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Region in brief: Police say motorists helped save man

POTLATCH, Idaho – Police are crediting passing motorists with helping save the life of a Moscow, Idaho, man involved in a car crash on U.S. Highway 95.

Investigators said 30-year-old John Balka was in critical condition in a Spokane hospital after losing control of his car near Potlatch on Monday night. Balka was ejected from the vehicle and his legs were severed in the crash.

Idaho State Police Trooper Chad Montgomery said the first people to arrive at the crash scene applied tourniquets that may have helped save Balka’s life.

Montgomery did not identify the good Samaritans, but he told the Lewiston Tribune that one of them was a sports medicine specialist.

Teen arrested in robbery attempt

A 17-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday morning following an attempted holdup of a coffee stand in Coeur d’Alene in which the barista pulled a gun on the would-be robber.

A plainclothes deputy sheriff for Kootenai County was in the area of the robbery serving civil papers when a radio broadcast went out alerting officers to the incident.

The would-be robber left Sunshine Espresso at Ironwood Drive and Government Way without getting any cash.

The barista, Michelle Cornelson, said the robber showed a handgun and demanded money, but when a vehicle pulled into the lot for an order, he lowered his gun, according to Coeur d’Alene police.

Cornelson told police she used the distraction to grab her own weapon and point it at the robber, ordering him to leave.

The plainclothes deputy spotted a male walking in the 200 block of East Locust Avenue about two blocks from the robbery and held the suspect at gunpoint until other deputies arrived. The suspect had a handgun, according to sheriff’s Maj. Ben Wolfinger.

The suspect’s name was not released because he is a juvenile, Wolfinger said. He was booked into the county juvenile detention center.

City OKs purchase of 1,300 acres

BOISE – The Boise City Council has approved the purchase of more than 1,300 acres in the city’s foothills, opening up an area known as Stack Rock to hiking and other recreational activities.

The council on Wednesday approved the city’s purchase of the land from the Boise-based Terteling Co. with $1 million from an anonymous donor and $320,000 from a voter-created foothills conservation fund.

Councilman David Eberle called the purchase a significant acquisition for the city, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The land is bordered by federally managed public lands and classified as timber and dry grazing.


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