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In brief: Driver injured in crash into trees after high-speed chase

A high-speed police chase through Spokane Valley ended in a crash Wednesday night near Valleyway Avenue and Walnut Road.

Driver Justin D. Martin, 29, suffered broken bones and other injuries and had to be extricated from the car after he hit a pair of trees at about 10:45 p.m.

The chase began near the Argonne Road exit along Interstate 90 after a Washington State Patrol trooper spotted a car traveling without headlights.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies continued the chase through a neighborhood.

Martin faces charges of assault for attempting to ram a deputy’s patrol car, eluding police and possession of a stolen vehicle.

A woman riding in the car with Martin was not injured.

Area residents have options for recycling Christmas trees

City of Spokane residents can place cut Christmas trees out for collection by city crews through Jan. 18.

The trees should be placed at least three feet away from regular garbage and recycling bins. Larger trees should be cut to lengths of less than six feet and have no decorations.

The trees will be collected for free through Jan. 18 and sent to a composting facility for chipping and recycling.

Another option for city and county residents is to take trees to the three recycling facilities at 2900 S. Geiger Blvd., 3941 N. Sullivan Rd., and 22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road.

There is a $5 minimum charge at the recycling facilities. Trees should be in lengths of less than six feet at those facilities and should have no flocking or decorations.

Local groups also offer tree disposal as a way to raise money.

Garbage collection in the city on Tuesday will be pushed back a day for the New Year’s Day holiday. Collections will occur a day late through Saturday.

Inmate autopsy inconclusive on role of Taser in death

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – The autopsy performed Wednesday on a Benton County jail inmate who died about eight days after being shocked by a Taser was inconclusive, and more tests will have to be done to determine why he died, officials said.

Nothing in the autopsy of Kevin T. Culp, 29, of Spokane, indicated that the Taser was the cause of death, said Benton County Coroner John Hansens.

Hansens said he’s reserving any ruling until seeing the results of a toxicology report and microscopic analysis of tissue samples.

Culp was in the jail as a contract inmate for the state Department of Corrections and reportedly had a medical condition that prompted jail officials to house him in a medical isolation cell so that nurses could watch him.

Hansens said Culp had epilepsy that resulted in seizures that could have been a factor in his death.

Test results are expected in six to eight weeks.

Two adults, child die from flu as season hits Washington

OLYMPIA – Flu activity has picked up across Washington, especially in Western Washington, the state Health Department said Thursday.

A Pierce County boy and two older adults in King County were the first influenza deaths in the state this season, the department said. The boy, who was younger than 12, was the first death, earlier in December. A man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s in King County died in the past two weeks.

An average of two children and 25 adults die of the flu each year in the state. The worst flu season recently was 2009-2010 when five children and 95 adults died in Washington, department spokeswoman Julie Graham said.