January 8, 2011 in City

In brief: Tucker close to decision on charges in pastor’s death


Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker indicated Friday that he is close to deciding whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley.

Tucker said Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Jack Driscoll needs to review the report with Spokane police Detective Brian Hamond early next week before handing it over for Tucker’s review.

“Also, I understand that SPD investigators are meeting on Tuesday to consider if any of the private investigators’ information has criminal/civil implications and needs further investigation before a final decision is made,” Tucker wrote in an e-mail responding to questions.

The Creach family hired a private investigator to look into the shooting.

Alan Creach, son of the slain pastor, reminded Tucker in a different e-mail Friday that he promised to meet with the family before announcing his decision. Creach expressed concern that he has had no updates about the progress of the case from the prosecutor’s office.

Thomas Clouse

County weighs requiring trucks to use chains on hills

Spokane County may require semitruck drivers to chain up when hills get too icy.

Twice last month, the hill on Argonne Road north of Millwood had to be closed because of jackknifed semis, County Engineer Bob Brueggeman told commissioners this week.

Commissioners authorized him to study the feasibility of an ordinance that would require chains on big rigs when signs are posted.

Brueggeman said he wasn’t sure whether local governments can require chains. However, state law says local governments may restrict road use by certain vehicles on the basis of “tire equipment” and other factors.

“I wouldn’t mind pursuing it to see what it might look like and what steps we might have to take,” Commissioner Todd Mielke said.

Commissioner Al French wanted to make sure truckers have a place to chain up if they are required to do so.

Brueggeman said the problem is generally limited to the hills on Argonne, Forker and Carnahan roads. He said a Forker Road shoulder might have to be widened, but truckers could use an outside lane on Argonne.

Regulation on Carnahan would require coordination with Spokane Valley because the hill is partly in that city, Brueggeman said.

John Craig

Plenty of eagles remaining in area, birdwatchers say

Bald eagles continue to hang out at Lake Coeur d’Alene in high numbers to feast on spawning kokanee.

BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo counted 128 eagles in the Wolf Lodge Bay area Friday morning during her weekly winter survey.

The number is down from the record count of 254 on Dec. 23, but it’s still far above the tally for 2009. Last year’s count on Jan. 8 was 72 birds, Hugo said.

Elsewhere, Audubon Society birdwatchers out for the annual Christmas Bird Count report finding bald eagles scattered throughout the region where they have access to water or road-killed wildlife.

Rich Landers

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