As the decade comes to a close, the Quay County Sun staff has compiled the top ten stories of the decade.
1. Drowning death of Augie Montiel: The community rallied behind the family of 12-year-old Augustine “Augie” Montiel, who drowned in a local irrigation ditch May 2006. Donald Schutte, former 10th Judicial District Judge, presented a proposal to Tucumcari city commissioners Feb. 12, 2009, aimed at preventing similar tragedies.
2: Air Show: A fatal plane crash Oct. 2, 2006, at the 14th annual Tucumcari Rotary Club Air Show claimed the life Guy "Doc" Baldwin. Baldwin was flying his German Extra 300L and executing a square loop maneuver when he crashed in front of a crowd of 1,100. The crash was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
3. Jason Pacheco: Jason Pacheco, 31, died Feb. 1 2007, from a gunshot he received in a fight on Main Street. James Burleson, a Socorro fight promoter, was accused of the Feb. 1, 2007, killing of Pacheco, a martial arts fighter. On June 11, 2009, a Curry County jury found Burleson innocent of voluntary manslaughter.
4. Logan tornado: At 3:20 p.m. , on March 23, 2007, an F1 tornado injured one person, destroyed 30 mobile homes and damaged a dozen more residences in the Village of Logan. Residents of the town rallied to clean up of the damage. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) surveyed damage in Tucumcari March 27, 2009. Logan Village manager Larry Wallin, estimated the cost of the clean up at $150,000. On April 10. 2007, FEMA set up a temporary office to assist local residents with seeking financial aid.
5. Tiffany Throckmorton: Tiffany Throckmorton, 21, was shot April 24, 2007 and died about an hour and 15 minutes later at the Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital emergency room. Phillip J. Latham Jr., 24, was charged with her murder. On July 18. 2008, Latham pleaded no contest to murder in the shooting death of Throckmorton and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
6. Sands Dorsey : The historic Sands Dorsey building in downtown Tucumcari was damaged extensively by fire on June 8, 2007. An Albuquerque engineering firm recommended demolition of the building for safety reasons. On Dec. 10, 2009, Tucumcari city commissioners asked City Manager Bobbye Rose to seek bids.
7. Olympic athlete: Amber Campbell, who grew up in Tucumcari from 1983 to 1995, gave the city a local connection to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. She represented the United States in the women’s hammer throw. She placed seventh in the competition.
8. Ronnie Hittson: On April 2, 2009, police found the body of Tucumcari truck driver Ronnie Hittson, 51, lying in a ditch at State Road 523 and Sugarbeet Road after a truck driver reported seeing an unconscious male. Brandon Barela , 24, of Roswell was arrested and charged in Hittson's murder. Witnesses said Barela beat Hittson death with a rock after the two had an argument. On Dec. 17, 2009, A Curry County jury found Barela guilty of murder after deliberating less than two hours.
9. Roger Hatcher: Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher said he shot two taser darts at Kailee Martinez, 14, on July 2 while responding to a domestic dispute between the girl and her mother. Martinez was released from Albuquerque’s University of New Mexico Hospital following a two-hour surgery to remove one of the darts from her head. One hit her in the head and the other struck her back. Hatcher was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. The administrative leave was lifted and Hatcher returned to duty July 29, 2009.
10. Pot farm bust: On Oct. 2, 2009, federal drug officials, along with 25 soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard, raided The T-4 Ranch located in San Miguel County and found 1,500 pounds of marijuana. The pot was valued at $2 million to $3 million, DEA spokesman Edward Knoth of Albuquerque said. About 350 marijuana plants were ready for harvesting. T-4 ranch is owned by Yetta Bidegain and managed by her son Phillip H. Bidegain. Yetta said neither she nor her family was contacted directly by any federal agency about the operation discovered on her property. The farm is very remote and she said that area of the ranch is rarely visited because of the rough terrain. KOB-TV-Albuquerque reported people were living in caves tending to the marijuana plants. The caves had running spring water and propane stoves and grill, according to Knoth. The National Guard's helicopter moved the marijuana in three trips.