BHCPD investigating pipe bomb explosion in Riviera neighborhood

    BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– Police have confirmed that it was a pipe bomb that exploded in an vacant lot in the Riviera neighborhood this afternoon. Emergency crews were dispatched to the explosion at 12:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of Diamond Drive, where a plume of smoke was seen.

No one was injured in the explosion, but a nearby mobile home sustained minor damage. The police department bomb team later confirmed that it was a pipe bomb and now detectives are asking for the public’s helping in locating the perpetrators.

Anyone with information about this afternoon’s pipe bomb explosion in the Riviera neighborhood is asked to call the Bullhead City Police Department at (928)763-1999.

LHC man accused of child molestation in Topock

    GOLDEN SHORES, ARIZ.– Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies have made an arrest in a sexual assault case that took place nearly one year ago against a then-13-year old girl. On Monday, the victim’s mother notified the sheriff’s office. A friend of the family, Steven Edward Simmons, 26, of Lake Havasu City was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

The incident is alleged to have taken place at a relative’s house in Topock in Dec. 2014. Simmons is said to be a friend of both the victim’s family in Lake Havasu and the relatives in Topock.

The victim’s mother told investigators that she had only recently learned of the incident and immediately notified authorities.

Detectives made contact with Simmons at a residence in the 800 block of Manor Drive in Lake Havasu City on Wednesday. He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman, charged with three counts of molestation of a child.

AZ Supreme Court Rules Against Mohave County in Planet Ranch case.

     PHOENIX, ARIZ.– The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled against Mohave County in its fight to stop the transfer of water rights from the Planet Ranch subdivision near the Bill Williams River. In a unanimous decision this afternoon, the Supreme Court vacated a lower court decision that had required the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to allow Mohave County to formally object to the transfer.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice Scott Bales opined that existing state law does not give any county the right to intercede on pending water transfers as an ‘interested’ party unless the counties have a specific interest– such as owning land with water rights that would be impacted by such a decision by ADWR. Outside of having a direct interest, local governments cannot intercede on the part of their constituents regardless of whether they feel such a transfer is in the public interest, because state law does not give them that opportunity, the Supreme Court ruled.

The Board of Supervisors has vehemently opposed the water transfer as a dangerous precedent with severe consequences for county residents and taxpayer. By virtue of today’s ruling, the ADWR does not need to take into consideration public interests when ruling on water transfers. It was back in 2010 that mining giant Freeport McMoRan, which owns most of the land in the Planet Ranch area, filed to transfer its water rights it holds at Planet Ranch to wells near Wikieup, which go on to provide water to the company’s copper mine in Bagdad, which is just over the border in Yavapai County.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, (R-Arizona), successfully shepherded legislation that memorialized an agreement between the mining company, the Hualapai Indian Tribe, the state of Arizona and the U.S. Department of the Interior to use part of the transfer to help settle tribal water rights. The legislation was used to ratified the Big Sandy River-Planet Water Rights Settlement Agreement and the Hualapai Tribe Bill Williams River Water Rights Settlement Agreement.

Because federal legislation that was enacted was subject to a Dec. 15 deadline, the Supreme Court agreed to accept special jurisdiction over the case and moved quickly to settle the issue.

In addition to overturning the lower court decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Mohave County will have to pay the legal fees incurred by ADWR, but remanded that part of the case back to the Maricopa County Superior Court, which heard the original case, for a determination of the amount of the award.

Police in Laughlin looking for school burglars

    LAUGHLIN, NV—Las Vegas Metro police are searching for two suspects in a burglary that took place early Tuesday morning at Bennett Elementary School. Not only did the suspects remove multiple items from the school, they also stole a Clark County School District (CCSD) minivan, presumably to help them haul off their loot.

Officers with Metro’s Laughlin substation were first notified of the break in at 12:14 a.m. when a burglary alarm went off at the school. Upon arrival, the officers saw that the school had been broken into. A check of surveillance video footage leads investigators to believe the burglars actually gained entry into the school about 45 minutes earlier.

Metro has released several photos captured by the surveillance cameras and is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects.

The first suspect was described as a black or Hispanic male in his late 20’s. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie and dark colored shorts.

