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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

In brief: Man dies in crash while fleeing officer

The Spokesman-Review

A 20-year-old Colbert man died early Thursday when he crashed his vehicle down a 200-foot embankment while fleeing a state trooper just north of Spokane city limits.

Ryan J. Emery was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car, Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Mark Baker said.

About 1:30 a.m., a trooper stopped Emery at North Wall Street and North Carolina Way, Baker said. The trooper determined Emery was driving under the influence and attempted to arrest him.

The man assaulted the trooper and took off driving north, Baker said. The trooper suffered minor injuries on his face and arm.

The trooper then pursued Emery, Baker said. Near Whitworth University, the suspect drove up on a curb and flattened a tire but continued to flee.

Just before Elcliff Road, Emery failed to negotiate a turn and his car went down the embankment, Baker said. The man was dead by the time the trooper got to the bottom of the embankment.

Officials refused to release the trooper’s name.

Kent, Wash.

Man fatally shot in fight outside bar

A 24-year-old Kent man was fatally shot early Thursday and a 22-year-old Ellensburg man later turned himself in and was jailed for investigation after a fight outside a bar, police said.

The Kent man, who was not immediately identified, died en route to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, Kent Police Chief Steve Strachan said.

Police said they received a call about the shooting near the Pony Keg Grill & Bar at about 1:45 a.m.

They said a fight inside the bar spilled into the parking lot and one man pulled out a gun and shot the other.

“This shooting is not random and was the result of direct interaction between the victim and suspect at a bar late at night,” Strachan said in a statement.

The Ellensburg man was not immediately identified.


Wrong-way driver killed on U.S. 395

A man driving the wrong way on U.S. Highway 395 was killed Thursday when his car collided with a Greyhound bus.

The bus driver and the sole passenger on the bus were not injured, the Washington State Patrol said.

The crash happened in the southbound lanes two miles south of Ritzville around 5:30 p.m., police said.

The collision had blocked both southbound lanes, but one lane has reopened, authorities said.

The identity of the dead driver has not been released.


Passenger ferry service postponed

Washington State Ferries said passenger-only service between Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and Keystone on Whidbey Island will not begin today as planned because it can’t find a place to moor the vessel.

Susan Harris, a spokeswoman for the ferry system, said the foot ferry probably will not be added until Monday.

Officials thought a passenger-only ferry could be moored at Port Townsend but Harris said it can’t.

The ferry system took the state’s four oldest ferries out of service on Tuesday after dozens of cracks and widespread hull corrosion raised safety concerns.

Only two of the 80-year-old boats have been running in recent months. A replacement ferry has been added to the San Juan Islands interisland route, but no car-carrying ferry is available to fill in on the Port Townsend-Keystone crossing.

Lynnwood, Wash.

Deputy chief fired for stealing money

Lynnwood Police Chief Steven Jensen said he has fired Deputy Chief Paul C. Watkins, who recently pleaded guilty to stealing money from the department’s evidence room.

In a statement, Jensen said the 50-year-old Watkins’ termination stemmed from the theft of money seized by Lynnwood police officers from 2001 through 2005.

Federal prosecutors say Watkins stole between $70,000 and $120,000.

Jensen said Watkins acted alone and the city of Lynnwood will seek to recover the stolen money.

The Everett man faces a maximum 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Feb. 22 in federal court.

Watkins had been with the department for more than 20 years and was the commander of its criminal investigative division.


Alleged molester indicted by feds

A 47-year-old pilot already charged with nine felony counts of child sex crimes in state court was indicted Wednesday on four federal charges.

Weldon Marc Gilbert, of Lake Tapps, was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the production of child pornography and one count of transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

The first three charges allege Gilbert sexually abused three boys in Pierce County and videotaped the abuse between 2001 and this year. The fourth alleges Gilbert took one of the boys to Canada, where he molested him in 2005 and videotaped it. Gilbert was arrested last month after two brothers accused him of abusing them in his home.

Investigators who served a search warrant at the house found dozens of videotapes and DVDs documenting the alleged abuse as well as a room where cameras were installed, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

FBI agents arrested Gilbert last week after he posted $1.5 million bail on the state charges. He’s been held in the federal detention center at SeaTac since then. Gilbert has pleaded not guilty to the state charges, which include second-degree child rape and child molestation. He is to be arraigned on the federal counts Wednesday in federal court here.


Escaped mental patient recaptured

Portland police say they have captured an escaped mental patient who slipped away during a supervised visit to his mother at a care facility.

Police say officers spotted 46-year-old Christopher Walker on Thursday morning near a northeast Portland intersection. They say he tried to run but officers caught him.

Walker fatally stabbed his girlfriend almost 20 years ago and has been in the hospital since then. State officials say he was suffering a drug-induced psychotic episode at the time.

Walker was on a day pass from the Oregon State Hospital in Salem when he fled his state escort Wednesday.


Charges in killing dropped in deal

Ada County prosecutors have dropped an accessory to murder charge filed against a Meridian man in connection with the death of his father.

In exchange for the charge being dropped, Austin Thorngren pleaded guilty to two probation violations for using drugs and alcohol two years ago. He was sentenced to six months in jail and placed on five years probation.

Thorngren and his mother, Donna Thorngren, were accused in the 2003 execution-style killing of Curtis Thorngren. Donna Thorngren was sentenced last month to life in prison for first-degree murder.

Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

Resort town hikes taxes on lodging

Tourists will pay a little more to stay at eastern Idaho’s Lava Hot Springs.

A 1 percent tax increase on lodging in the tiny resort town went into effect this week. That brings the total lodging tax to 3 percent. Voters approved the lodging tax hike on Nov. 6.

The city’s tax for liquor by the drink and retail sales will remain at 2 percent, however.