22-month-old girl dies of crash injuries
A toddler who was critically injured in a Wednesday car wreck north of Spokane died early Sunday after being taken off life support.
Declared brain-dead Friday, 22-month-old Gabriella Autry had been on life support at Sacred Heart Medical Center so her organs could be donated.
Late Saturday, officials identified three children to receive the girl’s heart, kidneys and liver.
“We wanted to bring some good as a result of this tragedy and provide the gift of life to other children in need, in hopes of saving their life,” the girl’s parents, Steve and Belle Autry of Colbert, said in a written statement issued by the hospital. “It’s heartwarming for us to know that three other children who needed life-saving surgeries could benefit from our loss.”
The toddler and her mother were stopped at the corner of Day-Mt. Spokane Road and U.S. Highway 2 about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when their Subaru Legacy was rammed from behind by a Chevy Blazer. The impact of the collision shoved the Subaru into the car in front of it. Gabriella was in a child seat.
The crash occurred because Michael Q. Beckley, the driver of the Blazer, was not paying attention and may have been trying to use his cell phone, according to the Washington State Patrol. Beckley, 34, of Spokane will be charged with negligent homicide, Trooper Mark Baker said Friday.
Court records indicate Beckley has previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a suspended license, possessing a controlled substance and theft.
Earlier information from the Washington State Patrol regarding Gabriella Autry’s age was incorrect.
– Staff reports
Memorial Day to close offices
The following offices and services will be affected by the Memorial Day holiday today.
•All Kootenai County city and rural garbage pickup will be one day late for the week.
•City, county, state and federal offices will be closed.
•Post offices will be closed.
•State liquor stores will be closed.
•Most banks will be closed.
•Area public schools will be closed.
– Staff reports
NIC honors psychology teacher
North Idaho College has given psychology instructor Kristina Klassen this year’s Faculty Achievement Award for her dedication and excellence in teaching.
Klassen has been teaching at the college since fall 1991, nine years as a part-time instructor and the past seven years as a full-time faculty member.
“She is quite adept at drawing on the strengths of individual students,” said Rhena Cooper, who has taken University of Idaho classes from Klassen and now is on the NIC faculty.
Klassen’s organization and attention to detail in class come up repeatedly in student evaluations.
She has been accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Idaho beginning this summer.
The award includes a $2,500 check from the NIC Foundation.
Brenda Johns, a part-time communications instructor, received the Adjunct Faculty Achievement Award.
Johns has been teaching at NIC since 1993.
The award included a $500 check from the NIC Foundation.
– Staff reports