February 12, 2009 in City

Police seek help identifying car

 
Spokane Police Department photo

Police say the SUV in this photo may be the one that struck and killed Susette G. Werner.
(Full-size photo)

Police released a photo Wednesday showing a vehicle they think may have struck and killed a 42-year-old Spokane woman on Sunday, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help solve the crime.

Witnesses near the intersection of Ash Street and Maxwell Avenue, where Susette G. Werner’s body was discovered about 4 a.m. Sunday, reported seeing a heavy-set man wearing a light-colored, mid-length coat and driving a dark-colored, boxy sport utility vehicle or van.

They said the driver backed up from the intersection into a radiator shop parking lot on Ash, talked to the driver of a teal station wagon, and got out of his car with a flashlight, according to police.

The SUV in the photo was seen driving south on Ash, then turning east on Sinto Avenue. The photo, which would not be legible in print, is posted at www.spokesman.com.

Werner left a North Monroe Street bar about 1:45 a.m., then visited a friend who worked at a nearby convenience store, friends said.

Police are trying to figure out what Werner was doing in the hour before she was struck near the intersection of Cedar and Carlisle, which they think occurred between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., then dragged nearly a mile.

A reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. To submit a tip, call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111.

SNAP will take calls for aid Saturday

People looking for help in paying their power bills have one extra day this week to request it.

Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs will accept phone calls for energy assistance from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, this week only.

The federal government doubled the funds available for energy assistance in Washington and Idaho this year.

The number is (509) 242-2376.

Arrested officer is back at work

A Spokane County sheriff’s sergeant arrested for resisting arrest and obstructing justice is back at work but won’t be on patrol.

The move is part of a change at the Sheriff’s Office that came after Sgt. Pete Bunch was arrested Friday morning.

A woman had reported him prowling in her yard in the 3200 block of Marie Court on the South Hill, and Bunch refused police orders when they approached him down the street from the home, said Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

While the Sheriff’s Office has no policy on whether employees should remain on paid administrative leave while criminal charges are investigated, “the new course of action” will be to allow employees to do administrative work while an investigation is pending, spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said.

Bunch, who’s been with the Sheriff’s Office more than 30 years, returned to the office today to continue work on a new employee evaluation system he’s developing and other administrative duties.

He won’t have his badge, gun or patrol car, Reagan said.

“Sheriff (Ozzie) Knezovich really hates the idea of paying an employee to sit at home,” Reagan said in an e-mail.

Volunteers sought for tax committee

Spokane County is seeking volunteers for an advisory committee that will track spending from a tax designed to raise money for emergency communications and Crime Check.

The committee will ensure that residents are informed about how the county is using money generated from the one-tenth of 1 percent sales and use tax.

Of the six members on the committee, two will serve one-year terms, two will serve two-year terms and the final two will serve four-year terms.

Potential volunteers should contact Ginna Vasquez at (509) 477-2265 or gvasquez@spokanecounty.org.

OAKLAND, Calif.

Charges dropped against musician

The Alameda County district attorney’s office dropped charges Tuesday against a member of the group Saving Abel and an employee of the band accused of forcing a 17-year-old girl to perform oral sex after a concert in Oakland, Calif.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for 33-year-old Jason Null, of Corinth, Miss., and 21-year-old Brandon Danger, of Tampa, Fla., say a video recording contradicted the girl’s claims. Saving Abel performed at the Spokane Arena on Monday.

From staff and wire reports


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