Headlines – October 20, 2023

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Loopholes In Colorado Police Certification 

A new investigation by Colorado News Collaborative, and several other news outlets, shows that loopholes in the Peace Officer database allows officer misconduct to go undocumented in Colorado.

The Peace Officer Standards and Training board, or POST, a state agency, maintains the database. Attorney General Phil Weiser oversees POST and certifies officers to make arrests.

 

Remains Returned To Native Tribes

Western Colorado University will return the remnants of 25 individuals and over 100 cultural artifacts to Native American tribes.  The University’s museum has held the items for over a century. 

The body remnants and artifacts were donated to the university in the 1920s by an alumnus after his brother stole them from their burial sites. 

The university received an $81,000 grant to redistribute the items to the Southern Ute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and the Pueblo of Zia.

Senior Lecturer of Anthropology at Western Colorado University Dr. David Hyde told 9News that the remnants of the individuals don’t belong at the university, but rather with their descendants, and their return is part of the healing process.

 

I-25 Reopens As Derailment Investigation Continues

I-25 north of Pueblo is open to traffic in both directions today.

The derailment last Sunday caused a railroad bridge over the freeway to collapse, which killed a sixty-year-old driver of a semi-trailer and closed the freeway in both directions.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said on Tuesday that the cause of the train derailment appeared to be a broken rail on the track, just east of the railroad bridge spanning the freeway.

The Denver Post is reporting now that workers with BNSF Railway, the company that owns the derailed train and the track, tested the track last Sunday, just hours before the accident.

Their tests involved ultrasonic equipment considered the industry standard. One expert said the equipment is state of the art, with a 99.99% accuracy rate.

At the same time, investigators are still not sure who owns the collapsed bridge, which was built in 1958. The Denver Post says that according to state records, the bridge’s rating before the collapse was “poor.”

Federal investigators are expected to issue a preliminary report on the derailment within a few weeks but their investigation may continue to at least another year.

 

Rock Throwing Suspects Go To Trial

A Jefferson County judge has ruled there is enough probable cause for the suspects in the rock throwing death of a 20-year-old woman to stand trial.

Joseph Koenig,  Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak are facing 13 charges for the death of Alex Bartell last April. Bartell was driving on roads between Jefferson and Boulder County when a large rock went through her windshield, causing her to veer off the road and crash in a field. 

According to prosecutors, the suspects hit seven vehicles with “large landscaping rocks” during a rock-throwing spree. Each of the suspects was 18 years old when arrested and face first degree murder and multiple counts of assault, among other charges. 

Each suspect will be tried separately. The next hearing is scheduled for December.

 

New Rule Proposes Electric Vehicles In Colorado

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission will hear a new rule drafted by state officials that requires 80% of all new manufactured vehicles in the state to be electric by 2032. According to the Colorado Energy Office, the rule was proposed as a strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is supported by Gov. Jared Polis. 

If passed, starting in 2027,  manufacturers could only sell new, approved electric vehicles.  You will continue to be allowed to buy used gas powered vehicles or buy them out of state. 

According to The Denver Post, opponents of the rule, like car dealership owners, say they’re worried about electric vehicle affordability for low income families.

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Ivonne Olivas

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