<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Texas News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/feature/texas-news http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usSat, 10 Dec 2016 18:55:44 -0600Sat, 10 Dec 2016 18:55:44 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Border Patrol Seizes 1,380 Pounds of Marijuana, Worth $1.1M]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:36:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/marijuana+grow+house.jpg

Border Patrol agents seized 1,380 pounds of marijuana valued at $1.1 million after seeing several people load the drugs into a car near the Rio Grande in Los Indios, Texas.

The driver of the drug-smuggling vehicle was a 15-year-old male from Mexico who was turned over to the local police department after being caught by Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agents were patrolling Los Indios, located far south near the border, when they spotted the juvenile and some others loading the bundles of marijuana into the car. They followed the vehicle and pulled the man over.

The juvenile tried to run from agents after being pulled over, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“This is a prime example of how transnational criminal organizations are exploiting the youth,” said Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. “These young lives are deliberately put in danger for the profit of smuggling drugs and immigrants.”

The drugs were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

<![CDATA[Balloon Pilot Was on 10 Medications: Experts ]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:37:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/584726904-texas-balloon-crash-response.jpg

The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas in July, killing 16 people, was taking medications that should have precluded him from flying, medical experts testified at a federal hearing on Friday.

Experts also testified that Alfred "Skip" Nichols, who was killed along with 15 passengers, went up in the balloon despite knowing that the weather wasn't good.

The six-hour hearing is part of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the July 30 accident in which the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.

Nichols suffered from high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, depression, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain, according to an NTSB report presented at the hearing. He was prescribed at least 10 different drugs for his ailments, including insulin and oxycodone. Medical experts told NTSB officials that some of the medications Nichols was taking, including oxycodone, would have disqualified him from flying because they would have affected his ability to think and make decisions.

It's not clear whether the 49-year-old pilot was impaired during the early morning flight. A final NTSB report won't be issued until early next year.

Nichols flew on a day when the cloud ceiling was 700 feet and the forecast didn't call for the sky to clear.

"When this accident pilot received a weather briefing, the weather briefer said, 'Yeah, those clouds may be a problem for you. don't know how long you plan to stay, but .' and then the pilot replied, 'Well, we just fly in between them. We find a hole and we go,'" said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt.

Several experts testified that they would not have flown in that weather.

"Going in and out of the clouds really is not an option and it's not a very comfortable feeling as a pilot being up there and being faced with that type of choice," said Scott Appelman, owner of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company, one of the largest hot air balloon operators in the United States.

Nichols had at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spent time in prison.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[West Texas City Comes Under Fire for Cross in Public Park]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:11:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*123/070625_faithbased_hmed_8a.h2.jpg

A West Texas city is coming under scrutiny for a cross that sits in a public park.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote Spur officials in July after a resident contacted the foundation to complain, staff attorney Sam Grover said Thursday. The cross on public land violates the Establishment Clause of the constitution's First Amendment, he said.

The foundation has no problem with the cross -- about 12 feet tall atop a hill in the park -- if it's on private land.

City officials are not commenting on the situation, city clerk Laura Adams said. A message left at city hall for on Mayor Steven L. Bland was not immediately returned.

The city didn't respond to the July letter or to a follow-up inquiry Oct. 21, Grove said.

"As long as the cross remains on public property the city is exposing itself to legal liability," he said. "They're breaking the law and anyone within the community could sue and win in court."

Spur is a farming and ranching community of about 1,300 residents approximately an hour east of Lubbock.

One Spur resident said everyone in town he's spoken with believes the cross doesn't violate the First Amendment.

"We want the cross left there," 71-year-old Jackie Rumbaugh said. "We think it is good."

The foundation has ongoing lawsuits over crosses in other municipal parks. In April, it sued Santa Clara, California, and in May it sued Pensacola, Florida.

The July letter to Bland stated that a majority of federal courts have ruled that displays of crosses on public property are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The Latin cross in Swenson Park, which has been there for decades, "confers government endorsement of Christianity" and is a "blatant violation" of the Establishment Clause, the letter states.

"The cross has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christians and non-believing residents of Spur political outsiders," the letter states.

