Local news

In brief: Motorist dies in crash on Seven Mile Road

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2009

A motorist was killed Thursday night following a head-on collision about 9 p.m. on Seven Mile Road near Inland Road.

The victim’s car caught on fire after the collision, said Sgt. Jim Gladden, of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver of the other vehicle, a pickup, was hospitalized with serious injuries, Gladden said.

The cause of the crash was still being investigated at press time. Gladden said investigators were speaking with several witnesses who were “were pretty shaken up.”

The drivers involved have not been identified. Seven Mile Road was closed for several hours after the crash.


EWU president returning to post

Eastern Washington University President Rodolfo Arévalo, who took leave in early December to recover from cancer treatment, will return to the Cheney campus Monday, the acting president said.

“I am happy to report that President Arévalo’s medical recovery has continued to be successful,” said John Mason, who will resume duties as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Arévalo announced Dec. 1 that he would be gone from campus for a month, but his leave was extended indefinitely in January. Last summer the president had a tumor removed, and he underwent later treatment as a precaution.

His return to EWU comes at a difficult time for higher education, as state universities await inevitable budget cuts in the current legislative session.

The board of trustees will meet today to approve Arévalo’s resumption of duties.

Kevin Graman


Court upholds murder conviction

The Court of Appeals in Spokane has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a retired sailor who killed Ken Conklin and wounded Thomas Darco during a drunken party on Spokane’s South Hill in 2007.

Norman L. Roberts, 74, appealed his 2008 conviction by a Spokane County Superior Court jury, saying now-retired Judge Robert D. Austin erred in admitting hearsay evidence and lay testimony. He was sentenced to nearly 38 years in prison.

The court allowed Spokane police Detective Mark Burbridge to testify as a ballistics expert about the order in which the shots were fired, over the objections of defense counsel.

Austin didn’t abuse his discretion in allowing Burbridge to testify, the appeals court ruled.

Roberts testified he couldn’t remember shooting Conklin, but claimed self-defense.

That was undermined by his own taped statement, where he admitted no one threatened him and that “he shot Mr. Conklin because he did not like him,” wrote Appeals Court Judge John Schultheis for the three-judge panel.

Karen Dorn Steele

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