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In brief: Crash kills man, injures passenger

Thu., May 31, 2012

A man died following an early Saturday morning car crash near Main Avenue and Stone Street in Spokane.

Marquis D. Johnson, 23, was declared brain dead following the accident. His 23-year-old female passenger, whose name was not released, suffered broken bones, the Spokane Police Department said Wednesday.

Johnson was driving a 1994 Chevrolet Blazer east on Main around 2 a.m. when he lost control and crashed into a concrete barrier in front of a business, police said.

Witnesses told police “impairment and speed” were factors in the accident.

Johnson was one of four men arrested after shots were fired at Hoopfest in 2010. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was given an exceptionally low sentence of six months in jail.

Felony defendant accused of robbery

A man who arrived in Spokane about a week ago from Ethiopia was robbed while jogging on the South Hill early Sunday, police say.

The 38-year-old victim does not speak English but said he recognized the word “money” when a man approached him about 5:20 a.m. near West Eighth Avenue and South Adams Street, according to court documents.

The victim said he tried to communicate with the man, but the man grabbed his necklace and acted as though he was reaching for a weapon.

The man said he feared for his life and backed up as the robber broke the necklace and stole two charms from it. The victim’s friend translated his Tigrigna language for police.

Police spotted William C. Calamanco, 25, in the area, and the victim identified him as the robber by his tattoos. Police say Calamanco is suspected in similar attacks. Calamanco told police the man offered his necklace in exchange for meth, but officers didn’t believe him and booked him into jail for second-degree robbery.

Calamanco was out of jail awaiting trial for two felony cases. One is a vehicular assault charge for a crash Feb. 5 in which he allegedly bragged to a nurse that he was “driving really, really, really fast.” The other is a burglary case that occurred in November but wasn’t solved until February.

Assault suspect may face drug charges

A longtime Spokane felon who fought with police at a Browne’s Addition grocery store parking lot last week had about three ounces of heroin in his vehicle, police say.

Stephen Patrick Link, 46, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine, attempting to elude a police vehicle and two counts of third-degree assault for the May 21 incident with Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa and Officer Ron Van Tassel at Rosauers, 1800 W. Second Ave.

Police are requesting prosecutors charge Link with six additional drug felonies after a search of his Ford Ranger on Friday revealed the heroin, valued at $2,400, marijuana packaged for sale and four prescription drugs packaged for sale, as well as a scale and baggies.

Police also found two syringes loaded with suspected heroin.  Those drugs were found in addition to methamphetamine, more than $7,000 and 35 suspected stolen gift cards that were found on the ground next to Link the night of his arrest.

Link was shocked with a Taser and taken to the ground before being handcuffed.

Homicide suspect will get evaluation

A man who told detectives he killed another man in a fight over cigarettes will undergo a mental health examination. 

Acquaintances of suspect Shane Caleb Smith, 38, told investigators he is known as “Psycho Shane” and sometimes speaks of imaginary people and vivid hallucinations.

He also often accused people at gunpoint of things they did not do, witnesses told police.

Smith is accused of shooting Warren Scott Flinn on May 12. Flinn, 44, died at a hospital May 16. 

Smith told detectives he and Flinn had been out “scrapping” for metal near the railroad tracks on Lake Road when they began to argue over cigarettes.

Smith was arraigned on a second-degree murder charge Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court. He was not given a trial date; he was ordered to appear in court July 27 for an update on whether he’s competent to stand trial.

Gregoire’s husband has cancer surgery

OLYMPIA – Mike Gregoire, husband of Washington’s two-term governor, is recovering from surgery after colon cancer was discovered during a routine screening.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement her husband, who is 66, is still in the hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.

Cancer was discovered during a colonoscopy and he was immediately scheduled for surgery, the governor said in her statement. “Prior to the screening, Mike showed no symptoms and was never in pain,” she added.

Education reform strategies diverge

SEATTLE – The two leading candidates running to be Washington governor think schools should find new, innovative ways to teach young people. But how they want that innovation to happen illustrates the sharp split in their views as well as disagreement among state voters.

Republican Rob McKenna pitches charter schools as a way to bring fresh thinking to education and give parents more choice about what’s best for their kids.

Democrat Jay Inslee, however, says that kind of innovation can happen in the state’s existing school system and wants to take smaller steps toward change. He says he’s concerned about whether charter schools are accountable to taxpayers.

Voters and education organizations are starting to line up behind each candidate, mostly based on their views on hot-button topics including tying teacher pay to student performance.


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