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Man arrested on DUI suspicion blames mom who isn’t there

A man arrested after crashing his vehicle and refusing a breathalyzer test earlier this week blamed the accident on his mother, who was nowhere near the scene of the accident.

Larry Coleman was found by Liberty Lake firefighters sitting behind the steering wheel of his car, which was resting in a snowy ditch along Interstate 90 around 6 p.m. Monday, according to court documents. Coleman was not injured and was the only person in the car when law enforcement arrived.

When a Washington State Patrol office arrived, Coleman had moved to the passenger's seat, according to court documents. He told the patrolman his mother had been driving at the time of the one-vehicle accident and that she'd started walking along the highway toward Liberty Lake following the crash.

Liberty Lake police officers and firefighters found no woman on the highway, according to court records.

Coleman admitted to drinking a couple beers and refused a breathalyzer test after speaking with an attorney. A court order was signed to test his blood for intoxicants and he was arrested, according to court documents.

Trial delayed for boat owner in Kettle River Campground shooting

Michael Sublie will not be back in a federal courtroom until January to face charges of obstructing a federal law officer and violating National Park Service noise restrictions during an incident in September when a ranger fired and struck a partygoer on Sublie's boat.

Citing the ongoing investigation by multiple agencies into the shooting, both the government and Sublie requested a continuance for a hearing scheduled Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers approved a delay of the hearing until January, with an expected trial date now scheduled for February.

Sublie pleaded not guilty to all charges shortly after the Sept. 14 confrontation, the details of which remain under wraps by the Washington State Patrol and Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service, who are both looking into the incident. A Spokesman-Review request for investigative materials was denied via email earlier this month by the WSP because of the ongoing investigation.

Sworn statements filed in court said Sublie became verbally confrontational when two rangers attempted to board his boat investigating excess noise. The standoff turned physical, and Sublie shoved one of the rangers off the gangplank, according to court documents.

Friends and family of Sublie and Casey Hartinger, the man who was struck in the ribs by a bullet fired by a ranger, say the incident occurred following an end-of-the-summer party held by local law enforcement and emergency services personnel. A rally was held supporting Sublie and Hartinger outside the Stevens County Courthouse last month.

The Park Service and WSP continue to withhold the names of the two officers involved in the shooting incident. Supporters of Sublie and Hartinger have identified the rangers as Josh Wentz and Matt Phillipson.

Shooting Story That Crashed SR.com

Here's the story that crashed SR.com & Huckleberries this morning after a link was posted on The Drudge Report. The SR.com link now has 673 comments:

The Kettle Falls man shot by park rangers at a campground over the weekend had been standing alongside his 9-year-old son when the bullet tore into his torso, family members say. Few details of the shooting have been disclosed by the National Park Service or investigators with the Washington State Patrol. The shooting injured Casey Hartinger, 43. It happened after a Saturday night confrontation between rangers and another man who owns a houseboat that was moored at the Kettle River Campground within the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. At least one park ranger boarded the houseboat in response to a noise complaint/Kip Hill, SR. More here.

Question: Do you understand why people are so excited about this story?

Spokane teenager missing for ten days

A Spokane teenager has been missing for ten days.

Carolyn JoAnn Toner, 17, was last seen on Sept. 3, according to a Washington State Patrol report. She is a white female, about 5-feet-9-inches and 125 pounds. She has blue eyes, red hair and wears glasses.

She also goes by the nickname Poptart.

Anyone with information about Toner's location is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233, the WSP Missing Persons Unit at 1-800-543-5678 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).

A new class of troopers

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Patrol swore in 27 new troopers Wednesday, graduates of the 101st class from the agency's academy.

State Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst administered the oath of office as Gov. Jay Inslee, Chief John Batiste and family members watching from the railings on two upper floors looked on.

Watch for them soon in a patrol car near you.

Batiste to remain at helm of WSP

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste will keep his badge over the objections of troopers.

Gov.-elect Jay Inslee said today he will re-appoint Batiste today, citing the chief's extensive law enforcement experience and record of results at the helm of the 2,400 person agency.

