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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: bicycles

Hospital staff: Crash suspect faked it

Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller rewards crash victim Danika Packard with a free ice cream coupon for wearing her bicycle helmet. (SPD photo)

A former Gonzaga Law School student pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a hit-and-run crash that police say could have killed a 2-year-old girl had she not been wearing a helmet.

Timmy Ngoc Nguyen, 22, is out of jail awaiting trial for charges of vehicular assault and hit and run.
Nguyen is accused of driving his 2003 Honda Element drunk and striking a family riding bicycles on East Maringo Drive.

He was taken to a hospital to get a blood sample and was unresponsive, but staff told deputies they believed “Nguyen had been faking his unresponsiveness,” according to court documents.
“Security had to hold him down to re-secure his restraints,” according to court documents. “Nguyen lunged toward security with his head and tried to bite them. Nguyen was very belligerent, uncooperative, and hostile towards everyone at the hospital.

Witnesses said Nguyen turned westbound onto Maringo from North Argonne Road but entered the eastbound lanes and hit a bicycle trailer carrying Danika Packard.

A witness followed Nguyen back to the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested. Nguyen was at a party there before he left in his Honda and struck the family, police say.

Deputies say Nguyen vomited in the back of the patrol car and appeared extremely intoxicated. He refused to talk to police about what happened but repeatedly asked if he was arrested and told them he was a law student, according to court documents. ”

Nguyen asked sheriff's Deputy Nathan Bohanek if he was going home after they left the hospital. Bohanek said no.

“He told Nguyen he ran over a 2-year-old kid and could have killed them,” documents say. “Nguyen was not responsive to that.”

Police seized Nguyen's Honda and noticed damage consistent with the crash.

Nguyen had been interning for Spokane lawyer Mark Vovos.

Nguyen's trial was scheduled Tuesday for Oct. 22, but that is likely to be postponed.

More witnesses sought in hit and run

Investigators are looking to speak with people who were at a party attended by a man accused of a drunken hit and run crash that injured a 2-year-old girl in Spokane Valley last week.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, was at a party at the clubhouse at the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane before he left in a 2003 Honda Element and alleged struck a family riding bicycles near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road.

Danika Packard was riding in a bicycle trailer that police say was flattened by Nguyen's car. A witness followed Nguyen back to the apartment complex, where he was arrested.

Cpl. Dave Thornburg interviewed the witness and said the man doesn't consider himself a hero, rather “he did what any parent or concerned citizen would do in similar circumstances,” according to a news release.

Thornburg is looking to speak to party goers to learn more about Nguyen's actions before the crash.

“Nobody from the party is in trouble or suspected of committing a crime, as it was not underage drinking party or anything along those lines,” Thornburg wrote.

Thornburg can be reached by phone at (509) 477-2710 and email at dthornburg@spokanesheriff.org.

The girl, who has been rewarded for wearing a bicycle helmet, was released from a hospital Wednesday and is recovery well. Thornburg served two search warrants Thursday, one of the car and another for Nguyen's medical records at Valley hospital. Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, was treated there briefly after he vomited in the back of the patrol car and police noticed labored breathing, according to the news release.

Helmet-wearing girl rewarded w/ treat

Spokane police rewarded a 2-year-old girl hit by a suspected drunken driver Monday with free ice cream for wearing her bicycle helmet.

Police said Tuesday that three new helmets already have been given to Danika Parker to replace the one destroyed Saturday evening after a motorist flattened the bicycle trailer she was riding in in Spokane Valley.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, is accused of driving drunk and hitting the trailer near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road, then driving away. Witnesses followed him to East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested.

Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, faces charges of felony hit and run and vehicular assault.

Police said Danika fractured her skull but is expected to recover.

A picture posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday showed the girl with road rash on her cheek but no other obvious injuries. She appeared in good spirits as Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller gave her a coupon for ice cream at McDonald’s.

Wedding ring set recovered in bike theft

The Spokane Sheriff's Office is looking for the owner of a wedding ring set that was found after two suspected bicycle thieves were arrested Monday.

