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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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CdA student killed in car accident

Compiled from staff reports The Spokesman-Review

A 17-year-old Coeur d’Alene High School junior was killed Monday morning when she lost control of the car she was driving on Interstate 90, according to the Idaho State Police.

Laura Marie Utter was driving a 1991 Toyota Tercel about 9 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of the freeway when the accident occurred. Her 11-year-old sister was in the passenger seat.

ISP Trooper Mark Todd said Utter may have either fallen asleep or was groggy at the wheel when the car started to drift off the left shoulder of the roadway near the Pleasantview overpass, two miles from the Washington state line. The younger sister was asleep and was just waking up when the accident occurred, he said.

An Idaho Transportation Department employee working in the area was first on the scene of the accident, and medical crews arrived within two minutes, Todd said.

Utter and her sister, Samantha Utter, were transported to Kootenai Medical Center. Laura Utter died at the hospital, but Samantha was able to walk and answer questions from police, Todd said.

Evidence at the accident showed that the sisters were not wearing their lap belts, but were using shoulder belts that deploy automatically when the car doors shut, Todd said.

Utter was the daughter of Robin Utter of Coeur d’Alene and Michael Utter of Spokane, Todd said.

Police identify pickup driver killed in crash

Spokane Police identified the driver of a pickup that crashed into an abutment near Greene Street and Illinois Avenue on Sunday as 32-year-old Michael Lewis Herman.

Herman was apparently driving the small pickup north up the hill on Greene about 2:15 p.m., when the truck turned left and crashed into a large concrete railroad pier between the north and southbound lanes, said Dick Cottam, police spokesman. No other vehicles were involved.

Herman died at the scene, and his 14-year-old passenger was taken to a local hospital for surgery. The boy was still listed in serious condition Monday night, Cottam said. It was not known what caused the crash.

Officers arrest inmate who escaped work site

Airway Heights Corrections Center officers apprehended an inmate Monday, three hours after he escaped from a work detail at the Spokane Food Bank.

Donald Christean, 50, escaped from the food bank at about 8:30 a.m. Though under supervision, he was able to run out the door, said Corrections Center Public Information Officer Risa Klemme.

The supervisor called Airway Heights authorities, who began searching for Christean. About three hours later, corrections officers recaptured him outside Big Daddy’s at the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center on Spokane’s South Hill.

Christean is serving a sentence for forgery and was scheduled to be released Oct. 10. “He’s not getting out then, now,” said Klemme, who added that Christean could be sentenced to up to five more years for the escape.

Only minimum security Airway Heights inmates are allowed to work off-site. Christean is the second inmate in about a month to walk away from the food bank work crew, said Klemme. “It’s just kind of bad luck,” she said.

Freya will be reopened to drivers today

Good news for South Hill commuters: The city is reopening Freya Street to traffic today.

The newly constructed couplet just south of Interstate 90 places northbound traffic on Freya, with southbound traffic on Thor Street.

Second Avenue will be reduced to one lane in the couplet construction area, but other than that, congestion should be severely reduced.

Meeting to address proposed mosquito district

Spokane area residents can learn more about a proposed Spokane County mosquito control district tonight at an informational meeting sponsored by the Spokane Neighborhood Alliance.

The district is proposed to help prevent the spread of West Nile virus into Spokane County. No human cases of the virus have been reported in Washington, but there have been cases in Eastern Oregon.

Dr. Kim Thorburn, Spokane County’s health officer, has said the district would use larvicide in standing water to kill juvenile mosquitoes rather than spraying for the adults. The district would be created if voters approve a local levy for the purpose.

Thorburn will make a presentation at tonight’s meeting and answer questions about the proposal, said Bonnie Mager, director of the neighborhoods group. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. Spokane County commissioners have scheduled a hearing on the matter at 5 p.m. June 21 in the Spokane County Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave.

Rogers event to honor school board member

Terrie Beaudreau, a longtime member of the Spokane Public Schools board, will be honored today with ice cream and entertainment at Rogers High School. The public is invited. Beaudreau has served 20 years as a school board director. She plans to retire this month. The ice cream social will begin at 4 p.m. at Rogers, Beaudreau’s alma mater. Past board member Carol Wendle will host a program that begins at 5.

Liberty Lake seeks input on use of land

Liberty Lake is asking its residents to brainstorm ideas for a master plan for 6.4 acres of prime real estate the city recently purchased.

The city has scheduled a special meeting today to gather public input on how to develop the $1.75 million parcel near the retail center of Liberty Lake.

A community center and library are currently proposed for the location. The city is also exploring whether the land could be developed into a civic complex.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at Liberty Lake City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive.

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