New York subway's instant hero

in lawsuit battle with attorney

NEW YORK - The commuter who became an instant hero when he saved a fallen teen who was suffering a seizure from being struck by a subway train is being sued by his former lawyer, who accuses him of breach of contract.

The lawsuit against Wesley Autrey by attorney Diane L. Kleiman comes nearly a month after Autrey sued her, saying she manipulated him into signing an unfair contract that gives most of his earnings to Kleiman and her business partner.

"They're making me look like a shyster. I'm not a shyster," Kleiman told the New York Post. "I'm not money hungry."

Autrey, speaking through his sister, declined to comment, the Post said.

Long Island husband admits

plotting wife's yuletide death

MINEOLA, N.Y. - A man who plotted to have his wife killed before Christmas so he could enjoy the holidays without her pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy and other counts.

Santhosh Paul was arrested last December after telling an undercover police officer posing as a hit man that he was willing to pay $200,000 to have his wife killed if it happened before Christmas. He wanted to be able to mourn her before the holidays, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Paul, 32, first tried to hire a friend to do the killing, but the friend refused andcalled police, who arranged a meeting between Paul and an undercover detective posing as a hit man, prosecutors said.

Bay Area commuters find ways around burned-out bridge ramp

OAKLAND, Calif. - Bay Area commuters skirted the wreckage of a collapsed section of freeway as crews began hauling away the charred debris that had been a vital link between San Francisco and its eastern suburbs.

The snarled highways envisioned for the region didn't materialize yesterday morning, as many commuters seized on free public transportation, avoided rush hour or just stayed home.

An elevated section of highway that funnels traffic from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to key freeways was destroyed Sunday when the heat of a burning gasoline tanker truck weakened part of one overpass, crumpling it onto another. The truck's driver walked away with second-degree burns.

To encourage motorists to switch to public transit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized free passage Monday on ferries, buses and the BART rail system. Extra trains were added and bus and ferry operators also expanded service.

K.C. mall shooter had a plan

to 'cause havoc,' police say

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A former Target employee who was turned down for a private security license and planned to "cause havoc" was identified yesterday as the man suspected of killing two people in a crowded mall parking lot before he was shot by police.

David W. Logsdon, 51, had been stopped by police while driving the car of his next-door neighbor, who police had found dead in her home hours earlier.

Police did not say how Patricia Ann Reed, 67, died or if Logsdon was a suspect in her death, but they believed the events were connected.

Logsdon's sister, Kathryn Cagg, said he was mentally ill and an alcoholic. She said the family was concerned he would commit suicide in October 2005 and had taken him for treatment, but he was released from the treatment after six hours.

She also apologized to the victims' families but did not take questions.

Killed at the shopping center were Leslie N. Ballew, 33, of Kansas City, and Luke A. Nilges, 30, of Shawnee, Kan..

Woman: Journalist posed as fireman,

knocked me out, then assaulted me

NEW YORK - The woman who says she was attacked by journalist Peter Braunstein, dressed like a fireman on Halloween night 2005, recounted her ordeal yesterday for a jury, describing how she was knocked out with a chloroform-soaked rag, sexually assaulted and videotaped wearing nothing but stiletto heels.

She said she awoke two hours later tied to her bed, naked but for a pair of thong underpants and high-heeled sandals that the attacker had put on her after he invaded her Manhattan apartment.

The woman had been a co-worker of Braunstein's at Fairchild Publications, publisher of Women's Wear Daily and W magazine.

The victim said she was preparing to go out with friends and heard someone pounding on her door. She said she looked through the peephole and saw a fireman. She said she opened the door and the fireman rushed in, barking orders. Soon afterward, she said, she felt what she thought was a gun at the back of her head. She said the man told her to get on the floor, where he tied her up.

During the night, she said, Braunstein tried to chloroform her a second time, but she fought against blacking out. Meanwhile, she said, he cut her panties off, put another pair of sandals with stiletto heels on her feet, groped her private parts and videotaped her while she was naked - except for the shoes. *

- Daily News wire services