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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: U.S. Highway 395

Deputies in fatal highway pursuit ID’d

Investigators have released the names of the law enforcement officials involved in the pursuit that ended with a diabetic man dying in a head-on crash with a semi truck.

Deputies Jennifer Wrotenbery and Mike Northway were in separate patrol cars when they saw Daniel J. Marinovich, 50, (pictured) driving southbound on Highway 395 at Half Moon Road after receiving reports of an erratic driver in a red Ford Taurus.  

Washington State Patrol Trooper Terry VanWeerdhuizen deployed spike strips near Hatch Road hoping to stop Marinovich, but Marinovich continued for about a mile on a flat tire before crossing into the northbound lane and hitting the truck.
 
Friends believe Marinovich may have suffered a diabetic reaction. A multi-agency team has finished reviewing statements from Wrotenbery, Northway and VanWeerdhuizen but has not yet concluded the investigation.
 
Investigators believe Marinovich was traveling between 60 and 80 mph as he abruptly swerved, slowed and accelerated during the pursuit.
 
Wrotenbery and Northway first activated their patrol lights, then their sirens before Wrotenbery used her public announcement system to demand Marinovich pull over. She tried to position her car to stop Marinovich's by hitting the bumper, but his erratic driving led her to believe the “PIT” maneuver wouldn't be safe.
 
“Both deputies stated they thought he would slow down as his tires went flat,” according to a news release. “This would have allowed the deputies to use the PIT maneuver to end the pursuit safely. “
 
Wrotenbery said Marinovich appeared to swerve into the path of the semi truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
Marinovich had previous convictions for assault and resisting arrest; friends say he was a severe diabetic who was prone to erratic behavior.

Driver killed in police chase was diabetic

A driver who crashed into a log truck and died while being chased by sheriff’s deputies was a Post Falls man with severe diabetes, friends say.

Authorities identified Daniel James Marinovich, 50, late Tuesday after an autopsy, which concluded he died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Investigators are trying to determine if a medical condition may have been a factor, said sheriff’s Lt. Steve Barbieri. But a former coworker of Marinovich’s believes the only logical explanation for his erratic driving is that he suffered a diabetic episode while traveling from his job in Deer Park.

“I guess I’d have a hard time seeing him as a hardened criminal,” said Vicki Shafer. “I can sure see him going down the road, being out of it and not even realizing.”

Read my full story here.

Police chase ends with fatal crash

A driver being pursued by Spokane County sheriff’s deputies crashed head-on into a semi-truck and died Monday after driving for about a mile with a flat tire caused by law enforcement spike strips.

Several motorists reported a red Ford Taurus driving erratically near Deer Park about noon.

Deputies spotted the car driving southbound on U.S. Highway 395, but the driver refused to stop.

The Washington State Patrol laid out spike strips near Hatch Road, which flattened the car’s right front tire, according to the Spokane Police Department, which is investigating the incident with WSP and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

But the car didn’t stop, and about a mile south of the spike strips, it crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a northbound semi-truck hauling logs, police said.

The driver of the Taurus, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver, whose identity also was withheld, was not injured but his truck sustained substantial damage.

The two deputies involved in the pursuit, whose names have not been released, brief investigators on the crash Monday afternoon at WSP headquarters on North Division Street, sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan confirmed.

Cops: Road rage with gun yields heroin

A convicted felon is accused of brandishing a gun during a road rage incident on U.S. Highway 395 that led to the discovery of heroin.

Brian L. Sellers, 34, is in jail on felony assault, gun and drug charges after the alleged victims called police about 3:45 p.m. May 3 and said a man in a Toyota was pointing a silver handgun at them while following too close on the highway near Wild Rose Road. Sellers appeared in court Wednesday after police recommended further charges.

The caller said the Toyota was following them at 90 mph and was just inches from their rear bumper. Two children ages 1 and 2 were in the back of the caller's vehicle, police said.

A Washington State Patrol trooper and a Spokane County sheriff's deputy stopped Sellers' car and arrest him and a passenger, Michael George Swan, 41.

Sellers told police about the gun, which they found sitting on the passenger-side floorboard with a loaded magazine next to it.

Sellers is on Department of Corrections probation and has several felony convictions, including first-degree theft and forgery, which prohibit him from possessing weapons.

The victim said she saw the Toyota driving erratically and trying to pass her before the driver exited and tried to stop her. She drove away, but Sellers followed and motioned with his gun for her to pull over, according to court documents.

Police found a baggie of methamphetamine in Seller's 2002 Toyota Tundra.

A search with a K-9, Jet, revealed a digital scale with 84.6 grams of black tar heroin.

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