This Hour: Latest Arizona news, sports, business and entertainment

This Hour: Latest Arizona news, sports, business and entertainment

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4 killed in New Mexico crash of medical flight

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico authorities say all four people aboard a medical flight were killed when the plane crashed in Las Cruces.

New Mexico State Police say the twin-engine aircraft had just left the Las Cruces airport and was headed to Phoenix before it crashed and burst into flames Wednesday evening.

State Police identified the crew members as 29-year-old pilot Freddy Martinez, 27-year-old flight paramedic Tauren Summers and 35-year-old flight nurse Monica Chavez, all from El Paso, Texas. The patient was identified as 59-year-old Fredrick Green.

Green's brother, Leslie, says his brother had been staying with him in Las Cruces while he underwent radiation treatment for a brain tumor. He says he was being flown back to the Phoenix area, where he lived and was originally treated, because his condition had deteriorated.


Plane stowaway arrested in Phoenix says she's ill

PHOENIX (AP) - A woman accused of trying to sneak aboard multiple flights without a ticket and arrested at a Phoenix airport this week says she suffers from an unrecognized mental illness.

Marilyn Jean Hartman gave teary, often rambling explanations for her behavior Thursday at a Phoenix jail.

The 62-year-old Hartman says she's homeless, suffers from "whistleblower trauma syndrome" and has been medically diagnosed with major depression.

She was arrested Tuesday near baggage claim at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on suspicion of criminal trespass.

Hartman says her last psychological evaluation occurred about a year ago. Phoenix police are requesting a mental-health evaluation for her.

Hartman recently was sentenced to 117 days in jail for violating probation by returning to Los Angeles International Airport, but she was released Aug. 16 because of overcrowding.


Gun teacher killed suffered single shot to head

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The coroner in Las Vegas says the Arizona firearms instructor who died in an Uzi shooting by a 9-year-old girl suffered a single gunshot to the head.

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy told The Associated Press on Thursday that it will take several weeks for blood-toxicology test results to be complete, and authorities were still investigating the shooting.

The coroner said Thursday that an official cause of death was pending for 39-year-old Charles Joseph Vacca Jr. of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.


Group trips across Grand Canyon will need permit

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Officials say groups of hikers and runners who want to do grueling excursions across the Grand Canyon will soon need a permit.

The new rule goes into effect on Sept. 15, with permits costing $175.

The permit applies to groups that have advertised the trips publicly. The size of each group is limited to 30 people.

Going rim to rim means traveling 21 miles on steep, rocky, winding trails, with elevation changes of a few thousand feet.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge says requiring a permit will help park officials educate visitors about trail etiquette.

She says people have abandoned gear and littered on trails. An increase in injuries also has been seen.


Syrian charged in plot against troops is now in US

PHOENIX (AP) - A Syrian man has been extradited to Arizona to face charges of conspiring to use improvised explosive devices against U.S. forces in Iraq.

The FBI says Ahmad Ibrahim al-Ahmad appeared in federal court in Phoenix on Thursday after being extradited from Turkey a day earlier.

Authorities say al-Ahmad was originally arrested in Turkey in 2011 after being secretly indicted in Arizona.

He's accused of conspiring between 2005 and 2010 to supply bomb components to an Iraqi insurgency group for use against U.S. military personnel.

Court records in the case remained sealed Thursday, and FBI spokesman Daniel Musser says he can't say why the case is being prosecuted in Arizona.

Musser also says he doesn't know whether al-Ahmad has an attorney who could be reached for comment.


Tobin holds slight lead in Arizona US House race

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin has a razor-thin lead over rancher Gary Kiehne for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Tobin led by 346 votes out of 48,596 votes cast in the race. Some ballots have yet to be counted.

State Rep. Adam Kwasman is in a distant third place. He has said he'll support whoever becomes the Republican nominee.

The winner will face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the November general election. She already is being targeted by national Republicans in the swing district that runs from Flagstaff to the northern Tucson suburbs.