“Chief Batiste has demonstrated the kind of results-oriented leadership that I believe every agency in the state needs,” Inslee said in prepared remarks. “He has had a distinguished career in law enforcement and I know he will continue to improve an already outstanding agency.”

Earlier this month, the labor union representing state troopers urged Inslee to replace Batiste.

Also today, Inslee said he will keep Corrections Secretary Bernard Warner in charge of the state's prions.

Man crashes into tree while fleeing authorities

A Spokane Valley pursuit ended Wednesday night when a man crashed an allegedly stolen car into a tree near Valleyway Avenue and Walnut Road.

The driver, identified as Justin D. Martin, 29, was originally sought by a Washington State Patrol trooper who spotted Martin’s vehicle around 10:41 p.m. with a broken headlight at the Argonne Road exit along Interstate 90.

The trooper chased him all the way to Alki Avenue and Bowdish Road where he called off the chase, but a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy found him to continue the chase.

Martin swerved the vehicle head on into a deputy’s patrol car, but the deputy avoided the collision. Martin continued his flight from authorities by speeding about 50 mph, according to Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman Craig Chamberlin, through a residential neighborhood along Valleyway Avenue.

Martin reportedly crashed the car at Walnut Road into two large trees. Spokane Valley Fire Department had to extricate him from the vehicle. Medics transported himto a local hospital with serious injuries, a broken leg and arm, Chamberlin said. He remains detained and investigators are waiting on blood results for possible THC intoxication.

Martin faces charges of attempted first degree assault for attempting to ram a police car, eluding deputies and possession of a stolen vehicle.

The vehicle allegedly belonged to Martin’s mother. She was purchasing the vehicle from a family friend, but was not the registered owner.

Man drove wrong way down Division, arrested by WSP

An alleged drunk driver was arrested early Friday morning after driving the wrong way on Division and speeding away from authorities, according to a Washington State Patrol news release.

The trooper tried to pull over the driver, identified as Ian S. Hill, 26, around midnight, but Hill sped away into a parking lot near Boone Avenue and Washington Street, the news release said. The flight made Hill’s truck spin off the roadway onto Atlantic Street and hit a sign.

Hill reportedly drove through another parking lot and into an alleyway where he crashed into a concrete wall and then a neighboring building, according to the news release.

Hill was not injured during the crash and neither was his passenger. He was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail driving under the influence and hit and run charges.

Serious accident Tuesday night

The photo above (provided by the Spokane Valley Fire Department) is of one of two cars involved in a serious injurty accident Tuesday afternoon on Trent near Progress Road. Trent was closed for some time. The Washington State Patrol reports that a car driven by William A. Buckholdt, 64, of Spokane Valley was facing east in the center turn lane on Trent before he turned in front of a westbound car driven by 17-year-old Joseph A. Johnson, also of Spokane Valley. Click here for more details.   

WSP job applicants’ drug use an issue

Washington State Patrol officials announced the unenviable position Thursday of acknowledging its search to replace retiring troopers has been slowed by applicants who made poor decisions with prescription drugs.

“These candidates may have taken the drugs for legitimate medical conditions, and might well have been prescribed the same drugs had they gone to a doctor,” Capt. Jeff DeVere, commander of the Patrol’s Human Resource Division, said in a news release. “Getting them from a friend is an illegal drug transaction, and will likely disqualify you from employment as a State Trooper.”

Earlier this year, the WSP struggled to find enough applicants who could meet the physical condition requirements. But after getting the word out, several candidates came forward who could complete the requisite number of sit-ups, pushups and timed runs.

But, recruiters found a number of applicants who were using medications prescribed to someone else to care for ailments, such as rolled ankles.

“Go to your doctor, not your roommate,” DeVere said.

The unauthorized prescription drug use, which could lead to felony charges, was discovered in background checks of applicants.

DeVere said the WSP is not concerned “about drugs, of whatever type, that might have been legally prescribed by a doctor.”

The applicants will be required to undergo a medical exam that should determine whether they are fit to perform the duties of a trooper.

