Local news

In brief: Deputy, reservist injured in crash


A sheriff’s patrol car in service for about a month was destroyed in a crash Sunday in east Spokane.

Deputy Chuck Sciortino and Reserve Deputy Kathleen Hurst were treated for back and neck pain at a local hospital then driven home after the crash, which occurred about 7:15 p.m. as they were westbound on Francis Avenue approaching Freya Street.

Clifford Berry, 63, was eastbound on Francis in a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup pulling a trailer full of household goods when he turned left and was struck by the patrol car, which was responding to a report of threats.

Sgt. Dave Reagan said Berry appeared to have violated a green light, which allows for left turns after oncoming traffic has cleared, but he wasn’t cited.

Reagan did not say how fast the patrol car was driving or if it had its lights or siren activated.

Detectives are awaiting data from the patrol’s car computer before making a charging decision, Reagan said.

English instructor Tajima, 88, dies

Ted Tajima, who taught intensive English to Japanese students in Spokane, has died at the age of 88.

Tajima was a longtime journalism teacher in Altadena, Calif., who also taught at Community Colleges of Spokane for more than 10 summers in the 1980s and 1990s, according to his daughter, Pam Tajima Praeger, of Spokane.

“The students came from Spokane’s sister city, Nishinomiya, and additionally from the general Kansai area including an Osaka college,” Praeger said in an e-mail.

Tajima taught at Alhambra High School in California from 1948 to 1983, according to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times. Besides Praeger, he is survived by three other daughters, a brother and two grandchildren. Services are planned in California on March 12.

Robbery suspect arrested quickly

Police on Monday arrested a suspect less than 20 minutes after a robbery at a Spokane Valley convenience store.

Matthew J. Horpel, 23, was seen running northbound at Valleyway Avenue and Blake Street when officers arrived just after the 1 p.m. robbery at McDonald Food Mart, 13105 E. Sprague Ave., according to police.

An employee said the robber implied he had a gun but did not display one, then left with cash.

Police say Horpel was not armed when they arrested him at gunpoint 17 minutes after the robbery.

Horpel’s criminal history contains primarily traffic offenses, police said.


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