November 22, 2010 in Region

NW today: Student drivers test texting while driving

Compiled from wire reports

What’s news in the Northwest today:

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Some teens from Heritage High School tested their texting-while-driving schools in a Vancouver parking lot. They used a golf cart to navigate around an obstacle course Saturday while texting messages, as a Clark County sheriff’s deputy looked on. The Columbian reports if the traffic cones had been people it would have been a scene of carnage. The test was a student project by Kendrick Spiller who calls it TTYL GTG DRV (talk to you later, got to go drive.) One student admitted she’d probably hit a lot of people if she texted while driving around town. She said she usually does her car-texting on the freeway.

Stroller rolls into chilly bay, baby rescued

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — In an instant, a calm morning on Wollochet Bay turned dire when a stroller rolled into the water last Wednesday. The father had reportedly turned his attention away for a second, just long enough to see the stroller slip off the edge of the pier. The man jumped in immediately, but because of the cold water and high pier, he was unable to get the baby to safety. For about 10 minutes, he struggled to keep the stroller afloat while he treaded water. A neighbor, Lauren Carpenter, came to help and lifted the baby up out of the stroller. The father and child were taken to the hospital to get their core temperatures back up.

Boy killed in fire at Salmon apartment complex

SALMON, Idaho — Authorities in eastern Idaho say a four-year-old boy was killed in an apartment fire in Salmon. Fire investigators say the blaze broke out late Saturday night and the boy was trapped in the second floor apartment. Officials say the boy’s grandmother was also inside the apartment, but struggled dealing with the smoke and had to escape before getting the boy. Investigators identified the boy as Skyler Hitesman and told KIFI-TV he apparently died from smoke inhalation. So far, investigators have not yet determined a cause or origin of the blaze.

Oregon councilor accused of embezzling

MOLALLA, Ore. — Molalla City Manager John Atkins says officials were caught off guard by Friday’s arrest of Councilor Michelle Mills. She’s accused of embezzling $350,000 from her former employer, the electronics distributor Abtronics. The Oregonian reports Mills previously served on Molalla’s planning commission and was appointed last year to the council to replace Ryan Morgan who died in a kayaking accident. Her term expires in December. Atkins says Mills does not have access to any city bank accounts.

Woman indicted on involuntary manslaughter charge

COEUR d’ALENE — A grand jury has indicted a Desmet woman on an involuntary manslaughter charge for allegedly driving under the influence when she struck and killed a pedestrian on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s reservation. The indictment alleges Andrea M. George was speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when she crested a hill in a residential area in April, hitting 22-year-old Patrick A. Gorneau of Tensend at an intersection. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports the indictment was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court on Coeur d’Alene by assistant U.S. attorney Michael W. Mitchell. George, who was 18 at the time of the crash, was scheduled to make an initial court appearance today.

Columbia River bone turned over to tribes

RICHLAND, Wash. — A human jawbone found along the Columbia River last year on Corps of Engineers property north of Richland has been turned over to a group of Indian Tribes. The Tri-City Herald reports an anthropologist hired by the corps determined the bone and teeth were 300-to-350 years old and appeared to be Native American. The corps turned the bone over to a group of tribal governments for the region. In 1996 a 9,300-year-old skeleton known as Kennewick Man was found in the Columbia near Kennewick. That touched off an ongoing dispute between tribes, who want to bury the bones, and scientists who want to study them.

Manufactured home sales brisk in Idaho

BOISE — The combination of frugal buyers and affordable prices is spurring an increase in the sale of manufactured homes across the state. One of the busiest corners in the state for the manufacture housing market is the Treasure Valley. Through Nov. 17, the Idaho Statesman reports 157 manufactured homes have been sold in Ada and Canyon counties, up 29 percent from a year ago. Statewide, the increase is about 7 percent compared to 2009m but higher than the 5.6 percent nationwide increase projected for 2010 by the Washington D.C.,-based Manufactured Housing Institute. Real estate industry officials say affordability is driving the increase, even as sales of single family homes continue to lag. Sale prices in Ada and Canyon counties ranged from a low of $3,600 to a high of $58,000.

Amtrak: Person on tracks killed by train

SEATTLE — An Amtrak official says a person has been killed by one of its passenger trains. Spokesman Cliff Cole says the person was standing on the tracks north of the Tukwila station about 6 p.m. Sunday when the train came through. Amtrak Cascades Service Train was traveling from Seattle to Portland with 205 people aboard. Cole tells the Seattle Times that it isn’t know yet if the person was male or female. No one else was hurt. The train was stopped while waiting for the King County Medical Examiner’s Office to recover the body.

Rescue brings remote Ore. road danger reminder

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Search and rescue officials in southern Oregon are reminding travelers that a remote mountain road is definitely not a shortcut to the coast in winter. The Josephine County sheriff’s office reported a Texas couple were rescued last week after their car got stuck in snow on Bear Camp Road. The narrow road winds through a rugged section of the Coast Range from Grants Pass to Agness on the coast. But it is closed in winter and deputies say several warning signs are posted. The names of the Texas couple were not released, but deputies said crews had to use a Sno-Cat to reach them because the snow was too deep to use four-wheel-drive vehicles. A San Francisco man died in 2006 when his family got stuck on the same road.

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