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Plans for new county courthouse in the works

Dave Hawkins The Standard

MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave County officials and a consultant are taking a fresh look at how and where a new courthouse might be configured and constructed. The project was identified as necessary well more than a decade ago, but the county has repeatedly pushed it aside in favor of other capital improvements such as the construction of a new sheriff’s office, a new administration complex and a new jail. There has been consideration in recent years of building a new courthouse close to the new jail in the vicinity of Interstate 40 in downtown Kingman. County Administrator Mike Hendrix unveiled a new concept during the August 18 Board of Supervisors meeting. Hendrix noted the possibility that a number of stand alone projects that have been on the drawing board for years could essentially be rolled into one development. Those projects, or issues, involve determining what becomes of the county’s abandoned Arnold Plaza property and the old abandoned jail and the historic courthouse that lies between them. Hendrix strongly favors an action plan that would involve the preservation of the current courthouse and the construction of a new one nearby. “What in essence the proposal would be is to put a brand new court facility downtown adjacent to the existing courthouse,” Hendrix said. He said it’s possible that demolition of the old jail could create some of the space needed for the new courthouse and that demolition of buildings on the Arnold Plaza property would allow development of parking space to serve both courthouses and the downtown area. Hendrix said other components of the concept could involve renovation and improvement of portions of the current courthouse for future use as office space and for occasional ceremonial function. Hendrix said part of the vision would include a courtyard area in the vicinity of the courthouses for use by staff and the general public. Presiding Superior Court Judge Chuck Gurtler said the Courts see merit in the new concept. “We believe that taking the new courthouse around the existing courthouse will have significant benefits for the city of Kingman,” Gurtler said. He said Court officials believe there are ways to remedy security and logistical concerns associated with the greater distance to transport inmates from the new jail to the new courthouse. The Board voted 4-1 to authorize an expenditure of up to $50,000 for a consultant to study the feasibility and possible variables of the new concept. Supervisor Buster Johnson cast the dissenting vote, partly due to funding concerns and a wish to pursue other, smaller projects. Part of the motion approved by the Board establishes the new courthouse as the county’s top building priority, and prohibits progress on a morgue and other capital projects until a courthouse construction campaign is underway. Supervisor Gary Watson and Hendrix both credited Bill Shilling, Grant Administrator for the City of Kingman, for providing input that helped shape the new multi-faceted courthouse concept. Shilling is most passionate about wanting to guarantee and extend the life of the historic courthouse, as has been done with other downtown Kingman properties such as the Powerhouse, the BNSF Depot and the Brunswick Hotel. It’s been noted that the new plan involving the current and a new courthouse will require support from the city of Kingman. Part of that would include city abandonment of a portion of Pine Street behind the old courthouse. Shilling said exploration of the new courthouse campus concept creates multiple opportunities for partnerships involving the city and county, and private enterprise as well. He said such an enterprise or undertaking could serve as an engine inspiring development of a more viable downtown district. Hendrix agreed, noting the possibilities are interesting and endless.

 

Judge labels killer a ‘savage’; doles out maximum sentence

KINGMAN – The chilling brutality of a Fort Mohave man’s attack of his girlfriend permeated and punctuated an August 22 sentencing hearing at the Mohave County Courthouse. Superior Court Judge Rick Williams imposed a 15 year prison term for Julian Molina, the maximum punishment under terms of a plea agreement convicting him of burglary and aggravated assault. “You are a savage and you deserve to be put in a cage,” Judge Williams told Molina. Though he has been involved in a half dozen death penalty cases and dozens of murder cases over his career as attorney and Judge, Williams said Molina’s attack upon the 22-year-old victim was disturbingly egregious and bordered upon evil. “This was one of the worst crime scenes I have ever seen,” Williams said of the bedroom where Molina stabbed his girlfriend in the presence of their two year-old daughter and seven month-old son. “It was a bloody, horrific mess.” The victim had asked Molina to move out of their apartment a few days before he returned to break in just before 2:00 a.m. Prosecutor Rod Albright played the tape of her 911 call to police during the sentencing hearing. The victim is heard begging for police to hurry as Molina is trying to get into the apartment. She retreats to her children’s bedroom where she assumes a sitting position, pushing her back up against the door, attempting to block Molina’s entry. Blood curdling screams can be heard on the 911 call as Molina breaks the door over the top of the victim and begins stabbing her in the head with a butcher knife. She testified that she didn’t know she was being stabbed until she saw that her arm was sliced open as she tried to defend herself and that Molina’s bite to her cheek hurt the most. “That was the worst pain. It was worse than being stabbed,” she said. “I was able to elbow him in the face and he fell over the doorway,” she testified. “I hurt him somehow and he took off.” The woman testified that she thought she was going to die and that her sole concern was trying to get help and locate someone to look after her kids. She said no one answered her knock on one door and that she was trying to find another neighbor before she tumbled down some stairs. “My legs gave out,” she said. “I couldn’t move anymore.” Police arrived and the victim was transported to hospitals where she was treated for permanent disfiguring injuries. She told the Court that she constantly gets questions about scars she tries to hide and that she is embarrassed that some partial paralysis in the area of her mouth leaves her unable to smile. “I’m not happy. I don’t joke. I don’t make friends. I don’t go out,” she lamented. She said she waited two months after the attack before she shared the company of her traumatized daughter. “I looked like Frankenstein and I was too scared to let her see me,” she testified. The victim’s mother told the Court that her grandchild withdrew after the assault, and that like her mother, she lost her smile. The victim said her daughter’s smile returned upon their reunion. “I told her that dada was gone and that he couldn’t hurt me,” she said. “And she smiled and gave me kisses.”