Corrections deputies recovered the rings from the front pants pocket of Damen J. Banning, 34, while booking him into jail on suspicion of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Deputies arrested Banning and Colleen Sue Janson, 52, (pictured) after responding to North Division Bicycle, 10503 N. Division St., for a report of a stolen bicycle.

The two told Deputy Terry Liljenberg they were trying to sell the bicycle for a friend. Janson gave Liljenberg a false name, but Deputy Jeff Shover arrived and recognized her, then dispatchers confirmed she had a warrant for misdemeanor theft, according to the sheriff's office.

Employees realized the bicycle was stolen after their mechanic noticed it was purchased at Bicycle Butler, 6520 N. Ash St., in February and called the shop to obtain the purchaser's information, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Liljenberg contacted the owner, who said he didn't know his bicycle was missing. He left it in his garage on Saturday but accidentally left door open overnight, the sheriff's office said. The bike was returned.

Banning, whose previous convictions include theft and vehicle prowling, was booked on the trafficking charge; Janson was booked on the theft warrant as well as new charges of making false and misleading statements and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Anyone who has had a wedding ring stolen and has made a report is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and provide the report number. You must provide proof of ownership to get the ring back.

Janson has a long criminal history and was a witness in a 2008 drug-fueled murder that police say was over $7.25.

Crime Stoppers targeted her in February 2010 to ensure she would be available to testify at trial.

She didn't end up needing to - the killer, Terry L. Conner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 31 years in prison. His accomplice, Aaron Lyons, received 10 years.

Bike-riding bank robbery gets 17 years

A bicycle-riding bank robber responsible for nine gunpoint heists in Spokane is to spend 17 years in prison and repay $150,118.59.

 Lucas G. Woodard, 34, is in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to federal prison after being sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Woodard robbed nine banks between December 2009 and October 2010, when he was arrested after fleeing a Washington Trust Bank branch at 1906 W. Francis Ave.

Spokane police Sgt. Jason Hartman, who was driving home from work, heard radio traffic about a bank robbery, saw Woodard fleeing the scene and steered his patrol vehicle into the path of Woodard’s bicycle.

When Woodard fell to the ground, a Glock 9 MM semi-automatic pistol and some rounds of ammunition fell out of his backpack.

Hartman later received department commendations for his actions.

 Before his arrest, Woodard had no criminal record, was employed at Woodard Construction and was reportedly a regular at Maggie's South Hill Grill.

 

He lived alone in a rental home on High Drive on the South Hill. After his arrest, he thanked federal agents “for treating him well, explaining that…because of what he did, he could have been treated poorly,” according to court documents.

Woodard admitted that although he had a gun, he would never have used it. Woodard also stated that he was a ‘gentle guy’ apart from the robberies that he committed.”

‘Bicycle Bandit’ faces 17-22 years

A bike-riding bank robbery who terrorized local bank tellers for almost a year faces between 17 and 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday.

  Lucas G. Woodard, 34, pleaded guilty to nine counts of armed bank robbery that netted a total of more than $166,000.

He's to be sentenced Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

May 19: Plea expected in bank robbery spree

Nov. 29: Bank robbery suspect: 'I'm a gentle guy'

Oct. 18: Bike-riding bank robbery suspect identified

Plea expected in bank robbery spree

A Spokane man suspected of a series of armed bank robberies is expected to plead guilty today.

Lucas G. Woodard, 34, faces up to 25 years in prison. The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes he may be the bicycle-riding bank robber responsible for a spree that began Dec. 22, 2009, and ended last October. More than $144,000 was stolen, according to court documents.

(A July 28 robbery at Spokane Teachers Credit Union on Indian Trail is pictured above; Chase Bank on April 19 is below.)

 Attorneys have been negotiating a plea deal, and prosecutors filed eight bank robbery new charges against Woodard Wednesday

He was previously charged with using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, which carries seven years to life in prison, but that charge could be dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Woodward has been in jail since his arrest Oct. 14 after a gunpoint robbery at Washington Trust Bank on West Francis Avenue. Witnesses told 911 dispatchers where the robber fled, and Spokane police Sgt. Jason Hartman, who was in plain clothes and driving home, intercepted Woodard as he approached Salk Middle School.

Woodard's bike collided with Hartman's car, and the suspect's gun fell to the ground. Woodard reached for the weapon, but Hartman restrained him until backup arrived, police said.

