Stories That Made Headlines Locally in 2012 - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Stories That Made Headlines Locally in 2012

January: Midland County District Judge John Hyde lost his battle against cancer. January: Midland County District Judge John Hyde lost his battle against cancer.
April: Flames flare up in Fort Davis. More than 20,000 acres were burned. April: Flames flare up in Fort Davis. More than 20,000 acres were burned.
August: Reagan County Deputy Josh Mitchell was killed in the line of duty. The suspect later shot himself. August: Reagan County Deputy Josh Mitchell was killed in the line of duty. The suspect later shot himself.
September: Rainfall drowns numerous vehicles in Midland, Odessa. September: Rainfall drowns numerous vehicles in Midland, Odessa.
November: Train Crash that killed four veterans and injured dozens more. November: Train Crash that killed four veterans and injured dozens more.

Josh Navarro
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Only a day away until the New Year and a lot has happened in news here in the Basin. NewsWest 9 took a look back at some of the big headlines in 2012.

January: Midland County District Judge John Hyde lost his battle against cancer and died. He's well known for writing an opinion on convicted polygamist Warren Jeffs.

Not so special for a former special education teacher, Terri Ragland. The Texas Education Agency investigated after a teacher was being accused of abusing students at Clearfork Elementary School in Andrews.

February: A prayer vigil held at Odessa College after 22-year-old Barnaby Gabaldon, along with his father and brother in law went missing in Ojinaga, Mexico. A family friend says Mexican police pulled them over and kidnapped them. The FBI is still investigating.

March: Emotions were running very high after a jury sentenced Joel Tavarez, Junior, to probation after killing 21-year-old Jen Vela and 23-year-old Perry Jeffrey and seriously injuring two kids while driving drunk.

In another court case, a Midland jury convicted 71-year-old Wendell Neilsen on bigamy charges. Court documents said he was married 35 times and was sentenced to prison.

April: Flames flared up in Fort Davis. The fire charred more than 20,000 acres.

May: A hike in tuition for UTPB. The university president said students would only see an additional $78 on their total bill this coming year.

June: Turning to other types of beliefs to find Hailey Dunn, when her family turned to psychic Gale Saint John in hopes of finding the missing Colorado City teen.

July: The Episcopal Church made a dramatic decision to perform the rite of blessing over same sex couples. The rites were performed in December of 2012.

August: A Reagan County Sheriff Deputy was killed in the line of duty during a standoff in Big Lake. 26-year-old Josh Mitchell was killed and the suspect later shot himself.

A possible solution for the water woes, groundbreaking took place for the T-Bar Ranch project. A 76 mile pipeline will pump water to the Tall City from Winkler and Loving counties.

A sting from the West Nile Virus. The pest swarmed the Basin with dozens infected and killed 46 people.

September: Rodney Crawford, son of a Ward County Deputy, killed two people at a RV park in Grandfalls. He was arrested and later committed suicide in jail.

Meanwhile, torrential rainfall soaked the Permian Basin, drowning several cars in Midland.

October: A missing radioactive rod was found in Reeves County. It had numerous law enforcement officials looking for the rod for weeks.

Pleasure may be turning to prison as Pecos High School teacher John Quisenberry was arrested for having child porn on his computers. He could face 20 years in jail.

A plane not making it to the airport but landing on the street in North Odessa. It ran out of fuel and no one was hurt.

November: Midland and Ector County ISD will be making changes to their schools after taxpayers approved multi-million dollar bond proposals during the election.

The killer of Dick and Peggy Glover was sentenced to life in prison. James Burwell's trial lasted about three days and it only took a jury 35 minutes to find him guilty.

A train crashed into a parade float full of veterans and their spouses in Midland, injuring dozens and killing four veterans. Lawsuits were later filed against Union Pacific and Smith Industries. The NTSB continues to investigate.

Jacob Esparza, AKA 'El Diablo', was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury after threatening area law enforcement officials on a website forum called "Topix."

Corruption for Toyah, as the mayor there, Bartolo Sanchez, was arrested and accused of stealing several thousand of dollars from the city, using it for personal expenses.

December: The man who tried to kill three law enforcement officers and two other people was found guilty. Victor White started a 22 hour standoff with law enforcement officials two years ago at his home in West Odessa. His attorney wanted probation but the jury sentenced White to life in prison.

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