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U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled on Wednesday in favor of a former Alamosa Police officer who accidentally shot an Arizona man at an Alamosa hotel in 2010. Blackburn found that Jeff Martinez did not violate Steve Bleck’s fourth amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. Blackburn ruled that Martinez’s intent to subdue the suspect with his hands was a key factor in dismissing the unlawful seizure claim. Martinez and 4 other officers were summoned to the Holiday Inn Express in Alamosa on August 6th of 2010, after being notified by his mental health counselor that Bleck had been drinking in his room and was regarded as suicidal and possibly armed. Officers entered the room using a key and without knocking, led by Martinez, who had his service weapon drawn. Officers ordered Bleck to show his hands and lie on the floor, a command that Bleck ignored. Martinez, still holding his gun, attempted to push Bleck to the bed and accidentally shot him in the hip. Martinez was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in 2010 by District Attorney David Mahonee, who found the shooting was accidental and declined to press charges.
Lucille M. Duran, a former Monte Vista City Clerk, last week lost her lawsuit that alleged she was fired due to animosity that arose after she helped her husband run for mayor. Duran was fired in January of 2010 after she had been the Monte Vista City Clerk since 1994. Her husband, Gabriel Duran, ran for mayor unsuccessfully in the fall of 2009. U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez granted a summary judgment in favor of the city, concluding that Duran had not backed up her allegation. The judge wrote in a 19-page decision that Duran had failed to “put forth some evidence showing that her political activity was a substantial or motivating factor in her employment termination”. Duran alleged that city officials took her job from her because her husband was a vocal critic of them and because she supported his candidacy. The city and City Manager Donald Van Wormer, the defendants in the case, submitted evidence that Lucille Duran was terminated because of cost-cutting measures. Duran claimed that her termination violated her first amendment right to support her husband’s candidacy.
Authorities say that is appears that Joan M. Golenda, 51, the female pedestrian that was critically injured on Interstate 25 in Pueblo on Tuesday, dived into traffic before she was hit by a truck hauling a trailer loaded with cinder blocks. The accident occurred in the northbound lanes just north of the 1st Street exit in Pueblo. Golenda was on life support and was in critical condition last night at a Denver hospital following surgery to amputate one of her arms. Andrew Dominguez, 46, has been identified as the man who was driving Golenda to a north side store when she reportedly became ill and asked him to pull over. Dominguez is engaged to Golenda’s mother. He said that Golenda, who is divorced and disabled, called him three times that morning to take her shopping. Dominguez said that after he pulled over, Golenda got out and dived into oncoming traffic. Authorities say that witnesses at the scene corroborated Dominguez’s story – that Golenda got out of the vehicle and kind of dove in front of the truck that hit her. Police have been unable to talk to Golenda because of her medical condition.
Alamosa School District officials last night issued contingency plans in the event that portions of two new elementary school buildings need to be evacuated because of high winds. A third-party engineering review found that sustained winds over 50mph could cause damage at the buildings, which opened last august. Should the conditions arise after 1:30pm, the district would move the students into the buildings’ respective gymnasiums, which have been deemed worthy of withstanding such winds by engineers. Should the notice come earlier in the day, students in grades K through 2nd would be bused to Ortega Middle School for the remainder of the day. Students in grades 3 through 5 would be bused to Alamosa High School. Should cancellation of classes be required, notice would be given on the radio and posted on the school district’s website. The two buildings were built for $39 million by the Fort Collins-based Neenan Company.