BHC man may face DUI charges in connection with accident west of Laughlin

     LAUGHLIN, NV.– Investigators with the Nevada Highway Patrol say the Bullhead City man who crashed his car on State Route 163 last night will likely face DUI charges in connection with the accident. The 84-year old Arizona resident is believed to have been extremely intoxicated when he drove his pick-up truck into a guard rail three miles west of Needles Highway shortly after sunset.

The impact of the collision with the guardrail caused his pick-up truck to flip over and into a ravine on the south side of the highway. Emergency crews with the Clark County Fire Department rescued the man, who was trapped inside. NHP closed the highway while emergency crews and paramedics attended to the driver. He was airlifted from the scene to UMC in Las Vegas. His current condition is unknown at this time.

The driver’s name has not been released by authorities. The investigation is continuing as Troopers are waiting for results of tests conducted on the driver.

High-impact accident claims the life of a BHC woman

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– Bullhead City Police are now confirming that the driver of the Toyota sedan involved in Wednesday’s high-impact, two-car accident in Old Bullhead has succumbed to her injuries.  Della Rita Weibert, 77, of Bullhead City, has been identified as the driver of the Toyota.

Bullhead City police investigators with the department’s traffic bureau believe Weibert was exiting from the Post Office in Old Bullhead, shortly after 12 noon, when her Toyota was broadsided by a pick-up that was travelling north on Highway 95.

Both drivers were taken to the hospital, however, Weibert was initially listed in critical condition. She passed away a short time after arriving at the hospital.

The driver of the pick-up, Beverly Mast, 75, of Bullhead City, as well as a female passenger, who was not identified by authorities, were said to have sustained non-life threatening injuries. Their current conditions are not known at this time.

Police closed Highway 95 for more than an hour in order to conduct their investigation and clear the scene. Northbound motorists were detoured at 7th St, while southbound motorists were stopped at Home Depot for the duration of the closure. Motorists were rerouted onto the Bullhead Parkway.

The accident scene was cleared and the highway reopened shortly after 1 p.m.

MCSO identify driver in GV rollover accident as BHC woman

GOLDEN VALLEY, ARIZ.– The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has identified the driver involved in Tuesday’s rollover accident on Shinarump Road and investigators have determined there were no drugs or alcohol involved in the crash.

Deputies say that the driver, Olivia Kelly Proctor, 32, of Bullhead City, allowed her 2009 Toyota Scion to drift off the roadway for unknown reasons shortly before 6 a.m. She is believed to have tried to correct the situation, but lost control of the car as it began to skid sideways. The vehicle struck an embankment along the edge of the road and flipped several times, coming to a rest on Kirkland Road.

The driver and sole occupant was wearing her seatbelt, as required by Arizona State law, however, the vehicle sustained severe damage, trapping her inside.

Emergency crews with the Golden Valley Fire Department had to shore up the car with extrication struts before being able to pry the door open with the ‘jaws of life.’

Proctor was lucid during the rescue and was talking with the paramedics. It took crews about 12 minutes to free Proctor, who was initially taken to Kingman Regional Medical Center. She was eventually airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas with a broken neck, spinal injuries and severe facial lacerations.

While investigators have ruled out drugs and alcohol, they do say that excess speed was a primary factor in Tuesday’s accident.

Driver loses control of school bus in Ft. Mohave

FT. MOHAVE, ARIZ.– A Colorado River Union High School District (CRUHSD) bus crashed through a block fence this morning while picking up students for school. No one onboard was injured as paramedics with the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department checked every student. Every parent was notified of the accident and the kids were eventually put on another bus and taken to school.

The accident happened on Lipan Blvd., near the Mt. View Road intersection. CRUHSD Superintendent Riley Frei told tv2 News that the driver reporting losing control of the steering as she turned into a new travel lane. He said the bus was not travelling very fast at the time it crashed through the wall.

The district’s transportation director and two mechanics were sent to the scene of the accident to help determine what happened. The bus will be towed from the scene back to the district’s maintenance yard for a thorough examination.

Frei said, it’s too early to tell if the bus experienced some sort of mechanical problem or if the driver simply lost control while maneuvering the bus.

Deputies with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating.

The driver will undergo drug testing, which is mandated by state law any time there is a traffic accident involving a school bus.

2015 Regatta very profitable, prompts council approval for next year

      BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– The success of this year’s River Regatta has guaranteed there will be a 10th annual event next summer. Bullhead City Councilmembers voted unanimously last night to begin the preparations for the 2016 River Regatta so long as the city’s biggest partner in this year’s event– the Laughlin Tourism Committee– joins the city again next year.