The incident earned Hartman the medal of valor, the Spokane Police Department's highest recognition. He's pictured with Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

“Sgt. Hartman had prior knowledge of this serial bank robber and knew him to be extremely dangerous,” according to the SPD website. “Even though he was in plain clothes and not wearing a vest, Sgt. Hartman made the courageous decision to confront the suspect at that time to prevent his escape or his further endangering of innocent citizens, even if it meant he had to shoot it out with him then and there.”

Woodard had no criminal record, was employed at Woodard Construction and was reportedly a regular at Maggie's South Hill Grill.

He lived alone in a rental home on High Drive on the South Hill. After his arrest, he thanked federal agents “for treating him well, explaining that…because of what he did, he could have been treated poorly,” according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court. “

Woodard admitted that although he had a gun, he would never have used it. Woodard also stated that he was a ‘gentle guy’ apart from the robberies that he committed.”

Along with the Oct. 14 heist, Woodard is accused of the following robberies:

  • Dec. 22, 2009: Sterlving Savings Bank, 3000 S. Grand Blvd.
  • Feb. 13, 2010: Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd.
  • April 19, 2010: Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd.
  • May 18, 2010: Chase Bank, 3007 E. 57th Ave.
  • May 26, 2010: U.S. Bank, 621 E. 30th Ave.
  • July 28, 2010: Spokane Teachers Credit Union, 8703 N. Indian Trail
  • Aug. 13, 2010, Inland Northwest Bank, 2110 N. Ruby St.

Bank robbery suspect: I’m a ‘gentle guy’

A suspected serial bank robber implicated himself in several holdups and asked authorities if he “will get (messed) up in prison for armed robbery” after his arrest last month, according to newly unsealed court documents. 

Lucas G. Woodard, 33, thanked federal agents “for treating him well, explaining that…because of what he did, he could have been treated poorly,” according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court after Woodard’s Oct. 14 arrest.

“Woodard admitted that although he had a gun, he would never have used it,” according to the affidavit. “Woodard also stated that he was a ‘gentle guy’ apart from the robberies that he committed.”

FBI agents say the Oct. 14 robbery at Washington Trust Bank, 1906 W. Francis Ave., is consistent with bank robberies on Dec. 22, Feb. 13, April 19, May 18, May 26, July 28 and Aug. 24. The robberies netted $123,000, according to the affidavit. (Hold ups on July 28 and April 19 are pictured.)

Woodard has been charged with just one robbery - the Oct. 14 holdup in which he stole nearly $18,000 but was arrested after a witness followed Woodard - who was on a bike - while talking to 911.

A Spokane police sergeant driving home cut Woodard off at West Holyoke Avenue and West Bruce Avenue after hearing the call on his police radio.

Woodard had a loaded gun and ammo along with a black fleece face covering, a pair of black gloves, sunglasses, and brown and gray Eddie Bauer backpack and black Gap hooded sweatshirt, according to the affidavit.

Woodard, who has no criminal record and worked for the family-owned Woodard Construction, is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail. He pleaded not guilty Oct. 22 to felony charges of armed bank robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

Bike-riding robbery suspect arraigned

A Spokane man suspected of a series of armed bank robberies that began in December pleaded not guilty to two federal felonies on Thursday.

Lucas G. Woodard, 33, was arrested Oct. 14 after an armed robbery at Washington Trust Bank, 1906 W. Francis. The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes he may be the bicycle-riding bank robber responsible for six other robberies beginning Dec. 22. (A July 28 robbery at Spokane Teachers Credit Union on Indian Trail is pictured.)

Woodard was arraigned Thursday on a grand jury indictment charging him with armed bank robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. The robbery charge carries a maximum 25 years in prison; the weapons charge carries a minimum seven years and a maximum sentence of life.

Investigators have searched his rental home at 410 E. High Drive on the South Hill, where they believe Woodard lived alone.

Woodard has no criminal record, is employed at Woodard Construction and was reportedly a regular at Maggie’s South Hill Grill. He’s being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail after waiving a bail hearing Thursday.

