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Crime
'Forever 14': Drunken driver gets 43-53 years for death of Millard South lover of cars, choir

Trevor Canaday

Trevor Canaday, 14, was a rare combination.

Football player and show-choir member. Offensive guard and budding singer. Pancake blocker who would then stop and check on the opponent he just leveled instead of following the play downfield. Science student who loved sports.

And cars. Loved building them out of Legos as a kid. Loved going to car shows as a teen. There he would gaze at muscle cars. But he was also obsessed with newer-technology cars. So much so that he gathered his science buddies and their teacher and tried to come up with a way to make a car run on — wait for it — water.

“This was not a fantasy,” his father, Bryan Canaday, said Thursday. “He wanted to send the design of these cars to GM so they could put his design into production.”

He was still working on that project, still working on so many projects, when his life ended at the hands of a five-time drunken driver, angry and hellbent on running a red light after a dispute over rent owed.

For his actions, Bennington resident Jeffrey Eggeling, 37, was sentenced Thursday to 43 to 53 years in prison. The maximum sentence Judge Gary Randall could have imposed was the 53-year term.

Under state law, which cuts most sentences in half, Eggeling must serve 21½ years before he is eligible for parole; absent parole, he will serve 26½ years.

“Our sentence has not been cut in half,” Bryan Canaday told the judge, wife Becky by his side. “My family and I have been given a life sentence without parole.”

In stirring speeches, Bryan and Becky Canaday took Judge Randall through Trevor’s “forever 14” life, abbreviated by that devastating Dec. 1 crash.

The courtroom — one of the largest at the Douglas County Courthouse — was packed with Trevor’s extended family, friends and about 20 Millard North high school students who just happened to be on a field trip to observe court.

The first day of this past December had been a typical Saturday — cold and lazy. Trevor’s freshman football season at Millard South was over, and his baseball season was months away.

Next on his always-busy activities list: show-choir performances.

Few at Millard South had done what Trevor was doing: balancing a busy football season with show-choir practices.

Even fewer Millard South students had made it to the front row of the song-and-dance team as freshmen. But there Trevor was.

Sure, teammates ribbed Trevor, his dad said, but that quickly subsided as they saw what a passion he had for the stage.

That Saturday, the song-and-dance group had planned a casual get-together. Bryan and Trevor were bringing snacks.

Bryan was in the left turn lane of Harrison Street, turning north onto 144th.

At the same time, Eggeling was torqued. He drank that Saturday afternoon and had gotten into a dispute with a man over rent owed.

Eggeling tore away in his Ford Escape, headed north on 144th Street.

He ran a red light at 144th and Harrison Streets and, going about 69 mph, crashed into Bryan Canady’s Nissan Maxima. Eggeling hit Canady’s passenger side, where Trevor sat, with so much force that it ripped Trevor’s seat belt from its moorings and ejected Trevor into the middle of the intersection.

The crash nearly severed Bryan Canady’s Nissan Maxima in half — and broke Bryan’s sternum and lacerated his liver.

Eggeling, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering, got out of his SUV, surveyed the crash site and walked away, prosecutor Ryan Lindberg said. Eggeling had a history of impairment, with three prior convictions for driving under the influence and a fourth for operating a boat while drunk.

Omaha police tracked him down through his parents and several friends. When they found him about 9 p.m., more than three hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol level was .10, above the legal limit for driving.

Thursday, in a rare sight, Eggeling turned away from the judge and toward the gallery as he read from a statement.

He blasted himself for “how heartless and self-centered I have become” and for all “the pain and fear and sadness and sorrow I’ve caused your families.”

“I’m such a foolish, sick, cowardly human for running from that intersection,” he said.

His voice bent into a whimper and he raised an index finger to the corner of his eyes. No tears appeared.

That in part led Bryan Canaday to declare that “the drunken driver” — he refused to say Eggeling’s name — wasn’t really remorseful. And to declare that Eggeling “has been a coward all his life ... never owning up to his errors.”