School librarian charged with child molestation

Michael Gregory Oakleaf

BULLHEAD CITY – A librarian at Sunrise Elementary school in Bullhead City faces prosecution for allegedly molesting three young boys adopted by his parents. Bullhead City police said that Michael Gregory Oakleaf, 43, was booked into the Mohave County jail on August 14 for multiple charges of sexual conduct with a minor. “The Department of Child Safety reported to police that they had received information on their tip hotline that Michael Oakleaf was abusing his younger (adopted) brothers,” a news release said. It said that the three boys (ages 11, 11 and 13) shared the same bedroom with Oakleaf, who also lived with his parents. “Detectives discovered that Oakleaf molested the boys on several different occasions over the course of several years,” said police spokeswoman Emily Fromelt. Fromelt said the children were removed from the home. She said the investigation continues and anyone with information regarding Oakleaf can call the police department (928-763-9200).

Missing man presumed drowned

LAKE MOHAVE – A southern California man went missing during a weekend outing at Lake Mohave, according to the National Park Service (NPS). The name of the 31-year-old presumed drowning victim was withheld initially. NPS spokeswoman Christie Vanover said authorities were notified just after noon on Saturday, August 16 that a man disappeared under the water after jumping from a boat near Cottonwood Cove. She said the man was not wearing a life jacket and was observed to be struggling before going under. “National Park Service rangers, Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens and employees from the nearby marina immediately began searching for the missing person who is believed to be around 100 yards from the shoreline in an area that is 80-100 feet deep,” Vanover said. “The water in the area is usually clear, but due to recent storms, visibility is very limited, making the search more challenging.”

Body recovered from Lake Mohave

LAKE MOHAVE – The body of a suspected drowning victim was recovered from Lake Mohave Sunday afternoon. National Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said rangers responded following a 2:29 p.m. call that a man who was not wearing a life jacket struggled while swimming before disappearing under the water. Divers retrieved the body of the 79-year-old Riverside, California man whose name was withheld initially.

Stolen church bell returned to St. Mary’s

KINGMAN – A stolen bell has been returned to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church where it will ring again over the congregation in downtown Kingman. The 120-pound brass bell was snatched from its belfry position last spring and had been missing for months. An anonymous intermediary who posted a reward for its return secured the bell under unexplained circumstances and arranged for its return. Neither police nor the church are pushing to identify the bell burglar and everyone is happy with the outcome.. “People are just thrilled to death that it’s back,” said Donna Wicker,” Church parish coordinator. “Everyone is just ecstatic because that bell has been part of our history for a long time.” The bell will be repositioned atop the church once an expansion construction project is completed.

