tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 23, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
weekday at 3:00 on air and on livestream answe breaking tonight, as we come on the air. former police officer kim potter found guilty. a jury today convicting potter of both first and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of daunte wright, a 20-year-o 20-year-old, in a traffic stop. potter showed little emotion. a stark contrast to her time on the stand. she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. potter taken into custody and held without bail. what daunte wright's family is saying tonight. also developing tonight, the busiest travel day of the year, as rain and snowstorms sweep the country, creating dangerous driving conditions. in wisconsin, a crash involving dozens of cars and trucks. vehicles overturned, sparking massive flames. at least 20 people hurt.
in california, tv crew captures the moment a car spins out into a ditch. the flooding in the west completely submerging cars with people inside. some areas becoming too dangerous for rescue efforts. and in airports tonight, millions lining up under strict covid protocols. ami amid the rush, this remarkable image. a tsa agent leaping over the checkpoint to save a baby. the race to get tested before christmas. long lines stretching for blocks as the omicron variant now drives cases past delta's peak. infections more than doubling in just three weeks. and a new weapon in thes fight against covid. the fda approving a second an anti-viral pill with merck. and tonight, new data out of the uk suggests omicron patients may be 50% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized. the demand for testing grows.
the president's promise of half a billion new tests, not expected until after the holidays. david muir pressing the president about the state of the u.s. pandemic response nearly two years later. >> is that good enough? >> no. nothing's been good enough. a new accuser comes forward, publicly claiming actor chris noth assaulted her. what she alleged he did. remembering american legend joan didion, who offers unsparing observations on politics and culture. and america strong tonight. the ex-marine coming to the aid of children who suffered in the kentucky tornadoes, making sure they have presents after losing so much. good evening everybody. thank you so much for joining us on this very busy thursday, i'm
linsey davis, in for david. we have a lot to get to, including the rush for many of us to get tested before the holidays. millions of people are now taking to the roads and what's expected to be the busiest travel day of the year. and news of a second covid pill now getting the green light. this one from merck, to help present hospitalizations. but we do begin tonight with the verdict in the kim potter trial. a jury finding the former veteran police officer guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of daunte wright, an unarmed black man pulled over for a traffic stop. potter with very little reaction, as the jury's decision was read. then almost immediately, she start red moving her jewelry before taken into custody. she will remain in jail until she is sentenced in february. after the verdict was read, outside the courthouse, an eruption of cheers and honking borns. abc's stephanie ramos has been covering the trial for us and leads us off from minnesota. >> ms. potter, please rise. >> reporter: tonight, a
minneapolis jury that once seemed on the verge of deadlock, convicting former police officer kim potter on two counts of manslaughter for shooting and killing 20-year-old daunte wright. >> we the jury on the charge of manslaughter in the first degree find the defendant guilty. >> reporter: potter showing no emotion as the verdict was read. her husband calling out to her as she was put in handcuffs. >> i love you, kim. >> love you. >> reporter: potter shot and killed wright during a struggle after a traffic stop in april, reaching for her gun instead of her taser. >> taser, taser, taser. >> reporter: the jury saw this body camera video in which you can hear the 26-year veteran officer realize what she had done. >> i shot him. >> reporter: on the stand, she said it was all a terrible mistake. >> i'm sorry it happened.
