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Region in brief: Crash into squad car injures police officer

Thu., Nov. 5, 2009

A Spokane police officer was hospitalized with serious injuries Wednesday after a motorist thought to be on drugs rear-ended him, a police spokeswoman said.

Officer Jeff Graves was expected to survive injuries caused when a vehicle driven by Debra Hatcher, 54, rear-ended his squad car on Maple Street just south of Sinto Avenue about 1 p.m., according to a news release. Graves was sitting in the driver’s seat of the squad car, which was stopped, police said.

Hatcher was thought to be under the influence of drugs and was arrested on a vehicular assault charge, police said.

Last year, 39 police officers died in car crashes in the United States, according to the news release.

Washington’s Move Over law requires motorists approaching stationary emergency vehicles on the side of the road or in a lane of travel to proceed with caution, police said.

Colbert Elementary wins national award

A north Spokane County school was the only one in Washington to win a national award for outstanding achievement.

Colbert Elementary School in the Mead School District won the 2009 Blue Ribbon Award. State assessments show nearly 80 percent of all students meet the standards in reading, math and writing; 92 percent of fourth-graders and 94 percent of the sixth-graders met Washington Assessment of Student Learning reading standards.

“This is a tremendous recognition for Washington state and Colbert Elementary School,” said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. “Principal Jared Hoadley, the staff and the students of Colbert Elementary exemplify how a commitment to excellence can provide outstanding educational opportunities to children. We need more schools like this in Washington state.”

Schools are singled out for recognition if they have more than 40 percent impoverished students and increase their performance, or if students’ assessment scores are in the top 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Each state submits a list of schools for recognition.

Pickup driver charged following rollover

A Kettle Falls, Wash., man is facing vehicular assault and drunken driving charges after a Tuesday afternoon crash that left another man in serious condition.

Wayne E. Sodam, 62, was southbound on Gilmore Road about 21 miles north of Kettle Falls when his 1994 Chevrolet pickup left the road and rolled several times down a steep embankment, the Washington State Patrol said. The truck came to rest on its top.

Sodam was in stable condition Wednesday night at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville. His passenger, James P. MacGinnis, 50, of Arkansas, was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, where he was listed in serious condition.

The case is under review by the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police to go to service for Seattle officer

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and four members of the Police Department Honor Guard will attend the funeral of slain Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton on Friday.

Brenton was shot to death Saturday following a routine traffic stop. He was in the passenger seat of a squad car training a new officer when a car pulled up alongside and an occupant opened fire. The car turned around and drove away, presumably to avoid the squad car’s dash camera, according to the Seattle Times.

A $105,000 reward is being offered for tips that lead to an arrest. Brenton is survived by his wife, 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son.

Kirkpatrick, Sgt. Jon Anderson, Cpl. David Beckley, Officer Wayne Downing and Officer Shaney Redmon will attend the memorial.


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