Zozobra Organizer Promises Refunds, Crash Investigators Focus On Truck Tires That Hit Bus

Sep 3, 2018

Official Promises Refunds For Lock-Outs From Santa Fe EventSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

An organizer is promising refunds to about 2,000 people who were still in line when gates closed early for an annual Zozobra effigy burning ceremony marking the start of the Fiestas de Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that production organizer Ray Sandoval apologized and blamed long lines at security checkpoints, miscommunication and untimely thunderstorms for the lock-outs Friday at the Fort Marcy Ballpark and Magers Field.

Inside, more than 62,000 people watched Old Man Gloom burn.

Sandoval says long lines developed after organizers abandoned a no-backpacks policy established in 2001, but opened too few lanes for bag inspections.

The show also began about 15 minutes early so Zozobra could burn between two severe storms that brought lightning and heavy downpours.

Las Cruces Fly Fishing Group Healing Veterans With PTSDLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A Veterans Administration clinic in Las Cruces is helping disabled military veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder through a program that uses the therapeutic benefits of fly fishing.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Project Healing Waters is free for disabled veterans.

The local group has about 10 veterans who participate regularly and gets one or two new members each year.

Ray Kirby's life was on a downhill spiral after he returned from a tour in Iraq.

The Army veteran happened to see a brochure on the program in 2012.

He was connected to fellow veteran Ron Bellerose who taught him fly fishing basics.

Kirby still struggles with mental health issues, but he says fly fishing has helped him cope and he is in better shape today because of it.

Police Say Man In Arrested In Stolen Ambulance In AlbuquerqueAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities in Albuquerque say a 40-year-old man was arrested after police deployed spike strips to stop him driving an ambulance he allegedly stole from Presbyterian Hospital.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that David Neher faces charges of aggravated eluding, criminal damage to property and vehicle theft in the 3 p.m. Saturday incident.

Nehr also uses the name David Sanders.

A spokeswoman for Presbyterian Hospital declined to comment on the case or say whether Neher had been a patient at the hospital.

Albuquerque police say they tried to conduct a traffic stop before the ambulance drove away at about 30 mph.

Police spokesman Tanner Tixier says officers used spike belts twice, disabling both front tires before the vehicle came to a stop near University Boulevard and Central Avenue.

FBI Arrests 5 From New Mexico Compound On Firearms ChargesAssociated Press

Federal prosecutors say the FBI has arrested five former residents of a ramshackle compound in New Mexico on firearms and conspiracy charges as local prosecutors dropped charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy at the property.

Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos said Friday his office will now seek grand jury indictments involving the death.

Gallegos said seeking indictments will allow more time to gather evidence.

All five people will remain in custody pending a Tuesday hearing in federal court.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque said compound resident Jany Leveille has been charged with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition. She is a Haitian national.

The other four members are charged with conspiring with Leveille.

State charges of child abuse resulting in death were dropped against Leveille and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj in connection with the child whose body was found earlier this month in an underground tunnel at the compound near the Colorado state line.

US Agency Examines Front Tires Of Semi-Trailer That Hit BusAssociated Press

A federal investigator says he is sending the front tires of a semi-trailer that veered across a median and smashed into a Greyhound bus — killing eight people and wounding 25 others — to Washington, D.C., for further examination.

Authorities say the crash Thursday along Interstate 40 near the town of Thoreau, New Mexico, happened after the semi-trailer going in the opposite direction lost the tread on its left front tire and veered across a median and smashed into the bus.

Peter Kotowski of the National Transportation Safety Board said at a news conference Saturday that the agency has also asked for the medical records and toxicology reports about the driver of the semi-trailer owned by Jag Transportation of Fresno, California, and the bus. Kotowski says that is part of the agency's standard procedure after such an accident.

He says the agency has talked to survivors of the crash and is seeking an interview with the driver of the semi-trailer.

Hot Springs Owner To Hold Meeting To Address IssuesLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

The healing, mineral-charged hot springs northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, have become a site for nudity, drug use and other problems, and the owner for the hot baths wants to change that.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the United World College-USA, which owns the hot baths, will host an open meeting Wednesday on campus to discuss the management of the hot springs.

United World College has owned the pools since industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer purchased the property and Montezuma Castle for an international high school, which opened in 1982.

The college allows free public access to the springs and maintains them.

The hot springs are open every day from 5 a.m. to midnight and patrolled by United World College security. Security officials say they find people bathing after midnight almost nightly.

5 Of 8 Killed In New Mexico Crash IdentifiedAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The Albuquerque Journal reports that authorities have identified five of the eight people who were killed when a semi-trailer veered across a median and smashed into a Greyhound bus.

The state Office of the Medical Investigator says Saturday night that five of the people killed in Thursday's crash near Thoreau, New Mexico, are Sadie Thomas, 50, Charla Bahe, 34, Terry Mason, 45, Veronica Williams, 49, and Greyhound bus driver Luis Alvarez, 50, the Journal reports. The office did not release information about their hometowns.

Earlier Saturday, federal investigator said he is sending the front tires of the semi-trailer to Washington, D.C., for further examination.

2 Sue Trucking Company After Deadly Bus CrashAssociated Press

Two people have sued a California-based trucking company whose semitrailer crashed into a commercial bus on a New Mexico interstate, killing eight and injuring numerous others.

An Albuquerque law firm filed separate lawsuits on behalf of two bus passengers. They weren't named in the claims, but one is from Arizona, and the other is from Ohio.

Attorney Bryan Williams said there are concerns about proper maintenance and inspection of a tire.

Authorities say "tire failure" sent the semitruck careening across the median and crashing head-on into the Greyhound bus.

The complaints alleged negligence on behalf of the unnamed truck driver and JAG Transportation Inc.

They include a recent safety report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that shows the company has reported three crashes in the last 24 months.

A woman who answered the phone at the company's office Friday said no one was available to comment.

Court Rules Fair Pay For Women Act Applies To State EmployeesSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

An appeals court has rejected the Corrections Department's argument that the Fair Pay for Women Act doesn't apply to state employees.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports female New Mexico government employees filed lawsuits against the department claiming that they were being paid less than their male counterparts.

The department had argued that a 2013 law that prohibited wage discrimination based on gender and allowing workers to seek back wages did not apply to the state.

The state Court of Appeals' Thursday decision clears the way for a lawsuit for lost wages by a lawyer who had worked at the state's prison system.

The case will go back to the state District Court in Santa Fe.

The department can still appeal to the state Supreme Court.