i'm so sorry. i didn't want to hurt anyone. >> reporter: but for the jury, that was not a reason to acquit. >> you can feel sorry for kim potter and you can believe she's guilty as a legal matter of the crimes that were charged. and i think that's likely what happened here. >> reporter: outside court -- cheers. wright's mother describing a rush of feelings. >> the moment that we heard guilty on manslaughter one, emotions, every single emotion that you can imagine, just running through your body at that moment. >> reporter: on the day daunte wright was killed, minneapolis was already on edge. the trial of former police officer derek chauvin was underway in the murder of george floyd. that trial taking place in the very same courtroom where kim potter was found guilty today. >> lots of emotion once again. stephanie ramos joins us once
again. and kim potter asked to be out on bail until she's entensed. tell us how the judge responded to that. >> reporter: linsey, the judge denied that request from the defense to release potter for christmas. tonight, potter is behind bars and we've just received her new mug shot. here it is, where she's seen smiling broadly. potter will be sentenced february 18th. she could serve up to 15 years in prison. linsey? >> stephanie, thank you. now, to our other major story tonight. millions of americans hitting the road and the skies and what's expected to be the busiest travel day of the year and it did not get off to a good start. this is the moment a tractor trailer crashed into multiple vehicles in wisconsin, shutting down interstate 94 for miles. remarkably, there were only minor injuries. at least 40 vehicles were involved. many of them big rigs. despite e airports across the country are packed. wednesday, the tsa screened more than 2 million passengers. that's more people than on the same day in 2019, before the
pandemic. the weather in the west is complicating the journey for many. these images are from northern california. torrential rain and heavy mountain snow expected right into christmas day. chief meteorologist ginger zee is standing by with the forecast, but first, abc's alex perez is in chicago. >> reporter: tonight, fiery crashes as millions take to the roads. in jackson county, wisconsin, freezing rain to blame for this chain reaction crash this morning. up to 40 cars and 20 semi-trucks, some engulfed in flames. at least 20 people injured. the highway still shut down tonight. that system heading into the northeast. meanwhile, in the west -- >> we do have some -- wait, wait, wait. >> reporter: our sacramento affiliate, news 10, broadcasting on the freeway before dawn. watch again, that car hydrplaning across the road and into the ditch. the news crew going back to
help, hit by another vehicle. in san mateo county, two people drowning in their cars. >> they tried to gain access to the vehicle in the water. however, the conditions changed rapidly, and it became too dangerous for the responders. >> reporter: the system bringing big-time snow to the mountains. will carr in soda springs. >> the snow here has been relentless. it's going to pound into the weekend. the highest elevations are going to get up to ten feet and it's creating dangerous driving conditions. this is i-80 east. you can see, it's a standstill. there have been several spinouts up ahead and shorts are holding traffic. >> reporter: and air traffic is peaking. wednesday's numbers already surpassing numbers for the same date prepandemic. elwyn lopez is at the nation's busiest, hartsfield-jackson in atlanta. >> of the 2.2 million people expected to take to the skies every single day during the holidays, airport officials here in atlanta tell me 3.7 million of them are going to come through here. >> reporter: and amid the
crowds, at newark airport, a tsa agent hailed a hero tonight jumping over the conveyor belt to save a choking baby. her ten years experience as an emt coming in handy. and linsey, one of the most congested roadways to be on this evening, i-290 west, heading out of the city. a 240% increase in traffic is expected across the country. roadways will be busy. 100 million people driving for the holiday. linsey? >> safe travels to everyone. alex, thank you. and with so many hitting the road, all eyes are on the weather. let's get straight to abc's chief meteorologist ginger zee. ginger, where can we see the rain and snow impacting the holiday travel? >> reporter: right, so, christmas eve is probably when people will be on the road and that same burst of snow that made its way and caused accidents in wisconsin, it's coming here overnight. and by tomorrow morning, we stopped the clock there so you can see i-95, 91 going to be slick through connecticut. and then you see that little mix of rain and ice, that's on
