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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: Crane collapses in New York City, killing 1; incomes, spending both slow in April; Conyers man charged with impersonating doctor

A construction crane collapsed this morningon New York’s Upper East Side, smashing into a 23-story apartment building before crashing onto the street below and killing one person.

It was the second deadly crane accident in 2 months in the city, which is undergoing a building boom. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the latest collapse was ‘‘unacceptable,’’ and the city would investigate.

‘‘The sound was like a thunder clap. Then, an earthquake,’’ said Peter Barba, who lives on the seventh floor of the damaged building across the street from where workers were erecting a luxury apartment tower. One body was brought out of the rubble at East 91st Street and First Avenue, placed on a gurney and covered in a white sheet. A construction worker knelt over the stretcher, gently stroking the sheet.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether there were additional fatalities.

Crews pulled others out of the wreckage, the Fire Department said. Their conditions were not immediately known.

– Associated Press

Incomes and spending both slow in April

Consumer spending barely budged in April and growth in personal income slowed sharply, even though the government started sending out billions of dollars in economic stimulus payments.

The Commerce Department reported this morning that consumer spending edged up a small 0.2 percent in April, just half the 0.4 percent rise in March. Excluding inflation, the performance was even weaker, showing no gain in spending after excluding price changes.

Incomes rose by just 0.2 percent in April, just half of the March increase. That performance would have been even weaker without the boost it got as the government began mailing the first of $106.7 billion in economic stimulus payments.

Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity, is being closely watched at present for signs that the economy could be slipping into a recession.

The weak increases in spending and incomes were in line with expectations. Some analysts said that with the economy so feeble at the moment, spending could falter further in coming months.

The government reported Thursday that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 0.9 percent, slightly better than the 0.6 percent GDP growth originally estimated. However, growth at that level remained very anemic and some analysts are worried that the GDP could slip into negative territory in the current April-June quarter.

– Associated Press

Conyers man charged with impersonating doctor

A Conyers man remains in jail on charges that he impersonated a doctor at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

Atlanta Police spokesman James Polite says 27-year-old Eric Perteet was arrested based on a tip from hospital employees.

Perteet’s wife told investigators her husband said he was a doctor. She says she dropped him off at the hospital for two months.

Hospital officials issued a statement saying an internal investigation showed no evidence that Perteet ever had contact with patients.

Hospital spokeswoman Diana Lewis says emergency room nurses noticed Perteet wearing hospital scrubs and a real doctor’s identification badge. Lewis says the badge had been deactivated.

He faces multiple charges, including one felony count of stealing a financial transaction card and identity fraud. He remains in the Fulton County Jail on $12,000 bond.

– Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

— The Macon Transit Authority is being affected by high gas prices. We'll let you know how costs are affecting bus routes and riders.

— We'll bring you complete coverage of the funeral for a Bibb County deputy including a story, video and photos.

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