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In brief: Wrecked float plane had wheels down

Tue., May 27, 2008

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the wheels were extended and locked when a float plane touched down and flipped on Lake Chelan earlier this month, killing a Spokane man and another person. The report says investigators who examined the wreckage found the wheels down and locked, and also found the control lever for the wheels in the down position.

The brief report, released Saturday, offers only investigator observations of the wreckage and witness accounts of the accident. It does not say the crash happened because the wheels were down, nor does it address whether the wheels were down because of pilot error or mechanical malfunction.

The plane crashed May 17 as it was landing on the water at Stehekin. Spokane cardiologist Dr. William Stifter, 64, was killed, along with Stehekin School Superintendent Roberta Pitts, 67. Both were trapped in the plane’s submerged cabin. Autopsies indicated they may have been unable to escape because of fractured ribs and other injuries.

Three people escaped.

Associated Press


Seat belt stop leads to drug charge

A 51-year-old Spokane man failed to fasten his seat belt when he got into his friend’s car last week, but that appears to be the least of his problems, authorities said.

Not buckling up led to Leonard R. Bye’s arrest on five warrants, officials said. When authorities booked Bye into jail, he was reportedly carrying a baggie of methamphetamine.

Bye was spotted riding with a friend Friday night near Interstate 90 and Broadway, said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Reagan. Neither man was wearing a seat belt.

Bye was booked on a felony drug charge as well as the five warrants, Reagan said. He received a $124 traffic ticket for failure to wear a seat belt.

Jody Lawrence-Turner

Spokane Valley

Suspect re-arrested after escaping car

A teenager who escaped from Spokane Valley police Monday morning after slipping out of his handcuffs was re-arrested Monday night when he was found weeping on a neighbor’s porch.

Jerid S. Frey, 19, had been wanted on a charge of second-degree malicious mischief when Sgt. Glen Barkley arrested him the first time.

A police spokesman said Barkley handcuffed Frey and put him in the back of Barkley’s patrol car, but Frey managed to get one hand out of the cuffs and reach through a partially open window to unlatch the car door.

Sgt. Dave Reagan said officers fruitlessly searched for several hours, but arrested Frey without incident that evening when a neighbor saw him talking to someone on a porch in the 11300 block of East Railroad Avenue.

Frey apparently had help in cutting the handcuffs off his other wrist, Reagan said.

John Craig


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