Judge Randall said he believes that Eggeling is remorseful. But the remorse is too late. The time to be remorseful was after his first four drunken driving convictions — all of which occurred between 2005 and 2016, Randall said.

“I don’t doubt that you didn’t intend to kill Trevor,” Randall said. “But I also know that with all your previous drinking and driving ... you knew what would happen.”

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Becky Canaday remembered June 7, 2004 — the day her “big beautiful baby boy was born.” He was a happy kid full of “smiles and laughter and a caring and loving nature.” His imagination and humor showed up in corny jokes and zany antics.

Trevor loved Truffles (the family dog that always slept in his bed), cars and car shows, singing and show choir, “football and baseball, equally,” Becky said. She rattled off all the rites of passage he won’t see: driving for the first time (he fruitlessly begged his parents to let him drive at 14), playing varsity football or baseball, starring in a show-choir production, graduating from high school and college, getting married ...

She described how, in the early-morning hours of Dec. 2, doctors delivered the news with “four words no parent should ever have to hear.”

“Not viable for life.”

Behind Becky, Trevor’s sisters, Tessa and Zoee, quietly wiped away tears.

Bryan Canaday recalled one of his few memories from the day of the crash. His sternum was fractured from “stem to stem.” His liver was lacerated. His torso was bloating with fluid and blood. Doctors had to rush him into the operating room.

“Next thing I remember was Becky telling me that Trevor was not going to make it — that his injuries were too severe,” Bryan Canaday said, choking back tears. “Them taking me to see Trevor in his room ... so I could say goodbye.”

Bryan Canaday said he carries on for, and because of, his wife and daughters. But it’s beyond difficult — an angst heard in the periodic high-pitched breaks in Bryan’s voice.

“There is a ... weight on my soul that will never leave me,” he said. “It makes some days totally unbearable to get out of bed. But I do because that is what Trevor would want me to do.

“I fear that this weight will crush me one day. There are still days that I come home from work and I start to call upstairs, ‘Trevor, I’m home,’ only to hear my brain tell me that I will not hear an answer from him again.”

Notable crime news of 2019

Money
'We are holding our breath': Midland farmers anxious over latest battle between ethanol, gas industries

WASHINGTON — The ethanol industry is waiting anxiously to see if a tentative deal to boost production of the corn-based fuel will stick.

“We are holding our breath,” Renewable Fuels Nebraska Executive Director Troy Bredenkamp told The World-Herald. “We are crossing our fingers.”

It’s the latest battle in a long-running war between the Corn Belt’s ethanol producers and the oil and gas industry.

President Donald Trump has reportedly grown weary of trying to broker peace between the two camps as they wrangle over the Renewable Fuel Standard.

That’s the federal requirement that billions of gallons of bio-based products be blended every year into the nation’s fuel supply.

Refiners say the mandate puts a heavy financial burden on them. The Trump administration has been granting “small refinery exemptions” intended to help ease that burden.

But the ethanol industry says the pace of those waivers is destroying demand for their product.

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Every time one side appears to gain ground in the dispute, the other pushes back, and the process starts all over again.

Midwestern Republicans have attempted a delicate balance of praising a president still popular with many of their constituents, while taking a hard line regarding the Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for overseeing the RFS and the waivers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was recently asked by reporters for thoughts on EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Grassley recounted what he said during a White House discussion.

“When somebody says, ‘Well I wanna hear from Wheeler,’ I said — the whole group heard me say — ‘Well, we’re going to hear from Big Oil,’ ” Grassley said.

Many Midlands farmers viewed the Obama administration’s clean water regulations as overly burdensome and hailed this EPA’s elimination of those rules.

Under Trump’s direction, the agency also moved to allow year-round sale of ethanol blends known as E15 — a change long sought by ethanol producers.

But the ethanol industry says the RFS waivers are taking a serious toll and causing plants to be idled.

Bredenkamp predicted that another 20 to 30 plants could close nationally if current trends continue, with at least some of those in Nebraska.

