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Sirens & Gavels

Police: Drunk mistook railway for road

A drunken driver mistook railroad tracks for a roadway early Sunday in southwest Spokane County.

Miles D. Matthews, 43, jumped from his  2002 Mercury Mountaineer just before a train hit it head on about 2 a.m. near Cheney-Spokane and Scribner roads in Marshall, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

Matthews had turned onto the railroad tracks and tried to drive toward Spokane with one tire on a rail and the other in the rocky roadbed, according to a news release.

The Mountaineer became stuck on loose rock, and Matthews tried removing it until a southbound freight train approached.

The train knocked the SUV backward into a culvert shelter made of railroad ties and rock. The crash totaled the vehicle and caused minor damage the freight engine, but no one was injured.

Matthews, of Spokane, was booked into jail on a drunken driving charge. He also was issued an infraction for stopping/parking on railroad tracks and failure to provide proof of insurance.


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