Grove declined to say whether the foundation will sue the city if the cross isn't moved. He did speak to the possibility, though.

"These lawsuits are often expensive," he said. "There's no reason for them to spend taxpayer dollars defending a constitutional violation. The solution is simple: move the religious display to private property."

This fall the nationwide nonprofit with about 24,500 members objected to a display of the Ten Commandments in a high school in the West Texas town of O'Donnell, 67 miles southwest of Spur. To avoid a lawsuit, the school district used an American flag to cover up the display.

A local businessman bought a Ten Commandments monument, which is now displayed across the street from the high school's front entrance on private property.

Photo Credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Real-Life Reindeer Involved in Nolan County Crash]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:06:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Reindeer+Crash+Crop.jpg

A truck hauling a real-life reindeer in a trailer was involved in a wreck on a slick roadway in Nolan County Thursday.

The wreck happened on Interstate 20 about 11 miles east of Sweetwater in the westbound lanes.

The driver, Robert O'Neil, said he was crossing an overpass when he hit a patch of ice, causing the back end of the truck to slide and hit the wall of the bridge.

No humans or the reindeer, aptly named Dasher, were injured in the crash.

O'Neil says he was transporting the reindeer from Burleson, Texas to an event in Eunice, New Mexico on behalf of a business called Dasher and Friends, which provides live reindeer for holiday parties and other events.

The Sweetwater Fire Department and a Department of Public Safety trooper responded to help change O'Neil's tire after the crash.

Photo Credit: KTAB/KRBC]]>
<![CDATA[53-Pound Snapping Turtle Saved From Pipe]]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 21:22:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_34628947.jpg

A 53-pound snapping turtle is recovering at a Houston wildlife rehabilitation center after fire-rescue crews saved it from a drainage pipe.

The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the specimen, one of a threatened species known as alligator snapping turtles, was found wedged Tuesday in the pipe in a new residential development near Hockley, about 35 miles northwest of Houston.

Fire-rescue crews used a spreader to open the pipe enough to remove the turtle, which had struggled to keep its head above water. Several drowned alligator snapping turtles flowed from the newly unblocked pipe.

The SPCA said it also is rehabilitating one other alligator snapping turtle, which had an embedded fish hook and other serious wounds. Both will be returned to the wild after recovering.

Photo Credit: drewthehobbit, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Silver Alert Issued for 73-Year-Old Man]]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:46:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rudy-ortiz.jpg

A Silver Alert was issued for a 73-year-old man who went missing in San Antonio.

San Antonio police said Rudy Ortiz was last seen driving a Chevrolet Caprice Classic with the Texas license plate DK4S843 at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz was described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and 180 pounds with gray-and-black hair, green eyes and a scar on his cheek. He was last seen wearing a gray T-shirt, black jacket, black pants and white tennis shoes.

Police said Ortiz was diagnosed with a cognitive impairment and are concerned about his safety.

San Antonio police asked anyone with information about Ortiz' disappearance to call them at 210-207-7660.

Photo Credit: San Antonio Police Department | Shuttershock]]>
<![CDATA[Border Counties Prepare For Zika-Related Birth Defects]]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:26:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543392276-Mosquito.jpg

Even before the state's first locally transmitted case of the Zika virus in Cameron County was confirmed Monday, border counties have been preparing for the worst-case scenario: an increase in babies born with birth defects related to the mosquito-borne illness.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued in October a health alert encouraging health care providers in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties to consider Zika virus infection in their patients and order testing as medically indicated.

In Hidalgo County, home to the largest number of "colonias," residential areas along the Texas-Mexico border that may lack some of the most basic living necessities, public health officials said they've been in close contact with the DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure local providers have the latest information on the spread of the virus.

Forty-five percent of Hidalgo County residents have little or no insurance, according to Eddie Olivarez, chief administrative officer of Health and Human Services in Hidalgo County. 

"The worst-case scenario is you're going to have a family that totally distraught about their child being born with a major neurological birth defect. When is anybody really prepared for that? You're not," said Olivarez.

He said they've strengthened communication with federally qualified clinics, community agencies and hospital networks.