Rt. 66 Festival brings events to Kingman this weekend

KINGMAN – The 66 Kid, Bob ‘Boze’ Bell’s latest book, will premiere at the Powerhouse on Thursday August 14, coinciding with the International Route 66 Festival. The author will be on hand to sign special hardbound editions from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and to unveil the Arizona Route 66 Museum’s newest exhibit, integrating video, vintage photos and maps from Bell’s colorfully illustrated book. Author, illustrator and Emmy Award winning director Bob ‘Boze’ Bell puts the everlasting allure of Route 66 into perspective by showing readers what life was like growing up in Kingman, Arizona, one of the highway’s quintessential cities, curing the heyday of automobile travel in the 1950s and 1960s. This personal take on the Mother Road’s history—part autobiography, part narrative history, all beautifully illustrated—expertly weaves personal memories and observations with entertaining accounts of folks who lived, worked and played along the road. Bell also digs deep into the roots of the region, offering seldom explored historical context for Route 66 and the American Southwest. Bob ‘Boze’ Bell’s recognition as a historian may be surpassed by his reputation as a prolific artist. “Bob ‘Boze’ Bell paints what the rest of us can only imagine” said Fred Nolan, author and Lincoln County War expert. Bell will also be giving a talk about the making of the book and his history in Mohave County on Friday August 15 at the Mohave Museum. A video of the same name will premiere at the “66 Cine Festival” in downtown Kingman’s old Elks Hall at 8 p.m Friday night. On Saturday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m., as part of this year’s Route 66 International Festival, the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring an evening concert featuring the group, Reunion. Reunion, formerly known as the “Lettermen” was one of the top recording groups of the 60’s and 70’s. Billboard Magazine ranks them as “The greatest Romantic Vocal Group of all time.” The intensity and perfection of Reunion’s performance brings audiences to their feet at every show. The group is comprised of Jim Pike (founding member and lead singer of the Lettermen), Gary Pike (also an original member of the Lettermen) and Ric DeAzevedo, former member of the singing group known as the King Family. Singing such hits as “The way you look tonight,” “Put your head on my shoulder,” “When I fall in love,” “Traces/ Memories,” “Can’t take my eyes off you,” along with the “Theme from a Summer Place,” these guys will take you on a trip down memory lane that you won’t soon forget. As the “Lettermen” Jim and Gary combined, had an unprecedented forty-six consecutive hit albums on Billboard Magazine’s national charts, twenty hit singles, nine gold albums, five grammy nominations and to date have sold over $100 million worth of records, tapes and CD’s worldwide. Reserved tickets are on sale and can be purchased at the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce office, 120 West Andy Devine Avenue, Suite 10 or call 928-753-6253.

 

Some 207 pot plants were seized during a recent search.

Pot house busted

LAKE HAVASU CITY – A Lake Havasu City man and his teenage son were arrested when authorities took down two large indoor marijuana growing operations on July 31. A “knock and talk” about alleged illegal activity led to a search of a home in the 4000 block of Blue Canyon Road in Lake Havasu. Five pounds of cultivated marijuana, 181 pot plants and 12 oxycodone pills were seized in the home of Charles Vinatieri, 54. Execution of a search warrant of a Vinatieri-owned home in the 1300 block of Hopi Place in Golden Shores netted discovery of another indoor growing operation and 207 pot plants. Two firearms and three vehicles were also seized in the law enforcement operation carried out by officers with the Lake Havasu City police department and MAGNET narcotics task force. Vinatiera and his son, 18-year-old Guy Vinatieri were taken into custody.

Five pounds of cultivated marijuana were seized in a recent search.

Hiking trails closed

LAKE MEAD – Numerous rescues and public health and safety concerns associated with extreme heat have resulted in the temporary closures of popular hiking areas within the nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA). The National Park Service (NPS) imposed the restrictions August 1 for the Arizona Hot Spring and Goldstrike Canyon trails in the vicinity of Hoover Dam north of Kingman. The NPS said public safety incidents in the canyons doubled from 2013 to 2014. “In the first seven months of 2014, there have been 37 incidents, resulting in three fatalities, 35 patients and 13 medial transports,” an agency news released stated. “We have added signs to discour- age summer hiking in these remote areas,” said Patrick Gubbins, deputy superintendent of the LMNRA. “People are miscalculating their ability to hike these strenuous trails in the summer, and it’s not only endangering their lives, it’s endangering the lives of other visitors and rescue crews.” The trail closures are in effect for at least 30 days and subject to reassessment. “Hiking is very popular in the fall and we plan to re-open the areas when temperatures are cooler,” Gubbins said. “During the closure, visitors can still access the popular hot springs via the much cooler route along the Colorado River.”

