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Teen charged in baby's death


JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- A teen-ager enrolled in a residential program for people with emotional problems has been charged with dropping a 16-pound bowling ball off an overpass here that crashed through the windshield of a car below, killing a baby girl in the back seat.

The suspect, Calvin J. Settle, 18, was arrested yesterday on a homicide charge. He was accused of pushing the black ball over a concrete barrier near the Holland Tunnel Sunday night.

A grand jury is considering whether to indict him on a murder count or a lesser charge. He remained jailed on $150,000 bail.

Prosecutors would not discuss a motive, but the police report on Mr. Settle's arrest indicated that the incident might have stemmed from a spur-of-the-moment prank.

Mr. Settle told the arresting officers who picked him up at his apartment in Jersey City that the episode began when his friends found the bowling ball in the trash and ended minutes later when he took it to the highway barrier, the report and prosecutors said.

The ball fell 15 to 20 feet. It traveled so fast that it ricocheted off the bumper of an 18-wheel truck driving west on Route 139, known as the Depressed Highway, then went into the eastbound lane and smashed through the windshield of a station wagon, hitting the baby, Natalia Rivera, in the head. The ball then burst through the back window, prosecutors said.

Santos and Donna Rivera, the baby's parents, were sitting in the front seat and were not injured. Another child, Santos Jr., 3, who was in the back seat, was not hurt. The baby, Natalia, suffered severe head injuries and died a few hours later at University Hospital in Newark.

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