Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 35° Clear
News >  Spokane

Funerals to be held Saturday for GU avalanche victims

Compiled from staff reports The Spokesman-Review

Funeral Masses will be held Saturday for two Gonzaga University students killed by an avalanche.

The students died Sunday while skiing south of Mullan, Idaho.

The funeral for Brian Brett is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bellingham. A celebration of Brett’s life for his friends will be held at 8 p.m. Monday at Gonzaga’s Cataldo Hall.

Services for Pete Tripp, of Bend, Ore., will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at Gonzaga’s University Chapel, which is on the third floor of the Administration Building. A reception will follow at Cataldo Hall.

Both families have requested that in lieu of flowers contributions be sent to Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave. Donations made in tribute to Brett will support a scholarship in his name. Money given in honor of Tripp will support the Shaw Connection Mentoring Program, for which he volunteered.

Brett, a philosophy senior, and Tripp, a philosophy graduate student, were skiing on a steep backcountry slope when the avalanche occurred. A third Gonzaga student, Sean Forbes, was able to escape and after searching for his friends, hiked out and called for help.

Victim died of smoke inhalation

A Thursday autopsy showed that an 80-year-old man died from smoke inhalation from a fire Wednesday inside a warehouse near the corner of Lincoln Street and Boone Avenue in Spokane.

Robert Farnum, 80, was found inside a 225-square-foot living area that had been built inside the warehouse. His caretaker discovered the fire at 1:40 p.m. and called 911.

Fire investigator Capt. Mike Zambryski said the blaze started from one of two possible causes.

“There were a number of electrical cords that weren’t properly set up,” Zambryski said. “But my gut feeling is that it was a cigarette. There were matches, lighters, etc., all over the floor. The place was in such disarray, there is just no way to tell.”

Penny said Farnum suffered from narcolepsy, which caused him to often fall asleep. Zambryski said that may have contributed to the fire if Farnum had been smoking at the time.

Farnum served 30 years in the Navy and told stories about serving on the personal security detail of Howard Hughes, Penny said.

Farnum had a son living in California and a daughter living in Arizona, Zambryski said.

Standoff ends peacefully

A police standoff at a Greenacres rifle range ended peacefully Thursday when a man surrendered after holing up in a camper.

Gary Williams left a camper parked at the Spokane Gun Club as soon as police called for his surrender over a public address system, said Sgt. Pete Bunch of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

The 56-year-old Post Falls man had been talking with a girlfriend about their future; Williams became distraught and the woman fled, authorities said. She called police shortly after 12:30 p.m. because she feared Williams was armed, though he wasn’t when he emerged from the camper a half-hour later.

Not knowing if Williams had a gun, police responded to the incident with nine patrol cars and several officers armed with rifles. No one was injured.

State patrol investigating chase

The Washington State Patrol is investigating the Wednesday night chase that ended in a fatal crash.

Police reports said Fred W. Bryson, 41, of Harrington, initially stopped his minivan when Lincoln County Deputy Dana Newcomb pulled him over for allegedly speeding on U.S. Highway 2.

But when Newcomb got out of his patrol car, Bryson sped away, WSP Trooper Jim Hays said. Newcomb pursued Bryson at speeds exceeding 80 mph before the minivan struck the back end of a tractor-trailer about four miles east of Davenport, Hays said.

Lincoln County sheriff’s Sgt. Don Reed was following Newcomb and said the highway was “pretty clear” of traffic. Reed said he didn’t know whether authorities discussed calling off the chase, which lasted only about six or seven minutes.

Hays said WSP detectives have initiated an independent investigation of the crash.

The driver of the truck was not hurt and Bryson had no passengers in the van, Hays said. The WSP shut down the highway for several hours as it investigated the fatal crash.

Alcohol was found in Bryson’s van, Hays said.

Police find pot-growing operation

Spokane police raided a home on the city’s North Side on Wednesday and discovered what appeared to be a marijuana-growing operation in the basement.

Officers entered the house at 7306 N. Hamilton at about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, police spokesman Dick Cottam said in a press release issued Thursday.

The resident, 53-year-old Michael William Maxey, was arrested and charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, Cottam said.

Maxey refused to let officers search the home so they obtained a search warrant, Cottam said. In the home’s basement they found 93 large planting pots, all of which contained cut-off marijuana plants, Cottam said.

The report said officers also found eight grow lights on tracks, ballasts, timers, a watering system, an elaborate filtered-venting system and submersible pumps. They also found two baggies of green-leafy plants believed to be marijuana, Cottam said.

Farnell appointed county CEO

Spokane County commissioners on Thursday appointed Marshall Farnell, the county’s director of administrative services, as its new chief executive officer.

Farnell has been the county’s acting CEO since Francine Boxer stepped down in August 2004 to face charges of driving under the influence.

In addition to his CEO duties overseeing county departments with non-elected managers, Farnell will continue to manage the county’s budget and finance functions.

Farnell has worked for Spokane County for more than 30 years.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.