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In brief: Ex-firefighter pleads not guilty to DUI

A retired Spokane firefighter and convicted drunken driver pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of driving under the influence stemming from a traffic stop last month.

The DUI charge was a felony based on David W. Batty’s history, which includes a conviction for vehicular homicide in 1993.

Batty, 55, of Elk, was stopped on U.S. Highway 2 on Jan. 6 and had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Batty served two years in jail following the vehicular homicide conviction, and was on medical leave from the city in January 2007 when he caused a crash that killed three people.

Deputy Prosecutor Mike Nelson asked Superior Court Judge Michael Price for a $25,000 bond, but Batty’s defense attorney said his client is undergoing random testing and has been complying with a previous order that bars Batty from driving.

Price ruled that Batty can remain out of jail as long as he does not drive and continues with random testing. Trial was set for April 25.

Thomas Clouse

Officer involved in collision identified

The Spokane police officer involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian Sunday was identified Wednesday as Officer Gordon Ennis.

Ennis, an eight-year veteran, has been interviewed by investigators and is scheduled to return to full patrol duty. He provided a blood sample the night of the crash, which killed John A. Van Curler, 52.

Investigators have not said if Ennis was driving with his lights or siren on, or at what speed, when he hit Van Curler at or near the intersection of North Monroe Street and West Montgomery Avenue about 10:30 p.m.

Ennis was responding to a report of trouble unknown at a home on West Spofford Avenue.

Van Curler was born in Spokane and graduated from Shadle Park High School. He worked for years at Inland Empire Plating and had recently been living with his stepmother and collecting cans to exchange for cash, family said.

The case is being handled by a team of investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.

Meghann M. Cuniff


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