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Masked Man With Crowbar Robs Best Western; Clerk Injured

Thu., June 12, 1997, midnight

A masked man wielding a crowbar scuffled with a motel clerk early Sunday and stole an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register.

Deputies found the clerk at the Pheasant Run Best Western bleeding from a small cut on his head about 3:30 a.m. He told deputies a man wearing a dark-colored bandana over his face robbed the motel near the corner of Mission Avenue and Pines Road.

The clerk told deputies he was doing paper work behind the counter when a man walked in and demanded money. The man jumped over the counter, grabbed the clerk and the two started wrestling. The clerk punched the man once before getting belted with the crowbar.

The clerk was dazed, but not seriously injured, said David Reagan, Sheriff’s Department spokesman. Deputies did not identify the clerk.

The suspect ran from the motel after the robbery and may have fled in a smaller, burnt orange, 1970s four-door car with a loud engine and body rust, Reagan said.

He was described as white, in his 20s, well-groomed, and “angry from the get-go.” He was about 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, with dark brown hair, and wore a dark blue or black baseball cap, black gloves, a brown leather jacket, and blue jeans.

Man arrested after chase

Deputies chased a speeding car for several blocks Saturday morning and arrested its driver after he abandoned the car and ran into the woods.

The chase started about 11:30 a.m. when Deputy Ron Mulvey spotted a black 1981 Ford Mustang with a broken windshield driving south on University Road near 16th Avenue. Mulvey tried to stop the car, but it turned west onto 19th Avenue and sped away, Reagan said.

Mulvey followed the car onto Chinook Road and then Balfour Avenue, where a passenger threw a black bag out of the window, Reagan said. The car then turned west at 16th Avenue, nearly hit a southbound car when it ran a red light at Dishman-Mica Road, and ended up in a parking lot in the 1400 block of South Bluff Road, he said.

There, the driver abandoned the car, jumped two chain link fences and ran into the Dishman Hills Natural Area, Reagan said. Mulvey caught up with the driver about three-quarters of a mile into the woods and arrested him, Reagan said.

The suspect, who was identified as Danny R. Ralph, 40, of Marshall, complained of breathing problems and was examined by paramedics, Reagan said. Paramedics determined Ralph was just exhausted from the run and deputies booked him into the Spokane County Jail, Reagan said.

Ralph’s 43-year-old passenger, who waited in the car while Mulvey chased Ralph into the woods, was not arrested. Deputies determined that Ralph had just picked the man up at a gas station.

The passenger threw the driver’s black cigarette case out the window because he was told to and was scared, Reagan said.

“He hadn’t done anything wrong so he just waited for the police to come back,” Reagan said.

Deputies recovered the cigarette case, which contained suspected amphetamines, Reagan said.

Ralph was booked into jail on felony charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle and possession of a controlled substance. Ralph also was wanted on a warrant for delivery of a controlled substance.

, DataTimes

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