Local news

Region in brief: Pretrial motions heard in boys ranch abuse case

A Spokane County Superior Court judge heard pretrial motions on Tuesday in a lawsuit against Morning Star Boys Ranch by a former resident who claims he was sexually abused by ranch personnel.

The lawsuit, brought by Kenneth Putnam, is the first of 19 cases against the ranch by former residents who say they were sexually or physically abused.

Judge Kathleen O’Connor will rule today on the most important motion, whether to allow the testimony from any of the other plaintiffs or witnesses who claim to have been abused while they were residents of the ranch.

Plaintiff’s attorneys say the issue is critical to their contention that Morning Star officials knew, or should have known, about the alleged ongoing abuse and failed to take steps to prevent it. Defense attorneys say that allowing others to say they were abused while at the ranch would be prejudicial.

Jury selection in the trial will not begin until next week.

CdA warming centers open through Thursday

With temperatures expected to drop, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul warming center in Coeur d’Alene will be open through Thursday.

Hours are 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Executive Director Jeff Conroy said in a news release.

The warming center, located at 117 E. Walnut Ave., will provide access to food and drinks, bathing, and a safe, warm place to rest for the night. For more information, call (208) 664-3095.

The Fresh Start warming center, at 1524 E. Sherman Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, also is open through Thursday, with hours from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Cause of one-car crash that killed driver unclear

A 58-year-old man died Tuesday night after crashing his car into a divider near a railroad overpass in northeast Spokane.

The driver, who was not identified, was apparently southbound on Napa Street when he crashed at Trent Avenue, said Spokane police Sgt. Tracie Meidl.

It is unclear when or why the man crashed, Meidl said. A witness came upon the accident and reported it about 7:15 p.m.

The driver was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Meidl said.

Napa Street was closed between Main and Trent avenues for several hours while the crash was investigated.

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