, how to register to vote or cast a ballot; voter-identification requirements; or the date and time of an election.

“The public conversation occurring on Twitter is never more important than during elections,” Twitter said on its webpage.

Twitter will introduce the reporting tool today in India, where an estimated 900 million people are expected to cast votes through May 19. The company said the tool will be available next week in the European Union, ahead of parliamentary elections in May, then rolled out worldwide throughout the year.

The new tool arrives as social media companies are under continuing pressure to guard against disinformation and the spread of incendiary posts intended to divide segments of the public.

And although Russian disinformation campaigns have received sustained attention, researchers and social media platforms have identified other sources, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and India.

Measles cases near 700, most since ’94

NEW YORK — Measles in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 695 cases had been reported in 22 states this year as of Wednesday afternoon. That was up from 626 reported Monday and makes this the nation’s worst year for measles since 1994, with eight months still to go in 2019. There were 963 cases in 1994.

Roughly three-quarters of this year’s illnesses in the U.S. have been in New York state, mainly in two ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and suburban Rockland County. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people.

Measles is highly contagious and can spread through the air when a carrier coughs or sneezes.

Photo by AP/Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety
This photo released Wednesday, April 24, 2019, by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety shows Isaiah Joel Peoples.
Photo by AP file photo
In this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo Virginia Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson smiles as he is honored on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates during the House session at the Capitol.

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