8/27 Local Roundup

Judge rules to proceed with sheriff recall effort
FORT SUMNER — A district judge has ruled there is probable cause to proceed with the recall effort of De Baca County Sheriff Gary Graves. Citizens calling themselves the De Baca County Concerned Citizens, filed a recall petition to remove Graves from office in September 2004, alleging a wide range of offenses, including misuse of public funds and violating the rights of inmates at the county jail.

Following two days of testimony at the De Baca County Courthouse, Judge Joe Parker of Clovis ruled Wednesday that Graves’ conduct meets the probable cause standard required in the recall provisions of the New Mexico Constitution.

Police recover vehicle from Dennis Chavez Lake
Clovis police recovered a submerged vehicle from Dennis Chavez Lake on Friday morning after the car was reported stolen, according to a police press release.

Acting on a phone tip, police discovered a broken gate on the east side of the lake and a set of tire tracks leading to the water, the release said. Located by a police diver, the 1991 Honda Accord was pulled from the lake by a tow truck.

The vehicle was reported stolen from the 100 block of Cedar earlier in the morning.

Anyone with information about the incident is requested to call the Curry County Crime Stoppers line at 763-7000.

Friona man dies in two-vehicle accident
FORT SUMNER — A 74-year-old Friona man died Thursday from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle accident about 9 miles north Fort Summer on U.S. 84.

John Baca was pronounced dead about 2:30 p.m. at Plains Regional Medical Center, according to state police.

State Police Patrolman Jason Blankenship said Baca, who was a passenger in a mini-van being driven by Ruby Cummings, 79, of Friona, died of blunt force trauma.

Blankenship said a four-door passenger car driven by Karla Caroland of Las Vegas, Nev., was traveling southbound on U.S. 84 when it crossed the center line and struck the oncoming mini-van about 12:45 p.m.

Both vehicles rolled over and landed on their roofs, he said.

— Staff and wire reports