"We've actually sent old-school mail, where we've actually mailed the letters to all the obstetricians and family doctors that work with them [pregnant females], because we have more than 800 physicians in our county, so our focus has been with those who work with that population," said Olivarez.

He hopes ongoing education about Zika will prevent a potential health crisis, which is why community advocate and colonia resident Lourdes Salinas has spent months spreading awareness about the dangers of the virus in her neighborhood.

"We passed the fliers. We tell them, 'You know what? Protect yourself, get inside the house early, put repellent. Do whatever you need to do because you're not going to have the assistance that you need if a baby comes with birth defects," said Salinas.

South Texas is considered the front line of the virus because local transmission has been reported in neighboring cities across the border in Mexico.

The Rio Grande Valley is dealing with a surge of illegal border crossings.
Plus, many residents go back and forth from Texas to Mexico weekly, even daily.

DSHS said the Rio Grande Valley is considered to be at higher risk for Zika transmission because of previous outbreaks of dengue, a similar virus spread by the same type of mosquito.

A spokesperson for South Texas Health System, the largest health system in Hidalgo County, said Zika education is now a part of childbirth classes.

"Every pregnant woman has an Infectious Disease Screen performed and questions are asked about travel and any signs or symptoms of infection (acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis)," said spokesperson Cari Lambrecht in an email to NBC 5. 

"Our neonatology team specializes in care of newborn infants, especially those with acute needs, such as premature or underweight infants, those with congenital birth defects and infants with serious illnesses. Any baby born with microcephaly due to Zika virus, would be provided standard NICU care and would have imaging series performed and would involve a consult with a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist," said Lambrecht.

As of Nov. 29, 2016, two cases of travel-related Zika have been reported in Hidalgo County.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Matthew McConaughey Gives UT Students a Safe Ride Home]]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:02:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JAYTESTpicture1.jpg

Actor Matthew McConaughey is once again showing his love for his alma mater, this time giving some students at the University of Texas a ride home.

McConaughey recently surprised the group of students by showing up in a golf cart to give them a ride.

UT's SURE Walk program program, which stands for Students United for Rape Elimination, offers volunteers to walk, or drive, students home from campus every day of the week between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.

The University of Texas Student Government posted a picture of the actor and students on its Facebook page Monday with the the caption: "Longhorns take care of each other, and it's 'safe' to say Matthew McConaughey agrees..."

In June, UT announced on social media that McConaughey would be teaching a film course -- which consisted of taking 30 students behind the scenes of "The Free State of Jones" through recorded videos, the university also said he would make at least one visit to campus for the class.

The 1993 Texas grad has a home in Austin and can often be seen on the sidelines at Longhorns football games.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for "The Tonight Show", File
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<![CDATA[1 Dead After Shots Fired Into South Texas Grocery Store]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:33:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/store+shooting.jpg

South Texas authorities say a grocery store employee faces charges of murder and attempted murder after he fired into a break room at the store, killing a co-worker and injuring three others.

Palmview police Chief Christopher Barerra says the shooting at the H-E-B store happened at about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

He says the suspect, 25-year-old Raul Lopez, fled, then called 911 to confess.

Barrera says Lopez surrendered outside of his home at about 4:30 a.m.

Barrera says 48-year-old Mario Pulido was pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the injured were in critical condition and the other suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers recovered the weapon after the suspect drew them a map of where he had thrown it after the shooting.

Photo Credit: KVEO]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Jumps Out of Plane on Arrival in Houston]]> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 03:58:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/woman+jumps+outta+plane.jpg

A passenger on board a United Airlines flight is in police custody after pulling open the emergency exit door and jumping out of the plane on arrival at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

The incident happened about 1:15 p.m. Monday just as the plane arrived from New Orleans.

The plane was waiting for the final taxi into its gate when the woman pulled open the overwing emergency exit door and jumped out.

Airport surveillance video, she can be seen running across the tarmac toward the terminal.

Video from inside the plane shows the aftermath, and the missing door in the emergency row.

It's still unclear why the woman jumped out of the plane.

The FBI is no longer involved in the investigation as it was determined not to be a threat to national security.

Photo Credit: KPRC]]>