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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT


NTSB: 13-year-old drove pickup that struck van, killing 9

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says a 13-year-old was driving the pickup truck that struck a van in West Texas in a fiery collision that killed nine people. NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said Thursday the truck's left front tire, which was a spare tire, also blew out before impact. One must be 14 in Texas to start taking classroom courses for a learner's license and 15 to receive that provisional license to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle. The pickup crossed into the opposite lane on a darkened, two-lane highway before colliding head-on with a van, killing the boy, a man traveling with him, six New Mexico college students and a golf coach.


Texas crash victims linked by faith, passion for golf

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Family and friends say they're devastated after six students and a coach from a small 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 say 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 were hospitalized in critical condition.


Cowboy politician 2nd person to go on trial in Jan. 6 riot

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An elected New Mexico official who helped found the group Cowboys for Trump faces trial next week on misdemeanor charges for being on restricted grounds at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. He plans to arrive at his trial in Washington on horseback. The strategy being used to defend Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is just as unorthodox. His attorneys conceded Griffin entered a barricaded area to reach an outdoor balcony of the Capitol. But they have demanded prosecutors provide first-hand evidence that then-Vice President Mike Pence was still at the Capitol — a prerequisite for the Secret Service to invoke access restrictions.


House panel launches probe of New Mexico 2020 election audit

WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional oversight committee has opened an investigation into a partisan audit of the 2020 election results that is taking place in New Mexico and was authorized by a Republican-led county commission. Two Democrats on the House Oversight Committee wrote Thursday to the head of EchoMail requesting the company produce documents regarding its forensic audit in Otero County. The committee says it's looking into potential intimidation by volunteers from a conspiracist group canvassing voters and asking intrusive questions. EchoMail was involved in Arizona's GOP-backed ballot review, which failed to produce proof supporting bogus claims Donald Trump beat Joe Biden. EchoMail's founder hasn't responded to a request for comment.


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.


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.


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.


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.