Drunken drivers in Spokane County have one more reason to stay off the roads.
On Monday, local law enforcement leaders announced the launch of the Target Zero Team in Spokane, a multiagency task force of highly trained DUI patrol officers. The group seeks to reduce DUI fatalities to zero by 2030.
The Washington State Patrol, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Spokane Police Department have all contributed officers to the program.
Officers will patrol every night to find drunken drivers, using highly specialized mapping software to locate crashes and impaired drivers.
The program is funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Target Zero Teams began patrols in Spokane County on Monday night.
Homes searched in robberies probe
Spokane police searched three homes Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into recent takeover-style robberies.
Major crimes detectives and SWAT teams executed the search warrants simultaneously about 9 a.m., according to a news release from Sgt. Lydia Taylor. Arrests are expected soon.
The robberies occurred in May at a Subway and Little Caesars Pizza on Spokane’s South Hill. The homes searched by police Monday were near 3000 E. 30th Ave., 3700 S. Alder Court and 600 S. Perry St.
On May 26, a pair of armed men held up the Little Caesars Pizza at 2905 South Regal St. after entering through an unlocked back door. On May 31, a robber entered the Subway at 3012 E. 29th Ave. and threatened an employee with a knife before fleeing on foot with cash.
Detectives interviewed several people of interest and “expect arrests to be forthcoming in connection to these cases,” Taylor said.
Fireworks outlawed on most public lands
Fireworks are prohibited year-round on most public lands including national forests, wildlife refuges, and parks and Bureau of Land Management lands, as well as state wildlife lands, according to media releases emphasizing the policy this week.
In addition, the Washington state Department of Natural Resources on Monday enacted a ban on burning and open fires on the state lands it manages.
Dworshak lowering affects recreation
This week’s heat wave is changing the landscape for boaters and campers planning Fourth of July holiday trips to Dworshak Reservoir, which stretches 54 miles on the North Fork of the Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam operators are more than doubling the flows from the chilly depths of the reservoir to cool the Clearwater River to safer temperatures for young salmon and steelhead.
The increased discharges from Dworshak Dam have caused the Clearwater River to rise 1 1/2 feet downstream from the confluence with the North Fork.
Visitors in the many campsites along the reservoir will be impacted as the water level drops from the full pool reached last week. The level is expected to drop 5 feet below full pool by Thursday and continue dropping to 9 feet below full by July 8.
Decreasing water levels can leave moored boats high and dry and long expanses of rocky shoreline between the water and the campsites.
Homicide suspect remains in jail
A Post Falls homicide suspect went back to jail Monday rather than argue why a judge should consider lowering the $100,000 bond that is keeping him inside the Kootenai County Jail.
Dylan P. Paschall, 20, has been in jail since March 11 on a charge of second-degree murder. Sheriff’s detectives charged Paschall in connection with the March 24, 2012, death of 18-year-old Luke Anana-Kuewa, who was found dead in Mill Pond at Spirit Lake.
Paschall’s attorney, public defender Brad Chapman, said he wanted to wait for the transcript from the earlier preliminary hearing before he makes his argument to First District Judge Fred Gibler to lower Paschall’s bond. Gibler entered a not guilty plea for Paschall.
A trial date has not been set.
Detectives worked for months before charging Paschall, who was with three others the night Anana-Kuewa drowned.
Lead ingots stolen from building site
Some 49 lead ingots valued at $3,000 were stolen from a construction site in Spokane Valley.
An employee of the construction company reported the ingots stolen on June 25, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. They were believed to have been stolen between 5 p.m. June 24 and 2 p.m. the next day.
A business under construction at that site uses the ingots to shield radiation from X-ray equipment, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Sheep die in field in 90-degree heat
SALEM – Circling buzzards led neighbors to discover sheep with full-grown wool that had dropped dead from the heat in a field in rural Marion County near Turner.
The sheriff’s office said Monday that 30 to 40 had died in the 80-acre field covered with green standing grass.
Sheriff’s spokesman Don Thomson told the (Salem) Statesman Journal that deputies responded Sunday and gave the remaining sheep water and food. More than 200 survived.
Neighbors said they have long been concerned about the care of the sheep, and conditions turned fatal as temperatures climbed into the 90s.