Local News

Truck Brake Fire Causes Paint to Spill Near Sherwin Grade

A semi truck caught on fire on early Tuesday morning. The incident took place on Sherwin Grade in the southbound lane of U.S. Route 395. As a result, there was a partial shoulder and lane closure. The semi truck caught on fire as a result of the brakes igniting as the vehicle traveled down the grade according to the California Highway Patrol.

Although initially the fire was toward the front of the cabin, flames eventually spread toward the trailer, which contained a large quantity of paint. The paint subsequently spilled all over the highway, which required a hazmat crew to arrive on scene and clean up the incident.

The cleaning crew brought out a pressure washer to clean the roadway along with a vac truck to help with the cleaning. Crews also brought bins to dispose of all the burnt materials and soil.

Both lanes of Highway 395 are now open with no restricted access.

Bishop Union High School Students Receive Awards From Caltrans

BISHOP – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 9 co-sponsored a Trig*Star competition at Bishop Union High School (BUHS) this past April. The competition results were announced on Monday, May 13th, 2019. Trig*Star is a national math competition for high school students based on the practical application of trigonometry. The competition enables students to apply math to real world situations and heighten the awareness of land surveying as a profession. Land surveying is the art, science and technology of locating or determining (by measurement) the shape or size of any portion of the earth’s surface and representing these surveys on maps.

The competition was a one-hour exam, solving problems involving triangles and circles to determine lengths, angles and areas.

1st Place – Thomas Zentmyer won $50, with a score of 94 out of 100 and a time of 29 minutes, 10 seconds.

2nd Place – Nathan Wesling who scored an 88 out of 100 with a time of 33 minutes, 4 seconds, and was awarded $25.

Cash prizes were paid for by the California Transportation Foundation. The competition is sponsored by Caltrans, the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and the California Land Surveyors Association.

Caltrans Senior Transportation Surveyor Sereyna Cagle thanked all that participated, including the 28 BUHS students, and Deidre Buchholz, BUHS math teacher. Caltrans appreciates Ms. Buchholz for her support in introducing the Trig*Star competition to great minds and future leaders! Congratulations to Thomas Zentmyer and Nathan Wesling!

Paraglider Found Dead Near Sierra Crest

On August 14, at approximately 1:20pm, Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received notification of an emergency In-Reach activation north of Striped Mountain near the Sierra Crest, south of Taboose Pass.

Further investigation revealed that the device was registered to Cody Tuttle, a 32-year old man from Swall Meadows above Bishop, CA. Tuttle was reported to be on a paragliding trip to Gabbs Nevada with two fellow paraglider pilots.

Inyo Sheriff requested aerial assistance from California Highway Patrol Inland Division Air Operations (H-80), as well as a helicopter from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI). The SEKI helicopter located Tuttle at 12,600’ elevation and confirmed that he was deceased. CHP H-80 attempted to extract Tuttle, but due to altitude and afternoon heat they were unable to complete the recovery.

On August 15, CHP Coastal Division Air Operations (H-70) responded and recovered Tuttle; he was flown to the Bishop Airport where custody was transferred to the Inyo County Coroner.

Felon Attempts to Detonate Device Near Family and Officers

BISHOP, CA. August 12, 2019 – On August 9, at approximately 7:15am, Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies, and a MINT Investigator arrived at a residence on Winuba Lane to serve an arrest warrant on Allen “Ziggy” Stone, a 29-year old Bishop man.

Deputies attempted to contact Stone in a travel trailer he had been confirmed to be staying in. Stone failed to answer the door and barricaded himself inside. The Special Enforcement Detail was activated to respond, and additional units from CHP and the Bishop Police Department arrived to assist.

Stone exited the travel trailer wearing body armor and holding an improvised explosive device. Stone attempted to detonate the device in his hand while surrounded by family and law enforcement. After a short struggle, Stone was disarmed and taken into custody. No injuries resulted from the incident.

