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Wanted man crashes car after police chase, closing East Sprague

A man wanted by law enforcement fled from Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies early Wednesday before rolling and crashing his car into a fire hydrant and snapping a power pole east of downtown Spokane.

Deputies attempted to stop a Mazda sedan about 3 a.m. on Sprague Avenue for a traffic infraction, but the driver sped away, said Detective Jeff Welton. Deputies followed at speeds up to 70 mph for about a minute before calling off the chase because they were entering the downtown area.

The driver, River E. B. Hewson, 26, was westbound in the eastbound lanes when he crashed on Sprague between Sherman and Grant streets. He was seriously injured and taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Deputies suspect he had been driving under the influence, Welton said.

A passenger was unharmed in the crash and fled on foot, but he was soon stopped by deputies, who decided not to arrest him, Welton said. After the crash, they discovered Hewson was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for a court hearing on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Sprague between Grant and Sherman streets was closed for several hours as crews worked to clean up the scene.

Wednesday’s chase was not the first for Hewson. In 2010 he led deputies on a high-speed chase in a stolen Jeep Cherokee in the area of 7000 N. Stevens St., clipping a house and ramming a deputy’s patrol car before crashing and attempting to flee on foot.

Hewson’s criminal history includes convictions for theft, robbery, felony assault, vehicle theft, obstructing a police officer and riot.

Staff reporter Nina Culver contributed to this report.


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