Man gets motorcycle back after 37 years

Don Arndt never thought he'd see his Honda XL 250 motorcycle again after it was stolen from the backyard of his house in 1975 when Arndt was 25. Now 62, he received a call from the Washington State Patrol Thursday that his bike had been recovered. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

When Don Arndt’s motorcycle was stolen from the backyard of his old Spokane Valley home in 1975, he quickly lost hope of ever seeing it, but he never gave up his endorsement to ride.

He hasn’t been on a bike since, but he’d recently been thinking about buying a new one and rekindling an old hobby. Now an unexpected reunion has put Arndt in the driver’s seat sooner than expected. And it’s a familiar one.

Read the rest of my story here.

Edwards arrestee appeals sentence

A Spokane methamphetamine dealer ordered to spend 15 years in federal prison is trying to get his sentence overturned, in part because it was investigated by a now-fired Spokane police officer.

David Brian Hill’s request is the latest twist in an investigation into potentially questionable partnerships between Spokane County law enforcement officers and local bail bondsmen and bounty hunters.

The investigation restarted earlier this year, and two Washington State Patrol employees, Dave Bolton and Jeff Thoet, spent six weeks on paid leave amid possible criminal allegations. The two returned to work late last month, but the investigation into their work with unlicensed bounty hunter Dennis Kariores is ongoing.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Jan 29: Officer's ruse with bounty hunter, fugitive led to suspension

Monkey smuggler killed in car crash

Gypsy Lawson stands on her porch and talks in March 2008 about her federal indictment after authorities accused her of smuggling a rhesus macacque into the U.S. following a trip to Asia. (SRphoto/Jesse Tinsley)

A woman who smuggled a monkey from Thailand to Spokane in 2007 died when her pickup truck went off the road four miles south of Northport, authorities said Wednesday.

Gypsy R. Lawson, 31, of Northport, was driving south on state Route 25 possibly around midnight, when her 1986 Nissan pickup went off the road to the right in a left-hand curve, the Washington State Patrol reported.

Lawson and her mother were convicted by a federal jury in December 2008 of smuggling an exotic monkey into the United States.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man arrested w/ stolen SUV after chase

A man was arrested at gunpoint early Sunday after leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase from Interstate 90 to the Gonzaga University area.

Charles A. Castro, 31, was driving a black SUV east on the freeway when he changed lanes to take the Division Street exit about 3:45 a.m., then suddenly swerved back and continued driving erratically, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The trooper tried to pull him over, but Castro continued driving on the shoulder before exiting the freeway

Its doors sprung open but the SUV, which had been stolen in Sandpoint, continued driving; the trooper believes the passengers were thinking about jumping from the vehicle but decided against it.

The SUV sped north on Hamilton through flashing red lights and a cross walk before driving in the wrong lanes and coming to a stop in the middle of the intersection of East Cleveland Avenue and North Dakota Street.

Castro told police he had a warrant for missing court and had meth in his front pocket. He said he his passengers didn't know the car was stolen and that he was giving them a ride from the casino.

Police found meth in the SUV's center console. Castro was taken to jail, then to a hospital after he told officers “that he had swallowed a bunch of meth during the pursuit,” according to court documents.

Castro was treated at a hospital, then booked into jail on eluding police and stolen vehicle charges, as well as two Spokane County warrants for drug and stolen vehicle charges.
  

Sex offender arrested after car chase

A sex offender sought by Crime Stoppers was arrested Thursday after leading troopers on a chase in the West Plains area.

Phillip John Motyka, 45, pulled into a parking lot but just circled through and exited back on state Route 2 after Washington State Patrol Trooper Chad Kindler tried to stop him for driving without a front license plate.

Trooper Tom Shirey joined in the pursuit and followed Motyka to another parking lot and attempted to stop the car with a PIT maneuver after Motyka struck his patrol car, according to WSP.

Motyka exited the car with his hands up, then drove to the ground and was arrested without further incident.

Motyka had methamphetamine, heroin and morphine on him, according to WSP. He was arrested on drug charges, as well as attempt to elude, hit and run, and driving while suspended.

He had warrants out for his arrest, including for failing to register as a sex offender. Motyka was convicted of third-degree rape in 1990. He's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

New bells and whistles are part of new I-90 Idaho port of entry

The Washington Department of Transportation's new  port of entry on Interstate 90 near the Idaho border is open for business.

