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Pilot in deadly Texas balloon crash had opiate drugs in system

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The man piloting a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas in July, killing himself and 15 others, tested positive for opioids and also had a history of drug or alcohol related traffic offenses, federal investigative records show.

The documents released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board showed that 49-year-old pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols had Oxycodone in his system, along with medications for an array of conditions like attention deficit disorder (ADD) and depression.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines indicate that a pilot should not fly while using sedatives like Oxycodone, most antidepressants, or medications for ADD, the documents said.

In addition, records indicated that Nichols, “had a history of multiple alcohol and drug related traffic and non-traffic offenses, resulting in convictions and two subsequent periods of incarceration.”

The balloon hit a power line the morning of July 30 and plummeted in flames into a pasture near Lockhart, about 30 miles (50 km) south of the state capital Austin.

The accident killed all 16 people on board, making it the deadliest crash ever involving a hot air balloon in the Western Hemisphere, according to the Balloon Federation of North America.

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Records in Missouri’s St. Louis County showed that Nichols had pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges at least three times between 1990 and 2010 and several other vehicular charges.

In 2000, he pleaded guilty to a drug-related charge and spent time in prison, according to criminal records.

Following his 2010 conviction for drunk driving, Nichols was sentenced to seven years in prison and released on parole in January 2012.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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John Oliver unleashes epic supercut of Fox News host who can’t stop bragging about learning German in high school

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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade took German as his foreign language in high school. If you didn't know that, then you likely don't watch Fox News, because the host has made a claim several dozen times.

HBO host John Oliver spent a few moments out of his Sunday episode of "Last Week Tonight" to mock Kilmeade for his desire to remind people of his three years of classes frequently.

Kilmeade has talked about it so many times that his co-hosts began preempting his comment every time the country of Germany is mentioned, or the German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears on the screen.

Watch the hilarious mockery below:

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Trump thinks he can create his own healthcare law that will take the issue off the table for Democrats

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One of the significant issues Republicans lost on in 2018 was their nearly decade-long crusade to unmake the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

This week Trump will announce that he's running for president again, and he promises a surprise announcement while there. While it's unclear what he intends for the surprise, one thing he is talking about is a better healthcare law than the Democratic one.

According to The New York Times, Trump is "vowing to issue the plan within a month or two, reviving a campaign promise with broad consequences for next year’s contest."

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Trump will go far-right in 2020 election because he thinks that’s why the GOP lost in 2018

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Donald Trump Tampa rally

An MSNBC panel speculated that one of the things President Donald Trump will do when he announces his reelection campaign this week is run a rerun of 2016. The reason, the panel explained, is he thinks it's the one thing that has worked for him.

Sunday, it was announced that Trump was so furious with his lousy poll numbers that he fired the team of pollsters. Trump apologists claimed that the anger had more to do with the leak of the poll numbers to the public.

Either way, Trump is in trouble, whether he's willing to admit it or not. But his solution is characteristically "Trump."

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