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Drunken crash into house leads to arrest

A woman suspected of drunkenly crashing her car into a house will remain jailed on $7,500 bond, despite her lawyer's claim that she is not a danger to the community.

“Crashing into someone's house doesn't count as a danger to the community?” Judge Annette Plese asked public defender Steve Heintz.

Plese told suspect Angelique P. Sam, 39, that she disagreed with Heintz - someone driving drunk, suicidal and ramming a house is indeed a danger to the community, Plese said.

Heintz had asked for Sam to be released on her own recognizance, saying there was no indication she would put the public at risk.

Sam was arrested Sunday after police responded to a crash near East Foothills and North Standard Street about 4:20 a.m. An officer contacted Sam as she tried to run and noted she had slurred speech and appeared drunk

Police say Sam “had urinated herself, completely covering her groin and leg area,” according to court documents. She admitted to driving drunk, police said.

“I drank a lot and tried to hit the house,” Sam said, according to court documents. “I usually don't drink but I couldn't help myself.”

Sam's passenger, who was injured, told police Sam intentionally crashed into the home.

Sam was involved in a murder trial in 2007 involving her husband, Avery E. Sam, who's now serving 24 1/2 years in prison for murdering the couple's great nephew, who was placed in their home under an agreement between state welfare workers and the Yakama Nation Tribal Court.
  

Woman arrested for vehicular assault

A Spokane woman sentenced to prison on drug charges who went directly to probation was arrested early Saturday for a one-vehicle crash in the Otish Orchards area that injured her passenger.

Deputies believe Jenelle L. Cuculich, 26, was drunk and speeding when she crashed in the area of 24000 East River Road about 12:50 a.m. She and her passenger were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Cuculich faces a felony charge of vehicular assault.

Cuculich was sentenced to prison last August after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, but she went immediately to probation, according to the DOC. She also was charged in a leading organized crime case last year and arrested with meth in February 2011. She also won $3,000 in the lottery in 2007, according to news archives.

The crash was the second investigated over the weekend. A motorcyclist and a bicyclist died in a crash near the intersection of East Buckeye Avenue and North Dick Road Saturday. Read more here.
  

Man injured in crash during police chase

A Cheney man was arrested for drunken driving and eluding police early today in Stevens County.

Todd Earl Toreson, 38, lost control of his 2004 Ford F150 about 12:46 a.m. near on state Route 231 about 12 miles south of Springdale, according to Washington State Patrol.

His passenger, Beau Earl Lyons, 33, of Sedro Woolley, was injured and transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Toreson was not injured.

Wellpinit Tribal police were pursuing Toreson when he crashed the truck and rolled into a ditch, WSP said.

‘Boisterous’ claims to nurse aids in arrest

A driver involved in a one-car crash that engulfed his vehicle in flames allegedly bragged to a nurse about the incident, police say.

William C. Calamanco, 25, “was in a boisterous state and explained to the nurse that he was 'driving really, really, really fast,'” Officer Aaron Kirby said in court documents filed Wednesday. Kirby said he overheard Calamanco talking to the nurse after a blood draw at Deaconess Medical Center.

Kirby already suspected Calamanco of vehicular assault. He'd contacted him in the 2800 block of West Summit Boulevard in West Central about 10:05 p.m. Sunday after a car crashed into a tree and burst into flames. Calamanco and his brother and passenger, Eric Calamanco, suffered minor injuries.

Calamanco denied driving but then said he'd hit his head on the steering wheel, according to court documents. Police said he smelled of alcohol. Kirby found burnt beer cans in the car after the fire was extinguished.

Calamanco remains in jail on felony charges of vehicular assault and making a false statement.

Dad arrested after crash injures children

A father was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault Monday after a one-car crash that injured his 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in south Spokane County.