Councilmembers were quick to support another River Regatta after learning the city had turned a profit of more than $200,000 this year. City manager Toby Cotter released the city’s financial report during last night’s meeting. It showed overall revenues at nearly $1.2 million with 83 percent of that coming directly from participants through the entry fee.

The city’s expenditures to host this year’s Bullhead City River Regatta were tabbed at $973,950. Since public safety is the number one concern, providing police and emergency medical services was the most expensive component of the event as nearly $304,000 was paid out to security and police agencies such as Las Vegas Metro, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and the Kingman and Lake Havasu City police departments, which worked side-by-side with their colleagues from Bullhead City during the Regatta.

The massive transportation system that was established to shuttle participants between the city’s parks and the casinos in Laughlin were also a very expensive part of the event. The city’s contract with Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, Inc. came with a $200,000 price tag.

Additional payroll costs for city employees that don’t work in the recreation division, but were used during the Regatta ranked as the third highest cost at $194,810.

Cotter used the financial reports to explain why the city has to charge participants to float down the Colorado River. The city often receives complaints from local residents who challenge the need to charge any fee when floating down the river is free any other day of the year.

“Participants need to pay and they need to understand the tremendous costs for running this event,” Cotter said.

If people float down the river today, the city isn’t providing the same services as it does during the River Regatta, Cotter said.

“We don’t typically ask the Oatman Fire Department or the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department or DPS to provide services for the people who are floating on a daily basis,” Cotter added. “One day each year we ask them to come down and provide this service so the river can be shut down.”

The shutting down of the river provides the security blanket the city needs to avoid added liability costs that would be present if boaters were allowed to mix with the floaters.

Next year’s float is slated for Aug. 13 when the theme will be ‘The Pirates of the Colorado.’

7 killed in flash flood near Colorado City, Short Creek rises six feet in 17 minutes.

COLORADO CITY, ARIZ—Seven people have been confirmed dead and several others are believed to be missing after a strong monsoon thunderstorm swept through the Arizona Strip area of Mohave County Monday afternoon. According to emergency management personnel monitoring the situation in Colorado City, the deceased were in two cars that were overrun by flash flooding near Short Creek, which runs through the town, and other areas to the north and northeast—into Utah.

According to data from the Mohave County Flood Control District, enough rain fell in the Colorado City/Hildale area as part of today’s storm to cause Short Creek to rise from just under one foot, to more than six feet in less than 20 minutes before receding.

The flood control district’s stream flow gauge that is located where Short Creek crosses Central Street in Colorado City reported a flow level of 0.98 feet at 3:47 p.m.

At 4:04 p.m., only 17 minutes later, that same gauge registered the water level at 6.34 feet, which is the highest level of water that has flowed through Short Creek all year.

Colorado City Fire Department rescue crews have reportedly pulled three people to safety, but as many as six others are thought to still be missing. Large amounts of debris that were washed down with the water has hindered the rescue efforts.

The identity of those killed in today’s flood have not been released.

Rescue crews have suspended their search for the other missing residents until morning.

Wife warns dispatchers of ‘shootout,’ but husband not armed and had ‘no intentions’ — both arrested

A domestic dispute Monday morning in the 1400 block of Arcadia Blvd. prompted a large response from Bullhead City police, who were told a possible 'shootout' awaited them.

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.— A couple have been charged with assault and disorderly conduct after a domestic dispute this morning sent several police officers to a residence in the 1400 block of Arcadia Blvd before sunrise.

It all started shortly before 6 a.m. when a woman called police dispatchers to report that she had been assaulted by her husband. She also told them that her husband had told her that if she called the cops, there would be a shoot out.

Since police did not know what to expect when they arrived, multiple units responded to the scene. There were no shots fired. A police department spokesperson said, the husband exited the residence and was not armed and cooperated with the officers. He told them he had no intentions of getting into a shoot out of any kind.

Officers noticed visible injuries to both the husband and the wife. They told police that they got into an argument and began to assault one another. Both were arrested.
The husband, Mark Wayne Hemphill, 56, was held at the police station until he could be seen by a municipal court judge.

The wife, Karen Maureen Hemphill, 55, was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. She was issued a citation to appear in Bullhead City Municipal Court and a later date.

DPS releases names of victims in Thursday’s fatal accident on Hwy 68

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– The Arizona Department of Public Safety has released the names of those involved in yesterday’s fatal traffic accident on Highway 68.

The driver who was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene was identified as Mark Golden, 55, of Kingman. DPS investigators say that he was not wearing his seatbelt as required by Arizona state law.

His passenger was identified as Jason Heinze, 30, also of Kingman. He was wearing his seatbelt and remained inside the vehicle. He was airlifted from the scene of the accident to a hospital in Las Vegas for treatment. His current condition remains unknown.

