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Sirens & Gavels

Police: Car thief tried to run over officer

A Spokane man tried to run over a police officer before abandoning the car and fighting with a K-9 today, officials say.

Melvin A. Gillespie, 41, who was released from jail earlier this year after pleading guilty to assisting a suicide, is back behind bars on charges of first-degree assault, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude.

Spokane police stopped a stolen 2002 Subaru Impreza at East Rowan Avenue and North Nevada Street and tried to detain the driver and passenger who had exited, but the driver got back in the car and drove in reverse toward a police sergeant, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

Police located the Subaru, which had been reported stolen Christmas Eve from the Spokane International Airport, in the 500 block of East North Avenue unoccupied. A police dog, Leonidas, found the suspected driver, later identified as Gillespie, hiding in leaves in a backyard in the 500 block of East Everett Avenue.

Police say Gillespie punched Leonidas in the head several times before he was controlled by officers. The dog was not seriously injured.

Gillespie was sentenced in April to six months in jail for helping his friend William Pickard jump to his death from the Sunset bridge above High Bridge Park in June 2010. Pickard’s body was found wrapped with a cord in what police first suspected was a homicide.

After months of investigation, Gillespie admitted to police that he'd helped Pickard kill himself at Pickard’s request.
  


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