eastern long island. we have to go west and see all those wind advisories. the avalanche warnings into the sierra, where you saw will with up to ten feet of snow. one more note, linsey, we could have the warmest christmas eve on record from texas through oklahoma and even missouri. >> warmer temperatures, the one time of year people actually like to see the snow. ginger, thank you. and we turn now to the latest on the pandemic. omicron spreading rapidly, driving cases past the peak of delta and it's only expected to get worse. new york and new jersey seeing record new infections today. but there is some good news from the uk on the severity of cases. here's abc's trevor ault. >> reporter: tonight, millions scrambling to get tested before christmas as the omicron variant is driving a national surge. new cases more than doubling in three weeks, already surpassing the delta variant's peak. but tonight, new data out of the u.k. suggests omicron patients may be 50% to 70% less
likely to be hospitalized. >> these early reports, they do suggest that the risk of hospitalization is lower than delta and that, of course, is good. that's encouraging news. >> reporter: officials in south africa say their data also shows omicron may be more mild, though experts caution it's still too early to know for sure. and for the second day in a row, the fda authorizing a covid-19 pill. this time, from merck, shown to reduce the risk of severe illness 30%. far less than the 89% reduction from pfizer's pill, though that won't be widely available for months. >> that, combined with vaccinations and everything else we're doing, really should allow us to start putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror. the problem is supply. >> reporter: that's also the problem with testing. in the face of this unprecedented demand, americans sometimes waiting in line for hours. pharmacies running out of at-home tests. >> we have not been able to find rapid tests, or any tests really, anywhere. >> reporter: and there's concern the biden administration's promised half a billion tests won't arrive until well after
the holidays. david pressing the president -- >> we're nearly two years into this pandemic, you're a year into the presidency, empty shelves and no test kits in some places three days before christmas, when it's so important. is that good enough? >> no, nothing's been good enough. but look, look where we are. when -- last christmas, we were in a situation where we had significantly fewer vaccinated -- people vaccinated. emergency rooms for filled. you had serious backups in hospitals that were causing great difficulties. we're in a situation now where we have 200 million people fully vaccinated. >> reporter: today, abc questioning the press secretary about the president's answer. >> i think what the president was acknowledging, which he said in his speech a couple days ago, as well, is we're not where we need to be on testing. no one is saying we are. >> reporter: even with that testing shortage, new york city is still reporting its daily caseload is up a staggering 756% since thanksgiving. today, the mayor announcing new
years eve in times square will be a scaled back event, with vaccines and masks required. >> i want to be really clear with everyone. it's going to be a tough few weeks, but it will only be a few weeks. >> reporter: and with israel now recommending a fourth shot, the president telling david that's a possibility here, too. >> this would be the fourth shot for people 60 and older and for front line medical workers. is that something you're considering? >> i listen to the scientists, and i'm sure the scientists are paying very close attention to that. there may be a need for another booster, but that remains to be seen. >> reporter: even former president trump, while still against vaccine mandates, is speaking out in favor of the shots. >> the ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take their vaccine, but it's still their choice. and if you take the vaccine, you're protected. >> reporter: in minnesota, this hospital bringing in a refrigerated truck after its morgue reached capacity. and minnesota icu nurse lauren leckliter says while she doesn't speak on behalf of her
employer, at her hospital, nearly every i.c.u. bed is taken. and at least 95% are unvaccinated. >> it's really, really immensely difficult to deal with death. death every day that could have been prevented. >> reporter: and linsey, the dc has updated its recommendation for health care workers. they no longer need to quarantine at home after a high risk exposure. and those who have been infected and don't have symptoms, can return to work after a negative test at seven days rather than ten. linsey? >> trevor, thank you. another woman has come forward, this time accusing chris noth of sexual abuse. singer lisa jen tillie says the incident happened in 2002. the allegations come just days after two other women made claims that the actor assaulted them. noth has denied any wrongdoing in those proprevious incidents. here's abc's kaylee hartung. >> reporter: tonight, a new
accuser coming forward, alleging actor chris noth sexually abused her. >> he warned me if i told another soul about what happened the night before he would ruin my career. >> reporter: lisa gentile, a singer and songwriter, says in 2002 noth offered her a ride home from a new york restaurant they both frequented. she then says he asked to see her apartment, where she claims he forced himself on her, aggressively kissing and groping her. >> i finally managed to push him away and yelled, "no, i don't want this." >> reporter: gentile did not report this to authorities at that time. she's now speaking out just days after two women claimed to the "hollywood reporter" that they were both sexually assaulted by him. one in los angeles in 2004, the other in new york in 2015. noth denying those first two allegations as "categorically false," calling the encounters "consensual." police tell us there's no investigation into these allegations. but since these claims have surfaced, noth has been fired from his cbs show "the equalizer
