March 30, 2009

Car crash leads to pot, theft suspect

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A north Spokane County hit-and-run crash that injured a couple led to a multiagency investigation involving drugs and stolen property, documents show.

Mikhail M. Savin, 31, has been charged with vehicular assault and leaving the scene of a Feb. 13 accident, and more charges will come when authorities find him, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He faces charges related to what investigators say were 100 marijuana plants and dozens of items of stolen property found during a search of his Nine Mile Falls home.

Savin was a few miles from that home, driving a Dodge pickup, when he smashed into a Saturn driven by Steven and Janet Martin of Reardan near West South Bank Road and North Waterview Drive, about 10 miles north of Nine Miles Falls near Long Lake, according to court papers.

“We were almost home,” Janet Martinsaid. She underwent surgery and has yet to return to her job as an emergency room registered nurse at Providence Holy Family Hospital.

The collision sent Savin’s truck into a ditch, and Savin appeared to be summoning help not from 911 but from two men who arrived in another Dodge pickup, Steven Martin told sheriff’s deputies.

Those men helped pull the truck out of the ditch as Martin yelled at them to wait for police, according to court documents.

“Savin yelled ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and fled the scene westbound on South Bank Road as the other Dodge followed,” according to a warrant used to search Savin’s home at 20667 W. South Bank Road.

Steven Martin suffered sore knees; Janet Martin was trapped in the car with a crushed right wrist and kneecap.

Martin told investigators the man who hit them complained of a broken nose.

That helped them identify Savin after a citizen who’d heard of the crash pointed out Savin’s home the following day.

That man told police he thought it was odd the home’s front gate was closed, and he pointed out a Dodge truck and said the homeowners were Russian – the same language spoken by the hit-and-run suspect.

Deputy Jeff Thurman spotted damage to the truck consistent with the collision, then had it towed.

Savin’s brother wouldn’t tell Thurman what had happened to the truck and called Savin, who hung up on Thurman after saying the truck didn’t run, according to the warrant.

Steven Martin picked Savin’s photo out of a montage four days later – he told detectives he’d gotten a good look at him when Savin got in the Saturn to try to turn off the horn before fleeing.

Sheriff’s detectives and the SWAT team raided Savin’s home March 11, according to a warrant. Detectives smelled a strong odor of growing marijuana at the residence and had found what they thought was stolen property, according to search warrants filed in Spokane County District Court. The detectives spotted “excessive new construction items and power tools” reported stolen as far back as 2001, according to a search warrant.

“They located no receipts for any type of construction items and/or tools,” the warrant reads.

The Martins called a couple of weeks ago for an update on Savin’s location but haven’t heard anything since, Janet Martin said.

“I’ll just be glad when he’s off the streets,” she said.

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or at meghannc@spokesman.com.


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