DETROIT

U.S. traffic deaths

rise, reversing trend

After declining for most of the last decade, traffic deaths spiked 8 percent in the first half of this year, prompting a call from the nation's highway safety chief to find ways to reduce the human errors that cause most fatalities.

The new estimate released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comes just as millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA predicts that 42 million people will drive 50 miles or more over the coming weekend.

Officials released a final number of fatal crashes for 2014, which showed a decline of 0.1 percent. This year, lower gas prices and an improving economy are prompting more travel.

Americans drove 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of 2015, up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2014, according to the Federal Highway Administration. - AP

NEW YORK

Hate incident charged

New York City police said a postal worker bumped into and spit on a Muslim woman with an infant before threatening to burn down her place of worship. Dainton Coley, 34, was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated harassment, menacing as a hate crime, and child endangerment. - AP

FLORIDA

Sanctuary, sanctuary

Days before Thanksgiving, a wild turkey chose an opportune time to show up on the doorstep of an Orlando church, appearing to seek shelter. It appeared early Friday and spent the day pacing outside St. Luke's United Methodist Church, gazing into its dark glass doors. Church spokeswoman Dawn Fleming said the animal, now known as the St. Luke's Turkey, wasn't aggressive. "It was like he really wanted to get in," Fleming said. The turkey went on its way after Fleming said staff members were unable to find an animal rescue organization to pick it up. - AP