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Driver found dead in van in field

Sat., Feb. 23, 2013

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded with Spokane County sheriff’s deputies to a report of a car in a field in Otis Orchards with its motor running and lights on at 8:21 p.m. on Feb. 19.

When crews arrived to the 3100 block of North Meyers Road they found a van that was quite a distance from the road that had hit a telephone pole and run into an irrigation sprinkler pipe, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. The driver, a 52-year-old man, was declared dead at the scene. Crews reported that the man had significant head injuries and there was a lot of blood inside the vehicle, Clifford said.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Gregory said the crash is still under investigation. Investigators are waiting for autopsy and toxicology results, he said. Police are not releasing the man’s identity. “Really right now we don’t have a lot of information,” he said. “It didn’t appear to be alcohol related. We really don’t know what caused him to go off the road.”

Firefighters returned to the scene three hours later to cut off the van’s door so the driver could be removed by the medical examiner, Clifford said.

There were several illegal fires reported the week of Feb. 14-20, including one at Dickson Iron and Metal, 907 N. Dyer Road, the morning of Feb. 15. Crews found a trash fire that had been put out by employees by the time firefighters arrived. “We’ve had several issues there in the past years,” Clifford said.

Clifford said he went to the same business a couple weeks ago to find workers cutting shocks apart and draining the hydraulic fluid, which was set on fire by the gas torch being used to cut the shocks. The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency wrote up the business, which also has an illegal burn pit on site, Clifford said. “I believe Spokane Regional Clean Air will be paying them another visit,” he said.

A 50-year-old man reportedly set a chair on fire in his mother’s detached garage at 7:34 a.m. Feb. 18 in the 12100 block of East First Avenue. The man pulled the chair outside and there was no damage to the garage, Clifford said. “The chair was consumed by fire,” he said.

The man may be facing charges for his actions, Clifford said. “He confessed to some of this,” he said.

Crews responded to a high-speed accident the morning of Feb. 15 that brought down power lines and shut down the northbound lanes of Pines Road near Boone Avenue for hours. A short time later the department received a call from a retirement home in the 12000 block of East Maxwell Avenue. Their power was out and they didn’t have enough portable oxygen tanks for residents who were on oxygen machines, Clifford said.

The department also responded to a one-car rollover accident on Interstate 90 and a three-car crash in the 700 block of North Sullivan Road during the week.

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