WashDOT describes the $14 million facility as equipped with state-of-the-art technology to enhance the efficiency, safety and security of truck freight movement at that location.

It was also designed in cooperation with the Washington State Patrol and a company, International Road Dynamics, to create a more efficient system of access.

Those new tech systems include a “Commercial Vehicle Information System Network” (CVISN) and a Weigh-in-Motion (WIN) system. Those tools provide for automated vehicle identification and rapid license plate recognition, to help focus on trucks and carriers known to be high-risk, according to a press release.

Photo: from Washington State Patrol
  

Troopers in Chism case not punished

The two Washington State Patrol troopers whose botched child pornography investigation cost taxpayers $2.4 million have been transferred off a sex crimes unit but have not faced any discipline for providing false information to a judge.

WSP Sgt. John Sager and Trooper Rachel Gardner are back on patrol and will not be placed on what’s known as a “Brady” list for officers known to have lied on the job, WSP spokesman Bob Calkins said.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

WSP settles Chism lawsuit for $2.4mil

A botched search for child pornography at the home of a Spokane firefighter will cost Washington taxpayers $2.4 million.

 The Washington State Patrol and the attorney for Spokane Fire Department Lt. Todd Chism have settled a lawsuit stemming from the January 2008 search of Chism’s home that found nothing.

Chism and his attorney, Bob Dunn, had filed a $10 million suit against the WSP, which arrested Chism on the charge of child pornography possession. However, the investigation soon revealed that purchase was traced to Chism’s wife’s stolen bank card and the Chisms had done nothing wrong.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 18: Jury clears Chism of all charges

April 23, 2010: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

Crash kills man before porn sentencing

A man scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison today for child pornography died in a one-car crash in Pend Oreille County this morning.

Bruce R. Thompson was killed when his 2003 GMC pickup went off state Route 211 about 10 miles west of Newport and struck a boulder, according to Washington State Patrol.

Thompson, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor.

The crash was reported about 8:30 a.m. Thompson was due in U.S. District Court in Spokane at 9 a.m. to be sentenced for receipt of child pornography. He'd been out of jail awaiting sentencing since a grand jury indicted him in April 2011. Federal agents searched his apartment in the 500 block of West 7th Avenue in April 2010.

Thompson pleaded guilty in February to downloading child pornography on the Internet from February 2006 to December 2009.

A plea agreement called for him to serve five years in federal prison.

Bizarre stabbing leads to $250k bond

A bizarre stabbing at a north Spokane apartment late Saturday led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man.

Spokane police say the woman Kurt J. Clausen is accused of stabbing has no idea why he attacked her. She said Clausen said nothing during the incident, which occurred as she exited her bathroom at 49 E. Pine Ridge Ct., according to court documents.

The woman said Clausen was waiting for her with a knife and stabbed her in the upper chest, then dropped the weapon and ran from the apartment about 11:30 p.m., police say.

A Washington State Patrol trooper contacted Clausen just after midnight near West Main Avenue and North Lincoln Street in downtown Spokane. Police responded and arrested him on a first-degree assault charge.

Officers say Clausen admitted to stabbing the woman and said he told her there was something in a room in the apartment, then attacked her as she exited that room, according to court documents.

Clausen remains jailed on$250,000 bond after appearing before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on Monday.
  

Driver arrested after 20-minute chase

A 20-minute police chase through northeast Spokane led to arrest of a 40-year-old Spokane woman Monday.

Henrietta Allice Wynne is accused of fleeing a traffic stop by a Washington State Patrol trooper who spotted her driving erratically about 5:13 a.m. as she left the Royal Scot Motel parking lot at 6507 N. Division St.

Trooper Jeff Thoet pursued Wynne's red Ford Taurus from Division to a residential area, where she ran stop signs and reached a speed of 70 mph, according to police.

A sheriff's deputy deployed stop sticks at Lacey and Regal streets that deflated the Taurus' right front tire, but Wynne continued to drive on he tire rim and was able to avoid several attempts by Thoet to perform a pursuit immobilization technique, police say.

Two other tires deflated before Thoet successfully stopped the vehicle.

