tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 17, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
warming to upper 40s and lower 50s. >> nbc nightly news is coming up next. on this saturday night, deadly weather. horrific scenes across the country. hundreds of accidents as motorists caught in a dangerous grip of ice and snow. more severe weather on the way. desperate days. in the ruins of aleppo after the syrian government crushes the rebels. tens of thousands, many of them children, still waiting to be evacuated. new twist in the sensational rder case involving real estate heir robert durst. the new revelation about his apparent confession. and love story. as the country says farewell to an american hero, a story of john and annie glenn. and what bonded them for a lifetime. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with
jose diaz balart. good evening. 56 million americans are under winter weather advisories tonight and a promise of some of the coldest weather the country has seen this year. still days before winter officially begins. today snow and ice making for deadly driving. at least 10 people have been killed on the roads in five states stretching from california to the carolinas. hundreds of accidents have been reported. and that is where we begin tonight with our morgan radford. >> reporter: temperatures dipping below zero out west. more snow expected in the east. creating a deadly combination tonight for drivers on the road. a chilling moment caught on cell phone video. a tractor trailer bursts into flames moments after slipping off an icy highway bridge, jumping the barrier, and plummeting to the ground below. that crash set off a chain-reaction.
its debris causing a 55-car pile up killing two and injuring several others. mirror images seen throughout the country. icy conditions causing accidents. >> it put the fear of god in me. i'm going home. i'm staying in today. >> reporter: even more pile ups like this one in new mexico involving 40 cars. in indianapolis, people spent the night stranded inside their vehicles on an interstate gridlocked for more than nine hours because of ice. >> turn the car off most of the time to conserve fuel. >> reporter: others took matters into their own hands. driving the wrong way to an exit ramp. desperate for an escape despite the danger. freezing temperatures making it more difficult for rescue crews. here in the northeast it's about clean up and prevention. this is 350-tons of salt, designed to melt that ice on the roads. >> it's slippery spots. it's hard to see the ice. that's the problem. all of a sudden you hit something and you're sliding.
>> reporter: drivers across the country tonight on high alert. >> this is the north. i mean, it's not -- this isn't florida. you have to be ready for pretty much anything. >> reporter: hundreds of accidents reported in the past 24 hours on highways just like this. this, as 56 million americans remain under a winter weather advisories with up to 6 inches of snow expected to slam the northeast. jose? >> morgan radford. with the snow moving out, the cold is moving in. that's going to be the big problem for millions this coming week. meteorologist rafael miranda joins us with more. >> that's right. another wave of the polar vortex moving in. our travel nightmare continues. snow moving into chicago. but the big story over the next few days will be the extreme dangerous cold. it is returning. even right now that arctic blast moving to the dakotas. take a look at the current windchills anywhere from 21
below in minneapolis and north dakota feeling the worst. the cold advances east over the next couple of days. tomorrow morning waking up to windchills to near 40 below in minneapolis. 45 below in bismarck. these, believe it or not, are the high temperatures on sunday. could be the coldest game ever played at soldier field. high temperature of 7 in chicago. eight below zero is the high temperature in cedar rapids, and monday morning heading back to work and school how about a windchill of 27 below in the windy city. >> rafael miranda, thank you. another story unfolding tonight. a big story with the water system in corpus christi, texas. this involves a chemical leak that got into the water system serving hundreds of thousands of residents. four unconfirmed reports of people getting sick after drinking the water. tens of thousands have been told not to use it. tammy lightener has more. >> reporter: texas environmental agents say a suspended chemical leak at an industrial plant forced all 320,000 residents in the gulf coast city to stop using the water.
