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Sirens & Gavels

Mon., May 3, 2010, 9:35 p.m.

Dishman Hills homicide victim identified

A man who authorities believe may be Spokane County's first homicide victim this year has been identified as Douglas J. Klages.

Hikers on Friday found Klages, a 46-year-old transient, dead in a small in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park, south of Sprague Avenue, in the Dishman Hills Natural Area.

An autopsy was conducted Monday afternoon, but investigators have not release Klages' cause of death.

Investigators found trauma on his body but no cause of death was immediately determined. They searched the area for several hours Friday but found no additional evidence, Sgt. Dave Reagan said

Klages has been in and out of homeless shelters and was apparently camping in the area around the time of his death, Reagan said.

The only other homicide in the Spokane area this year was the still-unsolved shooting death of John S. Williams, 38, outside a party at 5405 North Crestline on Jan. 17. Spokane police are investigating that case.

Klages gave his address as Cusick, Wash., when he was arrested in a drunken driving incident in 2004 that included a man accidental riding on his car's roof.

Klages was sentenced to 150 days in jail with credit for 97 days served for driving under the influence, hit and run and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock.

Read a brief on the crash by clicking the link below.

November 28, 2004

A man took an accidental ride Friday night on the roof of a car with an allegedly drunken driver at the wheel, Spokane police reported.

The incident started at about 10 p.m. when a southbound car on Perry Street near Mission Avenue driven by Douglas J. Klages collided with another vehicle, forcing that vehicle into a third car, said police spokesman Dick Cottam in a press release.

The driver of the first vehicle that was struck got out of his car and checked the condition of the other motorists, but Klages drove in reverse to leave the scene, witnesses told officers.

The driver yelled at Klages to stop and reached up to a ski rack on top of the fleeing automobile. His sleeve got caught on the rack, and he pulled himself on top of the car and held on to the ski rack as it sped away, Cottam said.

A Spokane police officer saw Klages’ car leaving at speeds of between 30 and 40 mph. Police stopped Klages at Mission and Hamilton Street. Three of the four straps that held the rack on the car had broken by the time Klages pulled over. The man on the roof was not injured.

Klages, whose license already was suspended, smelled of alcohol and slurred his speech at the scene, Cottam said. Officers also found empty beer cans in his car.

Klages, who gave his address as Cusick, Wash., refused a breath test and was booked into jail on a count of driving under the influence. Cottam said that other charges may be added, ncluding hit and run.

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