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Two allege abuse at boys ranch

Two men have sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch for alleged physical abuse at the group home in the 1970s, according to documents filed in Spokane County Superior Court.

The men, who are not named in the lawsuit, allege that the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner and counselors at the ranch physically abused them. They also allege that the group home did not report the abuse to law enforcement agencies.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, also names Ronald Mulvey, a former counselor who later joined the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

– Benjamin Shors

Grant County forms traffic unit

Grant County Sheriff Frank De Trolio announced Monday the formation of a new six-person traffic unit in an effort to end Grant County’s standing as the second-most-dangerous place in the state for motorists.

The county has the second-highest number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries per capita, the sheriff said. He cited the Gorge Amphitheatre, boat racing and sand dunes as attractions that make Grant County a destination for up to 200,000 tourists at a time.

Six veteran deputies who were transferred into the traffic unit are being replaced by new officers – all veterans from other departments – who were sworn in Monday.

According to the Grant County Journal newspaper, revenue from fines is expected to make the new unit self-sufficient after $688,839 in loans from the Public Works Department are repaid.

– John Craig

Deputies catch fleeing suspect

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies caught a drug-possession suspect after he tried to elude them in car and foot chases Monday evening.

Members of the sheriff’s Property Crimes Task Force said they tried to stop David B. Blocker’s 1992 Chevrolet Lumina about 5:20 p.m. near Crestline and Wellesley, but he fled south with three passengers. After sideswiping a car, Blocker lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a fence while trying to turn at Rich Avenue, officers said.

Sgt. Dave Reagan, the sheriff’s spokesman, said Blocker ran away, but officers quickly caught him. In addition to two drug warrants, Blocker now faces a charge of attempting to elude police.

No one was injured in the crashes, Reagan said.

– John Craig

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