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Man fleeing police hits cars, hydrant

A man attempting to elude police crashed his SUV into two other vehicles, a light pole and a fire hydrant early Sunday morning at Sprague Avenue and Washington Street in Spokane.

At 5:44 a.m., Spokane police responded to a report of a suspicious person near Starbucks at Second Avenue and Division Street. A female employee told police that she has been approached by the SUV’s driver, later identified as Patrick F. Valenzuela, 28, who offered her a ride to work. The woman told police that she didn’t know Valenzuela and didn’t accept the ride, but he followed her to work.

Valenzuela later circled the business several times, prompting employees to call the police, according to reports.

Police officers located the white SUV and attempted to stop Valenzuela to investigate his activities, but he fled instead, according to police reports. Valenzuela was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and attempting to elude a police officer.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.