News Briefs: September 22, 2014

Albuquerque Police bkg

KRQE News Briefs for Monday, September 22, 2014.

Man pleads guilty to illegal possession of explosives, silencer

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man who apparently had a grudge against police admits he’s been busy in his backyard.

Adrian Griego was arrested in April after police found ready-to-light pipe bombs in his yard near Coal and Buena Vista.

The bomb squad spent hours diffusing bombs at Griego’s residence called “crickets.” These are described as homemade explosives with CO2 cartridges, rifle powder and a fuse.

Officers also learned that Griego had made statements, for example, that he hated APD.

Monday in federal court, Griego pleaded guilty to possessing destructive devices and illegally owning a silencer.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Sections of Avenida César Chávez closed for repairs

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A major stretch of Avenida César Chávez is closed, as crews work to replace large storm drain grates along the road.

The closure is on eastbound César Chávez from I-25 to University Boulevard.

The city of Albuquerque says the grates would make a loud banging noise when cars went over them, and that posed a danger because that meant the supports were giving way.

The city told KRQE News 13 the road closure will last six weeks and that it’s working with UNM to try and minimize the impact on traffic for this Friday’s football game.

Police respond to motorcycle crash on ABQ’s Westside

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police and paramedics responded to a crash involving a motorcycle on Coors and Sequoia NW in Albuquerque on Monday. Drivers were asked to avoid the area and expect long traffic delays.

Restraining order filed over controversial pay raise

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The fight over raises for city workers in Albuquerque is going to court.

AFSCME, the union which represents approximately 2,000 city workers is asking for a restraining order to prevent a raise imposed by Mayor R.J. Berry from taking effect Friday.

The mayor enacted the 3 percent raise more than a week ago along with the city’s most recent best offer after contract negotiations stalled.

While workers want a raise, they say the city also wants to take many of their rights away, including changing the way workers are promoted. The city also wants to force them to give up vacation time to pay for union representatives.

Man allegedly threatens officer with scissors

MILAGRO, N.M. (KRQE) – A state police officer trying to arrest two men for a stabbing was nearly attacked with a pair of scissors.

Police say a group of people who work for the Ancantara Ranch near Milagro were drinking and got into a fight.

They say as they were arresting one man for stabbing someone during the fight, another man, Jilmer Martinez, kicked the bumper of a patrol car. They say Martinez then started circling the officer in a threatening manner and wouldn’t remove his hand from his pocket.

Police say when the officer took control of Martinez’s hand, he was holding a pair of scissors. Jilmer is charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.

King, Martinez square off for first time

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The first debate between New Mexico’s two candidates for governor is happening Monday.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King are squaring off in a forum hosted by the state chapter of a real estate development association.

The debate is focusing mostly on jobs and the economy.

Uber, Lyft fight heads to court

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The fight over the ride sharing services Uber and Lyft is making its way to court.

The Public Regulation Commission ruled that the two groups were in violation of state law and ordered them to stop operating until they got the proper permits.

The PRC argued that they should have to follow the same rules as cab and shuttle companies, but the operators of Lyft and Uber say they are simply ride sharing services that match up people by smartphone.

Jury selection begins in crash case involving ex-sergeant

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Jury selection started Monday morning in the vehicular homicide trial of a former Albuquerque police sergeant.

Investigators say Adam Casaus was off-duty in his police SUV last year when he ran a red light on Paseo and hit a car carrying Ashley and Lindsay Browder.

Ashley was killed and Lindsey suffered a broken spine.

Casaus claims he was chasing a drunk driver, but no evidence has surfaced backing his claim.

Man in serious condition following hit-and-run

TORRANCE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The Torrance County Sheriff’s Department says a man is at UNM Hospital in serious condition following a hit-and-run crash on Highway 285 near Clines Corners.

Deputies say the man stopped on the side of the road to relive himself when he was hit. Police are looking for the driver.

Fewer crimes reported at 2014 state fair

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – State police believe this year was one of the safest state fairs ever.

“We saw a lot less crime, we saw a lot less vandalism to the vehicles in the parking lot,” said Lt. Kevin Bruno of New Mexico State Police. “We saw a lot less stolen vehicles. Preliminary reports right now is that crime in total has gone down significantly from years past.”

Police are crediting that to more officers being visible at the fair this year. They say several agencies worked the fair grounds.

However, there was one arrest that got a lot attention when a state fair worker was arrested last week for allegedly groping a teen girl as she got on a ride.

State police said aside from that incident, the event was more family friendly.

City staff works overtime to ensure military votes

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County military members serving overseas will be able to vote in November.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says there were delays, but the ballots have been sent out.

The delays were due to the Secretary of State’s decision to stop poll questions approved by the County Commission from getting on the ballot.

The state Supreme Court ruled against that decision.

The county clerk says in order to make the fed’s deadline, staff worked overtime which cost about $10,000.

Station could be named after former firefighter

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A new Bernalillo County fire station could be named after a former firefighter.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson is proposing naming fire station number 46 after Lt. Johnny Walker.

The ribbon cutting for the fire station in Sandia Park took place Sunday.

Walker served in the Bernalillo County Fire Department for more than 24 years. Walker had received several awards including a medal for his leadership during the Thompson Ridge fire last year. Walker recently died after battling cancer.

County commissioners will take on the proposal during Monday’s meeting.

Commercial space travel pilots train for future flights

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Commercial space travel pilots have more training under their belt.

According to Virgin Galactic, earlier this month the Mothership White Knight Two Spent two days flying over New Mexico and Texas in a series of exercises to help get prepared for commercial space flights.

Four pilots were involved in the exercises at Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson has been doing his own training to be ready to take a ride to space.

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