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This Hour: Latest Northern California news, sports, business and entertainment

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PIPELINE EXPLOSION

PG&E officials removed for improper communications

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says three senior officials have lost their jobs over improper communications with state regulators.

The move Monday follows PG&E's internal investigation of allegations of improper contacts between the utility and officials at the California Public Utilities Commission.

PG&E says its probe found improper emails last January between PG&E and the commission over the assignment of state officials to decide a rate case involving PG&E.

The internal probe stemmed from allegations surrounding a separate state probe of a deadly 2010 PG&E pipeline blast in San Bruno.

In July, emails made public at the request of the city of San Bruno showed PG&E officials discussing with top state utility commission officials and staffers how much the state should fine PG& E in that blast.

The commission said Monday that commission president Michael Peevey was removing himself from the San Bruno case and from the other case.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FREEWAY CRASH

9 hurt in crash on SF Bay Area freeway

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) - The California Highway Patrol says a crash left nine people injured and blocked all lanes of a major San Francisco Bay Area freeway.

The fiery incident on Interstate 880 began around 3 a.m. Monday when an SUV driver crashed in the southbound lanes. A truck swerved to avoid the SUV and went through the center divider and onto the opposite side of the highway.

CHP Officer Colton Kropp tells the San Francisco Chronicle that led to other crashes. A total of ten vehicles were involved.

Nine people were taken to hospitals, three with major injuries. The other injuries were considered minor or moderate.

Southbound and northbound lanes reopened later in the morning.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Crews seeking better access to fire near Yosemite

POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) - Crews are trying to get better access in steep terrain to a wildfire near Yosemite National Park that has forced hundreds of people from their homes.

Madera County sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart says firefighters on Monday also are working to build and reinforce containments lines on the blaze near a foothill community south of an entrance to Yosemite.

State fire officials say about 900 residents out of some 400 homes have been evacuated since the central California fire began Sunday afternoon.

The blaze has destroyed one structure and damaged 22 others. It's unclear how many are homes.

In Southern California, evacuation orders for 200 homes in Orange County's Silverado Canyon were lifted as firefighters contained 80 percent of a wildfire late Sunday.

EMERGENCY LANDING

Jetliner makes emergency landing in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - An Arizona-bound jetliner has made an emergency landing at the Oakland airport after its flaps failed to fully retract after takeoff.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Brad Hawkins says the problem was noticed shortly after Flight 468 took off from San Jose Monday morning on a flight to Phoenix.

Hawkins says instruments showed that the wing flaps used for takeoff hadn't full retracted and the captain diverted to Oakland airport, where Southwest has a maintenance base.

The plane, carrying 133 passengers and crew, landed safely.

Hawkins says the flight would continue with a replacement plane.

BANK ROBBERY-CHASE

Teen accused as accessory in California bank heist

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of moving what had been an intended getaway car after a deadly Northern California bank robbery.

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said Monday the teen was arrested on Thursday and booked on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact.

Jones says the teen was in the same gang as the three suspects who robbed a Bank of the West branch in Stockton on July 16. The robbers carjacked a vehicle instead of using the car that was later moved.

Two of the suspected robbers and a hostage, 41-year-old Misty Holt-Singh, were killed during an exchange of gunfire with police.

Prosecutors say the sole surviving suspect, 19-year-old Jaime Ramos, used Holt-Sing as a human shield. Police have said a preliminary report shows Holt-Singh was killed by police.

RICHMOND POLICE SHOOTING

Richmond police shoot, kill suspect

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Richmond say an officer shot and killed a man as the two got into a struggle at a liquor store.

The officer encountered a group of people at the store early Sunday morning and asked them to leave. Police say the man refused, and he and the officer got into a fight.

The officer ended up on the floor, and the two grappled. Police Chief Chris Magnus said the suspect tried to grab the officer's gun from his holster.

The officer fired three shots at the man, striking him in the chest and killing him.

The Contra Costa Times reports that the suspect has not been identified.

SHARK SIGHTING

Shark sighting prompts warning in Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - State parks officials are urging beach-goers in the Santa Cruz area to be on alert after a shark was spotted attacking a seal in the waters off a public beach.

California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors says the shark was seen about 50 yards off Seabright State Beach on Sunday. Connors tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1AQLb2v) a woman reported that the shark was flipping the seal into the air. She also saw blood in the water.

Connors says reports of such shark attacks off state beaches are uncommon. Still, park officials plan to post warnings in Santa Cruz and nearby Twin Lakes for three days.

Beachgoers can then decide whether they want to enter the water.

MONTANA MARIJUANA BUST

California residents sentenced after pot bust

COLUMBUS, Mont. (AP) - Two California residents who were arrested after 115 pounds of marijuana was found in their car during a Montana traffic stop have been sentenced to the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections.

The Stillwater County News reports District Judge Blair Jones sentenced Rick and Dawn Voight of Hayward to five years with the department for possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute. He suspended two years of Rick Voight's sentence and three of Dawn's.

Last week's sentence means the DOC will determine their placements. Both remained jailed in Yellowstone County Monday, where they have been held since their arrests in late April.

Charging documents say the couple had $736,000 in vacuum-packed bundles of marijuana in their rental car when they were stopped for speeding on Interstate 90 in south-central Montana.

RENO AIR RACES-FATAL CRASH

Report: Wing parts fell before Reno Air Race crash

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Investigators say a wing malfunctioned before an experimental aircraft crashed last week in Nevada, killing a retired Air Force pilot from California as he tried to qualify for the Reno National Championship Air Races.

Preliminary findings released by the National Transportation Safety Board say portions of the right wing separated from the Backovich GP-5 before it crashed in a more than half-mile-long debris path in a remote part of the Stead Airport race course.

The pilot, 64-year-old Lee Behel of San Jose, died in the Sept. 8 crash. No one else was injured.

An NTSB official said Monday a final report could take a year or more.

A plane crash into a spectator area at the Reno air races in 2011 killed 11 people and injured dozens more.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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