no drinking. in bathing. >> right now it looks like we've got about 15% of the city has water that is flowing. we still got a big issue out there. >> reporter: but today the public learned the plan and concerns over the water supply started more than two weeks ago. city officials getting reports as early as december 1st before notifying residents on the 14th. >> if you're going to ask me were we breached or were we not breached? i don't know. >> reporter: the ban causing a run on water in local stores 27,000 cases of water already donated and being handed out at public water stations. 30 water samples are being tested by the epa in houston to determine if there is contamination in the water lines. results are expected as soon as tomorrow. an attorney for the chemical company says they're cooperating completely with the investigation. tammy leitner, nbc news. thousands of people tonight remain trapped in the syrian city of aleppo.
hoping they are finally evacuated to safety after the assad regime regained control. we have the latest from bill neely who remains in aleppo tonight. >> reporter: four years of war have turned aleppo to a waste land where people salvage what they can from the ruins of their homes. this was the rebel-held east. president assad's forces ruled this rubble now. >> translator: i want to tell america, he says, we're victorious and we'll rebuild this with our bare hands. >> reporter: thousands are now waiting to escape the last rebel area here. a new deal may allow them out. but the last deal ended in gunfire. people scattering in terror as militia men drove civilians back and arrested and handcuffed them. their fate unknown. the death throes of a divided
aleppo are chaotic. the fighting in aleppo is all but over. the level of destruction in this city quite extraordinary. there are war planes overhead there was shelling overnight. there is no cease-fire. there's no trust. for the civilians still trapped, all of that is bad news. among them, thousands of children like these orphans forced to retreat from the gunfire. regime loyalists and rebels blame each other for the collapse of the evacuation deal. >> they broke it. they did not fulfill it. that's why, you know, the process had been delayed or stopped. >> reporter: will the evacuation be back on? >> yes. i don't know. >> reporter: no one knows. but people are dying of war wounds in the distract that is still under siege. doctors desperate to get them out. it is a city of misery and of death. the u.n. this week called it hell. and the smoke is still rising from its depths tonight. bill neely, nbc news aleppo.
the pentagon said today that china will return an underwater u.s. drone seized by one of the naval vessels in the south china the pentagon said today that china will return an underwater u.s. drone seized by one of the naval vessels in the south china sea this week. in a statement the pentagon said it had secured an understanding to return the scientific drone through what it called direct engagement with chinese authorities. president-elect donald trump criticized the seizure as unprecedented. china accused the u.s. of hyping up the incident. there is new desperation in venezuela tonight because of a cash crisis in that country which is in the middle of a brutal economic downturn. protests and looting broke out due to a shortage of cash after the socialist government announced it would withdraw the largest bank note because of rampant inflation. the currency was almost worthless, but there were delays in circulating a new, higher bank note leaving many people without any money. the university of minnesota
football team said today it will play in the holiday bowl later this month. reversing a threat to boycott the game. that threat came after the suspension of ten players following allegations by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by some of them. we get more tonight from kevin tibbles. >> reporter: after boycotting practice and threatening to skip the upcoming holiday bowl game, the university of minnesota football team is returning to the field. >> we are ending our boycott. >> reporter: the golden gophers stood shoulder to shoulder two days ago. angered over suspensions handed down to ten players. >> we're concerned that our brothers have been named publicly with reckless disregard in violation of their constitutional rights. >> reporter: the football suspensions came following a police investigation into allegations by a young woman who said she had been drinking and was sexually assaulted after the season opener in september. the hennepin county attorney declined to file criminal charges saying there was
