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Officer in shooting, victim remain in jail

Sun., April 15, 2007

Spokane police Officer James Jay Olsen remained in the county jail Saturday evening in lieu of $100,000 bail on charges that he recklessly endangered a neighborhood while drunkenly shooting a man in the head.

Olsen, 43, was booked into jail about 3 p.m. Friday on one count of first-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. Sheriff’s detectives said Olsen fired about five .40-caliber shots at a man who stole his pickup, hitting the man and penetrating the wall of a Peaceful Valley home.

The incident occurred Feb. 26 after Olsen had been drinking at a downtown bar. Investigators allege Olsen was legally drunk when he left Dempsey’s Brass Rail about 2:30 a.m. and discovered 27-year-old Shonto K. Pete, also drunk, was stealing his pickup.

Olsen allegedly followed in a car owned by a woman he had been with at the bar, then ran after Pete when he abandoned the truck on Riverside Avenue. Pete took refuge in a Peaceful Valley home.

Pete, who recovered, also was booked into jail Friday, on a vehicle theft charge, and remained there Saturday evening in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Olsen, a 16-year veteran officer, was on paid leave while sheriff’s detectives investigated the incident, but his pay ended Friday when he was arrested.

– John Craig

Spokane gets award for support of air base

Spokane has been declared the friendliest place for an Air Force Air Mobility Command base in 2006.

Col. Scott Hanson, commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, said the city and its chamber of commerce have been awarded the Abilene Trophy as the community that provided the best support to an Air Mobility Command base.

Fairchild is one of 11 U.S. bases whose communities are eligible for the award, sponsored by the Abilene, Texas, Chamber of Commerce. There were 15 such bases when Spokane previously won the trophy in 2001.

The Air Mobility Command is the division of the Air Force that operates most large transport and refueling planes.

– John Craig


Bridge joint finally arrives at Narrows

The tractor-trailer rig carrying a massive bridge expansion joint finally made it to the site of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge early Saturday after a three-week delay in Spokane.

The 100-ton deck expansion joint, on the 200-foot-long tractor-trailer, started across the state on Wednesday.

The deck expansion joint, and a twin parked in Sioux Falls, S.D., will be installed on each end of the suspension bridge being built parallel to the 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula on State Highway 16.

The accordion-like joints each will allow 56 inches of deck expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes, wind, traffic or seismic motion.

The tractor-trailer hauling the joint was halted in mid-March at the Spokane Port of Entry after state officials said its weight was not distributed correctly on the trailer’s axles, violating terms of a Transportation Department permit.

On Monday, Omega-Morgan, a Tacoma heavy equipment moving company, was hired to haul the load the rest of the way.

The same procedure will be used for the second expansion joint.

–Associated Press

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