Investigators say the two men were westbound on Highway 68 in a Ford pick-up truck when, for unexplained reason, the pick-up drifted into the median. Golden overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle about two miles east of the Bullhead City limits. The pick-up rolled over, ejecting Golden.

The accident remains under investigation.

Stabbing suspects sought by Laughlin authorities

LAUGHLIN, NV.—Police are looking for suspects in a stabbing that took place early Sunday morning on the Riverwalk. It happened shortly before 1:30 a.m. when a photo opportunity went bad.

Las Vegas Metro police in Laughlin believe a family was stopped on the Riverwalk to take a picture when the male victim and his friends started to approach the family. The victim and his friends reportedly stopped as a courtesy to not disrupt the family’s picture, however, another couple who was not with the group, apparently didn’t stop and walked right through the photo op.

According to Metro, the Hispanic male and female walked another 15 yards when the female turned back around and began yelling, “what did you say” back at the family whose picture had been interrupted. Metro Lt. John Healy, commander of the Laughlin substation, described the woman as being extremely rude and abusive. She reportedly egged her boyfriend to do something.

The male victim, who was with his group of friends that had stopped so the family could take the picture, reportedly tried to deescalate the situation, however, it only made matter worse. The girlfriend turned her attention to him and began yelling and called her boyfriend over. At that point, eyewitnesses told investigators that the boyfriend pulled out a folding knife with what is believed to be a three-inch blade, and stabbed the victim once in the upper left abdomen area.

After the attack, the boyfriend and his girlfriend fled southbound on the Riverwalk with the victims chasing the suspects. The suspects managed to escape and are now being sought by police.

Healy said his officers are reviewing surveillance video from the different hotel properties to assist in identifying the suspects.

The victim’s injuries were said to be non-life threatening.

BHC doctor to pay $208,000 to Uncle Sam to settle lawsuit

PHOENIX, ARIZ.—A Bullhead City urologist has agreed to settle claims that he falsified invoices to Medicare for more than eight years. Dr. Bashir Azher, M.D. will pay $207,988 to the United States as part of an agreement to resolve civil allegations that he violated the federal False Claims Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona announced the settlement today while filing the formal documentation in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

“This settlement is the latest of our office’s longstanding and ongoing efforts to protect taxpayer dollars and recoup them when misappropriated,” said John S. Leonardo, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.

“When physicians fail to meet professionally recognized standards of care while providing medically unnecessary procedures, taxpayers’ dollars are wasted and the public’s trust in the medical profession is at risk,” said Timothy B. DeFrancesca, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “Our agents will continue to hold health care providers accountable for improper claims.”

Investigators started taking a closer look at Azher’s billing practices after a competing urologist filed a whistleblower lawsuit last summer. Special Agents believed that Azher’s medical practice was submitting potentially false bills to Medicare for prostate laser ablation procedures, which are more commonly known as Green Light prostatectomies. According to the lawsuit, the urologist performed ‘Green Light’ procedures, which removes portions of the prostate gland, with incredible speed.

While the procedure can last upwards of an hour, the lawsuit alleges that not only did Dr. Azher knowingly perform some of these medical procedures in less than five minutes, but also suggests that such procedures were too short to generate much in the way of therapeutic benefit to the patient. As such, the lawsuit contends Azher ‘submitted materially false claims’ to Medicare for reimbursement for several prostate laser ablation procedures between Feb. 2006 and Jul. 2014.

Although agreeing to settle the lawsuit, Dr. Azher is not admitting guilt or responsibility for the billing or the procedures. According to Leonardo, the settlement is neither an admission of liability by Dr. Azher nor a concession by the United States that its claims are unfounded.

Today’s settlement filing allowed the judge in the case to unseal the whistleblower lawsuit which was filed in Jun. 2014. Once it was opened to the public it was discovered that the competing urologist that filed the lawsuit was former Fort Mohave urologist Dr. Arnaldo Trabucco, M.D., under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. This provision of the act allows private citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dr. Trabucco will receive a share of the settlement payment from Dr. Azher that formally resolves the lawsuit the former Fort Mohave urologist filed, which started the investigation.

Dr. Trabucco, who now resides in Florida, recently made headlines in the Tri-State area when his girlfriend and her son, both former Laughlin residents, were arrested in connection with a murder conspiracy they had allegedly planned to carry out against the attorney representing Dr. Trabucco’s ex-wife in an Indianapolis suburb. When the two alleged conspirators were originally caught in Indiana, it was Dr. Trabucco that bailed them out of jail. They absconded but were later arrested by U.S. Marshals in California and Montana. No charges have been filed against Dr. Trabucco in the case, but authorities say they are investigating his involvement.