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In brief: 2 sovereigns arrested after standoff

Two men part of a growing “sovereign” movement that questions government authority were arrested in Otis Orchards on Wednesday after a SWAT team standoff.

The men had pulled over at North Starr Road and East Kildea Road for deputies investigating invalid license plates on their truck but refused to exit the vehicle, said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

The truck was covered in sovereign citizen signs, including one that said it was a “noncommercial private vehicle” and “no trespassing.”

Knezovich joined SWAT team negotiators because self-proclaimed sovereigns typically recognize the sheriff as the highest law enforcement authority, he said.

“They were, thank goodness, nonviolent, and it ended very well,” Knezovich said.

The men agreed to surrender but still refused to exit the vehicle. SWAT officers took them into custody with “minimal force,” Knezovich said, though they had to be cut from their seat belts.

The standoff started about 2 p.m. and ended about 4:30 p.m. The men’s names were not immediately available.

It’s official: Rodgers gets MAC job back

The fired leader of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture has been officially approved to return to work.

The museum’s board on Wednesday approved a deal allowing Forrest Rodgers to return to the director’s position that the board fired him from in April. He will receive pay for the time he was off work and the board agreed to cover $17,625 of his attorney’s fees, said Rodgers’ attorney, Bob Dunn.

After he was terminated in April, MAC board members appeared shocked by the strong and vocal opposition to their decision. The board refused to give any explanation for Rodgers’ termination until two months after he was let go. Last month, after the composition of the board shifted, it voted 11-3 to start negotiations in hope of rehiring him.

“He’s ready to roll up his sleeves and go to work,” Dunn said. “Of all the clients I ever represented, he was probably the least adversarial.”

Unknown man tried to stop at-fault driver

The Spokane Police Department is looking for the “good Samaritan” who attempted to stop a driver after a collision at Third Avenue and Freya Street last month.

Just before 5 a.m. on July 1, there was a hit-and-run collision at that intersection.

Video from cameras at the intersection shows a man running into the crash scene from the northeast and attempting to stop the at-fault driver, a police news release said.

That driver fled the scene, leaving the two occupants in the victim’s vehicle seriously injured.

Cpl. Brad Hallock has interviewed many witnesses but hasn’t found the man seen in the video.

Anyone with information about the crash or the witness is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Agency’s acting chief promoted to post

Susan Ashe has been hired as executive director of the Health Sciences & Services Authority. She had worked as acting executive director for two years while running her own communications business.

The HSSA, created by the Washington Legislature in 2007, uses tax dollars to fund health science research and economic development. It has a board of directors appointed by elected officials.

Ashe’s career in communications and public policy spans 30 years.

She worked for Kaiser Aluminum Corp. and more recently the Spokane mayor’s office in charge of legislative affairs.

Driver attempting U-turn hit by school bus

An 18-year-old driver trying to make a U-turn on Highway 2 was struck by a school bus carrying 30 students Wednesday in north Spokane County.

The bus struck a 2001 Ford Ranger driven by Tyler J. Potter, of Elk, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Potter was driving south on the shoulder when he tried to make a U-turn near Findley Road and was struck by the bus.

No students were injured.

Bus driver Patrice Smith-Dawson, 40, of Spokane, was transported to Providence Holy Family Hospital with injuries. Damage to the bus was estimated at $6,000.

The 3:52 p.m. collision closed the southbound lane as emergency crews responded. The scene was clear by 6 p.m.

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