Nevada Archives:

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — A Nevada judge on Wednesday ruled that undefeated world boxing camp Floyd Mayweather must remain in jail, denying a request that he be moved to house arrest as a result of what he described as “inhumane conditions” at the facility.

Mayweather, 35, turned himself in to begin serving an 87-day jail sentence on June 1st. He pled guilty in December 2011 to reduced misdemeanor domestic battery and harassment charges stemming from an attack on his ex-girlfriend, which was witnessed by two of their children. The plea deal allowed him to avoid felony charges, which could have sent him to prison for up to 34 years.

Despite having avoided such a lengthy sentence, Mayweather had asked Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa to be released from the Clark County Detention Center due to ‘low quality food and water’ which he claimed is threatening his health and boxing career. He also complained of being treated differently due to being segregated from the general population, calling the conditions “inhumane.”

But Saragosa ruled on Wednesday that the emergency motion seeking house arrest did not meet the criteria for modifying a sentence. “The Court finds the alleged dehydration of the Defendant to be self-induced as water is made available to him twenty-four hours a day,” she wrote in her decision. “The Court further finds the estimated intake of only 800 calories per day is also self-induced as Defendant chooses not to eat the food provided.”

Saragosa also rejected the claim Mayweather is unable to exercise while in jail, partly because he is being segregated from the general population due to his celebrity status. “The court finds that while the physical training areas and times provided to the Defendant may not be consistent with his prior regimen, he is indeed provided sufficient space and time for physical activity if he so chooses,” the judge ruled.

Mayweather’s defense attorney Richard Wright had proposed either full-term house arrest or allowing the boxer to serve three days a week in jail and the other days at home. Mayweather, however, lives in a 12,000-square-foot (1,114-square-meter) mansion, where his walk-in closet alone is bigger than his jail cell.

Prosecutor Lisa Luzaich slammed the request during a court hearing on Tuesday. “The defendant’s problem is that he doesn’t get to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He has the ability to exercise in his cell, he just chooses not to. He’s used to working in a gym,” she said. “Well, it’s jail. Where did he think he was going? The Four Seasons? He’s being punished, that’s why he is in jail.”

Some had previously criticized the court for delaying Mayweather’s reporting date so he could spend Christmas and New Year’s with his children. The reporting date was later even further delayed so Mayweather could participate in a Cinco de Mayo weekend fight, for which he was guaranteed $32 million.

Mayweather, a five-division world champion where he has won eight world titles, currently holds the titles of WBC Welterweight Champion and WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion. In his professional career, he has won 43 fights and has never lost.

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LAKE MEAD, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — A tunnel under construction at Lake Mead in southern Nevada collapsed on late Monday afternoon, killing one construction worker and injuring another, officials said on Tuesday. Other workers managed to escape safely.

The accident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time when a small group of workers were setting concrete segments about 600 feet (182 meters) below ground at a project area near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is part of a project to drill a third drinking water supply line to the Lake Mead reservoir, which supplies 90 percent of drinking water in Las Vegas.

“During this process, one of the tunnel segments was jarred loose, and pressurized grout was discharged, striking two of the workers,” the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and its contractor Vegas Tunnel Constructors said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “We have confirmed that one of the workers was fatally struck; the other suffered minor injuries.”

The name of the victim was not immediately released.

Initial media reports suggested more than a dozen workers were trapped and exposed to toxic gasses by the collapse, but the water authority rejected these reports. “All other workers have been accounted for and are safe above ground,” the statement said. “Furthermore, there was no flooding of the tunnel.”

A team of investigators descended into the tunnel on Tuesday morning to examine the site of the accident and determined it was safe for entry. Vegas Tunnel Constructors (VTC) workers are cleaning the space and are preparing to seal the approximate four-inch (10 cm) by two-foot (60 cm) gap where the tunnel ring segment slipped forward, allowing pressurized grout to force through. The company says the concrete segment did not fall into the tunnel.

“The amount of material that forced through the opening was about one-half of a cubic yard (0.3 cubic meter) with some 2-inch to 4-inch (5 to 10 cm) size rock mixed with grout and mud,” the companies said in a statement. “No further material has come into the tunnel. One hundred thirty-three of these concrete rings have been successfully put in place by the tunnel boring machine and crews, with a total of nearly 2,500 expected to complete the tunnel. All of the installed segments are stable.”