Bike-riding bank robbery suspect ID’d

A 33-year-old man with no substantial criminal record appeared before a U.S. magistrate today, accused of robbing a north Spokane bank at gunpoint last week.

Lucas G. Woodard also is being investigated for a series of robberies that began in December and typically involved a masked gunman escaping on a bicycle. (A Feb. 13 robbery at Chase Bank on Northwest Boulevard is pictured.)

He is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail after appearing in U.S. District Court Monday, where he is charged with armed bank robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. The robbery charge carries a maximum 25 years in prison; the weapons charge carries a minimum seven years and a maximum sentence of life.

Read my full story here.

FBI mum on bank robbery suspect

A gunman suspected of robbing a north Spokane bank on Thursday remains in federal custody as investigators probe his possible role in a series of robberies since December.

Federal agents said they had no new information to release about the man, who has not been publicly identified. 

“I think it’s going to be Monday or Tuesday before we see him in court,” Frank Harrill, FBI supervisory senior resident agent, said today.

The FBI has been hunting for a bicycle-riding bank robber believed to be responsible for at least six hold ups since December. (A robbery at Chase Bank in April is pictured.)

The suspect arrested Thursday had a bike, wore a mask and displayed a gun, which is consistent with the other incidents.

“Clearly, there are commonalities,” Harrill said.

A Spokane police sergeant on his way home arrested the suspect, who witnesses say robbed the Washington Trust Bank, 1906 W. Francis Ave., just before 4 p.m.

Photos show bike-riding CdA bank robber

Surveillance photos show a masked gunman who police say robbed a Coeur d’Alene bank on Friday, then escaped on a bicycle. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that identify the man, who police say threw a cloth grocery bag at employees at Wells Fargo, 114 E. Appleway, about 6 p.m. while telling them to hurry and waving a “large-caliber handgun.”

 The robber left with an undisclosed amount of cash and was last seen riding a gray, three-speed bicycle south on Government Way. 

He wore a black mask, a black bike helmet, denim shorts, a long-sleeve button-down shirt and white shoes with red “squiggly” lines.  He was carrying a white cloth grocery bag with an American flag on it and the phrase “Freedom is not free,” and was described as being in his late 20s or early 30s, police said.

Anyone with information about the robbery or the robber is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (208) 667-2111 or toll free at (888) 667-2111. Tipsters do not have to give a name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number. 

Investigators do not believe the robbery is related to a series of bank robberies in Spokane that have been attributed to a man who typically escapes on a bike.

“There’s nothing inclusive at this point to indicate that was him,” said FBI supervisory senior resident agent Frank Harrill.

The FBI in Spokane still is seeking tips on that robber, who they believe is responsible for six robberies since December. The most recent was a noon-hour armed robbery at the Indian Trail branch of the Spokane Teacher Credit Union July 28.

Anyone with information on those robberies is asked to call the FBI’s Spokane office at (509) 747-5195, extension 2. If it’s after hours, call (206) 622-0460.

FBI hunts for bicycle-riding bank robber

A masked gunman believed to have robbed six banks since December still is being sought by the FBI. 

A noon-hour armed robbery at the Indian Trail branch of the Spokane Teacher Credit Union last Wednesday is similar to others heists attributed to a man who usually flees on a bicycle.

“It’s likely to be the same individual, although we are still actively investigating,” said FBI supervisory senior resident agent Frank Harrill. 

The suspected serial robber last struck May 25 at U.S. Bank, 621 E. 30th Ave., about 11:30 a.m., prompting lockdowns at nearby Sacajawea Middle School and Jefferson Elementary School.

The crime spree is believed to have started Dec. 22 at Sterling Savings Bank, 3000 S. Grand Blvd., then continued Feb. 13 (top left) and April 19 (right) at Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd. 

On May 18, the gunman wore a motorcycle helmet (left)and forced an employee at Chase Bank, 3007 E. 57th Ave., to the floor at gunpoint. 

Witnesses in at least one of the robberies said the gunman appeared to be familiar with how banks operate and knew which cash drawers to request.

The robber is described as white, 6-feet tall, in his 30s with a thin-to-medium build and fair complexion.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s Spokane office at (509) 747-5195, extension 2. If it’s after hours, call (206) 622-0460.

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