The second suspect was described as a white female in her late 20’s. She was last seen wearing a multi-colored tank top with dark pants. She may have been wearing a back brace and bandage on her left hand.

The stolen Clark County School District minivan is a 2014 white Dodge Caravan. There are CCSD markings on all sides of the vehicle along with the number “2263” on the front and rear bumpers.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Laughlin Substation and ask for Officer Walt Hemingway, at (702) 298-2223. You can also call Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at (702) 385-5555.

There are also other online and messaging systems that can also be used to provide information to Metro. Please visit or TEXT: “CRIMENV” + tip info to 274637 (CRIMES).

Tips directly leading to an arrest or an indictment processed through Crime Stoppers may result in a cash reward.

Barton resigns as BHC Chamber executive director

     BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.—Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Barton has resigned her position to pursue a new career in education, but will remain in the Tri-State area. Barton has accepted a position with Fox Creek Junior High School. She will serve as their ‘College and Career Coordinator.”

Hired as executive director of the Chamber of Commerce in 2010, Barton moved to the Tri-State area from her native North Dakota. During her time as executive director, Barton oversaw significant growth in new membership with aggressive recruiting campaigns that reinvigorated existing chamber members in many competitive, but fun events with positive results. Barton also implemented a variety of innovative programs such as the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, several networking and fundraising events and was an advocate in promoting the Bullhead Area to visitors and residents

“Chris led the Chamber through significant change over the past five years and has been pivotal in what the Chamber has achieved,” said Annette Wegmann, chairperson of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “She will be sorely missed, but we are thankful she and her family plan to remain in the Bullhead area.”

The decision to change careers was not made lightly. Barton said there were “many weeks of soul-searching” before making the choice to accept her new position at Fox Creek Junior High School. She’s excited about her new opportunity, especially since it has been a lifelong dream of hers to obtain a degree in Education.

“During these last five years, with your support, enthusiasm and guidance, as a team we have been able to grow the Chamber, created innovative ways to engage and retain our members, promote our community and the everyday engagement from the various committees, events and volunteers,” Barton wrote in an e-mail to community leaders and chamber members. “I’ve shared a unique camaraderie with many of you which I hope will continue in the years to come, even though I will not be at the Chamber.”

Barton’s last official day with the chamber will be Nov. 13.

The chamber’s board of directors will immediately begin recruiting for a new executive director. Until a permanent replacement is found, the Chamber’s office manager, other staff members and members of the Board of Directors will assist in daily operations, according to Wegmann.

Man driving stolen vehicle out of Texas arrested near Needles

NEEDLES, CALIF.– A Minnesota man was arrested yesterday after leading San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies on a high-speed chase near Needles. The suspect, identified as Orlando Rice, of Rochester, was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Texas.

It wasn’t until the sheriff’s department began investigating a theft that had taken place at the McDonald’s in Needles that deputies were aware of Rice or his stolen car. Deputies were sent to the McDonald’s restaurant at around 8 p.m. for a reported theft that had occurred there. The suspect in the theft had left before deputies arrived on scene, however, eyewitnesses managed to give deputies a description of the car the suspect was driving.

Deputies on patrol in Needles located a vehicle matching the description at a business in the 2400 block of Needles Highway. A deputy spotted Rice as he exited the business, got into the stolen vehicle and drove away. The deputy followed the vehicle onto the freeway, heading toward Arizona.

When the deputy tried to stop the vehicle at the East Broadway exit, the suspect refused to comply and drove away at an increased speed. Other sheriff’s deputies were able to deploy a spike strip at the Park Moabi Road exit. The suspect’s vehicle became disabled after running across the spikes and came to rest a short distance down the Interstate.
Rice was taken into custody without incident.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Needles Sheriff’s Station at (760) 326-9200. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at

Bus accident claims life of BHC woman

     BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– The driver of the car hit by a Kingman Unified School District bus on the Bullhead Parkway has succumbed to her injuries. Bullhead City police say that Mikinzie Cassandra Watts, 25, passed away last night at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. She was airlifted to the trauma center shortly after the accident around 4:30 Monday afternoon.