insufficient admissible evidence. following the own investigation the school acted. today university president eric kaler said the suspensions won't be overturned. >> we made a values-based decision. >> reporter: other schools have taken disciplinary action for athlete's behavior. just this week, princeton suspended its men's swim team over sexist and racist e-mails. the past fall, both columbia and harvard suspended sports teams seasons over inappropriate e-mails. [ chanting "she's not alone" ] in minneapolis today, a rally in support of the woman in this case. >> we believe her and support her and stand with her. >> reporter: members of the football team also took a stand. >> sexual harassment and violence against women they have no place on this campus. >> reporter: the university promises the suspended players will have a fair hearing. with the possibility for an appeal. >> as a team, we understand that what has occurred the past few days in playing football for the
university of minnesota is much larger than us. >> reporter: with the boycott over, the team is now back to focussing on the big game. kevin tibbles, nbc news chicago. a survey out this fall showed a growing shortage of teachers in this country with parts of almost every state dealing with the issue. in los angeles, they were able to fill every vacancy but the city is looking for ways to attract nontraditional teachers. among them veterans. here is joe fryer. >> reporter: this california high school is the scene of a whole new mission. >> good morning. >> reporter: for military veteran jose fuentes. >> when is it okay for a government to lie to its own people. >> reporter: a first-year teacher guiding students through world history. using skills he learned in the navy like discipline and adapting quickly to change. >> the pressure and the stress that comes with becoming a teacher, it was sort of the flip of the page of what i was doing
in the military. >> reporter: a kind of match that makes sense as california deals with dwindling supply of teachers. in a recent survey of more than 200 school districts across the state, 75% reported a shortage of qualified teachers. especially in the areas of math, science, and special education. >> reporter: do you have to find some creative solutions? we do. >> reporter: michelle king is superintendent at the los angeles unified school district. she said more must be done to get young students interested in teaching. >> in elementary school you say what do you want to be? a lot of kids raise their hands, doctor, nurse, lawyer. we want them to say "teacher." >> reporter: certainly he never imagined he would become a teacher. he graduated high school with a 1.75 gpa, but in the military met role models who changed his life. today he's the role model. >> after he came in, he motivated me to keep moving forward. not look at the past. >> reporter: now the l.a. school district is recruiting veterans
through a program called troops to education. that's not how he got his job, he thinks teaching is the perfect career for vets searching for a sense of purpose and a public mission after their time in uniform is done. >> now i'm back in the classroom, it's like i'm serving. i'm serving my country again. >> reporter: and it's how he plans to serve until the day he retires. joe fryer, nbc news los angeles. still ahead tonight, the bombshell involving real estate heir robert durst. could it affect the murder case against him? also, remembering their life together. enduring love of john and annie glenn.
# we're back with an explosive new development in the murder case of real estate heir robert durst. a revelation what he told prosecutors after his arrest following the poplar hbo documentary series "the jinx." we have the latest tonight from gadi schwartz. >> reporter: it was the spell-binding moment in the hbo documentary series "the jinx." >> you wrote this one but not the other? >> i wrote this one but not the other. >> reporter: robert durst confronted about two women in his life. his wife kathleen who disappeared in 1982 and is presumed dead and close friend susan berman killed in 2000. in the jinx durst was caught on a hot mike talking to himself in
the bathroom after producers pressed him on a handwriting similarities on a letter he wrote to berman and one written by the killer. but it was a confession or the mumbles of a millionaire high on drugs? in court documents filed by prosecutors on friday, durst told investigators, quote, "i was on meth the whole time i was high on meth." in transcripts from a nearly had three-hour interview the day after he was arrested, a prosecutor asked durst "if you killed susan, would you tell me?" durst responds "no." there's no confession to the murder of berman but durst tell the prosecutor, quote, "maybe there were two people who killed susan." he said in the days following the "the jinx" he said, quote, "i didn't really think i was going to end up arrested." after his arrest investigators found a gun in his hotel with a fake id, a latex mask, cash, and
a map of cuba. his attorney has long maintained his innocence. >> bob is not guilty. he did not kill susan berman. >> reporter: today we called his lawyer for comment who told us we could only quote him as says "i think we just got [ expletive ]." he plans to elaborate more at a hearing this week. gadi schwartz nbc los angeles. and coming up new theory on what lead to the arrest of anne frank.
