NYC breaks a snow record, quick thinking by a 911 operator saves a woman from her abductor, and a castaway says he survived adrift at sea for 13 months on faith and fish.
Welcome to the Tuesday edition of “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
1. ESCAPED MURDERER
Restroom rescue: A 911 operator got a bright idea, and it ended up saving a woman from a convicted killer who carjacked her. Her instructions? Tell him you need to go to the bathroom. Michael Elliot’s a deadly, dangerous man. He was sitting in jail for 20 years for killing four people, but this past weekend, he busted out. Then he grabbed a hammer and a box cutter and used them as weapons to hijack a jeep in Michigan, and he abducted the woman driving it. But he made a mistake. He got out of the car to pay for gas, and his hostage sneaked in a call to 911. The operator told her to plea for a bathroom break, lock herself inside and not come out. It worked. Elliot banged on the door at first, but then he just drove off without the hostage. Police caught up with him in Indiana.
2. WINTER WEATHER
Thank you, sir. May I have another? First, a record amount of snow smacks New York City and parts nearby yesterday – that includes a record 8 inches in Central Park. Then a second winter storm starts dishing out punishment, and it may get even worse. It’s hitting the Plains States this morning, and it’s supposed to race through the Midwest later today, dumping about 6-10 inches. And tomorrow? Yep. NYC and its neighbors get it again – 9 inches on top of those 8 from yesterday. Here come those flight cancellations all over again, and in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has already declared a state of emergency.
Chad Myers gives us the weather report at 6, 7 and 8.
3. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
The final hours: A four-shot espresso over ice with milk. That’s how Hoffman started his day Saturday – with his usual drink at his regular coffee shop, Chocolate Bar on Eighth Avenue. He chatted up the staff as usual – never made a big deal out of being a star – and seemed to be in a good mood. Next morning, he was dead in his own apartment, and it looked very, very much like a drug overdose. A friend found him there with a needle in his arm, and as it turns out Hoffman had a collection of syringes, envelops of white powder – maybe heroin – and a good many prescription drugs in his place. What happened between that cup of coffee and his death comes across as a bit of a hodgepodge. Some people said he seemed just fine; others – his ex-wife, for example – said he was pretty stoned and out of it.
Nischelle Turner joins us at 6 and 8 to report; Dr. Drew Pinsky talks about Hoffman's addiction at 7.
4. KNOX’S BOYFRIEND
Guilt by association: It’s because he was Amanda Knox’s boyfriend. Raffaele Sollecito told CNN yesterday that that’s why he was convicted of murder. To get things straight, Italian courts first convicted them, then acquitted them, then convicted them again in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She had been found stabbed to death in the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy. Police nabbed Sollecito near the border with two other countries after the second guilty verdict came down. He says that he had been out of the country and was heading back to Italy at the time to fight the guilty verdict, which he really wasn’t expecting.
Sollecito speaks at 7 and 8.
Faith, fish, rain and urine: It may sound hard to believe, but that’s what Jose Salvador Alvarenga says kept him alive for the 13 months he was lost at sea. He told CNN he was adrift in the Pacific Ocean that long, then his broken-down boat hit a coral atoll not too, too far from Australia. That’s where he was found – pretty darn far from Mexico, where he lives. There were times when Alvarenga wanted to take a knife to himself and end it all. But he says he was too scared to do it. Besides, his faith told him he was going to make it. The Mexican government said he is who he claims he is, but it’s still checking out that story. He looks awfully healthy for what he says he’s gone through.
John Berman reports at the man lost at sea at 7.
Here's an extra biggie, a shocking one.
EXTRA: ALASKA RAPE
The Rapist Next Door: Alaska's rape rate is the highest in the country – three times the national average. To find out why, CNN’s John Sutter went to Alaska to talk with victims, politicians – and the rapists. You voted for him to cover this topic as part of CNN's Change the List project.
Those are your biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.
Artful dodger: The year’s just begun and we already have an entry into the top 10 dashcam dashes of 2014. A car weaves, spins out across four lanes of traffic and lands perfectly in a parking space – like the whole thing was on purpose. (Don’t try it yourself.)
Is this the real life? No parent likes to hear that school’s been canceled yet again. So, props to Stephens Elementary School principal James Detwiler, who decided to deliver the bad news by belting out that school’s out to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Parents deserve the chuckle, he said.
Smitten kitten: “Simon’s Cat” cartoons always go viral in a snap. In the latest one, with Valentine’s Day’s on the way, kitty hunts up a scrumptious morsel for the apple of his eye. But she’s a sourpuss. Rats!
The best Super Bowl ad you’ve never seen: This ain’t no mammoth-budget Hollywood horror flick. It’s an ad. For a personal injury lawyer. In Savannah, Georgia. Jaw-dropping freaky.
Cross-eyed magic Get ready to tie your optical nerves in knots. Remember magic eye posters, where you could contort your eyes to see a 3-D object? Here’s a whole music video done that way. It works best full screen.
*If you’re good at crossing your eyes, use this version:
*If you’re better at endless blank stares, use this one:
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day" from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, join us at NewDayCNN.com and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY!