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Radiation accident reported at INL - six months after it happened…

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have reported a radiation accident six months after it happened at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho. The Post Register reports (http://bit.ly/1D7FopH) that the U.S. Department of Energy reported the radioactive contamination of one worker during a presentation last week at an INL Site Environmental Management Citizens Advisory Board's meeting in Pocatello. Officials say the Oct. 23 accident happened at the New Waste Calcining Facility operated by contractor CH2M-WG Idaho and led to a work stoppage that lasted weeks. Officials say the accident occurred following a mistake in the process as workers attempted to repackage radioactive waste. Officials say workers evacuated after monitors sensed airborne radioactivity. A CH2M-WG Idaho spokesman tells the Idaho Falls newspaper that one worker received internal contamination equivalent to a chest X-ray.

Two killed in Idaho National Guard helicopter crash

An Idaho Army National Guard helicopter crashed Thursday night during a training mission, killing the two people aboard, the AP reports. The Apache combat helicopter crashed at approximately 7 p.m. about two miles south of the National Guard base at Gowen Field near the Boise International Airport. "The men and women of the Idaho National Guard are united in grief at the loss of two of our brothers in arms, who gave their lives while training to defend our nation," Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, commander of the Idaho National Guard, said in a statement. "Today, our thoughts and prayers are with their families." Click below for a full report from the Associated Press. Gov. Butch Otter, U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson all issued statements this morning on the deaths.

"This tragedy reminds us of the enormous sacrifice and great risk involved in military service," Otter said. "I ask all Idahoans to join me in honoring these courageous citizen soldiers along with all those who have gone before them in defense of the liberties we hold so dear.” Labrador said, "Their sacrifice is a sober reminder of the price of freedom." Risch said, "This once again reminds us of the dangers our dedicated servicemen and women face, at home and abroad, as they work hard to keep America safe.” Crapo said, “My thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and the entire Idaho National Guard community during this difficult time.” Simpson said, “Please keep these families and the men and women of the Idaho National Guard in your thoughts today.”

The two who were killed were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Stien P. Gearhart, 50, of Meridian; and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jon L. Hartway, 43, of Kuna. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1-183rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Idaho Army National Guard, Gowen Field.

IHOP To Reopen After May 19 Crash

News release announcing re-opening of Coeur d'Alene IHOP:

Coeur D’Alene residents, rejoice! Your local IHOP, closed since May 19 due to damage it sustained from a car accident, will once again be open for business at 6 a.m. Monday. On the morning of May 19, a vehicle slammed into the IHOP located at 2301 Fourth St. in Coeur d' Alene.  While there were no injuries, the building itself sustained substantial damage.  Rather than simply repair the damage, franchisee owner and local area resident Jay Jordan decided instead to completely remodel the restaurant to reflect IHOP’s latest design, making it one of the most modern IHOP restaurants in the country. “When the accident happened, in addition to being extremely grateful that no one was hurt, we realized we could take a negative and turn it into a positive by using the opportunity to bringing our loyal guests the very latest IHOP design,” said Jordan. “While our guests may not recognize the new interior and exterior, what they will recognize is the same great IHOP food and service they’ve been enjoying for the past 10 years we’ve owned this restaurant.” More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Are you a regular IHOP customer?

Rollover wreck snarls I-90

There's a rollover accident currently backing up traffic on eastbound I-90 near the Pines exit. Expect delays until firefighters and WSP troopers clear the scene. Photo courtesy WSDOT traffic camera.

12:15 p.m. update: The Washington State Patrol is reporting that one person is trapped inside that flipped car and another was ejected in the accident.

3 Doors Down bassist charged with vehicular homicide

Todd Harrell of the popular rock band 3 Doors Down was arrested by Nashville Police Friday night and charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication.  Harrell was driving his 2011 Cadillac CTS at high speeds when he clipped a 2003 Ford F-150, causing the truck to careen over a guardrail and down an embankment where it flipped over.  

Slick, steep South Hill road - catalyst for multiple vehicle pile-up

Icy conditions got the best of a Spokane garbage truck during the Thursday morning commute as it slid down a treacherous South Hill road and collided with several parked vehicles.

The drivers said their chains and parking brake of a garbage truck snapped as they were outside helping another driver stuck in the roadway. The heavy truck slid down Howard Avenue and hit several parked cars near Sixth Street.

Nobody was injured during the pile-up, according to Spokane Police officers, but multiple vehicles were towed away due to damage.

Maureen Henderson was inside her stuck car as the truck careened toward her. It hit hard, she said, but it wasn’t as jarring as she thought it was going to be.

“Last year it was a school bus that knocked out a couple cars,” Henderson said. “If the city - if they would come and gravel this, it wouldn’t happen.”

Because the garbage truck is owned by the city of Spokane, officers could not cite the drivers, but the incident report will be examined by a traffic lieutenant who will decide if a citation merits the situation.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the drivers will not be held liable for damage to the other vehicles.

According to witnesses, the garbage men had finished picking up trash in a nearby alleyway when they stopped to help Henderson.

(The chains and parking brake of a Spokane garbage truck snapped during the Thursday morning commute. The truck collided with multiple cars on its way down Howard Street near Sixth Avenue. Nicole Hensley photo)

Woman hit by truck downtown, breaks leg

Nicole Hensley photo

A woman's leg was broken after she was hit by a truck in a downtown Spokane intersection this morning.

Around 7:55 a.m., the driver of a truck was turning left on Washington Street from Riverside Avenue and hit the woman, said Spokane Police Officer Brad Moon.

Medics transported her to the local hospital for her injuries. The driver was cited for failure to yield to the woman in the crosswalk.

(Spokane Police Officer John O'Brien holds an IV while medics tend to a woman with a broken leg after the driver of a truck hit her in a downtown intersection Thursday morning. Nicole Hensley photo)

Argonne Road blocked by accident

12:45 p.m. update - Argonne is now back open.

Argonne Road is expected to be blocked near Upriver Drive for another hour or so due to a serious accident, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Northbound lanes are blocked at Maringo and only one southbound lane is open.

The driver of a car rear ended a large moving truck at the intersection of Argonne and Upriver Drive. "The bumper of the truck is about where the head rest should be," said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. A Spokane County Fire District 9 engine was nearby doing hydrant tests and was first on the scene. They called for extrication equipment to remove the critically injured driver from the car.

"We sent a bunch of equipment headed that way and couple of ambulances," Clifford said. The driver appeared to have head injuries, he said. "He needed to be extricated rather quickly and transported to the hospital."

There were no skid marks left by the car, Clifford said. The crash is being investigated by the Sheriff's Office. Two people in the moving van were also injured and taken to the hospital.

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Drivers in wrong-way I-90 accident identified

The Washington State Patrol has identified the people involved in an accident caused by a wrong way driver on I-90 near Liberty Lake just before 4 p.m. yesterday. Liberty Lake resident Kelly A. Yancey, 39, was driving her Honda Accord westbound in the eastbound lanes when she hit a car driven by Newman Lake resident Elizabeth E. Barbour, 52, almost head on. Yancey's car spun around before hitting a Dodge Ram truck driven by 21-year-old Chelsea E. Piper of Post Falls, according to the WSP press release.

Yancey was cited for driving the wrong way on the freeway. Alcohol does not appear to be involved, the press release said. Yancy and Barbour were taken to the hospital. A 1-year-old boy in Piper's car was uninjured.

Spokane Valley accident victim dies

The 75-year-old man injured Monday when his Honda scooter hit the side of a car at Broadway and Progress died Monday night, the Spokane Valley Police Department announced yesterday. Charles Spurgeon died of blunt force trauma to his chest, police said. It appears that the other driver involved pulled out in front of Spurgeon, but the case is still under investigation.

In other Spokane Valley news, businesses that run heavy trucks over the Sullivan Road bridge should take note that the weight restrictions on southbound traffic will apply to northbound traffic starting Saturday. Construction just south of the bridge means that both southbound and northbound traffic will have to use the portion of the bridge that is deteriorating. When construction is done in September and traffic goes back to normal the restrictions will no longer apply to northbound traffic.

There are more details on both news items here.

Cyclist injured, roads closed at Appleway and Dishman-Mica

A car has hit a bicyclist at Appleway and Dishman-Mica. The first officer on the scene says the cyclist appears to be "severely injured." The roads are being shut down. Avoid the area if possible. I'll update when I can.

2:17 p.m. update: An officer told another officer over the scanner that the man is in serious to critical condition at a local hospital. The roads are still closed while police investigate the scene.

3:52 p.m. update: The roads are being opened up now, just in time for the commute home.

Idaho man seriously injured in accident

Coeur d'Alene resident Carl A. Carr, 61, was seriously injured in a one car rollover accident on I-90 just west of Liberty Lake shortly early this morning shortly after midnight. According to a Washington State Patrol press release, the man was heading east in his Chevy S-10 pickup when he went of the side of the road, overcorrected and veered left across two lanes of traffic into the median, then overcorrected again and veered right across both lanes before rolling. He was taken to a local hospital by a MedStar helicopter. It is not yet known why Carr drove off the road.  

Accident closes road in Newman Lake

A car has hit a 7-year-old boy on a bike in the area of Morris Road and Malvern in Liberty Lake. The boy was unconscious when 911 was called, but was reportedly awake when paramedics were treating him. MedStar was launched to take the boy to a local hospital. Sheriff's Deputies have shut down Morris in that area so they can complete their investigation.

4:06 p.m. update: Morris Road is now open again.

Coming on Saturday

I know there's a lot going on this weekend, but I hope you still take some time Saturday morning to read the Valley Voice. We'll have a report on the Millwood City Council meeting, including the decision to accept a grant to purchase new playground equipment for the City Park. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to a Spokane Valley woman who survived a horrible accident on I-90. The list of her injuries is enough to turn your stomach. We also talked to some local golfers and I attended a hearing this week about a proposed development in the East Valley area of Spokane Valley. Neighbors are complaining that the project is too dense.

Accident at University and Maxwell

An accident at University and Maxwell is blocking traffic. Emergency crews are arriving and report that a residential gas line has been severed. Detours are being set up.

Mission blocked between Argonne and Mullan

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews have just been sent to a car accident on Mission between Argonne Road and Mullan Road. It sounds like it will take a while to clear the scene because extrication crews are being requested. Avoid the area if you can.

Accident blocking Pines

Police and fire crews are responding to an accident at Pines and Main that is reportedly blocking the road. Take a detour around that area for now.

Avoid Sprague and Sullivan

Two accidents were just reported. A car hit a bus at Sprague and Sullivan and a car hit a cement truck on Sullivan two blocks south of Sprague. Plan to avoid that area while things get cleaned up.

Harvard Road blocked north of I-90

A head-on collision with injuries has been reported on Harvard Road just north of I-90. Police and fire are on the scene; an officer reports that the southbound lanes are blocked. Avoid the area for a while until everything is cleaned up.

Accident blocking Highway 27 at Jackson Road

An accident is currently blocking Highway 27 at Jackson Road in the Freeman area. No details are available yet.

Accident blocking at Trent and Starr

The Washington State Patrol is investigating a two car head on collision at Trent and Starr Road that is blocking traffic. Injuries are reported, but no further information is available yet. Plan to avoid the area. I’ll update with more details when they are available.

3:25 p.m. update: The roadway has been cleared.

Helicopter crash victims identified

The two Idaho Fish & Game fisheries biologists who were killed in a helicopter crash this morning in Kamiah have been identified as Larry Barrett, 47, of Lewiston, who’s worked for Fish & Game since 1985; and Dani Schiff, 34, of Lewiston, who’s worked for Fish & Game since 1997. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and to all employees as we go through this difficult time,” said state Fish & Game Director Cal Groen. Click below to read the department’s full news release.

Helicopter that crashed carried two Idaho Fish & Game biologists, pilot; two dead

This morning’s helicopter crash in Kamiah involved two Idaho Fish & Game fisheries biologists and a pilot; two people died, and one of the biologists was hospitalized in Orofino. Identification of the victims is being withheld pending notification of the families. Fish & Game reported this afternoon that the crash apparently was caused by a mechanical malfunction; it occurred near the Fish & Game office in Kamiah. The biologists were taking salmon redd counts on the nearby Selway River; the helicopter belongs to a Clarkston, Wash. company that contracts services to Idaho Fish & Game.

Scanner Traffic

Kathy Plonka Photo/SR

5:46 p.m. R/P reports that a semi has jackknifed on Highway 95 near Garwood. It’s in a ditch and not blocking the road.

4:58 p.m. Vehicle over the side of Highland Drive, a quarter mile from Riverview.

4:40 p.m. A vehicle is submerted in Granite Lake in Bonner County. A sheriff’s deputy on the scene said he sees no individual in the car. Or footprints in the snow on the bank.

4:14 p.m. R/P reports 4-5 horses are in a field @ Idaho & Hayden, without shelter, food, or water.