pope francis turned 80 years old today. he celebrated a milestone by having breakfast with eight homeless people at the vatican before saturday mass. speaking to cardinals, he described old age as a frightening thought, but then recalled words from his first papal greeting when he said the old age is the thirst for knowledge. for prayers for his health. later on he enjoyed a group birthday singing. an unsolved myths i are that -- mystery that has been around for more than 70 years. who betrayed anne frank? a new study from the anne frank museum finds the famous diarist who hid with her family in an attic may not have been betrayed to the nazis after all.
researchers now say the fateful raid on the building in amsterdam where frank was hidden may have been connected to the illegal trading of food rations and authorities stumbled upon frank's hiding place. and dr. henry heimlich died. the inventor of the life-saving maneuver that saved countless choking victims over the years. this past may, he used the technique for the first time himself. saving a woman choking at the their retirement home. heim like died this week in cincinnati after suffering complications from a heart attack. he was 96 years old. when we come back, the loves of their lives. celebrating john and annie glenn.
it is a solemn ritual at this time of year. volunteers placing hundreds of thousands of donated wreaths on headstones at arlington national cemetery. they brave the cold and freezing rain. 44,000 people showing up to help with the effort. the wreaths across america project started in arlington in 1992. the organization says 245,000 wreaths were placed at arlington today. finally, tonight the country is saying goodbye today to an american hero. the hearse carrying the body of john glenn was transported to ohio state university where a memorial service was held to honor the astronaut and former
senator. his widow, annie, was among the many to honor glenn who died last week at 95. yesterday ann any glenn placed her hand on her husband's casket. a symbol of their unbreakable bond. ann thompson tonight on a love affair that lasted a lifetime. >> reporter: john and annie glenn. lives so intertwined annie never knew life without john. >> i have known my husband since i was 2, and he and i were in love when we were in the eighth grade. he promised me that life would never be dull. >> reporter: and it wasn't. >> they're okay and i feel fine. >> reporter: but for all his accomplishments, astronaut, senator, presidential candidate, it was her triumph that he celebrated. >> first time she was able to speak normally compared to other people was in her late 50s. >> i st-st-st stuttered ever since i can remember. >> reporter: something annie
coped with in their hometown of new concord, ohio. the white hot spotlight on the mercury 7 astronauts made it more difficult. >> feel all right? tell me what is wrong. >> johnson -- >> reporter: as dramatized in the movie "the right stuff." >> if you don't want the vice president or the tv networks to come into the house, then that's it, as far as i'm concerned. they are not coming in. >> reporter: a decade later, together they found a program for stutterers that annie said set her free. >> i couldn't talk over the telephone. >> reporter: when she finally could, and rang her husband -- >> when i called john, he cried. >> it was very emotional for me because i know what it was like for her before. >> reporter: nasa administrator charlie bolden had his own phone conversation with annie this
april. she said "charlie, how you doing?" . i said "i called to wish you a happy 73rd wedding anniversary. she said, "charlie, you know, i think it's going to last." >> reporter: humor would get them through. before each dangerous mission as pilot and astronaut, glenn would tell annie and their two children he was just going to the corner store for a pack of gum, including when he returned to space at age 77. >> the last thing he handed me was this. >> reporter: a souvenir from america's hero to the woman he adored. ann thompson, nbc news new york. life was never dull. that's "nbc nightly news" for saturday. a reminder tomorrow morning on "meet the press," chuck todd will be joined by robert gates and john podesta, chairman of hillary clinton's campaign. i'm jose diaz balart reporting from new york. thank you for the privilege of your time.
>> i'm terry bunker. san francisco beautiful and clear, of course contributing to these extremely low temperatures. a microclimate weather alert is in effect. meteorologist rob mayeda is tanning btan i standing by. >> by 3:00 a.m. we'll drop to the lower 30s. notice locations inland, tri valley into the north bay, you could see upper 20s by 3:00 a.m. under those clear skies towards the tri valley. san jose temperatures, look at this, 10 and 11:00 already in the 30s as we approach midnight on our way to some low 30