Police found a drug pipe in the car and arrested Wynne on charges of eluding police, driving while license suspended and misdemeanor warrants.

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.

Speeding stop yields 2.5 lbs. of cocaine

A traffic stop on Interstate 90 near Ritzville yielded nearly 2 1/2 pounds of packaged cocaine and led to the arrest of two men recently.

Marshall Jay Devore, 31, and Rudolph Salvador Pyne, 32, are facing federal drugs charges in U.S. District Court in Spokane after a state trooper stopped a 2003 Jeep Cherokee for driving 84 pm in the 70 mph zone near milepost 221 about 11 p.m. Feb. 11, according to documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Devore, the driver, had a misdemeanor warrant for driving while suspended. Pyne, his passenger, also had a suspended license, so troopers impounded the Jeep, which was registered to a woman in the 2400 block of East Rowan Avenue in Spokane. 

While doing an “inventory” on the Jeep, troopers found a duffel bag open with what appeared to be a brick of packaged drugs visible. Detectives say Devore said he'd picked up Rudolph with the bag in Seattle. He  gave them permission to search the Jeep, detectives say, and they located packages of cocaine that weighed 1,079 grams, according to court documents.

Pyne has a previous federal felony conviction for bank robbery in California. He said nothing in the Jeep belonged to him. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration filed papers Friday seeking to charge the men with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Devore, who has previous felony convictions for manufacturing a controlled substance in Spokane County in 2008, is in the Adams County Jail. Pyne does not yet appear to be in custody.

Warrants already required in Wash. for GPS

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring law enforcement obtain search warrants before attaching GPS devices to vehicles will have little effect in Washington state.

State and local agencies in Washington have for several years been required to get a judge's approval before using GPS devices in investigations.

“The decision doesn't affect us on our state cases,” said Washington State Patrol Lt. Mark Brogan. The requirement stems from case law.

Members of local agencies assigned to federal task forces may have used GPS devices without obtaining warrants because they were operating under federal law.

But that must change after the nation's high court ruled 9-0 Monday that it was unconstitutional for the police to attach a small GPS device to a drug-dealing suspect's bumper and track his car for a month

Frank Harrill, agent in in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI, said the agency is “immediately adapting.”

“But in terms of particular steps, I'm not able to make a detailed comment,” he said.

Cop arraigned in road rage gun case

A Portland police captain accused of brandishing a gun during a road rage incident on Interstate 90 in Post Falls acted arrogantly to state troopers as if he thought “I'm a cop and it's no big deal,” according to a police report recently unsealed in Kootenai County.

Todd Loren Wyatt, 43, pleaded not guilty Friday through his attorney in Kootenai County District Court to exhibition of a deadly weapon, a misdemeanor, for the alleged incident on Aug. 13. Trial is scheduled for Feb. 6.

A 20-year police veteran, Wyatt was off duty when he was stopped on I-90 at the Freya Street exit in Spokane by Washington State Patrol troopers after his alleged victim called from the Post Falls area stayed on the phone with dispatchers describing Wyatt's blue Ford F-150.

WSP Trooper Greg Birkeland said Wyatt asked to speak to him away from his wife and children, and Birkeland asked “what difference it would make talking in front of them compared to his prior actions in front of them,” according to the report.

“Mr. Wyatt's response to him was, 'All right, I hear your attitude,'” according to the report. “Trooper Birkeland said he thought Mr. Wyatt showed lack of common sense and good judgment. He was arrogant and cocky and played the situation down, not realizing the severity of what he had done.”

Another trooper told investigators he thought Watt's attitude was that of “I'm a cop and it's no big deal,” according to the report.

Wyatt's lawyer, Gary Amendola, said Wyatt disputes the charge..

“I'll tell you right now, Capt. Wyatt did not point his gun at anyone,” Amendola said. Amendola said Wyatt was “concerned for the safety of his family” because the alleged victim appeared to be trying to cause a crash.

Wyatt, who was with his wife, 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son, when he was stopped in August told troopers there was a road rage incident “and he did in fact display his weapon in a holster along with his service badge,” according to an Idaho State Police report. “It was reported the gun was never pointed at the reporting party.”

