January 22, 2008 in City

In brief: Avalanche victim was college student

The Spokesman-Review

An avalanche killed a college student on a backcountry ski trip in the mountains west of Big Sky, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Tyler Stetson, a Montana State University student from Shelburne, Vt., died after being swept up in the avalanche Sunday on a slope in southwestern Montana’s Beehive Basin area, the sheriff’s department said.

The avalanche carried Stetson into trees and he was dead from trauma when searchers found him within 10 minutes of the slide, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Searchers included his ski partner and other people in the area. The avalanche broke the snow between Stetson and his partner, who was safely above the slide while Stetson was below it, said Scott Schmidt of the avalanche center. Stetson, a junior at MSU, was in his 20s.


Man sentenced for underwear thefts

A man who pleaded guilty to stealing 93 pounds of women’s undergarments in Pullman has been given a 45-day sentence.

Garth Flaherty, 24, may serve 30 days of his term in community service under the sentence he was given Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors after being charged with first-degree theft and burglary in the stealing of 1,613 pairs of panties, bras and other women’s underwear from laundry rooms.

Flaherty was arrested last March 24 after police received a report of a man hanging out in an apartment complex laundry room. Police said they found enough underwear to fill five garbage bags in his bedroom.

Police had previously received 12 reports of panty thefts in the northeast part of Pullman, the part of town where Washington State University is located.

Lummi Island, Wash.

Unidentified cyclist dies in crash

A bicyclist has died in a traffic accident on the Lummi Indian Reservation near Bellingham, and a man has been arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide.

Washington State Patrol investigators say the man on the bicycle was not carrying identification, and they’re hoping an autopsy will determine his identity.

Trooper Kirk H. Rudeen said the man died at the scene after being struck from behind Saturday night. Rudeen said the man was riding on the shoulder of the road.

The driver of the car, 23-year-old Kyle Johnson, of Ferndale, was arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide, and his 1993 Subaru Legacy has been impounded. Rudeen says alcohol does not appear to be a factor, but drug tests are pending.

Lakewood, Wash.

Lakewood settles suit over Taser

A lawsuit by a man who said he was jolted with a stun gun and roughed up by police when he rejected medical aid following an epileptic seizure has been settled for $90,000.

A new policy on Taser use in this Tacoma suburb also was mentioned in the settlement of a $300,000 lawsuit brought by William Grider and his wife, Kathy, against the municipality, the police department, Chief Larry Saunders and four officers.

The deal, signed last month, did not include any admission of wrongdoing. Police officials told the News Tribune of Tacoma last week that the officers acted appropriately and that the decision on the settlement was made by an insurance provider.

Lt. David B. Guttu also said the Taser policy changes cited in the settlement were not a direct result of the case. Under the revised policy, which took effect Jan. 1, officers must consider whether someone might have a medical condition such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or epilepsy before using stun guns.

The case arose after Grider, 63, had a seizure and passed out at the auto parts store where he worked as a clerk.

A co-worker called 911, an emergency medical crew was dispatched and the medics requested police aid, saying Grider had regained consciousness and was aggressive and threatening, according to a report by Officer Reynaldo Z. Punzalan. According to the police report, Grider would not let the medics check him, resisted when police tried to calm him and told him he had to see a doctor, and continued to resist when they hit him with a couple of 50,000-volt Taser bursts.

Punzalan wrote that he then punched Grider in the face, after which the struggling man was handcuffed and taken to a hospital.

No criminal charges were filed.

According to the lawsuit, Grider told the medics he didn’t need to go to the hospital, had made arrangements to get a ride home and had seizures occasionally “from which he recovered in short periods of time without problems and for which medical care was not indicated.”

According to a police report by another officer, however, “Fire Department personnel told us they have dealt with Grider before, and he got very violent that time as well … they also told us he had to get medical help.”


Three rescued from sinking boat

The Coast Guard says it has rescued three men from a fishing vessel that was taking on water after hitting a jetty at the exit to Grays Harbor on the Washington coast.

Petty Officer Shawn Eggert says a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Grays Harbor was dispatched to the 69-foot fishing vessel Haeshin after receiving a distress call Monday evening.

Eggert identified the men as Gary Cortner, of Tacoma; Bunthoeun Toun, of Seattle; and James Timothy Maupin, of Westport. No injuries were reported.

– From wire reports

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