FIRST ALERT: 4 dead after medical helicopter crashes in California--the latest on WAFF 48 News Today

FIRST ALERT: 4 dead after medical helicopter crashes in California--the latest on WAFF 48 News Today

4 dead in chopper crash

Four people are dead, including one patient, after a medical helicopter crashed near Bakersfield, California, overnight. Authorities say the Skylight crew was transporting a critical patient when they lost contact with the chopper late Thursday night. Crews began searching for the chopper and found debris, confirming the death of all four aboard: A pilot, nurse, paramedic and patient. "What happened tonight, the tragedy that occurred, is further evidence of how dangerous it is for the men and women who are out there trying to save lives every day,"  said Daniel Lynch, director of  Fresno County Emergency Medical Services.

State hopes to catch up on unpaid bills

The State of Alabama has been a little behind on paying its bills. The state says the switch to a new computer system back in October has caused problems with state finances, especially with the state's website, Open Alabama Checkbook."It created a lot of headaches and problems with the computer system, and they're continuing to work the bugs out of it," said State Senator Arthur Orr. Senator Orr added that the state hopes to be all caught up with its debts to individual vendors by next week.

Man identified in Arkansas State University lockdown

Jonesboro Police Department took a man into custody after he brought a gun onto Arkansas State University's campus on Thursday afternoon. Police identified the man with a gun as 47-year-old Brad Bartelt. A school spokesman said Bartelt drove his truck onto campus around 1:35 p.m. and crashed it into a barrier. He got out of the car armed with a gas can and shot gun. A few minutes later, the school confirmed no shots had been fired and nobody was injured, but the man was surrounded by police near the student union. Bartelt was taken into custody about an hour-and-a-half later.

Mild Friday morning in store

We're starting this morning on a mild note. In many spots temperatures are about 10-15° warmer this morning compared to yesterday, with most in the upper 50s to low 60s, which is actually warmer than our average high for mid-December. Skies are mostly cloudy and should stay that way through the day.  There may be a few pockets of morning fog, but we're not in store for a repeat of Thursday.

We hope you'll join Margo Gray, Stephanie Mills and David Ernst for WAFF 48 News this morning. Remember, you can always watch online at or by tapping "Watch Newscasts" on your WAFF News mobile app.