Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT
9 dead in crash involving U. of the Southwest golf teams
HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The Texas Department of Public Safety says nine people were killed in a head-on collision in West Texas, including six students and a coach from a New Mexico university who were returning home from a golf tournament. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steven Blanco says a pickup truck crossed the center line of a highway and crashed into a van carrying members of the University of the Southwest men's and women's golf teams. They had been playing in a tournament in Midland, Texas. Blanco says six students were killed, along with a faculty member. The driver of the pickup and his 13-year-old passenger also died. Blanco says two students were taken to a hospital in critical condition.
TEXAS CRASH-GOLF TEAMS-VICTIMS
Deadly Texas crash leaves family, friends heartbroken
HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Family and friends say they are heartbroken and devastated after six students and a coach from a New Mexico university were killed in a fiery crash while returning home from a golf tournament in Texas. The victims included Tyler James, who had just landed what friends said was a dream job leading the golf teams at the University of the Southwest in Hobbs. Four of the players were in their first year of college and two others were juniors. The students killed were from Texas, Colorado, Mexico and Portugal. All were part of a close-knit university community where their faith played a central role. Two students from Canada are hospitalized in critical condition.
BC-NM-CHILD DIES-STEPMOM'S PLEA
Santa Fe woman gets prison term in 2018 death of her stepson
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe woman accused of fatally strangling her 5-year-old stepson in 2018 is facing a 25-year prison term. Prosecutors say 23-year-old Melynie Tyalan Curtis pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in great bodily harm. They say Curtis' plea agreement calls for the dismissal of the remaining charges against her in a nine-count amended indictment. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Curtis will be required to serve at least 85 percent of her sentence and won't be eligible to accrue day-for-day credits for good behavior to reduce her prison time beyond 15 percent. Authorities say Curtis called 911 in September 2018 to report she had found her stepson unconscious in a bathtub.
Haaland: Report on Indigenous boarding schools expected soon
The Interior Department is on the verge of releasing a report on its investigation into the federal government's past oversight of Native American boarding schools. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Wednesday the report will come out next month. She first outlined an initiative in June that she says will uncover the truth about the loss of human life and the lasting consequences of boarding schools. Starting in 1819, the U.S. enacted laws and policies that led to Indigenous children being forced into boarding schools that sought to strip them of their language and culture.
FBI: Shooting on tribal reservation involved federal agents
LAGUNA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — The FBI said Wednesday it is investigating a shooting that involved federal Homeland Security Investigations agents and occurred on a tribal reservation in New Mexico. The FBI said in a statement that no agents were injured but one person described as a "subject" was wounded in the incident Tuesday on the Laguna Pueblo. The agency said the investigation was ongoing and that no additional information was available. Laguna Pueblo is 42 miles west of Albuquerque.
BALLOON FIESTA-FAA RULE
Officials: Albuquerque balloon flights get FAA clearance
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — City and federal officials say the Federal Aviation Administration will allow Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta flights this October without requiring balloonists to install new tracking equipment as required under a federal rule. A statement released Wednesday by Mayor Tim Keller's office said balloonists can sign a letter of agreement developed by the FAA outlining safety requirements for navigating Albuquerque's airspace, "the majority of which are already best practices for most balloonists." Meanwhile, according to the statement, the FAA will conduct research and consultations to reach a permanent solution by next March. The agreement also covers year-round flights over Albuquerque.
Lake Powell hits historic low, raising hydropower concerns
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A critical Colorado River reservoir has fallen to a record low level, raising new concerns about a power source for millions of people in the U.S. West. Federal water officials that Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border fell below 3,525 feet on Tuesday. Western states had set that mark as a buffer to keep the lake from reaching a level that would prevent the turbines at Glen Canyon Dam from generating power. Federal officials are confident Lake Powell will rise quickly with springtime snowmelt and Glen Canyon Dam will stay productive. But the new low marks another sobering realization of the impacts of climate change and a megadrought on the country's second-largest human-made lake.
Police identify man suspected of shooting 3 in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man suspected of shooting three people in the same northeast Albuquerque neighborhood where he lived before he was shot and killed by police officers. They say 52-year-old John Dawson Hunter is believed to have fatally shot 31-year-old Alicia Hall as she was driving her vehicle Monday afternoon in the Foothills area. Police say Hunter also is suspected of shooting and wounding a man and a female teenager. Both victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police say Hunter was later killed after an altercation with officers. Investigators believe Hunter was suffering some sort of mental crisis when he started shooting randomly at people in the area of his home.