On Thursday, she challenged her eventual opponent to four debates in the district.

All other congressional races in Tuesday's primary election have been decided.


Gasoline prices in Arizona at $3.43 per gallon

PHOENIX (AP) - Gasoline prices around Arizona are lower at the pumps for the eighth consecutive week.

Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $3.43 a gallon heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend. That's more than 2 cents lower than last week.

This week's national average is $3.43 per gallon, down by less than a penny from last week.

Triple-A analysts say barring a hurricane damaging oil refineries or escalating conflicts overseas, prices should continue to slide downward.

Tucson has Arizona's lowest average gasoline price at $3.29 a gallon and Flagstaff has the highest at $3.68.

South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices among states in the continental U.S. at $3.17 a gallon with Oregon having the highest at $3.88 a gallon.


Phoenix mom regains custody of her 2 young sons

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix woman who left her two children in a hot car while she attended a job interview has regained custody of her two children.

Shanesha Taylor was barred from seeing her two young sons after her March 20 arrest and only had visitation rights before Thursday's court decision.

Bystanders reported seeing Taylor's children alone in her car in Scottsdale and authorities say the temperature inside the car was above 100 degrees.

Taylor told investigators that she didn't have anyone to watch her 2-year-old and 8-month-old sons.

Last month, Maricopa County prosecutors agreed to dismiss abuse charges against the 35-year-old single mother if she successfully completes a diversion program.

Taylor told a judge Wednesday that she's establishing trust funds for the future education and child care needs of her sons.


Jury decides on death sentence in officer's death

PHOENIX (AP) - Jurors have decided on a death sentence for a man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2007 shooting of a Glendale police officer.

The jury reported its sentencing decision Thursday, the fourth day of deliberations in the penalty phase of Bryan Wayne Hulsey's trial in Maricopa County Superior Court.

He also was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison for attempted first-degree murder.

The 40-year-old Hulsey was convicted last month in the killing of 24-year-old Anthony Holly.

Hulsey was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for speeding and not having a license plate. Holly was serving as backup to another officer who made the stop.

Prosecutors say Hulsey got out and fired two shots, one of which hit Holly.


Body found in canal in Gilbert identified as teen

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say a body pulled from a Gilbert canal has been identified as missing teenager.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday identified the body as that of Maxwell Flancer.

His mother reported him missing Tuesday night after Flancer never showed up at his father's home, located about a mile from the canal.

The teen's mother found his hat floating in the canal Wednesday afternoon and called authorities.

A county sheriff's dive team used an underwater robot with a camera and sonar to locate the body.

Gilbert police say the cause of death hasn't been determined yet and the case remains under investigation.


Woman seriously injured in fall at Scottsdale mall

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say a woman is in serious condition after a third-floor fall at an upscale Scottsdale shopping mall.

Scottsdale police say it's unclear if the woman jumped or fell inside the Scottsdale Fashion Square on Thursday night.

They say she landed on some kind of an object that caused serious injuries.

The woman's name wasn't immediately released.

Scottsdale Fire Department spokesman Clint Steeves says the injured woman was taken to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center.

It's the second fall at Scottsdale Fashion Square this summer.

A 65-year-old woman fell two stories to her death in June and police believe that plunge was intentional.


Brothers re-create Arizona steam car ride

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Two brothers have completed a drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon in a vintage steam car.

Chris and Nick Howell say their restored Toledo Steam Car reached the canyon's South Rim around sunset Wednesday, but not without a little help.

Their vehicle had to be towed during some stretches because of rough roads and because they were falling behind schedule. They also had to deal with a flat tire and other mechanical issues.

The Toledo is what Los Angeles photographer Oliver Lippincott used when he attempted the same 60-mile drive in 1902.

The British siblings re-enacted the drive over two days with multiple stops.

Chris Howell says the experience made for an emotional first visit to the Grand Canyon.

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