“It is pretty dire,” he said.

That’s why the industry was heartened by reports that Trump recently agreed to a proposal adding some of the waived gallons back into the requirements.

Reuters calculated that such an approach would represent an additional 1.35 billion gallons in 2020.

“That’s a number we absolutely think we need in order to send the right market signal to let people know, ‘Hey, ethanol is here and it’s here to stay, and the bloodbath that we’ve taken from the EPA over the last three years is not going to continue,’ ” Bredenkamp said. “We’re hoping the president does not renege on that.”

Grassley and fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst have said they need to see the proposal on paper before they feel comfortable that it will hold.

“We have seen EPA throw us under the bus before,” Ernst said Thursday.

And she echoed Grassley’s comments that the Trump administration includes many people who seem to support “Big Oil.”

“I do think there’s a lot of oil influence at some of these agencies, and we just need to be very, very aggressive and vocal,” Ernst said.

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said in a written statement that the agency will continue consulting with partners about the best way to “ensure stability” in the RFS.

“The Trump administration has overseen year-over-year increases in domestic fuel ethanol production, to the highest level in history, and the United States exported a record volume of ethanol in 2018 for the second consecutive year,” Abboud said. “The President will always seek to engage with stakeholders to achieve wins for the agriculture and energy sectors.”

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Plus
Faulty fire alarms, chained exits: State employees complain about 95-year-old Lincoln building

LINCOLN — A faulty fire alarm system that took more than a year and a half to fix. Temperatures that repeatedly reach well over 80 degrees or stick at a chilly 62 degrees. Fire exit doors that have been chained shut.

The Nebraska Association of Public Employees is raising concerns about conditions in a downtown Lincoln building where more than 500 state employees work.

The 95-year-old former department store building houses several functions of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, including the offices of Vital Records, information systems and technology, regional developmental disability service coordination and regional economic assistance.

Justin Hubly, executive director of the Nebraska Association of Public Employees, said working conditions at the building were among the first issues he confronted after taking the job with the largest state employees union. He said he didn’t believe the reports at first.

“Upon investigation, I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, it is that bad,’ ” he said. “We have had a lot of complaints, almost daily.”

Built in 1924, the building once housed Gold’s Department Store, a major Lincoln retailer. Gold’s merged with Brandeis in 1964, and the downtown Lincoln store closed in 1980. State government is the largest occupant now, although there are some retail shops on the street level and a few private offices.

Amber Brannigan, the administrator of the State Building Division, said state officials take a “very proactive role” in dealing with maintenance problems at the Gold’s building.

But she acknowledged that the building “comes with a certain amount of challenges,” which are reflected in complaints from state employees, and that changes of ownership have dragged out efforts to fix problems.

A message left with Gold’s building management was not immediately returned.

Among recent problems:

Fire alarm system The building’s fire panel sustained water damage and was not working correctly for more than 18 months, Hubly said. Until the panel was replaced, building management assigned staff to do “fire watches.” The staffers were to patrol the building and look for signs of fire, then call 911 and alert building occupants.

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Lincoln Fire Inspector Ken Hilger said the watches were sufficient to comply with city code, as long as progress was being made in fixing the system. But he said fire watches typically are used for only a few hours at a time, during testing and maintenance of systems. Using the watches for months is highly unusual.

Before the panel was damaged, Hilger said, city fire officials raised concerns about the alarm system producing numerous false alarms.

Building management made several attempts to fix that problem by replacing parts of the panel. During the process, they tested the alarms without notifying building occupants. Hilger said he ordered that occupants be alerted about tests so they would know if an actual alarm sounded.

Fire doors Doors designated as fire exits were chained shut. Hubly said the problem occurred multiple days and involved more than one set of doors. He took a photo of the problem on June 12.

Brannigan said her office had checked on such reports and never found the doors to be chained. But Hilger said he verified one report and ordered the matter to be addressed immediately. He said building management told him that the doors had been broken by someone hanging on the door handle.