Heath Barden, 35, of Cheney, was driving north in the 14000 block of South Murphy Road when his 2004 Mitsubishi Montero left the roadway as he tried to complete a curve, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The car rolled at least twice before coming to a rest on the driver's side. Investigators say the crash scene extended 200 feet, which indicated Barden was driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit.
 
Barden's daughter received only minor injuries, but his son had glass in one of his eyes, and it was swollen shut, the sheriff's office said. Investigators believe Barden had been drinking. 
 
“Child Protection Services was notified of the incident per the recent new law requiring such notification when DUI suspects are arrested with children in the vehicle,” Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release. “The collision is still under investigation.”

$50k bond for suspect in fatal crash

A 21-year-old woman accused of leaving the scene of fatal drunken crash has been charged with two felonies.

Hannah K. Hahn, 21, remains in jail on $50,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court today on charges of vehicular homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident for the crash early Saturday that killed pedestrian Dennis Burgess, 47.

Hahn posted bond over the weekend on a vehicular assault charge but was to be rearrested on the vehicular homicide charge Monday after officers learned Burgess had died.

She didn't show up for court Monday afternoon, and her public defender said she tried to turn herself into he jail later that day but was turned away, according to KHQ. She was arrested on Tuesday.

Hahn, who is pictured courtesy KHQ, has two misdemeanor convictions for minor in possession of alcohol and possession of another person's ID.

Police say Hahn smelled of alcohol and had “some small bottles of alcohol” on her when they stopped 1999 Dodge Durango as it sped north on Market near Hawthorne Road about 2:17 a.m. Saturday.

Officers seized three cans of Mike's Harder Blueberry Lemonade, a bag of suspected marijuana from the car, according to a search warrant filed Tuesday.

 Burgess was struck on Market near East Providence Avenue. His family said he was father of three and worked as a carpenter and landscaper.

Past coverage

Jan. 30: Patrols follow pedestrian-auto crashes


  

Driver in fatal pedestrian crash jailed

A 21-year-old vehicular homicide suspect who missed her court appearance on Monday is back in jail after turning herself in.

Hannah Kay Hahn was arrested Tuesday at her lawyer’s office, KHQ-TV reports.

She was booked into jail about 5:15 p.m. on charges of vehicular homicide and hit-and-run for a crash early Saturday that killed pedestrian Dennis Burgess, 47, at North Market Street and East Providence Avenue. Her bond is set at $50,000. She'll appear before a judge today.

Police say Hahn smelled of alcohol and had “some small bottles of alcohol” on her when they stopped her SUV as it sped north on Market near Hawthorne Road about 2:17 a.m. Saturday.

The SUV’s windshield was broken and its front end and hood were damaged.

Hahn was arrested Saturday but posted bond on a vehicular assault charge. Police planned to arrest her on the upgraded vehicular homicide charge Monday but she didn't show up for court.

Burgess was a father of three and worked as a carpenter and landscaper, his family said.

Past coverage

Jan. 30: Patrols follow pedestrian-auto crashes

Emphasis patrol follows weekend crashes

Crashes that hurt one man and killed another in Spokane last weekend occurred as local authorities are working to emphasize pedestrian safety to motorists.

Emphasis patrols Tuesday and next month in Cheney are part of an ongoing effort in Spokane County to reduce the number of pedestrians injured or killed by motorists each year.

But police say two motorists arrested on felony charges this weekend did more than just fail to yield the right of way.

Read the rest of my story here.

Stuck driver survives on M&Ms, water

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — Officials in south-central Idaho say a Texas woman may have spent up to a week in a rental car stuck in a dairy wastewater pond after taking a wrong turn as she searched for a hotel in Burley.

Cassia County officials say 61-year-old Lynn S. Keesler of Houston was evaluated by emergency medical technicians, but refused to go to the hospital.

The sheriff's report says Keesler thought she had been stranded for three to five days, but a deputy gave her directions to the hotels in Burley on Jan. 15. She walked to a nearby house for help on Jan. 22.

The Times-News reports the woman told officers she lived on M&Ms and water and stayed in the car because she'd been told not to leave her vehicle if she became stranded.

Herbal Essence owner ID’d in hit-and-run

A chef and restaurant owner turned himself in to jail for a hit-and-run crash that led to a manhunt involving a sheriff’s helicopter early Sunday.

Ryan Michael Morales, owner of Herbal Essence Cafe, was jailed on felony charges of hit-and-run and three counts of vehicular assault.

His bond was set at $5,000 during his first appearance Monday in Spokane County Superior Court.

Read the rest of my story here

Police chase w/ stolen car ends in crash

This crash in north Spokane began when a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over the Honda. (KHQ-TV photo)

A man in a stolen car swerved into a police cruiser during a chase in north Spokane this afternoon.

The suspect, Aaron D. Lyons, 33, was arrested after he crashed the 1992 Honda Civic into shrubbery while trying to turn into the Rite Aid parking lot on North Division Street. Deputy Jeff Thurman blocked the Civic with his patrol vehicle and arrested Lyons, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The chase began about 12:39 p.m. when Thurman tried to stop the Civic in the 8500 block of North Country Homes Road for failing to display license plates.

Before Lyons crashed near Rite Aid, Thurman tried to stop car with a “pursuit intervention technique” that involves nudging the back bumper of a fleeing vehicle, which forces it into a spin and brings it to a stop, but Lyons swerved into Thurman's car to avoid the move, the sheriff's office said.

The Civic was reported stolen on Sunday. Lyons also had a stolen credit card with him, according to the sheriff's office.

Lyons was booked into jail on felony charges of second-degree assault, attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, second-degree malicious mischief and possession of stolen property, and misdeamenor charges of driving under the influence and driving while license suspended.

Police ticket boy after toy bike hits SUV

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Police in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez ticketed a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his toy motorcycle registered after he crashed it into an SUV.

The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, says police also impounded the child-sized motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he ran into an SUV at a park on Dec. 27.

Noriega says she decided to go to the media and make the case public after finding out she would have to pay what she calls a “ridiculous” $183 in fines before she could recover the toy motorbike.

She says authorities dropped the fines and released the motorcycle to her son Gael on Wednesday after local newspapers published her story.

61 injured in huge pileup on La. freeway

Several vehicles lie mangled in the westbound lane of I-10 between I-510 and Michoud Boulevard in eastern New Orleans on Thursday. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Eliot Kamenitz)
 
By JANET McCONNAUGHEY,Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two men died and 61 other people were injured Thursday in a pre-dawn pileup involving about 40 cars, vans and other vehicles on a busy interstate that crosses New Orleans, closing the route for hours both ways, police said.

Drivers said they drove into thick smoke or fog that abruptly limited visibility on westbound lanes of Interstate 10 heading across eastern New Orleans. Those who came upon the scene said they heard injured motorists pleading for assistance.

“You just hear all kinds of calls and people screaming for help,” tow truck driver Wesley Ratcliff told local broadcaster WWL-TV. In 13 years responding to wrecks, he added, “this is the worst I've ever seen it.”

Officer Garry Flot, a police spokesman, would not talk about possible causes, including whether those may have included smoke or fog.

All lanes were reopened late Thursday afternoon as the investigation continued, letting commuters head home at rush hour.

The highway is heavily trafficked, a major corridor for thousands of commuters who enter New Orleans each day from its eastern suburbs and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Those driving the route at the time of the wrecks said they suddenly found themselves in utter darkness, unable to see the lights of cars ahead.

“I thought it was fog; my husband thought it was smoke,” Stacie Williams told WWL-TV.. “Cars were driving in front of us and before you know it, it seemed as if they had dropped off the face of the Earth.”

Seven people were taken to south Louisiana's top trauma center, where several were in critical condition, said Marvin McGraw, spokesman for the Interim LSU Public Hospital.

Flot said 25 people were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical. He said they included a 62nd injured person — a firefighter whose face was cut while working at the scene. Flot said 37 others refused treatment for minor injuries.

The police spokesman wouldn't say whether police believe smoke or fog contributed to the wreck, noting the investigation is ongoing.

He said the dead were a pickup truck driver and a 54-year-old passenger in another pickup, both from Louisiana. He wouldn't say whether their pickup trucks were among the first vehicles to crash or part of the pileup that followed.

Cars, tractor-trailers, vans and other vehicles collided on lanes approaching the city's business district. Eastbound lanes were closed to let emergency vehicles get in, and traffic was detoured off the highway through morning rush hour and well into the afternoon.

Interstate 10 stretches from Florida to California and is a major corridor for commercial truck traffic.

Man wins supercar, crashes hours later

This hand out photo provided on Wednesday by Maverik shows David Dopp, 34, of Santaquin, Utah, posing for a photo with his daughters Shayla, left, and Olivia, right, after winning a Lamborghini on Nov.12, 2011 in Maverik's Sweepstakes at Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/KSL-TV via The Deseret News, Alex Cabrero)

By PAUL FOY, Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A truck driver who won a Lamborghini worth about $300,000 in a convenience store contest crashed the sports car six hours after he got it, and he now plans to sell the 640-horsepower convertible because he can't afford the insurance or taxes.

“I already had offers on it. I'm going to sell it,” David Dopp said Wednesday. “I have bills more important than a Lamborghini. I've got a family to support.”

Dopp, a 34-year-old truck driver for Frito-Lay, spun out of control just a few hours after taking the keys to the Murcielago Roadster that he won in a “Joe Schmo to Lambo” contest sponsored by Maverik convenience stores.

The lime green convertible was being held by his insurance company at a Utah towing yard. It will be sent to an authorized Las Vegas dealer for repairs next week.

Dopp told The Associated Press the damage “isn't super bad” — a punctured oil pan and tire, and a few dents and scratches on the front and rear ends. The father of six said he couldn't afford to pay taxes on the car or the insurance, which runs $3,500 every six months.

“That's why rich people own them,” he said. “The poor people like me don't.”

Dopp was taking family members and friends on joy rides the first evening. He said he took a curve at about 45 mph and “hit some black ice and spun out.” The car jumped a curb and went through a fence before coming to a rest about 75 feet off the road. Neither Dopp nor his passenger was injured.

“My heart pretty much fell out,” Annette Dopp told KSL-TV of Salt Lake City. “They said they were OK. Then (came), you know, that feeling when your heart drops and you're like, 'Oh, my gosh. What do we do now?'”

The Lamborghini was the envy of Santaquin, a town of 9,000 about 55 miles south of Salt Lake City. Police say the Lamborghini's high-performance summer tires weren't suited for icy conditions and the car is simply too powerful — and exceptionally light with carbon fiber body parts. Dopp wasn't ticketed.

Dopp was videotaped jumping up and down and hollering in speechless disbelief when contest officials announced during a Nov. 12 college football game that he won the car. He had to take out insurance before he could claim the car — “that was a good thing,” he says — and took the keys to the roadster Saturday.

Dopp said he never imagined he could keep the car for long because it costs too much to own.

He also won $5,000 worth of driving lessons at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele County.

Dopp said he'll be more careful the next time he gets behind the wheel.

The giveaway contest was for customers who use a rewards card at Maverik's 220 stores. It was co-sponsored by nonprofit organization “teamgive,” which raises awareness about rare neurological diseases.

Dopp said Maverik valued the Lamborghini at $358,000, but because it's a 2008 model that had 1,500 miles on the odometer, he believes the value is closer to $300,000 — and he's willing to sell it for less after the body shop fixes it.

Online car appraisal sites don't list market values for a 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster.

Driver arraigned in wrong-way I90 crash

A Spokane woman who was driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 when she struck and killed 27-year-old Post Falls motorist in March was arraigned today on two felony charges. 

Teri Marie Scheele, 30, told police she had taken an oxycodone pill and “a couple” of hydrocodone pills before the three-car crash on March 25 about 3:10 a.m. at milepost 293 in the eastbound lanes under the Barker Road overpass, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

Kenneth Joel Hardin (pictured) was pronounced dead at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Police say Scheele had slurred speech but did not smell of intoxicants. A blood test showed signs of Oxycodone and Hydromorphone use, according to the affidavit.

A Washington State Patrol detective talked to seven people who saw Scheele driving the wrong way on the interstate.

The detective also talked to the driver of the third vehicle, Andrew R. Samek, 37, of Hayden, who, despite initial reports that he wasn't injured, suffered a broken neck when he struck Hardin's 1989 Mazda MX6 coupe while trying to avoid the crash then hit a cable barrier, documents say.

Scheele pleaded not guilty today to vehicular homicide and vehicula assault. She's out of custody awaiting trial, which her public defender, Derek Reid, said is scheduled to begin Feb. 13.

Trooper passed wrong-way I-90 driver

A wrong-way driver accused of injuring two people in a freeway crash early Sunday passed a state trooper just before the 3:34 a.m. crash

Eric Edward McElmurry, 28, was allowed to leave jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on vehicular assault charges.

Trooper Falkner was westbound on Interstate 90 east of Liberty Lake when McElmurry passed him going eastbound in the neighboring westbound lane, according to a probable cause affidavit. Falkner tried to stop him, but McElmurry's 1999 Mercury Mystic crashed head-on into a 2006 Mercury Mariner driven by Tabatha B. Dudley, 22, of Spokane Valley, police said.

Dudley was injured, along with passengers Danielle L. Cowan, 23, of Coeur d'Alene, and Zachary O'Reilly, 25, of Spokane, who both suffered broken bones; McElmurry was treated at a hospital before being booked into jail.

Troopers say McElmurry smelled of alcohol and began to vomit when he woke up in the emergency room. McElmurry said he'd drank alcohol at a party near Altamont and at a home in Cheney. He said he drank six or seven beers beginning around 9:30 p.m. and “admitted that his ability to drive was affected by his alcohol usage.”

McElmurry told troopers he believed he got onto the freeway at Freya Street and said he had no idea he was driving the wrong way.

“The defendant was upset that other people had been injured and started crying,” accoridng to the affidavit

Officer avoids head-on crash w/ convict

A convicted car thief took a man living in a Jeep Cherokee for a wild ride late Friday that nearly included a head-on collision with a Spokane police cruiser, officers say. 

Tyray H. Munter, 24, (pictured) who has previously led police on high-speed chases, is accused of stealing a white 1991 Jeep Cherokee that was parked outside the Union Gospel Mission.

The Jeep's owner, Steve Wilkinson, told officers he was sleeping hard after a night of drinking when he awoke to someone driving his car as police sirens blared behind.

Wilkinson said he'd never met the man before and asked him repeatedly to pull over, but the thief refused.

Officer Erin Blessing was en route to a domestic violence call when she saw the Jeep turned the wrong way onto Third Avenue. She tried to stop the vehicle but “it actually sped up even more” and drove directly at her.

Blessing drove up on a curb to avoid a collision. The Jeep was suspected in a rear-end hit-and-run crash at East Ninth Avenue and South Altamont Boulevard minutes earlier.

Blessing pursued the vehicle until it crashed near East Newark Avenue and South Arthur Street. Two pedestrians had to run out of the way to avoid being hit, according to court documents.

Munter remains in jail on $3,500 bond on charges of unlawful imprisonment, attempted second-degree assault, attempting to elude police and second-degree taking a motor vehicle with permission, as well as a no-bail hold from the Washington Department of Corrections.

Munter has a previous conviction for possession of a stolen motor vehicle for a high-speed police chase in a stolen car in September 2010.

Crash kills off-duty Rathdrum policeman

CUSICK, Wash. (AP) — A police officer from Rathdrum, Idaho, was killed in a motorcycle crash near Cusick on Highway 20.

The Washington State Patrol says 27-year-old Jonathan Franco was riding his motorcycle Saturday when it rear-ended a car that has slowed for an injured deer in the roadway.

Franco has been a Rathdrum officer for nearly five years. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.

Jury deadlocked in fatal scooter crash

A jury deadlocked Tuesday on the vehicular homicide trial of a Deer Park man involved in a collision that killed a woman on a scooter.

Jonathon P. Bales waswas driving his 1985 Pontiac Firebird southbound on Wandermere Road on July 16 when he apparently crossed the center line and struck 54-year-old Rene Blaume, who was riding a Racer iScooter in the northbound lane near the intersection with Glenrose Drive.

Bales, who was 20 at the time, had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, according to court records.

Bales also said he had been drinking earlier in the evening while helping a friend work on a car, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady said she intends to re-try the case before Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins.

Trial begins in fatal car-scooter crash

A 21-year-old man Deer Park is on trial this week for a July 2010 collision that killed a woman riding a motor scooter north of Spokane.

Jonathon P. Bales was driving his 1985 Pontiac Firebird southbound on Wandermere Road on July 16 when he apparently crossed the center line and struck 54-year-old Rene Blaume, (pictured) who was riding a Racer iScooter in the northbound lane near the intersection with Glenrose Drive.

Blaume, who was traveling to her job as an in-home care provider, was declared dead at the scene. Toxicology reports showed that Bales had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, according to court records.

Bales also said he had been drinking earlier in the evening while helping a friend work on a car, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. He turned himself in and is out of jail on $2,500 bond for a vehicular homicide charge.

Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady and public defender Anna Nordtvedt are handling the case. Judge Linda Tompkins is presiding. Opening statements were scheduled today.

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run charged

An 18-year-old woman accused of leaving the scene of a crash that killed a bicyclist is to be arraigned on a felony charge next week.

Megan C. Skillingstad is to appear before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. on one count failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Skillingstad is accused of striking Dennis Widener, 66, as he rode his bike June 23 on Empire Avenue at North Division Street, just blocks from his home.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed to support the charge against Skillingstad, the suspect's friend's mother helped persuade her to tell her parents about the crash on July 30. Skillingstad's mother was upset and called her “awful names,” the friend's mother told police.

Skillingstad went to the woman's home on July 31 and said she'd come over to say goodbye because “she was going to see a judge on Monday, and would probably go to jail after that,” according to the affidavit. “She also said that she hoped she'd be able to talk to the widow before going to jail.”

But that didn't happen, and police seized Skillingstad's 1996 Nissan Sentra Aug. 5, one day after a friend called police and said she'd been trying to persuade Skillingstad to turn herself in to no avail.

Skillingstad had reportedly told another friend that “she was terrified and didn't know what to do” when she struck Widener, according to the affidavit. “She thought about staying at the scene, but got scared and left.”

Past coverage:

Aug. 30: Hit-and-run questions linger

Aug. 6: Suspect in hit-and-run identified

July 6: 'People have got to stop doing these things'

Woman gets 30 days for fatal DUI crash

A motorist who accidentally hit and killed a close friend on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation after dropping him off following a night of drinking avoided prison when she was sentenced in U.S. District Court recently.

 Andrea M. George, 19, will spend 30 days in jail, six months in a halfway house and be on home confinement under a sentence imposed in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene, where she pleaded guilty in July to involuntary manslaughter.

George is to  complete 80 hours of community service and pay $3,000 in restitution. Her license will be suspended for a year.

George had a blood-alcohol level of .151 after the April 19, 2010, crash on Desmet Road at Ajot Road that killed Patrick A. Gourneau, 22, of Tensed, Idaho.

George had let Gourneau out of the car after an argument and was returning to him when she struck him while cresting a hill in a 2002 Honda Civic on Desmet Road just before 6 a.m.

George was airlifted to a Spokane hospital and has undergone several surgeries, according to court documents.
“Andrea often comments that she wishes it was her that had been killed in the accident,” according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by her lawyer, Jim Siebe. “…Andrea cannot remember anything about the accident, which has caused significant nightmares and distress, as her mind naturally tries to fill in the blanks for an event for which she has no memory.”

George is enrolled at North Idaho College and wants to open a bakery, according to the memorandum.
Prosecutors called for George to be sentenced to 30 months in prison, but Siebe said that wasn't necessary.

“Without question, Andrea can do more outside of prison to foster/engender public awareness of the perils of drinking and driving,” according to the memo. “She can show by example that someone can pull herself up by the bootstraps, so to speak, and change a life of unemployment/alcohol abuse to gainful employment, education and productivity.”

George was sentenced Sept. 7.

Questions linger in fatal hit-and-run

Helen Widener, wife of the bicyclist who died following a hit-and-run crash in June, says she is taking it day by day. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

For Helen Widener, the days haven’t gotten easier.

When Spokane police first identified a suspect in the hit-and-run crash that led to the death of her husband, Dennis Widener, last month, she wondered if she might be able to meet with her and make peace.

But as the days passed, she realized how impossible that seemed.

“I wake up with a broken heart every morning,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who did it. He’s still gone.”

Spokane police Cpl. Brad Hallock this week recommended prosecutors charge the suspected driver, 18-year-old Megan C. Skillingstad, with failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 6: Suspect in hit-and-run identified

July 6: 'People have got to stop doing these things'

Fatal crash leads to ‘substantial’ payout

The family of a 9-year-old girl killed in a car crash that led to an infraction against the stop-sign running driver will receive a “substantial” amount of money in an out-of-court lawsuit settlement, their lawyer says.

Olivia Chaffin (pictured) died June 10, 2010, after a pizza delivery driver who was slightly speeding ran a stop sign and crashed into her parents' vehicle. Her grandmother, Shirley Chaffin, broke her neck.

The driver, Echo Henderson, received a $500 ticket for negligent driving. Spokane County prosecutors said the girl's father, Richard Chaffin also was speeding and that running a stop sign, while a bad driving error, is not criminally negligent.

The Chaffins sued for wrongful death and personal injury, and four insurance companies, including Argo for Westside Pizza and Progressive for Henderson, settled out of court on Thursday “for the maximum amount of available insurance,” lawyer James Sweetster said in a news release. Details are confidential. The

Chaffins were driving to Olivia's school play when the crash occurred at Monroe and Hazard roads in north Spokane County. The girl's organs were donated.

An 11-year-old boy received her heart, two sisters in their 60s in Spokane received her kidneys, an unknown recipient revived her corneas and a Philadelphia woman in her 50s receive one of her lungs.

A soccer tournament names in Olivia's honor is to be an annual event.

Her parents, who are teachers in the Mead School District, have pleaded 10,000 to start a scholarship for underprivileged girls who play sports. Sweetser is donating $5,000.

Tips still sought in horse hit-and-run

Detectives are asking for the public's help to find a driver who seriously injured a horse and rider in a hit-and-run crash in North Idaho last week.

Lauren Johnson, 20, and Rebecca Lobato, 21, were riding horses along the side of Garwood Road between Rimrock Road and U.S. Highway 95, north of Hayden, about 8:40 p.m. Aug. 16 when Johnson's horse was struck by a speeding truck.

Johnson suffered serious injuries, her horse, Blondie, suffered cuts and bruises.

The truck is described as a dark-colored, full-sized pickup with a rack.  Anyone with information about the driver or the truck, which is likely to have body damage on its passenger side, is asked to call Detective Jason Austin at (208) 446-1300.

A fund has been set up to help with Johnson’s medical expenses. Contributions may be made at any Washington Trust Bank.

Alcoholic in fatal crash pleads not guilty

A Whitworth University student and convicted felon pleaded not guilty Wednesday to vehicular homicide in connection with a crash in East Spokane on Aug. 9 that killed the passenger.

Michael S. Lindsly, 46, appeared before Superior Court Judge Michael Price and was given a trial date of Oct. 17. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Stefanie Collins said Lindsly was driving an estimated “70 to 100 mph” in a 35 mph zone when he crashed his 2002 Mercury Sable near the intersection of Alki Way and Broadway Avenue, killing 31-year-old passenger Blair C. Riding.

Lindsly, a 10-time felon who carries a 3.8 grade point average at Whitworth, poses a risk to the community, Collins said.

Price agreed to lower the bond from $100,000 to $75,000, but he ordered Lindsly not to drive while the charge remains pending.

Lindsly is described as a leader in the substance-abuse recovery community.

Rider, horse injured in hit-and-run

A North Idaho woman was seriously injured on Tuesday evening when a speeding pickup truck struck the horse she was riding north of Hayden. The driver fled the scene.

Lauren Johnson, 20, was in fair condition Wednesday in the intensive care unit at Kootenai Medical Center following the 8:40 p.m. hit-and-run incident.

Johnson and Rebecca Lobato, 21, were riding their horses along the side of Garwood Road between Rimrock Road and U.S. Highway 95 when they heard the sound of the speeding truck, Lobato said.

Read the rest of Kevin Graman's story here.

Fatal DUI crash suspect was in recovery

A Spokane man accused of causing a drunken crash that killed his passenger is a leader in the addiction recovery community and is studying to get his master's degree at Whitworth University, his girlfriend said today.

Michael Shane Lindsly, 46, appeared in Superior Court today via video from the jail, where he was booked after being treated at a hospital for injuries sustained in the Aug. 9 crash.

A vehicular homicide charge was filed against Lindsly on Thursday.

His bail was set at $100,000 today after Judge Michael Price heard from his girlfriend, Lacey Jones. Defense lawyers did not ask for a lower bond.

Lindsly is accused of crashing a 2002 Mercury Sable  and killing Blair C. Riding, 31, while speeding on Broadway Avenue at Alki Way.

Witnesses said the car appeared to be going at least 70 mph. Police say they smelled alcohol in the car and on Lindsly’s breath.

Riding, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police sergeant involved in car crash

A Spokane Valley police sergeant struck a young driver who turned in front of him as he approached the police station in his patrol car Monday, police said.

Sgt. Mark Nygren (pictured) was not injured but the airbag deployed in his car it was towed from the scene, along with a 1988 Honda Accord driven by Chandra LaMarr, 18, of Hayden, Idaho.

Nygren was driving east on Sprague Avenue when Lamar pulled out from the police station driveway and turned left on to Sprague after waiting for pedestrians, according to a news release. Nygren's car stuck the driver's door of LaMarr's Honda about 2:30 p.m., police said.

Lamarr had a minor cut on one of her wrists but was otherwise uninjured. She was given a $175 ticket for failing to yield the right away.

Witnesses sought in fatal Cheney crash

A man killed in a single-car rollover crash Saturday southeast of Cheney has been identified as Eric Henager, 24.

Detectives have not determined who was driving the 2005 Subaru Outback in which Henager was found dead at 2:22 a.m.  on Cheney-Spangle Road, just south of Curtis Road, Spokane County sheriff's Cpl. Dave Thornburg said late Monday.

Officials say alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Mark Russo, 24, of Cameron Park, Calif., was injured in the crash, but officials don't know who was driving, Thornburg said.

Detectives hope two women who were given a ride home from the men just before the crash will come forward, as well as anyone else who may have been the vehicle that night.

Thornburg believes the men were coming from either Wild Bill's Longbar or Goofy's Tavern in Cheney before dropping the women off, Thornburg said. Anyone with information is asked to call Thornburg at (509) 477-2710.