The SNWA Intake No. 3 project was launched to relieve drought conditions in the state.

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CARSON CITY, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — Nevada on Monday approved a license application from internet search giant Google to test its driverless cars on public streets and highways, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles said. It is the nation’s first autonomous vehicle testing license.

The license was issued after successful testing demonstrations took place recently on freeways, state highways and in neighborhoods in Carson City, the state’s capital, and on the busy Las Vegas Strip. The department said its Autonomous Review Committee had reviewed Google’s safety plans, employee training, system functions and accident reporting mechanisms.

Besides seeing no driver at the wheel, people will be able to recognize Google’s autonomous testing vehicles by its red license plate with an infinity symbol. “I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the ‘car of the future’,” said Department Director Bruce Breslow, adding that the license plate will only be used for licensed autonomous test vehicles.

Google was the first company to file an application with the department to test their autonomous system, and the testing license issued on Monday is the first of its kind in the United States. Other auto manufacturers have also indicated their desire to test and develop autonomous technology in the near future.

In February, Nevada lawmakers approved regulations allowing for the operation of self-driving vehicles on the state’s roadways. The regulations established the requirements companies must meet to test their vehicles on Nevada’s public roadways as well as requirements for residents to legally operate them in the future.

“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” Breslow said at the time. Several other U.S. states also have similar bills in front of their legislators, but none have been passed yet. “Nevada is proud to be the first state to embrace this emergent technology and the department looks forward to sustaining partnerships as the technology evolves,” he added.

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AMARILLO, TEXAS (BNO NEWS) — A JetBlue captain was locked out of his plane’s cockpit on Tuesday after he apparently suffered a mental breakdown during the flight, forcing the co-pilot to take over command as passengers wrestled the captain to the ground, officials and passengers said.

The incident happened aboard JetBlue flight 191 which departed New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport at approximately 7:28 a.m. ET on Tuesday on a scheduled flight to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The aircraft was carrying 135 passengers and six crew members, including one who was off-duty.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the co-pilot became concerned after the captain exhibited ‘erratic behavior’ during the flight. “The captain had exited the cockpit during the flight, after which the co-pilot locked the door,” the FAA said in a statement. “When the captain attempted to enter the locked cockpit, he was subdued by passengers.”

Passengers told media outlets that the captain cursed at passengers and mentioned countries such as Israel, Iran and Iraq. As he attempted to get back into the cockpit, he also screamed to immediately land the plane, claiming that al-Qaeda had planted a bomb on board the aircraft.

“The pilot ran to the cockpit door, began banging on it and said something to the effect of, ‘We’ve gotta pull the throttle back. We’ve gotta get this plane down,’” passenger Laurie Dhue told CNN. “At that point, the two flight attendants tried to subdue him, and then seemingly out of nowhere, about six or seven large guys stormed to the front of the plane and wrestled the captain of the plane down to the ground and had him subdued in a matter of moments. It was really like something out of a movie.”

After the passengers subdued the captain, who was identified as Clayton Osbon, the co-pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted to Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport in Texas. “Another Captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo, and took over the duties of the ill crewmember once on the ground,” a JetBlue spokesperson said in a statement.

The aircraft landed in Amarillo at approximately 10:11 a.m. CT, after which Osbon was removed from the aircraft and taken by ambulance to a local medical facility. JetBlue on Wednesday said Osbon, who has worked for the airline for twelve years, has been suspended pending further investigation.

The medical condition of the captain was not immediately known, but CBS News quoted an unidentified source as saying that Osbon is undergoing 2 to 3 days of psychiatric evaluation at an Amarillo hospital. “Out of respect for the individual, we won’t be reporting on his situation,” airline spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the FAA, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and local law enforcement are investigating the incident. If Osbon is charged, it would be the first time that a captain has ever been charged with interfering with his own flight.

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RENO, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — Firefighters on early Saturday morning contained a large wildfire in the U.S. state of Nevada, officials said. The blaze destroyed 29 homes and burned nearly 3,200 acres (1,300 hectares) in two days.