A search of the travel trailer was conducted and an additional improved explosive device was located along with a large amount of handgun and shotgun ammunition. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expert took possession of the improved explosive devices and later defused them.

Stone was transported to the Inyo County Jail and booked on the existing Inyo County felony warrant and additional charges of: attempted murder, assault likely to produce gross bodily injury, possession of destructive device, possession of materials with intent to make destructive device, attempt to ignite any destructive devise with intent to injure, obstructing or resisting executive officer using threats force or violence, felon in possession of body armor, felon in possession of ammunition, violation felony probation, obstruct or resist officer. Stone’s bail has been set at $650,000.

Springs Fire Grows Sixty-Nine Acres

Current Situation: The Inyo National Forest Type 3 Incident Management Organization is managing the Springs Fire. Firefighters continued with holding and mop-up operations through the day. Crews assigned to night shift continued with tactical firing operations, for a total fire growth of 69 acres yesterday. This continues to provide more depth to the control line securing the established anchor point. A cold front is expected to move through the area today and possibly linger into tomorrow, bringing the potential for strong downdraft and erratic winds. Fire managers and crews on the fireline anticipate a growth of approximately 60 acres today, dependent upon the incoming cold front. Early morning light smoke/haze is also likely farther down the hill toward the Benton/Hammil Valley area, possibly as far as the Bishop/Owens Valley. Fire management have based strategic and tactical decision making on historical and scientific data for the purpose of managing for multiple objectives including protection, suppression and resource benefit.

The Who’s Who of the Incident Management Organization: Every Type 1, 2, and 3 Incident Management Organization must have a Medical Unit Leader. The medical unit provides for basic needs at camp, with some units able to go as far as providing cortisone shots for severe poison oak reactions. The basic supplies provided are things such as antihistamines, foot powder, bandages, lotion, and sunblock. These basic necessities provided make a huge difference for a firefighter working away from home for weeks at a time. The Medical Unit Leader also manages the line Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians that are on the fireline for all operational shifts. They render immediate care for any injury that happens, from a twisted ankle or bee sting to a hazard tree falling on a firefighter. The safety of our firefighters is always the top priority on any incident. The Medical Unit plays a critical role in providing medical care to all personnel on the incident.

Soft Closure Order: A soft closure order is in effect for some roads leading into the Springs fire to provide for public and firefighter safety. Forest Roads 1S17 from HWY 120 East to the Junction of 1S04. Forest Road 1S04 is closed from Forest Road 1S17 junction to Forest Road 1S02. Forest Road 1S12 is closed from the 1S17 junction to 1S02. The Springs Fire Incident Commander asks that all motorists observe and obey all posted signs and barricades to ensure for the safety of all public and firefighters

No Criminal Charges Filed Against Bishop Elementary Teacher

District Attorney Tom Hardy announced today that, having carefully evaluated the information from the Bishop Police Department’s supplemental investigation, no criminal charges will be filed against Eugenio Solorio.

 

Mr. Solorio was arrested by the Bishop Police Department on April 22, 2019 on charges relating to committing lewd acts with a minor.  At that time, the District Attorney’s office declined to file charges and referred the case for further investigation.  That investigation has been completed, and it is still the judgment of the District Attorney that there is not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges.

 

“A prosecutor has both a legal and ethical obligation to file criminal charges only if he or she believes, after review of the legally admissible evidence, including reasonably foreseeable defenses, that a reasonable and objective jury would find a suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is a high burden of proof that we take very seriously, and which we do not believe can be met at this time.  If new or additional information becomes available the case can be reconsidered, but I understand that the Bishop PD has concluded its active investigation,” said Hardy.  Even though the active investigation has been concluded, anyone with any information regarding the case is encouraged to contact the Bishop Police Department.

