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In brief: Amtrak passengers, crew safe after slide derails train

Mon., April 8, 2013

SEATTLE – Mud, trees and rocks hit an Amtrak passenger train traveling through Washington Sunday morning, causing several cars to derail, according to a railway spokesman.

There were no injuries reported in the mudslide that knocked off the dining car and two coach cars, the last three railcars on the train, said Gus Melonas, a spokesman for BNSF, which owns the tracks.

The train was traveling south from Everett on the way to Seattle when the slide hit around 8:30 a.m., Melonas said. The train, known as the Empire Builder, started Friday in Chicago.

None of the 86 passengers or 11 crew members on board were injured, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari confirmed.

The derailed cars were disconnected, and the passengers were taken to Mukilteo, where they were transferred to a bus bound for Seattle, according to BNSF and Amtrak.

The cause of the slide is under investigation by Amtrak and BNSF officials.

It was not immediately clear how long Amtrak passenger service would be affected, Magliari said.

A freight train derailed in October on the same stretch of tracks where the Empire Builder was damaged.

Sunday’s slide fell about 100 feet down a slope and covered the tracks in debris about 30 feet long and 15 feet deep.

Report of gunfire brings bomb squad, SWAT

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and SWAT team surrounded a Spokane Valley apartment building early Sunday morning after hearing reports that a man with a gun had threatened two people in a parking lot.

Deputies responded to reports of gunshots at the building on 511 S. Sullivan Road at 3:20 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

They detained two men who were trying to leave the Sullivan Court Apartments. The men told deputies they had been inside and argued with 32-year-old Justin Roberson, according to the release.  Deputies learned Roberson had a felony warrant for a weapons violation charge.

Deputies secured the location and brought in extra deputies and Sheriff’s Office hostage negotiators.

At 6:20 a.m. Roberson was taken into custody without incident and booked into jail on a felony warrant.

Sheriff’s rookie K-9 helps track speeding suspect

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies and a rookie K-9 unit tracked down a speeding Spokane man early Sunday morning and charged him with eluding police, according to a Sheriff’s Office news relase.

Deputy Marc Melville was on patrol north of Colbert when his car was passed by a northbound vehicle traveling around 100 mph.

Melville gave chase and saw the vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign and then pass another vehicle in the no-pass lane near East Elk Chattaroy Road, according to the release.

Melville found the car stuck in a ditch near 6414 East Elk Chattaroy Road and found two uninjured passengers inside.

The driver had fled, they told Melville.

Deputy J. Thurman came to the scene along with his K-9, Kaslo. They found the driver about a mile from the car. The release reported this was Kaslo’s first track.

The driver was identified as 27-year-old Vyacheslav Kostenyuk.

Kostenyuk asked deputies to retrieve the phone he left in the vehicle. When searching for it, they recovered a bag containing a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, the release said.

Kostenyuk was charged with felony eluding. More charges are anticipated, the release said.

House fire blamed on wiring malfunction

Spokane firefighters spent two hours Sunday morning dousing a fire that started in a bathroom of a residence in northeast Spokane.

Units responded around 10:15 a.m. to reports of smoke coming from gables at the home on the 2200 block of East Heroy Avenue, according to a Spokane Fire Department news release.

Firefighters used infrared cameras to identify the source of the fire in the ceiling of an upstairs bathroom. Teams began pouring water on the fire and determined that no one was in the house at the time.

No firefighter injuries were reported, and damage was estimated at $20,000. A preliminary investigation listed the cause as an electrical malfunction in wiring.

The four family members who lived in the residence are staying with relatives until repairs are completed.

Man seeks $500 from U.S. after canine ate cash

HELENA – A Montana man whose 12-year-old golden retriever ate five $100 bills hopes to be reimbursed by the federal government.

Wayne Klinkel said his dog Sundance ate the bills while he and his wife were on a road trip to visit their daughter.

Klinkel said he carefully picked through the dog’s droppings, and his daughter recovered more when snow melted.

He said he washed the remnants of the bills and taped them together and sent them to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing with an explanation of what happened.

The bureau’s website says an “experienced mutilated currency examiner” will determine if at least 51 percent of a bill is present and eligible for reimbursement. The process can take up to two years.

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