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In brief: Man, 19, drowns while swimming in Idaho

A 19-year-old drowned in Rose Lake on Thursday night.

Emergency crews responded to a report at 7:50 p.m. that Gaelen C. “Conner” Mast had failed to surface while swimming with his friends near the 23500 block of East Park Road, according to a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department news release.

Mast spent about a minute underwater, according to the release. He was pulled from the water by his friends, who started CPR.

Mast was airlifted to Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, where he was pronounced dead, according to the release.

Dismissed charges end wrongful conviction case

The case against three men wrongly convicted of robbery officially ended this week when Spokane County prosecutors dismissed charges against two of the three men. Charges against the third man were dismissed in June.

In the legal battle to exonerate Tyler W. Gassman, Paul E. Statler and Robert E. Larson, they spent more than four years in prison. A jury convicted them in 2009 of robbery in a case built solely on the testimony of one man.

Superior Court Judge Michael Price vacated the convictions in December and the three were released from jail after the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic provided new phone and work records that raised serious doubt about whether a jury would have convicted the three men.

“These cases poignantly demonstrate the need for our system to re-examine its use of informant testimony,” said Jacqueline McMurtrie, director of the Innocence Project Northwest.

Accident on Seven Mile leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

One person was killed and two people critically wounded in an accident on West Seven Mile Road on Friday night, Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer responded to the accident, along with Spokane County sheriff’s deputies and members of the Washington State Patrol. Radio traffic indicated three passengers needed to be extricated and that victims were airlifted from the scene for medical treatment. Neither the victims’ identities nor the number of vehicles have been released.

House catches fire on moving-in day

If Melissa Soland’s home had to burn down, Friday was the day for it.

Soland and her son Taegen were in the middle of moving in at about 5:50 p.m. when she saw the smoke and flames coming from the home they had rented on the 2100 block of West Sinto Avenue.

“I said ‘The house is on fire,’ ” Soland said. “ ‘I’m not joking.’ ”

The two sprinted from the house, leaving behind the few belongings they had already moved in: cleaning equipment, a few towels, but nothing valuable or personal.

Battalion Chief Joel Fielder with the Spokane Fire Department said the house is salvageable. The fire appeared to start on the first floor of the house and rise, burning the kitchen area and the back porch, he said.

No one was injured in the blaze, but firefighters struggled with the heat, he said.

Driver recovering from crash on Highway 2

A driver airlifted with serious injuries from a morning car accident in Pend Oreille County was listed in satisfactory condition Friday night.

Bruce A. Hagadorn, 52, was driving south on U.S. Highway 2, about 9 miles southwest of Newport, around 5:30 a.m. when he crossed the northbound lane, left the roadway and hit a tree, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Hagadorn said he had been drinking at a bar in Republic, according to court documents filed later Friday. A field test found his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit.

Hagadorn was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. He was driving without a license or ID in the car. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.


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