Heating and cooling In some parts of the building, temperatures frequently reached the upper 70s and at times topped 80 this spring, Hubly said. On at least two days, state officials allowed nonessential employees to leave work because of the heat.

Work on the heating and air conditioning system has improved that situation, he said. But a new problem has cropped up, with temperatures in another part of the building not getting above 62 degrees.

In a June 6 letter, Cynthia Harris, an administrator in HHS, said the department is working with the State Building Division and building management to address the temperature problems.

Security Hubly said employees have raised concerns about safety in and around the Gold’s building. Two sides of the building have bus stops, with one side serving as a central hub for StarTran, the city’s bus system. Some employees reported being subject to catcalls and harassment as they entered and left the building.

“That would never be tolerated at the State Office Building or State Capitol,” Hubly said.

The Gold’s building has a security desk but, until a couple of weeks ago, it largely sat empty. A uniformed security officer has now been assigned to the building.

Elevators Elevators frequently break down in the building. Hubly said that can leave some areas of the building inaccessible for people with disabilities. Brannigan said the building meets Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, even when the breakdowns occur.

Restrooms Hubly said restrooms have been a problem as well, with all of the restrooms on an entire floor being out of order at times. Cleaning and stocking has not been done regularly. Brannigan said the state worked with building management to hire a new cleaning crew, which has dramatically reduced the number of complaints.

In her June 6 letter, Harris said HHS officials have a goal of vacating the Gold’s building once the lease expires on April 30, 2021. She said the agency is in the process of figuring out where and how some 500 employees could be moved.

Brannigan said many factors come into play in deciding where to house state agencies.

In the case of HHS, the space needs to be accessible to clients, many of whom depend on buses for transportation. It must be available at a cost the state can afford. It also must have enough room for the programs to be housed there, including meeting spaces, waiting areas and more.

“We are working with HHS leaders to identify next best steps,” she said.

Hubly said he appreciated the agency’s intent to find a new workspace in the future. But he said that 2021 is a long way off and that employees have to cope with the conditions in the meantime.

“At the end of the day, the state is paying the bills,” he said.

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Articles
CLIMATE AND LIFE CHANGING FASTER IN SOME AREAS
Some places have warmed at a rate scientists say must not be reached globally

LA CORONILLA, Uruguay — The day the yellow clams turned black is seared in Ramón Agüero's memory.

It was the summer of 1994. A few days earlier, he had collected a generous haul, 20 buckets of the thinshelled, cold-water clams, which burrow a foot deep into the sand along a 13-mile stretch of beach near Barra del Chuy, just south of the Brazilian border. Agüero had been digging up these clams since childhood, a livelihood passed on for generations along these shores.

But on this day, Agüero returned to find a disastrous sight: the beach covered in dead clams.

"Kilometer after kilometer, as far as our eyes could see. All of them dead, rotten, opened up," remembered Agüero, now 70. "They were all black, and had a fetid odor."

He wept at the sight. The clam die-off was an alarming marker of a new climate era, an early sign of this coastline's transformation. Scientists now suspect that the event was linked to a gigantic blob of warm water extending from the Uruguayan coast far into the South Atlantic, a blob that has only gotten warmer in the years since.

The mysterious blob covers 130,000 square miles of ocean, an area almost twice as big as this small country. And it has been heating up extremely rapidly — by over 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past century, double the global average. At its center, it's grown even hotter, warming by as much as 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to one analysis.

The entire global ocean is warming, but some parts are changing much faster than others — and the hot spot off Uruguay is one of the fastest.

It was first identified by scientists in 2012, but it is still poorly understood and has received virtually no public attention.

What researchers do know is that the hot zone here has driven mass die-offs of clams, dangerous ocean heat waves and algae blooms, and wide-ranging shifts in Uruguay's fish catch.

The South Atlantic blob is part of a global trend: Around the planet, enormous ocean currents are traveling to new locations. As these currents relocate, waters are growing warmer. Scientists have found similar hot spots along the western stretches of four other oceans — the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, and the Indian.

