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In brief: Cleared firefighter ‘praying for’ families

The day after Spokane firefighter Dave Batty was cleared from responsibility in a triple-fatal crash, he issued a statement to the families who lost loved ones.

“To the family members of those who are gone please know that Lisa and I and countless others are praying for all of you who have been affected by this terrible tragedy,” Batty said Friday.

“We will continue to pray with the hope that each of you will draw peace and comfort from the Lord Jesus in your time of grief. We are deeply saddened and our hearts ache for your loss.”

The county prosecutor’s office announced Thursday that there was not enough evidence to indicate Batty was impaired on Jan. 20 when he clipped the rear of a van on U.S. Highway 2, sending it spinning into an oncoming pickup.

Killed were Gregory Stueck, 37; Kalen Hearn, 22; and Michael Edwards, 51.

Officials said Batty could be issued a traffic citation for following too closely.

In 1993, Batty was convicted of vehicular homicide when he killed David Cole, 49, of Newport, while driving drunk. After Batty was released from prison in 1995, he was reinstated at the Fire Department, where he has worked since 1983.

– Jody Lawrence-Turner

Park near stadium on council agenda

Plans to develop a park near Joe Albi Stadium – almost a decade in the making – will be considered by the Spokane City Council on Monday.

Councilman Rob Crow has led the most recent effort to carry out desires of voters who agreed in 1999 to allow the city’s park department to sell a converted sewer lagoon to finance construction of a sports complex next to Joe Albi Stadium.

Money from the sale, including interest, now approaches $4 million.

Crow is asking the rest of the council to endorse his plan. Monday’s vote is not the last decision on the park, but endorsement would allow the vision to move ahead.

The proposal, which would develop land to the north and northeast of the stadium, includes a five-field softball complex on the current site of soccer fields and building new soccer fields to the south of the new softball fields. Plans also call for a skate park and BMX track.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

– Jonathan Brunt


Car hits walkers, leaves dog dead

Two pedestrians were hospitalized and a dog killed when a car struck them Thursday night while they were walking on a sidewalk in Pullman, police said.

The 57- and 85-year-old women were taken to Pullman Regional Hospital for treatment, said Pullman police commander Chris Tennant. The older woman was later flown to a Spokane hospital.

The driver, 32-year-old Amanda M. Dantini, was also taken to a hospital for treatment, Tennant said. She will be booked into Whitman County Jail on charges of vehicular assault, driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and third-degree theft.

The women, both Pullman residents, were walking in the 800 block of Northwest Clifford Street – a residential neighborhood – about 8 p.m. when they were struck by the vehicle, Tennant said. The family pet, a black dog, was found dead at the scene.

– Staff reports