Father avoids molestation charges

BULLHEAD CITY – A Bullhead City man charged with molesting his two young daughters will avoid prison time through a plea agreement entered in Mohave County Superior Court on July 28. Franklin Coontz, 39, pled guilty to two lesser charges of child abuse in a deal that dismissed the sex offense counts. Prosecutor Greg McPhillips explained that it was Coontz’ 12 year old daughter who told authorities that she and her seven-year-old sister had been molested by their father. And McPhillips said the girl, now a teenager, is a runaway and is unavailable to support the molestation case. McPhillips said the abuse counts stick because both children were living in a horrendously filthy home. He said some officers would testify that the Coontz home was the worst “dirty house” case they ever handled. “This environment endangered the health of the children,” said McPhillips, noting that the home was full of rotting food and garbage. Terms of the deal require Judge Steve Conn to place Coontz on probation for 4 to 7 years at sentencing August 25. Judge Conn can also sentence Coontz to jail for up to a year.

Teens perish in plane crash

MOHAVE COUNTY – Two teenage brothers from Utah were killed when a small plane crashed Sunday in northwest Arizona. The victims of the crash near Interstate 15 south of the Virgin River Gorge are identified as the pilot, Daulton Rey Whatcott, 19, and Jason McKee Whatcott, 16, Clinton City.
Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Trish Carter said deputies responded to the crash scene at 6:29 p.m. “Deputies confirmed two people did not survive the crash and no other occupants were onboard,” Carter said. Carter said the Whatcotts were flying from Bountiful, Utah to Mesquite, Nevada. She had no information regarding who owned the 1969 Cessna 172k fixed wing single engine aircraft.
The bodies of the victims have been recovered. Federal authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.


Ft. Mohave homicide under investigation

FT. MOHAVE – A homicide in the northwest Arizona community of Fort Mohave is under investigation by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Tom Sheahan said Joseph Raymond Farmer, 37, Mohave Valley, died of a gunshot to the chest Saturday, July 19.
Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said Farmer was driving when he stopped to address the driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup truck in the 5100 block of Pasadena. Hospital officials notified the sheriff’s office after Farmer was transported to Valley View Medical Center at 2:48 p.m.
Homicide detectives are withholding other details as they continue their investigation.

Female bank robber asks for $100,000

LAKE HAVASU CITY – A woman robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch in Lake Havasu City on Tuesday, July 8. The robbery at the bank located in the 1600 block of McCulloch Boulevard was reported at 5:29 p.m.
Sergeant Troy Stirling said investigation revealed that the female wearing an ankle length skin tight black dress entered the bank and asked if the manager was present. The suspect who spoke with a slight accent who is of possible Middle Eastern descent presented a demand note when the manager was not immediately available.
“The female suspect handed an employee a note stating that she had a bomb, wanted $100,000 and that five guys were making her do it,” Stirling said. “The female suspect also told bank employees that she had a bomb on her leg and that she did not want to do it but people were making her do it, although nobody was seen with her.”
The suspect who wore sunglasses, black strap open toe sandals, and a green and brown flower print scarf covering her head fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. She was last seen walking eastbound on McCulloch Boulevard before she disappeared.Police have distributed a surveillance video image of the suspect.

Ongoing aftershocks in the wake of eastern Arizona’s M5.2 earthquake

Earthquake aftershocks of about magnitude (M) 3 continue to lightly rattle Duncan, Arizona and environs. The latest event, a M3.6 temblor, was felt 30 miles north in Morenci, Arizona. Aftershocks stem from the M5.2 earthquake that struck near Duncan, Arizona, (approximately 40 miles east of Safford) on the evening of June 28.
Since the M5.2 event, 14 felt aftershocks (from M2.8 to M3.9) have rattled the area around Duncan in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Like the main shock, these were shallow events occurring about 3 miles deep. The largest aftershock, at M3.9, occurred at 3:56 p.m. on July 3. Since yesterday, July 10, five felt earthquakes have been reported. The largest were M3.6 temblors at 2:59 p.m. on July 10, and 10:33 a.m. on July 11. Hundreds of smaller magnitude aftershocks - less than ~ M3.0 - have occurred since the onset of activity, and most went largely unfelt.
People in southeastern Arizona should be prepared for ongoing M3.0 to M4.0 earthquakes over the next weeks or even months. In the event of strong ground shaking, follow the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” convention used in earthquake-prone areas. For more information on what to do in the event of an earthquake, please visit the Great Arizona ShakeOut website at http://www.shakeout.org/arizona.
Over the past week, “the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) deployed a temporary array of five portable seismometers around the location of the M5.2 main shock in hopes of learning more about the behavior of the earthquakes and faulting in the region,” said Jeri Young, AZGS geophysicist. These five devices complement existing seismometers of the Arizona Integrated Seismic Network and form a seismic net for monitoring earthquake activity.
According to Jon Spencer, Senior Geologist at the Arizona Geological Survey, “The recent Duncan earthquake occurred because Earth’s crust in southern Arizona and northern Sonora is gradually extending in an east-west direction.” Historical earthquake activity for Arizona is available at data.usgin.org/hazard-viewer/.