A Washington Post analysis of multiple temperature data sets found numerous locations around the globe that have warmed by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the past century.

That's a number that scientists and policymakers have identified as a red line if the planet is to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences.

But in regions large and small, that point has already been reached.

A study of data from Berkeley Earth shows how the temperature average of the last five years compares with 1880-1899:

The Post analyzed four data sets and found: Roughly one-tenth of the globe has already warmed by more than 2 degrees Celsius, when the last five years are compared with the mid to late 1800s. That area is more than five times the size of the U.S.

About 20% of the planet has warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), a point at which scientists say the impacts of climate change grow significantly more intense.

The fastest-warming zones include the Arctic, much of the Middle East, Europe and northern Asia, and key expanses of ocean. A large part of Canada has warmed by 2 C or more.

Some entire countries, including Switzerland and Kazakhstan, have warmed by 2 C. Austria has said the same about its famed Alps.

The percentage of the globe that has exceeded 2 C of warming varies depending on the time periods considered. Over the past five years, 8% to 11% of the globe crossed the threshold, the Post found, while over the past 10 years, the figures drop slightly to between 5% and 9%. Considering just the past five years increases the area by roughly 40%.

These hot spots are the scenes of a critical acceleration, places where geophysical processes are amplifying the general warming trend. They unveil which parts of the Earth will suffer the largest changes.

Extreme warming is helping fuel wildfires in Alaska, shrink glaciers in the Alps and melt permafrost across Canada's Northwest Territories. It is altering marine ecosystems and upending the lives of fishermen who depend on them, from Africa to South America to Asia.

It is making already hot places in the Middle East unbearable for outdoor workers and altering forests, lakes and rivers in the U.S. It has thawed the winters of New England and transformed the summers of Siberia.

***

Climate change can make for winners and losers, especially when it comes to fisheries. Along the U.S. coast, fast-warming waters drove lobsters away from southern New England and into the Gulf of Maine, leading to crashing fisheries in one spot and a boom in another. That could be happening in South America, too.

Still, the overall consequences of these oceanic changes are likely to be negative, said Bárbara Franco, who studies fisheries and climate change at the University of Buenos Aires. Fisheries in Uruguay and Brazil are projected to decline by more than a quarter by the end of the century.

That could mean major harm to any number of small-scale fisheries, far beyond the community that gathers the yellow clam. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, workers in these smaller, often local and subsistence-driven fisheries account for 90% of all fishery workers around the globe, largely in developing countries. In many cases, they are earning the equivalent of less than $1 per day.

Scientists say they are struggling to keep up with the impacts of a warming world, whether measuring changes in the Arctic or disappearing kelp forests in the southern Pacific.

"We're really playing catch-up," said marine scientist Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Canada. "Everything we base our civilization on is based on the accumulated experience from the last 7,000 years, about how the world works, and how we can survive in this world that had an exceptionally stable climate.

"And we're shifting away from that equilibrium at breakneck speed now. We're living in a no-analog world that none of us has any experience with."

Takeaways

1 A Washington Post analysisof four global temperaturedata sets, spanning from the 1800s to the present, has found that over the past five years — the hottest on record — about 10% of the planet has exceeded warming of over 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists have identified this as a clear line that the planet as a whole must not cross.

2 It's not just about the Arcticanymore. Depending on theanalysis used, we see 2 degree C of warming in much of Europe, northern Asia, the Middle East, and in key ocean hot zones.

3 Changes in ocean currents arecreating dramatic hot zones. Huge ocean currents are on the move, driven by changes in winds and atmospheric circulation.

4 These high levels of warming present major risks to marineeco systems. Clams are dying along beaches, ocean heat waves are killing fish and algae blooms are worsening.

5 Fish can swim elsewhere. That's not so easy for clams orcorals ... or people. When fast ocean warming occurs, only some species easily adjust.

6 More of the globe will be at 2C of warming very soon, according to the analysis using data from U.S. scientists and several academic groups. — the Washington post