Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT
TEXAS CRASH-GOLF TEAMS
- HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Authorities investigating a fiery head-on crash in Texas don't know why a 13-year-old boy was driving while his father sat in the passenger seat. Their pickup truck crossed into the oncoming lane Tuesday and collided with a passenger van, killing nine people. The teen who has not been identified died in the crash along with his father, Henrich Siemens, and six members of a New Mexico college golf team and their coach. Investigators say the truck's left front tire, which was a spare, blew out before impact. It's the latest tragedy for the family of the father and son, of Seminole, Texas. Community members first rallied around them in October, when a fire destroyed their home.
COWBOYS FOR TRUMP-CHARGE
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico elected official is facing a misdemeanor charge for refusing to register the political group Cowboys for Trump. Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas announced the charge Friday evening. Couy Griffin sued the New Mexico secretary of state in 2020 in response to mounting pressure on Cowboys for Trump to register as a political committee. A federal appeals court last month rejected his arguments. Balderas says that leaves Griffin out of compliance with court orders to register the political group. Griffin says he's working on a new challenge to the reporting requirement and expects to win.
NEW MEXICO-SPECIAL SESSION
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling for a special legislative session the first week of April. The Democrat announced Friday that she wants lawmakers to consider providing economic relief to New Mexicans as inflation persists and gas prices remain high. The announcement will avoid an election year conflict after fellow Democrats denounced her recent veto of a $50 million wish-list for community projects. The bill contained funding for law enforcement, senior centers, courts and other needs. Democrats and Republicans had threatened to unite and call an extraordinary session to override her veto. Republican leaders said Friday that tax rebates approved during the last session won't be enough to counter rising prices.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say emergency personnel rescued an unprepared hiker who got trapped on any icy ledge after getting lost during a snowstorm in the Sandia Mountains. Police said the hiker wasn't dressed for cold and windy weather and called 911 Thursday when he feared falling off the ledge. Several agencies responded and a team hiked to a spot near the man, enabling an officer to rappel down and provided the man with clothing and crampons. The team then got the man off the ledge and hiked with him to a location where he was treated and released by medical personnel. The man's identity was not released.
- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Joe Biden's move last week to ban oil from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine was met with calls to boost U.S. production to help bring down soaring gasoline prices. But political rhetoric about quickly ramping up U.S. crude output is at odds with reality for the nation's oil fields: Not enough workers, scant money to invest in drilling and wariness that today's high prices won't last. Analysts say the obstacles to more U.S. oil are surmountable, but will take months to work through and it could be late this year or early next before a significant production increase materializes.
MIGRANT PRISON CONDITIONS
- WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog has found unsanitary and unsafe conditions at a New Mexico jail used to hold migrants and says it should be immediately closed. The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General said in a report Friday that there are security lapses throughout the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia, New Mexico. It said detainees should be immediately removed. There were 176 male prisoners at the time of the inspection of the privately owned and operated jail. They're held while immigration cases are reviewed. The report said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement disagreed with the findings. The company that runs the jail for ICE accused the inspectors of misrepresenting evidence.
- It's not uncommon for people in rural parts of the U.S. to learn to drive when they're young, sometimes even before they reach their teens. But the news that a 13-year-old was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that blew a tire and struck a van in West Texas and killed nine people put a renewed focus on the practice. National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at a news conference Thursday that the dangers of underage driving put it on the agency's "most-wanted list." William Van Tassel of AAA noted the driver's age was just one risk factor. The crash happened at night and on a road with a high speed limit when a spare tire blew.
- Jackson Zinn had a big heart and was close to his parents and two younger sisters. But when it came to the golf course, the 22-year-old University of the Southwest student was all business, self-disciplined and competitive. Family and friends remembered Zinn on Thursday as more details emerged about a fiery crash on Tuesday that killed him, five teammates and their coach. Authorities say their van was hit head-on by a pickup truck that had blown a front tire. The two people in the truck also were killed. University officials said Thursday that their close-knit community would be gathering next week to remember the students.