The fire broke out at around 1 p.m. local time on Thursday when an elderly man improperly discarded fireplace ashes at his home on the northern end of Washoe Valley, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of downtown Reno.

The fire, fueled by heavy fuels and high winds, forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people in the old Washoe City area, Pleasant Valley, and Saint James Village areas. Washoe County Manager Katy Simon declared a state of emergency within hours, followed later that day by a state declaration of emergency by Governor Brian Sandoval.

Sierra Fire Protection District spokesman Mark Regan said the fire was 100 percent contained by 6 a.m. local time on Saturday. “All evacuations were lifted as of 8 a.m. this morning,” he said. “The Sierra Front Incident Management Team will transition the Washoe Fire over to Reno Fire Department at 3:00pm today.”

Nancy Leuenhagen, a spokeswoman for the Washoe County manager’s office, said the wildfire had burned a total of 3,177 acres (1,285 hectares) and destroyed 29 homes. “The emergency boil water notice that was in effect for Sunrise Estates has been lifted,” she said.

Earlier, emergency crews recovered the body of 93-year-old June Hargis, who had been warned about the fire but did not evacuate in time. She is believed to have died from smoke inhalation, but an autopsy is being conducted to officially determine whether she died as a result of the fire.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez earlier said that an elderly man had come forward and admitted to causing the fire when he threw out ashes in a utility trailer in the area. It was not immediately clear if the man, described as being ‘extremely remorseful’, would face criminal charges.

On Friday, local authorities already estimated that the response cost had reached more than $690,000. Officials expect the damages will reach millions of dollars once a full assessment has been carried out.

In November 2011, more than 30 homes were destroyed when a wildfire broke out near Reno, forcing nearly 10,000 people to evacuate the area. The fire burned some 2,000 acres (810 hectares) and injured one firefighter. One man died of a heart attack while evacuating.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — Five people were killed on late Wednesday afternoon when a tour helicopter crashed near the Lake Mead reservoir in Nevada, federal officials said on early Thursday. There were no survivors.

The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter, which was manufactured in 1989, went down at around 4.45 p.m. local time near the Callville Bay Resort & Marina, about 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) east of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Sundance Helicopters, which operates helicopter services in the Southwestern United States, confirmed that one of its aircraft had crashed while on a sightseeing tour. “Emergency personnel on the scene reported that there were no survivors,” the company said in a statement. “Names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.”

According to police, the fatalities include four tourist passengers and the pilot of the aircraft. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Ian Gregor said the aircraft was on an air tour flight from McCarran International Airport to the Hoover Dam and back.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the accident.

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RENO, NEVADA (BNO NEWS) — A wildfire which broke out near Reno in Nevada this week has destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to evacuate, officials said. The fire was more than 80 percent contained as of Sunday.

The fire broke out in the early hours of Thursday and quickly spread, becoming a three-alarm fire within hours and threatening thousands of homes in the city of Reno. The fire had burned some 2,000 acres (810 hectares) as of late Saturday, and officials said the blaze is now 80 percent contained.

Reno Fire Chief Hernandez said at least 32 homes have been destroyed in the fire, while at least five others have been damaged. “It is important to remember that this is nothing short of a miracle,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “Four thousand homes were saved by 400 firefighters.”

Nearly 10,000 people were evacuated on early Friday morning, but most were allowed to return home on Saturday. Sierra Fire Chief Mike Brown said firefighters expect the blaze, which has been named the Caughlin Fire, should be fully controlled by mid-week.

On Friday, officials said one person had died as a result of a heart attack while evacuating the area. Additionally, one firefighter was also taken to a local hospital with first- and second-degree burns.

Governor Sandoval previously made a state declaration of emergency which qualifies local governments for federal assistance associated with the Caughlin Ranch fire. “Declaring a state of emergency ensures that every resource from the local, state and federal level is available to assist,” he said on Friday.

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SOLNA, SWEDEN (BNO NEWS) — SAS Group, the parent company of Scandinavian Airlines, on Friday announced it will sell more than a dozen of its old aircraft to U.S. low-cost airline Allegiant Air.