and dropped by his talent agency. linsey? >> kaylee, thank you. saying releasing the information would harm the presidency. the house committee says the records are vital to its investigation. and we learned today of the passing of joan didion at her home in new york city. she was a prolific author that penned multiple volumes of essays, nonfiction books and novels. her memoir "the year of magical thinking" won the national book award. acclaimed author, essayist, and screenwriter joan didion came to prominence in the 1906s with her social commentary that explored postwar american life, from the hippie generation to politics. her essay collection "the white album" considered standard reading. didion's career explored in the netflix documentary "the center will not hold" -- >> i learned to swim in the sacrament of the american rivers
before the dams. >> reporter: -- was also a prolific screenwriter, along with her husband and author husband and author john gregory dunne. developing movie hits, including 1976's "a star is born." but her most acclaimed novel, a memoir, coming after tragedy. "the year of magical thinking" written following the sudden death of her husband. quoting the first line of her book in an interview with abc news. >> life changes fast, life changes in the instant. you sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. >> reporter: in 2013, she was awarded a national medal of arts and humanityies by president obama. joan didion died of complications from parkinson's disease. she was 87. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this wednesday. a congresswoman a victim of a carjacking at gunpoint. and how a retired marine is making this holiday season a bit brighter. the history of small business bookkeeping.
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santa, to boot. something mayfield, kentucky, is witnessing first-hand, where just 13 days ago, a tornado upended lives and minimally put a damper on the holidays. >> i've been deployed three times, and i've seen the worst. it was just absolute war zone destruction everywhere. >> reporter: triplett rushed to mayfield to see how he could help. traveling around the city before stopping by a shelter. >> i saw this boy, about 6 or 7 years old, and he's crying in his mom's arms and she's trying to compose herself. and she could gather and, you know, he told her, he said, "i lost my christmas." and it really hit me. >> reporter: after he posted this picture from inside a damaged movie theatre, it went viral. >> i reached out to my social media, friends and family and said, let's get to work. and so we started raising money. >> reporter: support for his holiday mission came pouring in from all over the world. in just over a week, he's raised nearly ly $95,000
with a local walmart. triplett and a hardworking team of local volunteers are wrapping each gift. >> they probably wrapped close to 4,000 toys in three days. it was an assembly line of epic proportions, and they were so good at it. >> reporter: once the gifts are tied with a christmas bow, triplett puts on his red hat and coat, whitens his beard, and gets to work. so far he and his volunteers have given out more than 20,000 toys and counting. >> if we can distract them from that trauma even for just a few hours, it can mean the world to them. >> much needed hug right there. thank you so much for watching. for david and all of us, i'm linsey davis. hope to see you right back here tomorrow. good night. >> being a better bay area.
moving forward and finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. kristen: let's begin with deadly flooding in san mateo county. two people were killed when an underpass filled with water. dan: we are live in millbrae with the story. reporter: the water level has gone down and traffic is flowing once again. want you to look over my shoulder. look at how deep it is from where the road meets the tracks. and the lights are how high the water got this morning that left two people dead. underneath this overpass hidden by water are two cars. water filled the street to the bottom of the train tracks. the sheriff's office said emergency crew was able to with
save one person but they could not reach two others. >> we attempted to gain entry to a second vehicle. conditions were changing rapidly. reporter: this happened just before 6:00 thursday morning. officials say the water rose to the point where it was not even safe for the water -- the fire department to attempt a rescue. >> the fire department had to reposition the fire truck. reporter: crews were able to get to others once they were able to drain water. they say it is to see water this high. >> that is the first time in many years it has flooded. reporter: he lives down the street from the flooding and said the whole street was blocked off this morning. >> i have seen it may be a foot deep not like this. reporter: