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In brief: Warrant issued for accused GU worker

Wed., June 5, 2013, midnight

A maintenance worker facing charges of rape and child molestation skipped his court arraignment Tuesday morning, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Timothy D. Woodard, 48, who works at Gonzaga University, faces seven felony counts for alleged sex crimes that happened 15 years ago, when the victim was 10 years old.

Woodard was scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge James Triplet. His attorney, Doug Phelps, arrived but Woodard did not.

According to court records, Woodard was working at the time of the alleged crimes both at Burgan’s Furniture and Gonzaga.

GU officials have placed Woodard on administrative leave.

The victim told investigators that sex acts occurred both at the furniture store and on Gonzaga’s campus in the “library, in closets, locker rooms, and in the gym area.”

Not guilty plea in kidnapping case

A man accused of shoving his wife from a moving vehicle while leading police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 90 last week pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, eluding and harassment charges in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Aaron Coman, 30, sped away from police in his white Honda Civic after his wife secretly dialed police while the couple argued. The woman told police the two were arguing about money and she repeatedly asked to be released while trying to flag down other drivers by honking and waving. After discovering the cellphone call, Coman slowed the car from its speed of more than 90 mph on an exit ramp and the woman was shoved from the vehicle, police said. Coman ran over the woman’s foot before speeding off once again, eventually crashing the car near Cheney.

Superior Court Judge James Triplet set Coman’s bond at $20,000 on charges of first-degree kidnapping, attempting to elude police and harassment. Coman has also been charged with assault in a separate incident occurring in January. Coman is scheduled to appear in court on all the charges in late July.

Nurses protest amid union negotiations

Registered nurses took their frustrations with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center public Tuesday, waving signs and accusing the hospital of inadequate staffing levels and of trying to pass off higher health insurance costs.

The sides are in the midst of union contract negotiations for the 1,600 RNs. Their pact expired Dec. 31, though an extension has been in place since.

Sacred Heart disputes the staffing concerns, and a spokesman said executives have pressed unsuccessfully for the help of a federal mediator. The hospital has offered a compensation package that amounts to an average pay raise of 4.25 percent.

The fight over benefits – especially health coverage – has been a sticking point, said Heather Weiner of the Washington State Nurses Association. Nurses are exposed to sick people and need solid and affordable health coverage, she said.

Interplayers cancels Mark Twain show

Interplayers’ scheduled production of “Mark Twain: On Man and His World,” starring veteran Hollywood actor Jerry Hardin, has been canceled.

The show was set to run Thursday through Sunday. Pamela Brown, Interplayers’ director, said a scheduling conflict forced the cancellation.

“We’re so sad,” she said. “We’re trying to coordinate a time in the fall for him to come and do it.”

For information on ticket refunds, call the Interplayers box office at (509) 455-7529.

Two in custody after raid near Newport

Deputies and state troopers raided a suspected auto theft operation Tuesday south of Newport, Wash., and reported finding numerous stolen vehicles and a marijuana growing operation.

Two men were taken into custody as part of the multistate law enforcement operation that included the Spokane County sheriff’s SWAT team.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Kyle Witt said investigators were processing vehicles at the scene on Spring Valley Road to determine if they are stolen.

“As of now, I believe we have recovered some stolen vehicles, a motorcycle, an ATV and we also found a marijuana grow, and (methamphetamines) along with weapons and ammunition,” Witt said.

The WSP is leading the investigation, which includes investigators from Pend Oreille County, the U.S. Border Patrol, and Bonner and Kootenai counties.

Witt said the two suspects were booked into the Pend Oreille County Jail, but he would not release their names.

OSHA fines business in gas line explosion

LEWISTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a Lewiston construction company for its role in a natural gas explosion in the city’s downtown last November.

OSHA cited M.L. Albright and Sons for failing to anticipate the change in the depth of the natural gas line, which was hit with an excavator bucket, the Lewiston Tribune reported Tuesday.

Department of Labor spokesman Jose Carnevali said half of the $2,450 fine has been paid.

Company owner Wayne Albright said the company took numerous steps to determine the depth of the gas line.

He said workers believed the pipe ran in a straight line.


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