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Region in brief: West Side storm coats roads, snarls traffic

Wed., Dec. 30, 2009

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A snowstorm has slickened roads and caused several spinouts on southwest Washington highways.

The Columbian reports that police responded to several traffic accidents on Tuesday afternoon, including a spinout on Interstate 5 near La Center.

Slick roads were also the rule in Hazel Dell. Firefighters with Clark County Fire District 6 chained up their engines.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Tuesday evening, although forecaster Shawn Weagle in Portland said the snow was expected to turn to rain in a few hours.

Snow also snarled traffic in the greater Portland metro area. Tuesday evening rush-hour traffic moved at a crawl through downtown Portland and its suburbs.

Teacher gets 20 years for sex with boy, 13

MERIDIAN, Idaho – A judge has sentenced a 37-year-old former middle school teacher to 20 years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy.

Ashley J. Beach taught at Meridian Middle School.

She pleaded guilty in October to one count of felony lewd conduct and prosecutors dropped two other counts as part of a plea deal.

District Judge Ronald Wilper sentenced Beach on Tuesday.

She will have to serve at least four years in prison before she can seek parole.

Police say the teacher and student had sex between June and September.

They say they found Beach and the boy lying next to some bushes the night of Sept. 17 and Beach admitted to the relationship.

Beach is married and has three children between the ages of 3 and 10.

Armed robber hits North Side espresso hut

An armed robber made off with an undisclosed amount of money Tuesday in a holdup of an espresso business in north Spokane.

The robbery at Jitterz Java, 2315 W. Northwest Blvd., occurred at 6:20 a.m., and the robber fled on foot to the west.

The incident may have been captured on video surveillance, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Cops close streets in search for man

Police shut down the area of Sharp Avenue and Stone Street in east-central Spokane on Tuesday to search for a man wanted on a state Department of Corrections warrant.

Officers didn’t find Joshua A. Jackson, 31.

Police were responding to a home after a friend of Jackson’s girlfriend called with concerns about her safety.

“We talked to her, but we haven’t found him,” Officer Glenn Bartlett said.

Police said Jackson has made threatening statements to law enforcement personnel in the past.

“That’s why we amped up the response,” Bartlett said.

Jackson is on probation after pleading guilty to unlawful imprisonment in February, according to news archives.

He also was sentenced to a year in jail.

In December 2007, he was sentenced to six months in jail for cyberstalking.

Police ask that anyone who knows Jackson’s whereabouts call 911.

Police say jaywalker was also wallet thief

A quick-acting Spokane Valley police officer arrested a man Monday afternoon in connection with the theft of a wallet from the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. First Ave.

Rodrick Coppock, 47, of Spokane Valley, was booked on a charge of second-degree theft by Officer Mike McNees.

McNees reported that he was headed west on Sprague Avenue about 4 p.m. when he saw Coppock jaywalk across seven lanes of traffic, forcing cars to brake their speed to avoid hitting him.

Sheriff’s dispatchers had just radioed information about the wallet theft from a female library patron and gave a description that matched Coppock, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, police spokesman.

Coppock denied taking the wallet, although he was carrying two wallets. The theft victim and witness identified Coppock as the thief.

Police identify victim of fatal weekend crash

Spokane police Tuesday released details of a weekend crash in North Spokane that killed a 25-year-old Spokane man.

Brett Christel died at a local hospital after the Volkswagen Jetta he was driving collided with an Isuzu Rodeo about 12:40 a.m. Saturday at Wellesley Avenue and Nevada Street, police said in a news release.

Witnesses told police Christel was driving east between 80 and 90 mph when he collided with the westbound Isuzu that was turning south onto Nevada. The Isuzu had a green light to turn, police said.

The Isuzu’s driver and passenger, who were not named by police, were treated and released at a local hospital.

ISP warns against stopping in roadway

Idaho State Police are cautioning eagle watchers at Lake Coeur d’Alene not to stop in the roadway on state Highway 97.

Some motorists have been stopping in the travel lanes along the two-lane highway that runs from Wolf Lodge Bay down the east side of the lake to Harrison. It creates a safety hazard for other motorists.

As a result, police have increased patrols in the area and are writing tickets for the violations. Highway 97 has a limited number of pull-offs for stopping.

Police said eagle watchers should instead go southeast along East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive to Higgens Point, where there is a large parking area and pathways for viewing. Eagles congregate there to eat spawning kokanee salmon. The drive is reached from a traffic light on Sherman Avenue immediately west of Interstate 90 on the east side of Coeur d’Alene.


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