AUSTIN (KXAN) — Koala rescues, car crashes, marijuana and homeless legislation and a variety of crime stories topped the list of most-watched videos for KXAN in 2019. See the top 10 below.
(And, a brief note: these Top 10 videos don’t include any of the daily weather forecasts from KXAN’s weather team, which regularly get thousands of views each day.)
On Dec. 20, missing Austin mom Heidi Broussard was found dead in the trunk of a car near a home in Jersey Village, Texas, near Houston. She and her three-week old baby hadn’t been seen for a week. The child was found and reunited with her family, and a friend has been arrested.
A number of other videos featured in this story were in the top 10 for the year.
In mid-November, video of a woman rescuing a badly-burned koala from an Australian brushfire in New South Wales went viral. The woman wrapped the animal in a shirt and gave it water before taking it to a rescue. About a week later, the koala was euthanized because of its severe injuries.
A Hays CISD substitute teacher was arrested Nov. 8 and later fired after video showing her allegedly fighting with a student surfaced online. There were multiple videos, and one appears to show a 16-year-old student making first contact before Tiffani Shadell Lankford punches her multiple times.
A UT student was accused of murdering his mother in a downtown Austin hotel after allegedly blacking out on Nov. 6, Austin police said. The sister of 20-year-old Eyitoluwa Olayeye said she and her mother had visited Austin to check on her brother after his friend called saying he had been taken to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.
A news crew covering a highway crash in foggy west Texas on Dec. 27 came within inches of getting caught up in another crash. The incident happened on Highway 84 in Lubbock County. The tractor-trailer loses control and swerves around the crash — and into the grass as troopers run to get out of the way. Two were hit but are expected to be OK.
On April 29, the Texas House gave final approval to a bill that reduces criminal penalties for Texans who have small amounts of marijuana in their possession. The vote was 103-42 in favor of the bill. However, ahead of the vote Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted the bill will be “dead in the Texas Senate.”
The United States Postal Service said it will investigate after an Austin man complained a mail carrier overstepped her authority with his delivery in mid-February. Surveillance video Nathan Grodowitz has shows a postal worker coming up to his door and trying to drop off his package. The only problem is it happened a full hour-and-a-half after official USPS documents show it had been signed for and delivered.
In July, changes to the way the City of Austin and its police department handled homeless people went into the effect after an ordinance passed that largely decriminalized the act of sitting, laying or camping in public places. The above video documents those changes.
Since then, there have been more changes. In October, the city council voted to reinstate homeless camping bans in certain areas.
Former UT running back Cedric Benson was killed in a motorcycle crash in west Austin Aug. 17. It happened in the 5600 block of Mt. Bonnell Road around 10:20 p.m. Police say a mini-van was trying to make a left turn to cross the intersection when it ran into a motorcycle. Benson and a woman were pronounced dead at the scene.
In early November, the city built a new median nearby to prevent left turns in the area which can have low visibility.
More than 55 people, including a Travis County sheriff’s deputy, were involved in a wreck early New Year’s Day after a 32-vehicle pileup near southeast Austin.
Deputies and other agencies responded just after 1 a.m. to the 1400 block of State Highway 130 for reports of a major collision. They reported that dense fog and zero visibility led to the crash.