Investigators believe the driver of the school bus, Joseph Charles Harris, 45, ran a red light at North Oatman Road and struck Watts’ 2002 Dodge Neon broadside as it turned left onto the parkway. His bus was carrying 15 members of a girls volleyball team and was heading south of the parkway at the time of the accident. Aside from a minor bruise, there were no other injuries reported to those on board the school bus.

Bullhead City police are still investigating the accident and charges are pending.

BHCPD looking for two suspects in morning shootout

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– Tri-State area residents are being asked to be on the lookout for two men who were involved in a shooting this morning in the Holiday Shores neighborhood.
Bullhead City police were called to the 700 block of Brill Drive shortly after 8 a.m. after three men exchanged gunfire. No one was injured in the shootout as the bullets apparently hit a house and a parked vehicle.

A 34-year old male victim told detectives that he had received a message from a friend that two other men were on their way to his house to confront him regarding recent conflicts between them. When the two men arrived in a vehicle, they exchanged shots with the victim.

Police have identified the other two men as Bradley Andrew Smith, 26, and Esteban Montijo, 19. Both men fled the scene before police arrived. They are currently wanted for aggravated assault.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact the Bullhead City Police Department at (928)763-1999.

Detectives are continuing their investigation into this morning’s shootout in Bullhead City.

Helicopter goes down west of Searchlight, pilot is okay

 SEARCHLIGHT, NV.—The pilot whose helicopter crashed just off State Route 164 is fine and has refused medical treatment. His helicopter reportedly went down at around 8:30 a.m., about 11 miles east of the California state line.

The pilot walked away from the crash and was located by Las Vegas Metro police at around 12:30 p.m. near a business in Searchlight.

The pilot reportedly told Metro officers that he was working as a contractor for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), using his helicopter to round up cattle in the Searchlight area. Officials with BLM have not confirmed the pilot’s story.

The pilot told investigators that the Bell helicopter was low on fuel. As he attempted to land in a vacant area, the aircraft was hit by strong crosswinds, causing the pilot to lose control.

Metro Lt. John Healy says the helicopter sustained heavy damage as it appears that it was put down hard, about 100 yards off the pavement.

Metro notified the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA. The case has since been turned over to the BLM.

Idaho authorities trying to help bring closure to familes of plane crash victims

BONNER COUNTY, IDAHO– The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has moved the wreckage of the Cessna 182P that went down on a mountain top in northern Idaho last week, killing locally renowned Mohave Valley pilot and businesswoman Tookie Hensley and her husband, Don.

What remains of the aircraft has been sent to an undisclosed location so that federal investigators can examine the aircraft in their ongoing effort to determine what caused the Oct. 8 plane crash.

While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office is still working to provide some sense of closure for the families of those that perished. The remains of the deceased were turned over to the coroner’s office and are being examined.

Investigators with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office were at the site when the wreckage was removed from the mountain top. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said, the investigators were able to thoroughly examine the areas underneath the heavy wreckage and obtained additional evidence before and after the aircraft was removed.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide as much information and closure for the families as possible,” said Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler.

The aircraft went down near the ridgeline of the Round Top Mountain at an elevation of 5.226 feet, about 3.5 miles northeast of the city of Hope, on Oct. 8 shortly after 8 a.m. The flight had originated from an airstrip at the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center in Sagle, Idaho and was en route to North Dakota and then onto Maine, where the three were suppose to enjoy a lobster dinner in the ocean-side village of Bar Harbor. They were then expected to fly down the eastern seaboard with a final destination in Florida.

According to the NTSB preliminary report, the airplane first impacted numerous tree tops then collided with the terrain about 156 feet after making contact with the trees. A post-crash fire destroyed the airplane cabin and claimed the lives of the three people onboard.
Investigators have learned the trio had intended to leave Idaho on Oct. 7, but their departure was delayed due to poor weather conditions. The following day, Don Hensley reportedly told a ranch foreman in Sagle that they were heading to Minot, ND, but because of the weather they were probably going to take a southerly path to avoid the weather as best they could. The foreman also stated that he fueled the airplane to its maximum capacity two days earlier.

Flying across the country in small aircraft is nothing new for the Hensleys or Bird. They routinely participated in cross-country aviation competitions.

Tookie Hensley was the proprietor of Tookie’s Flying Service, at Eagle Airport in Mohave Valley, which offered, among other things, flying lessons for those seeking their pilots license.