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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former reporter contacts employer

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Newport News, Va. A former Spokane resident believed to have been missing for nearly two weeks simply walked away from his job at a Virginia newspaper, police and the newspaper said Wednesday.

The newspaper filed a missing person report for Ward Sanderson, 35, after he failed to show up for work and didn’t return messages. Worried co-workers visited his apartment, interviewed former colleagues, contacted his only known relative and searched in wooded areas near Sanderson’s home.

Sanderson contacted former co-workers when he heard news accounts of his disappearance.

“He didn’t feel like a missing person,” said Daily Press editor Ernie Gates. “He said he’s in Richmond looking for other employment.”

Sanderson is a graduate of Gonzaga University and a former reporter at The Spokesman-Review.

Fort Lewis soldier sues for test-driving accident

Seattle A former infantry soldier from Fort Lewis injured while test-driving the Army’s Stryker is suing the makers of the lightweight, armored vehicle.

Spc. Genaro Jesus Diaz says a faulty seat-belt design lead to his permanent disability and subsequent discharge from the Army after he was injured July 27, 2002, while test-driving a Stryker at the Army’s Yakima Training Center.

His complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeks unspecified damages from General Motors Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. The companies at the time of the accident retained title and ownership of the vehicle.

Both companies declined to comment.

“We think this is a predelivery testing malfunction while using our soldiers as – guinea pigs is too strong, but test mannequin is too light – but that’s what it is,” Seattle lawyer D. Michael Tomkins told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The lawsuit states that Diaz, then 22, was ordered to drive the Stryker up a steep incline with the hatch closed. When the vehicle crested the hill, it fell over a 10- to 12-foot cliff nose first and crashed to the ground.

Tomkins said Diaz, who has returned home to Texas, suffered herniated vertebrae in his back and neck damage in the accident and remains in pain.

500,000 Ecstasy pills seized on border so far

Seattle Federal drug smuggling charges against a Canadian couple accused of bringing thousands of hits of the club drug Ecstasy into the United States show the total number of Ecstasy pills seized along the Northwest border is more than 500,000 so far this year.

That’s nearly double the 258,026 pills seized along Washington’s border with Canada over all of last year, and more than 10 times the 47,686 doses seized in 2003, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Wednesday. The seizure of 167,000 tablets could lead to 20-year sentences for Ashley Sabeski, 21, and Richard Godin, 29. The drugs – 115 pounds with an estimated retail value of $4 million to $5 million – were found Monday in a pickup they drove into the border checkpoint at Blaine.

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