Afternoon briefing

Franken officially departs Senate

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sen. Al Franken has officially resigned from the Senate.

The Minnesota Democrat formally resigned Tuesday afternoon. It comes nearly a month after he announced his plans to leave Congress after a swirl of sexual misconduct allegations that began in November.

His departure set the stage for Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to be sworn in today to take over his seat.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton picked his second-in-command last month to replace Franken. Franken joined the Senate in 2009 after winning a months-long recount. He held an event in Minneapolis last week to thank supporters and friends.

Charges filed in Childress attack

LEXINGTON, N.C. — Authorities say three men have been arrested for breaking into the home of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office identified the three as 20-year-old Niquan Victorin and 18-year-old Chantz Kade Hines, both of Winston-Salem, and 18-year-old Armeka Vantonne Spinks of Salisbury. They’re charged with attempted first-degree burglary and first-degree trespassing and jailed under $250,000 bond apiece. According to the sheriff’s office, three people armed with military-type weapons attempted to break into the home on Dec. 18. Childress, who was at home with his wife, grabbed his gun and fired at the intruders, who fled.

The sheriff’s office said Winston-Salem police told them that the guns used at the Childress home matched firearms reported stolen during a Dec. 15 break-in.

Cause sought in deadly bus crash

SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators on Tuesday were combing through a mangled Greyhound bus to determine what caused it to careen from a road in the Utah desert on New Year’s Eve, killing a 13-year-old girl and injuring 12 other people.

The bus was carrying 14 people, including the driver, when it drifted off the shoulder of Interstate 70 and crashed about 300 miles outh of Salt Lake City.

A passenger reported a possible medical issue with the driver, the Utah Highway Patrol said Monday in a news release.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Steve Salas told the Desert News on Monday that no other motorists witnessed the crash and some bus passengers had flagged down a truck driver for help.

Authorities identified the girl killed as Summer Pinzon of Azusa, Calif. She was traveling with her mother, who was hospitalized after the crash.

The bus driver and two passengers were taken by helicopters in serious condition to hospitals. Other injured passengers were taken to hospitals by ambulances.

New York closing Rikers jail complex

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will close one of nine Rikers Island jails in the summer as part of a plan to shut down the complex.

The Democratic mayor has said he wants to instead build smaller jails and expand existing ones as violence, mismanagement and corruption have come under scrutiny at Rikers in recent years. De Blasio said Tuesday that the city’s jail population fell to below 9,000 for December. As of Monday, the Department of Correction’s jail population was 8,705. The city is working to identify sites that can eventually replace Rikers.

Lottery fever warms cold week

DES MOINES, Iowa — Lottery players have a chance at winning two giant jackpots that together amount to nearly $800 million.

The Mega Millions drawing Tuesday night, offered players an annuity jackpot of $343 million, paid over 29 years. The game’s cash option was an estimated $215 million. It’s the largest Mega Millions prize since a $393 million drawing last August. Tonight, players of the Powerball game will seek a $440 million annuity prize, or a $278.3 million cash prize. Powerball hasn’t had such a big prize since August.