KXAN’s Top 10 stories of 2019

kxan top stories 2019

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A missing mom that led police from Austin to Houston; weather problems; the death of a woman who was part of a well-known anti-drunk driving campaign: these are some of the most-read stories of 2019 on KXAN.com.

See the full list below:

10) Jacqui Saburido, face of famous anti-drunk driving campaign, dies

Jacqui Saburido, the woman who became the face of anti-drunk driving campaign after a 1999 crash left her with third-degree burns, died of cancer in April. In 1999, she was coming home from a birthday party when her friend’s car was struck by a teen who had been drinking. Two passengers died and Saburido was badly burned.

Saburido spent most of the rest of her life advocating for the Texas Department of Transportation’s campaign urging people not to drink and drive. She appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” twice and it is estimated that at least one billion people have heard her story. 

9) Man accused of carrying numerous weapons into downtown Austin park

A man was arrested Aug. 14 after allegedly carrying several weapons into a downtown Austin park.

According to official court documents, police located 23-year-old Dalton Broesche walking through Pease Park off North Lamar Boulevard, carrying a loaded nine millimeter handgun, an extra magazine for the pistol, an expandable metal baton, two knives, a flashlight and black gloves. Broesche was taken into custody and charged with two counts of unlicensed carrying of a weapon for a pistol and a baton found in his possession.

8) Friday weather timeline: Flooding, water rescues happening across Central Texas

Two tornadoes touched down in Fayette County May 3, causing damage in the area, according to reports. One touched down at 8:20 a.m. in Flatonia while the other hit at 9:07 a.m. in La Grange and damaged multiple industrial buildings. KXAN found significant damage at McCourt & Sons on Highway 71 west of La Grange and at Mount Zion church in La Grange.

The storm then moved through Austin, resulting in some flooding, power outages and 18 water rescues.

7) FBI raids World Class offices in Austin

FBI raid at World Class Holding offices (Austin Business Journal Photo)

KXAN and the Austin Business Journal reported the FBI raided the offices of World Class Holdings Aug. 14, a high-flying real estate firm that has amassed a head-turning amount of property over the past decade.

Federal investigators visited the offices of Nate Paul’s commercial real estate company at Ninth and Lavaca streets, according to multiple sources, including one with inside knowledge of World Class’ business.

No arrests were made, and while an FBI spokeswoman confirmed they had conducted a law enforcement operation near Congress Avanue and Fourth Street, she said she couldn’t discuss why.

6) Missing mom found dead near Houston, baby daughter safe, longtime friend arrested

Maygen Humphreys aka Magen Fieramusca and Heidi Broussard (Courtesy Caressa Nolte and Rachel West)
Maygen Humphreys aka Magen Fieramusca and Heidi Broussard (Courtesy Caressa Nolte and Rachel West)

Heidi Broussard, an Austin mother who had been missing since Dec. 12, was found dead in the trunk of a carDec. 20 near a home in Jersey Village, Texas, which is near Houston. While Austin police would not confirm the identity of a suspect in the case, a woman who was a friend of Broussard’s was arrested on charges that match those of the suspect. That friend, Magen Fieramusca, was booked into the Travis County Jail.

Broussard’s 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, was found alive in good condition. She was reunited with family.

5) Police looking for 3-week-old baby taken by a family member from Austin hospital

Brittany Smith Brandy Galbert
Brittany Smith (L) and Brandy Galbert (R) face charges felony charges after Smith’s newborn son briefly went missing. (Image from Austin Police Department)

In August, authorities asked the public for assistance tracking down a 3-week-old baby taken by a family member from the hospital three days after being delivered.

According to police, the baby’s mother checked into a local hospital under a false name and gave birth to her son on July 19. The mother’s cousin then took the child, police say. On July 24, Child Protective Investigations issued a court order to remove the child from Smith’s custody. The case sparked a statewide Amber Alert and led to the arrests of the child’s mother and cousin.

4) First Warning: Cold front and rain may break historic heatwave

Forecast showing potential cold front and rain at the beginning of Labor Day weekend (Saturday Aug. 31)

KXAN Meteorologist David Yeomans wrote up a first-warning weather blog about a Labor Day weekend cold front headed toward Central Texas. The front came after a streak of 100° days.

Ultimately, September ended up breaking records: as the hottest September on record, with more 100° days in the month than ever before.

3) Reminder! Your driver’s license needs a star if you want to use it to travel next year

An example of a REAL ID compliant Texas Driver License (image courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety)

If you don’t have a gold star on your state-issued ID or driver’s license, it won’t be valid as a form of identification when you travel after October 2020.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport issued a reminder in June for travelers to update their state-issued ID or driver’s license to comply with the 2005 REAL ID act, which created minimum security standards for state-issued IDs. 

2) Weather causes Central Texas school delays Tuesday, Nov. 12

School delays during winter weather warning Tuesday Nov. 12

More than 35 Central Texas schools and districts delayed school in mid-November because of weather. Superintendents in the area had multiple conference calls throughout the night to share their decision making for their own district. The Texas Department of Transportation also had crews pre-treating roads as conditions warranted.

1) UPDATE: Eight-year-old Fort Worth girl abducted Saturday evening has been found safe

Blue file police lights

A suspect was arrested after an 8-year-old girl was kidnapped while walking with her mother in Fort Worth in mid-May.

The girl was found safe after two church members helped locate the suspect’s car at a hotel. Several law enforcement agencies, including homeland security, searched for the girl overnight. 

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