Local news

In brief: WSU grad student killed in crash

A Washington State University graduate student died Monday evening after the car she was driving collided with another vehicle on state Highway 26 southwest of Colfax.

Sanchita Haldar died at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Washington State Patrol troopers said she was headed east on the highway in a 2011 Toyota Prius shortly before 6 p.m. when she collided in the westbound lane with a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero driven by Jennifer D. Baker, 21, of LaCrosse, Wash.

Baker was taken to Sacred Heart by helicopter and was reported in serious condition Tuesday.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts. The cause of the accident remained under investigation.

Haldar was a graduate student in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources at WSU.

She was studying post-harvest physiology and the genomics of sweet cherries, according to her biography on the WSU website.

She had earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture at Banaras Hindu University and held a master’s degree in biotechnology from Maharaja Sayajirao University in India.

Staff reports

Appeal denied in girl’s abuse death

The appeal by the man sentenced to 75 years for the abuse death of 4-year-old Summer Phelps was denied Tuesday.

Attorneys for Jonathan D. Lytle appealed Superior Court Judge Michael Price’s decision that Lytle was able to understand and assist in his own defense. But judges from the Division III Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Price had legal justification for his ruling and affirmed the conviction of homicide by abuse.

A jury convicted Lytle in 2008 of killing his daughter on March 10, 2007. Adrianna Lytle, the girl’s stepmother, also pleaded guilty in the case and received a sentence of more than 62 years.

The girl’s death caused state officials to revamp the system that tracks abuse cases. Over six months in 2006 and 2007, Summer was beaten, bitten, shocked with a dog collar, burned with cigarettes, denied food and dunked in cold water after being forced to stand in a bathtub for hours washing urine-soaked clothes. She had her hair pulled out in clumps. Doctors later testified that it was the worst case of child abuse they had seen.

Thomas Clouse


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