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Bigelow Gulch crash sends 3 to hospital

Sat., Aug. 1, 2009, 6:20 p.m.

What started as two cars – containing friends and family – chasing each other on hilly Bigelow Gulch road ended in a one-vehicle accident that sent three people to the hospital on Saturday and left two others under arrest.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies described the crash as “convoluted.” In a news release, deputies said it appears the two cars were being driven recklessly in the 11500 block of Bigelow Gulch, between Argonne and Forker roads, about 5 p.m.

A 1996 Lexus driven by Robin M. Conrad, 18, was attempting to pass her friend’s car and a truck in a no passing zone. A car appeared in the oncoming lane, and Conrad reportedly veered her car back into the eastbound lane, police said. The Lexus skidded off the road, hit a culvert and rolled several times.

A 17-year-old passenger was ejected from the car, and he sustained “substantial” head injuries, said Sgt. Dave Reagan in the news release. Conrad and another boy, 17, also were injured. All three were transported to a hospital. Their conditions were not available Saturday night.

The friend’s car stopped and an occupant tried to get into the Lexus’ trunk, where deputies believe drugs were stashed, Reagan said. Police arrested Justin Klaus, 20, and booked him into Spokane County Jail on a charge of tampering with evidence. Another occupant of the second car, Dustin MacLean, 20, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant charging him with domestic violence assault.

Traffic detectives said they believe alcohol and marijuana use may have contributed to the crash, according to the release. No formal charges had been lodged by 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The crash remained under investigation.

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