 

The legal standard for an arrest is much different than that for a conviction.  The arrest in this case was made based on probable cause after a forensic interview was conducted by trained law enforcement officials.   Additionally, a search warrant based on this probable cause was subsequently issued by a judge and served by the Bishop Police Department.  The Bishop PD also conducted substantial follow-up investigation.

 

The public is reminded that a criminal investigation does not attempt to address issues of potential civil liability, nor administrative or policy violations, all of which are subject to lower standards of proof.

 

Mammoth Lakes Alleged Child Predator Arrested

On July 22, 2019, Mammoth Lakes Police and Mono County District Attorney Investigators arrested Christopher Adams Libby, 61, for three felony counts of sexual acts with a child under the age of14. In accordance with the applicable statute of limitations, Mr. Libby is alleged to have had substantial sexual conduct with the minor and the conduct is supported by independent corroborating evidence. These acts were alleged to have occurred in Mammoth Lakes between the summers of 2002 and 2003.

During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that there are potentially other victims in the Mammoth Lakes area spanning decades, possibly as far back as the early 1990’s. If you or someone you know has any information concerning Mr. Libby and sexual acts with children, please call Officer Brian Madera and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department at760-970-8413 or Chief Investigator Chris Callinan and the Mono County District Attorney’s Office at 760-858-2127.

 

4-H Auction in Bishop Sees $114,000 Increase From Last Year

The 4-H Junior Livestock Auction was quite a success for both the youth organization and the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds. There was a substantial improvement in funds raised this year, with the sales amount reaching $412,458. This number is up from the 2018 sales, which reached $304,937. 

Add-on money donations also saw an increase from $17,357 from last year, to $23,905 this year. 

The total increase of sales for this year's auction reached $114,069. CEO of the Tri-County Fairgrounds Jen McGuire, gave her thoughts as to why there was such a substantial increase in sales saying, “It goes to show that advertising, working with the kids, educating the public, and changing the atmosphere by moving the bar makes a difference.” 

The 4-H  is a U.S.-based network of youth organizations whose mission is to  "engage youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development". 

Fatal Crash on Highway-6

On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at approximately 12:05 AM, NHP Troopers were dispatched to a serious injury crash on US-6 and Mineral County mile marker 4, near Montgomery Pass, involving two commercial vehicles.

Preliminary investigation shows that a red 2010 Volvo tractor-trailer was traveling east on US-6, approaching Mineral County mile marker 4, in the single eastbound travel lane. For an unknown reason, the commercial vehicle left the roadway, re-entered the roadway, and overturned. The commercial vehicle came to rest across all travel lanes on its right side.

Approximately three minutes later, a red 2017 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was traveling eastbound on US-6, approaching the overturned Volvo tractor-trailer. The Peterbilt struck the Volvo, splitting the Volvo into two. The driver of the Peterbilt (Dario Baez, a 53-year-old Madera resident) succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Due to the extent of the debris, US-6 was closed for an extended period of time. Traffic was rerouted to the outside shoulder until all travel lanes were reopened at 2:50 PM.

The Nevada Highway Patrol is seeking additional witnesses to this crash. If you were a witness to this incident or have any information regarding this collision, please contact the Nevada Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Investigation and Reconstruction Team (M.I.R.T.) at ncwmirt@dps.state.nv.us and reference NHP Case #190700180.

Deceased Male Found at Big Pine Creek

BIG PINE CREEK, CA. June 9, 2019 – Yesterday evening at approximately 8:30pm, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Big Pine Fire Department, Inyo County Coroner’s Office, and a MINT (Major Investigation and Narcotics Team) Investigator responded to Big Pine Creek and the Big Pine Canal for a report of a possible deceased male in the waterway of Big Pine Creek.
Due to the swift current, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was dispatched to assist.  Once water flow was temporarily stopped, personnel from Big Pine Fire Department recovered the deceased male subject who was later identified as Jimmy Williams a 67 year old man from Big Pine, CA.
Foul play is not suspected. Please contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at (760) 878-0383 if you have any information that can assist investigators