Holiday weekend marred by fatalities

Coyote Pass crash leaves one dead, four others hurt

GOLDEN VALLEY – One person was killed and four others were injured when two vehicles collided during a Sunday thunderstorm in Golden Valley. The crash on State Route 68 occurred July 6 at 1:17 p.m. The Department of Public Safety said a westbound Chrysler PT Cruiser went out of control, crossed the center line and struck a GMC Terrain head-on. Dead at the scene of the accident was the passenger in the GMC, Mary McCloskey, 80, Golden Valley. The most seriously injured accident survivor, a passenger in the Chrysler was flown to Sunrise Medical Center. A spokeswoman at the Las Vegas hospital said that Michael Harryman, 22, Kingman, was in critical condition early Monday afternoon.

Man dies after falling from boat

LAKE MEAD – A Las Vegas man died after falling from a boat into the water at Lake Mead July 2. National Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said witnesses said the man had been drinking and was not wearing a life jacket when he disappeared underwater at the Callville Bay Marina just before 9:00 p.m. Divers located the body of Schayne Baker, 36, in about 15 feet of water just before 12:30 p.m. on July 3. An autopsy was to be conducted by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s office.

U.S. Marine killed in LHC jet ski collision

LAKE HAVASU CITY – An active member of the United States Marine Corps was fatally injured in a holiday weekend boating accident at Lake Havasu. Mohave County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Trish Carter identified the deceased as Chad Brammer, 23, Lambertville, Michigan. Carter said the Lance Cpl. who was stationed at the Twentynine Palms Marine Base in California was operating a Jet Ski that crossed the bow of a 31-foot Advantage boat when the watercraft collided on the Arizona side of Copper Canyon at about 3:00 p.m. Friday, July 4. She said a civilian pulled Brammer from the water and that he died following transport to Havasu Regional Medical Center. Carter said none of the six people aboard the boat was injured. She said an accident investigation continues.

 

Seligman icon to become museum

SELIGMAN – An historically significant structure in Seligman is getting a makeover for future use as a museum of sorts while adding to the charm and appeal of the town to tourists. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has awarded a $25,000 grant to remove asbestos and lead paint from the Cottage Hotel. The building on W. Schoeny Road was constructed in 1912 and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. ADEQ media relations director Mark Shaffer said abatement of the hazardous health materials is part of the plan to renovate the property to display historic artifacts involving the community and its relationship with Route 66 and the Santa Fe Railroad. Future plans include transforming the building into a full-time visitor center and museum with “theme” rooms including a cowboy room, Harvey House room, birthing room and a school room, a news release stated. “The Cottage Hotel was a key part of Seligman’s Route 66 history and this project will help provide an additional boost to tourism while improving the environmental quality of the community,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin.

Men’s Health Fair to offer screenings, information

KINGMAN – Tuesday, July 15, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Kingman Regional Medical Center will host a Men’s Health and Nutrition fair. This event will be held on the hospital campus in the Medical Professional Center of Kingman in the Hualapai and Cerbat conference rooms. Over 20 organizations will be participating in the event, offering screenings and information to enhance the health and well-being of men in the community. Attendees will be offered nutrition tips, health screenings, information on daily living and other ways to help keep an active lifestyle. As a part of this year’s Men’s Health Fair, KRMC is sponsoring the 100 Day’s of Summer with Murphy Broadcasting. Stop by the Murphy Broadcasting table to receive a special bonus code giving you an extra chance to qualify for one of two custom jet ski’s to be given away during the Murphy Broadcasting “Labor Day End of Summer Party.” The bonus code will be drawn from only those entered from the Men’s Fair; so if you haven’t qualified yet your odds will be greatly increased! The event is free and open to the public with food and prizes - so mark your calendars and don’t miss out! For more Information, contact Scott Kern at 928-681-8656.

