A Spokesman-Review carrier found a man’s body on a sidewalk in North Spokane near Evergreen Elementary School this morning around 5:30.
The victim has been identified as Michael Edwin Dressel, 48, according to the medical examiner. The cause of death is still under investigation.
“At this time, it appears the victim may have been struck by a vehicle,” said Dep. Mark Gregory in a press release. “From canvassing the area, detectives learned the male appeared to be intoxicated and walking around in the area before he died.”
The body was found on the curb of the road that leads to the school, at West Eddy Avenue and Weipert Drive, Spokane County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Barbieri said.
The dead man had blood on his body, but there was no sign of how he died.
An autopsy will likely happen today. Barbieri said the death is being treated as a homicide, and detectives are investigating a lead that the man may have been seen walking around last night.
School was still open this morning with parents and buses dropping off students.
“This has nothing to do with the school. We’re just using the parking lot as our command,” Lt. Barbieri said. “There is no threat to the school.”
Deputy Chris Young holds the door for students entering Evergreen Elementary School on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, 2013. (SR Photo: Jennifer Pignolet)
Despite that, school officials decided to go into a modified lock down, Barbieri said. That means children will not be allowed to go outside.
The school principal, Jon Iverson, said school started as usual at 9:15 and the Mead School District provided three additional buses for students who walk. Those buses collected children at Weipert and St. Thomas More Way, at Division Street and Price Avenue, and in the parking lot of the Nazarene church at 9004 N. Country Homes Blvd.
“That’s just an extra precaution,” Iverson said, adding that a note went out to parents at 7:30 telling them what was going on.
Shannon Schulte dropped off her fifth-grade daughter and said she didn’t know exactly what was going on, but had heard a body had been found. She said she was initially nervous about her child being at school, but felt comfortable when she saw the police presence.
“Obviously they have it well covered,” she said.
The Mead School District superintendent, along with sheriff’s deputies, were welcoming students as they arrived.
Seeing all the police activity, parent Greg Elmore said, “It’s probably the safest place to be today,” as he dropped off his son for school.
One young student on her way into school pointed to the police tape cutting across her school’s parking lot and yelled, “It says ‘crime scene!’”
West Price Avenue was initially closed to traffic but was reopened around 11:30.
The carrier who found the body, a woman who wished not to be identified, said through her daughter, who translates for her, that she initially thought the body might be some kind of decoration that blew away from a yard.
That had happened before, her daughter said, around Halloween.
When she saw the body, the carrier turned to her husband, who was driving a vehicle while she walked the route, and asked him to check it out. They realized it was real and called 911 from a cell phone, their daughter said.
Barbieri said the light snow that fell this morning complicated the investigation, although the first officers on scene did their best to preserve evidence. He said the officers took photos immediately and placed blankets over the evidence.
“Any evidence that was on the ground before the snow fell can be diluted or washed away,” he said.