SAS Group said it has entered an agreement with Sunrise Asset Management, an affiliate of Allegiant Air, to sell thirteen McDonnell Douglas MD-82, MD-83 and MD-87 aircraft. It has also agreed to sell an additional 12 spare engines.

The order value is more than 20 million U.S. dollars and delivery of the aircraft and engines will commence immediately, SAS Group said. It said the delivery is scheduled to be completed in February 2013.

“This transaction is a further step in SAS’ phase-out program for the MD80 series aircraft which are being replaced by [Boeing 737s] and [Airbus A320s] prior to the commencement of the A320 NEO’s ordered earlier this year,” SAS said in a statement.

SAS has already sold dozens of old aircraft to Allegiant Air, which has its headquarters near Las Vegas. SAS sold and delivered 18 MD-80 series aircraft to Allegiant Air last year, and the sale announced on Friday will bring the number of sold MD80 series aircraft by SAS to 45.

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LAS VEGAS (BNO NEWS) — English race car driver Dan Wheldon died on Sunday afternoon after a massive 15-car wreck at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During lap 11 of the world championship, Wheldon was involved in a serious 15-car accident which also injured three others. Emergency teams had to pull Wheldon out of the race car and airlift him to University Medical Center where he later died at the age of 33.

The accident happened when two cars touched tires as vehicles ran inches apart on the high-banked 1.5-mile (2.4 km) oval. Wheldon’s car, ensnared in the jumble in the middle of the racetrack, flew over another and caught part of the catch fence just past the apex of Turn 2. The incident left cars smoldering and car parts strewn along the backstretch.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced Wheldon’s death, and a five-lap tribute was carried out as 19 drivers drove around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway while bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.” IndyCar officials later ruled the 200-lap race as incomplete, and Monday’s IndyCar Championship Celebration at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino was canceled.

The three injured racers were J.R. Hildebrand, Pippa Mann, and Will Power, who were also taken to the University Medical Center. Hildebrand stayed overnight for observation but was reported awake and alert. Mann, meanwhile had her pinkie finger operated after suffering from burns, but she will soon be released. Power was released that same afternoon after medical examinations.

Wheldon, of Emberton, England, had won this year’s Indianapolis 500, as well as in 2005, when he became the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champ. He is survived by his wife, Susie, two young sons, his parents, Clive and Susie, and three siblings.

The IZOD IndyCar had not seen a fatality since Paul Dana died of injuries suffered in a crash in the race morning warmup at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2006. Wheldon won the race later that day.

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RENO (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Friday said a piece of airframe separated from a World War II-era plane before it crashed during the Reno Air Races at Reno-Stead Airport in Nevada last week, killing 11 people.

The accident happened at around 4.30 p.m. local time on September 16 when a P-51D Mustang known as The Galloping Ghost, being flown by 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward from Florida, crashed into a box seat area in front of the main grandstand. Eleven people, including Leeward, were killed while 74 others were injured.

In a preliminary report released on Friday, the NTSB said the airplane had completed several laps and was in a steep left turn towards the home pylon when, according to photographic evidence, the airplane suddenly banked momentarily to the left before banking to the right, turning away from the race course, and pitching to a steep nose-high attitude.

“Witnesses reported and photographic evidence indicates that a piece of the airframe separated during these maneuvers,” the report said. “After roll and pitch variations, the airplane descended in an extremely nose-low attitude and collided with the ground in the box seat area near the center of the grandstand seating area.”

Investigators from both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examined the wreckage on site in the days after the crash and then transported it to a secure storage facility for a more detailed examination. The investigators have documented the debris field and identified various components of the airplane’s control system and control surfaces.

“The airplane’s ground crew noted that the airplane had a telemetry system that broadcast data to a ground station as well as recorded it to a box on board the airplane,” the report said. “The crew provided the ground station telemetry data, which includes engine parameters and global positioning satellite system data to the NTSB for analysis. The onboard data box, which sustained crush damage, was sent to the NTSB’s Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination.”

Investigators have also recovered pieces of a camera housing and multiple detached memory cards from the airplane’s onboard camera that were in the debris field. The memory cards and numerous still and video image recordings were also sent to the Vehicle Recorders laboratory for evaluation.

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