January 8, 2009 in City

In brief: Spokane reinstates acquitted detective

 

A Spokane police detective suspended without pay for 17 months during a domestic violence investigation and trial has been reinstated after an internal affairs investigation concluded there was insufficient evidence for disciplinary action.

Detective Jay Mehring, acquitted in October by a Spokane jury of felony harassment for allegedly threatening to “burn down” his house with his wife in it during an emotional divorce, returned to work Monday. After his acquittal, he remained on paid administrative leave until the internal affairs investigation was completed in December.

The city of Spokane has reimbursed him $127,946 in back pay and interest. But he “paid dearly” for a private attorney and a $100,000 bond to remain free pending trial, Mehring said Wednesday.

He has been assigned to the targeted crimes unit but has asked to be reinstated to the regional drug task force where he worked for years as an undercover detective. His 2009 salary is $77,088, according to city records.

GU vice president Sladich dies

Gonzaga University Vice President Harry H. Sladich died Tuesday of prostate cancer.

Sladich, 70, held more than a dozen positions during his 49 years at Gonzaga after earning his degree there in 1959. That included two stints as acting president – the only non-Jesuit to serve in that role – in 1991 and from 1997 to ’98, said the university’s president, the Rev. Robert Spitzer.

“His contributions to the university are legendary,” Spitzer said in a news release.

The native of Anaconda, Mont., stepped down from full-time work in 2001 but continued to serve part time as corporate secretary and secretary of the board of trustees and board of regents.

His son, Harry G. Sladich, is president and CEO of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, and a funeral Mass will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, both at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Spokane County

Footprints in snow lead to theft suspect

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies say they arrested a man who allegedly stole a truck equipped with a snowplow after following footprints in deep snow leading away from the stolen vehicle.

The incident began about 4 a.m. when a man called 911 from his home on East Lane Park Drive to report his truck had been stolen, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan. The owner was searching for his truck in another vehicle when he began following a white minivan he saw leaving the area.

Reagan said the minivan later pulled to a stop right behind the stolen truck on Walker Avenue near Newport Highway. The man took off with the truck again before abandoning it nearby at Cuba and Orchid, Reagan said.

Deputies followed footprints in the snow and found Lucas M. Haynes, 29, hiding behind some bushes.

Haynes was booked into Spokane County Jail on felony theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property. Lea R. Lewis, a 25-year-old woman who deputies say was driving the minivan and was Haynes’ accomplice, was arrested on charges of felony theft of a motor vehicle, first-degree driving with no valid operator’s license and obstructing a police investigation, Reagan said.

Karen Dorn Steele Scott Maben Staff reports


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