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In brief: Man found outside died of hypothermia

A man found dead Tuesday on a sidewalk in north Spokane died from hypothermia, and his death has been officially listed as accidental.

Spokane Police detectives had called the death of 57-year-old Benjamin Payne a “suspicious death” after he was found Tuesday on a sidewalk in the 500 block of East Hoffman Avenue.

Lt. Joe Walker said officers responded in the midmorning after Payne was discovered near a snow bank.

“It looked like he had been there for several hours,” Walker said. “There were signs of trauma. But, we are trying to determine if the injuries were accidental, something medical or caused by assault.”

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene. A Wednesday autopsy revealed that Payne died from hypothermia. No further details were available.

Thomas Clouse

Two arrested after patrol car hit in chase

Authorities arrested two men early Wednesday after they led Spokane Valley officers on a high-speed chase in a reportedly stolen car, then rammed into a patrol car head-on.

Deputies spotted a vehicle reported as stolen last week being driven by 21-year-old Jordy DeBoer with a passenger identified as Gary Walker, 19, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Deputy Juan Rodriguez followed until additional police units were in the area. Rodriguez attempted to pull DeBoer over, but he allegedly sped away, reaching speeds up to 80 mph. Rodriguez intercepted the car, and DeBoer rammed into another deputy’s patrol car that was attempting to block an escape route near Pines Road and Broadway Avenue, the news release said.

The deputy reported no injuries following the crash, the release said.

Deputies arrested DeBoer without further incident on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of meth and eluding police. DeBoer is in custody at Spokane County Jail with a $50,000 bond.

“Attempting to elude, in my mind, is a fairly serious offense for law enforcement and for people on the sides of the street and road,” Spokane County Superior Court Judge James M. Triplet said in court Wednesday.

This is the second pursuit DeBoer has been accused of in the past year in Spokane Valley. He was sentenced to three months in jail for speeding away from police and possession of stolen property in a June 2012 incident.

Deputies also arrested Walker, the passenger in the incident Wednesday, on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

Nicole Hensley

Looff Carrousel closed for annual maintenance

The Looff Carrousel in Spokane’s Riverfront Park is closed for several weeks of maintenance.

The annual closure for restoration helps preserve the century-old carousel for continued use, the city’s parks department said in a news release.

The carousel is scheduled to reopen Feb. 28.

Staff report