Crash Update: Avree Koffman, the 16-year-old who survived the fatal crash of June 28, continues to improve at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Her father Dan Koffman, an advertising account executive for SFR, writes that as of July 6, “She’s doing really well. She wants to leave the hospital.” Also on July 6 came the news that Avree’s blood-alcohol test showed a blood alcohol concentration of zero, while Scott Owens, accused of colliding with Koffman’s car and killing her four teenage passengers, had a BAC of 0.16, twice the legal limit. First Judicial District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco had earlier tried to delay release of those test results. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano tells SFR Pacheco “wanted to be able to go before the judge at the next hearing or so and have some tangible evidence that she was doing everything she could to reduce tainting the jury pool” in the event that Owens’ defense requests a change of venue.
DWI Forums: The deaths of young Kate Klein, Julian Martinez, Rose Simmons and Alyssa Trouw have renewed interest in New Mexico’s drunk driving problem. At 5 pm on July 8 at City Hall, the Santa Fe City Council and Board of County Commissioners will hold a special joint meeting “addressing alcohol abuse in our community.” Following that comes a forum on DWI, from 6-9 pm at Santa Fe Community College, in the Jemez Room. The forum is sponsored by Impact DWI, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Santa Fe County DWI Program.
Rise of the Machines: Somebody in New Mexico is hiring! But it’s not necessarily good news. Before the holiday weekend, KQRE reported US Air Force pilots based at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis were flying Predator drone missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. That means New Mexicans are flying heavily armed pilotless aircraft with a computer joystick and raining fire upon people, seen only on a screen, from thousands of miles away. The ethics of such have been called into question, most recently in a May 10 60 Minutes report. And the New Mexico Pilots Association raised concerns as early as November 2006 about sharing airspace with military drones on training missions, unknown to Federal Aviation Administration traffic controllers. The military has for years controlled Predator missions out of Nevada, but it’s less well-known that flights are also directed from New Mexico. Several companies—including URS, Northrop Grumman and Honeywell—are advertising positions related to unmanned aerial vehicles out of Clovis. See the world: Join a faceless military contractor.