Wyatt's wife told troopers she thought “those people were going to kill us.”

Wyatt was not arrested. He was removed from his position as head of the Portland Police Bureau traffic division when the investigation opened and was placed on paid administrative leave after he was formally charged last month, The Oregonian reports.

The alleged victim, Nicholas James Cox, 28, told police he was driving westbound on Interstate 90 behind Wyatt's Oregon-plated pickup when he passed the pickup because it was driving slowly.

Cox said the pickup started tailgating and trying to pull up beside him before the driver pointed a gun at Cox and his wife.

“Mr. Cox said he did not wish to pursue charges but wanted the driver to be aware of the seriousness of the offense,” according to the report. But Cox later changed his mind. He told police he'd spoken with his father-in-law, who is retired from the Seattle Police Department, and realized the severity of the incident.

“Mr. Cox told me he could not drive past where the incident happened without getting a sick feeling in his stomach,” according to the report, prepared by Idaho State Police Trooper Kevin White. “He also said when he sees a pickup that looks like the one the suspect was driving, he gets nervous until he sees the state of the plate.”

“Mr. Cox said when he first saw the pickup tailgating, he thought it was just some crazy guy,”  the report continues. “When he saw the pistol, he knew it was more than some crazy guy.”

Wyatt was on vacation from the Portland Police Bureau when the incident occurred.

Wyatt told police Cox was driving his Honda dangerously and appeared to be trying to cause a crash after passing him.

Wyatt said the driver and passenger “were young and possibly gang members” and he showed them his police badge in hopes they would leave him alone. When they didn't, he held up his holstered gun behind his badge, according to a report.

“He indicated once the problem was solved and the Honda quit trying to cause a crash, he put his badge and gun away,” according to the report.

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

Wanted: Fit, educated and duty-bound

Do you have a strong sense of duty, honor and service?

Are you physically fit and educated? Looking for a career?

It's not the Army or Marines asking this time. It's the Washington State Patrol, which is recruiting for trooper positions.

Candidates are invited to fill out an application and join the WSP at its next physical fitness and written test, Nov. 5, 7:30 a.m., at the Washington State Patrol Academy, 631 W Dayton Airport Rd, Shelton, Wash.

To obtain an application for a testing date, or for more information about the process, go here.

Or contact Trooper Tina Wallman, Eastern Washington recruiter, at tina.wallman@wsp.wa.gov.

Murder suspect pleads not guilty to rape

A sex offender suspected of killing a 48-year-old Spokane woman pleaded not guilty to a separate rape case today in Spokane County Superior Court.

Derrick Ross Vargas, 24, remains in Spokane County Jail on $250,000 bond after his arraignment before Judge Sam Cozza.

Family members attended but declined to speak with media.

Vargas (pictured with his lawyer, Kari Reardon) is charged with first-degree rape for allegedly attacking a prostitute in his apartment after picking her up on East Sprague Avenue, near where Evon M. Moore's body was discovered on Aug. 13.

Vargas was released from federal prison on Aug. 2 after serving about four years for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl when he was 19.

Vargas was arrested Sept. 23 after a Washington State Patrol trooper stopped him for driving with a broken taillight and a woman jumped out of the truck and yelled, “He raped me!”, according to police.

Vargas was driving a red early ‘90s Chevrolet pickup, which matches the description of a vehicle caught on surveillance camera early Aug. 13 in the area where Moore’s body was found.

Vargas has not yet been charged in Moore's death.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 29: Sex offender suspected in Evon Moore homicide

Sept. 23: Recently released sex offender arrested for rape

Aug. 15: Slain woman was dedicated student, family says

Ask the Washington State Patrol anything

This should be interesting. Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste will take to Twitter today to answer questions from the public from 2:30 to 4 p.m. So if you've had a question you've always wanted to ask, now is your chance. You probably shouldn't ask him to fix your speeding ticket, though. Questions about active investigations are also off limits.

If you want to participate, log onto Twitter and ask your question using the #askWSP hashtag. Chief Batiste will reply on Twitter or use the WSP's Facebook page for answers that require more than 140 characters.  

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.