Headlines – October 17, 2023

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Pueblo Train Derailment Probe Begins

It could be days or even weeks before the north and southbound lanes of I-25 near Pueblo reopen to traffic.

The freeway is blocked due to a train derailment on Sunday. On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board opened an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

The derailment is believed to have led to the collapse of a railroad bridge over the freeway, which in turn killed the sixty-year old driver of a semi-trailer.

Six to seven railroad cars, and the coal they carried crashed onto the freeway, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Governor Jared Polis said the top priority now is getting the freeway re-opened. But he acknowledged that can’t happen until state and federal investigators complete an on-site inspection. Once they’re done, crews can begin removing debris.

In the meantime, drivers are being routed around the scene of the derailment.

The governor also gave his condolences to the family of the truck driver who died.

Opening Arguments In Nathan Woodyard Trial

Opening arguments begin today in the trial of another of the police officers charged in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain.

Former Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard is charged with reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in McClain’s death. Woodyard was the first officer to arrive at the scene of what turned into a fatal arrest attempt.

Former officer Randy Roedema was convicted of similar charges last week. Former officer Jason Rosenblatt was acquitted.

All three pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Woodyard put the 23-year-old McClain in a neck hold that made him lose consciousness. Paramedics also came to the scene, and injected McClain with a powerful sedative that may have contributed to his death. The paramedics will be tried next month.

Elijah McClain was not suspected of any wrongdoing. Police were summoned after someone who saw him walking home from a convenience store called 911.

Colorado Supreme Court Search Warrant Ruling

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled in favor of law enforcement, in a case involving a so-called “reverse keyword” search warrant. The ruling will allow a murder case against two teenagers to move forward.

The Court ruled that data from a Google search warrant, used to arrest the suspects in connection with the Green Valley Ranch house fire that killed a family of five in 2020, is admissible as evidence.

9news reports that according to the majority opinion, “law enforcement obtained and executed the warrant in good faith and the evidence shouldn’t be suppressed under exclusionary rule.”

In this case, the Denver Police Department used the reverse-keyword warrant to obtain from Google a list of Colorado IP addresses that had searched the location of the blaze over a two-week window before the fire happened.

The digital information was used by law enforcement to track down and charge the suspects. It’s a decision that could have broad implications in how investigators use digital technology to help crack cases beyond this case. 

According to Denver7, many legal experts believe this is a case that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Biden Postpones Colorado Visit

President Joe Biden has postponed a scheduled visit to Colorado, as he focuses on the growing crisis between Israel and Gaza.

The president had been due in Pueblo yesterday, to tour its CS Wind factory. 

In announcing the postponement, the White House said the United States must concentrate on evacuating Americans from Israel, after the attack by Hamas and the resulting conflict. The president is expected to travel to Israel and Jordan tomorrow.

 

Hernández Apologizes For Attending Rally

State Representative Tim Hernandez has apologized for failing to condemn the attacks by Hamas.

In a video posted to social media Friday, the Denver democrat said that people who are harmed and suffering deserve respect. He went on to condemn Hamas for the October 7th attack. At least 1,400 have died in Israel, and more than 2,700 in Gaza, according to the Associated Press.

Hernandez, a Denver democrat, was severely criticized for attending a rally in support of Palestinians, and there have been calls for his expulsion from the Colorado House of Representatives.

The legislature is currently not in session. They reconvene in January.

Tattered Cover Bankruptcy

A beloved Denver bookstore, where for years readers have found bestsellers and countless other titles, has filed for bankruptcy.

The Tattered Cover has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, and will be closing three of its stores in the coming weeks.

The bookstore chain owes hundreds of creditors between one and ten million dollars, according to 9News, which cited bankruptcy filings.

The Tattered Cover first opened in 1971 and has seven stores. Locations in Westminster and Colorado Springs will close on Saturday, and the store in McGregor Square will close on October 28th.

The store was purchased by an investment group in 2020.

New DIA Car Rental Site

Denver International Airport has announced the site for what’s being billed as a one-stop-shop for car rentals at the airport.

The new facility will be a multi-level structure, housing all of the car rental companies serving the DIA.

Airport officials said in a press release yesterday that the car rental companies need more room to meet rising demand.

At present there are five car rental brands at the airport itself, and several more off-site. Their services will be consolidated at the new location, which is now an employee lot on 78th Avenue north of Pena Boulevard.

A request for proposals will begin late next year.

John Kelin

John Kelin

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