Tuesday’s Top Stories

Tuesday’s Five Facts

[1] Cause of death revealed for balloon pilot who had drugs in system during crash An autopsy report on the hot air balloon pilot involved in a deadly crash in Albuquerque this past summer is now out. Toxicology reports that came out after the incident showed the pilot, Nick Meleski, had cocaine and THS in his system. His autopsy states the drugs did not cause his death before the balloon hit the power lines. OMI says Meleski died of blunt force trauma with multiple injuries, a result of the gondola falling more than 100 feet to the ground. This indicates Meleski’s cause of death has been ruled an accident. An aviation attorney says there’s no way to know if the drugs were a factor in the crash given that drugs can stay in someone’s system for a significant period after they’re no longer impaired.

[2] Retrial begins for Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan A second trial for a New Mexico sheriff continues on Tuesday. Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan is accused of helping his friend and former City Councilor Phil Chacon hideout in 2017 after Chacon was involved in a chase with police. During Lujan’s first trial in June, the jury could not come to a unanimous verdict. In his second trial, the defense is arguing he was just trying to do this job while the prosecution is accusing him of abusing his authority. Lujan is still the sheriff of Rio Arriba County. It would take a conviction or a recall election to force him out.

[3] Cooler and breezy for some of New Mexico It is a chilly morning across western and central New Mexico with temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Eastern New Mexico is a bit warmer this morning, with temperatures in the 30s, 40s, and low 50s. Skies will be mostly sunny today. A back door cold front will move into northeast New Mexico from Colorado this morning, bringing some gusty winds.

[4] Military medical personnel to assist San Juan Regional Medical Center As the number of COVID cases continue to rise in New Mexico, one part of the state is seeing a rise that’s causing even more concern. Now, a team of medical personnel from the Navy is coming to help with the rise of COVID cases in the Four Corners. The 20-person team includes doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists and will be deployed to the San Juan Regional Medical Center. That hospital went to crisis standards of care earlier this month because of a spike in COVID hospitalizations.

[5] Twinkle Light Parade lighting up Nob Hill this Saturday More holiday traditions are making a return this year. After a two-year break, the Twinkle Light Parade in Nob Hill is returning to Central Ave. on Saturday, Dec. 4. It will feature more than 100 entries of holiday light displays from local businesses, organizations, school groups, and more. The parade starts at 5:15 p.m. at Washington St. and will head west to Girard Blvd.