Recall initiated at Golden Valley FD

GOLDEN VALLEY – A long festering feud between two members of the Golden Valley Fire District has led to a recall campaign. Board member Steve Robinson personally initiated the ouster effort targeting fellow Board member Rhonda Brooks on Friday, June 20. Allegations Robinson has previously leveled against Brooks are the premise for the proposed recall. Among other things Robinson alleged that Brooks is trying to end the employment of Fire Chief Thomas O’Donohue. Robinson alleged that Brooks is costing the district money by filing frivolous open meeting law violation complaints. Further, that Brooks has disclosed confidential information but failed to comply with a Board directive for her to surrender her emails for public scrutiny.County elections officials said that Robinson has until October 20 to collect the 483 valid petitions signatures necessary to force a recall election.

Missing swimmer’s body located

LAKE HAVASU CITY – The body of a Temple City, California man was recovered two days after he went missing on the south end of Lake Havasu near Parker Dam. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office identified the presumed drowning victim as Antonio Juan-Ramos Lopez, 62. Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said Lopez was boating with his wife and a friend when he jumped into the water to cool off at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 16. She said Lopez was not wearing a life vest and that he disappeared under the water after strong winds kept him separated from the boat. Carter said the incident occurred near Havasu Springs. Use of sonar equipment reportedly helped locate Lopez’s body at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 18, about 500 yards east of the location where he slipped under the lake surface. Carter said an autopsy was scheduled but that alcohol is not believed to have been a factor.

California man dies in freak accident

BULLHEAD CITY – An Upland, California man died in a freak accident on the Colorado River in Bullhead City. Police spokeswoman Emily Fromelt identified the victim of the Thursday, June 19 incident as Charles Alan Knutson, 53. Fromelt said Knutson was jet skiing with friends near Rotary Park when the tragedy unfolded about 7:00 p.m. She said Knutson tried to use his jet ski to gain control of another unmanned jet ski that was circling with a stuck throttle. Fromelt said Knutson was knocked off his jet ski when it was struck by the wayward watercraft. She said it didn’t appear that the jet ski struck Knutson and he swam back to shore where he was unresponsive when he reached the dock. “His friends pulled him out of the water,” Fromelt said. “Paramedics transported Knutson to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.” The specific cause of Knutson’s death is initially unknown.

Blaze threatened Cerbat golf course

KINGMAN – A highly visible brush fire blackened about 20 acres in Kingman Wednesday, June 11. Kingman Fire Department personnel responded at 4:15 p.m. to the fire along the western edge of Interstate 40 and east of the Cerbat golf course. “The first arriving units observed a fast moving fire rapidly burning up and around the rock bluffs and canyons along the westbound lanes of I-40,” said Battalion Chief Bill Johnston. “Incident Command recognized the fire was complex and had the potential of threatening structures at which time multiple agencies and resources were mobilized.”Johnston said crews worked to protect structures and keep the fire from running. No property loss or injuries occurred. Johnston said it appeared there were multiple ignition points along the interstate, but that arson was not suspected. He said it is possible that a vehicle sparked the fire while passing by on the interstate.

Illegals detained

KINGMAN – A routine traffic stop led to the detention of five illegal immigrants about 20 miles east of Kingman on Thursday, June 12. Mohave County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Trish Carter said deputies spotted a vehicle speeding northbound on U.S. 93, near the Interstate 40 Junction. Carter said the 10:59 a.m. traffic stop on Interstate 40 led to a determination that the driver and all four passengers were illegal immigrants. They were booked into the Mohave County jail and picked up by Border Patrol for deportation proceedings.

NTSB releases information on chopper fatality

GRAND CANYON – A Henderson, Nevada resident had exited the helicopter he was piloting when the aircraft rolled and fatally injured him in northwest Arizona last month. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has posted a preliminary report regarding the May 18 accident that claimed the life of Michel Poppen. Poppen was flying an AS350 Eurocopter owned by the Las Vegas-based Papillon tour company when he landed at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the Grand Canyon West tourism destination on the Hualapai Reservation. The NTSB report indicated that the helicopter was positioned about 380 feet west of the Colorado River when the accident occurred about 4:00 p.m. The report stated that Poppen exited the running helicopter to perform a fluid level check when it somehow became airborne. “The helicopter subsequently impacted the ground and rolled over,’’ the report stated. “The pilot was struck by one or more of the main rotor blades and was fatally injured.” The NTSB report said no abnormalities with the helicopter’s airframe or engine systems were noted by on the on scene investigative team. The aircraft was removed as part of a continuing investigation. Papillon issued a statement supporting the pilot and his family after th accident but would provide no information regarding the flight and whether or no passengers had been dropped off or were being picked up.

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