A captain in the Spokane Fire Department has been charged with a felony in connection with a Nov. 4 bar fight.
Police say 53-year-old Ronald Clinger sped away from police lights and sirens after one of his sons allegedly stabbed a man during an altercation at the Prime Tyme Restaurant and Lounge in Chattaroy. The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office filed a felony charge against Clinger of attempting to elude police, plus misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and rendering criminal assistance, according to court documents.
The 27-year Fire Department employee has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, but because of the felony charge he could be moved to unpaid layoff status, according to civil service rules. Department officials said they’ll meet with Clinger this week to discuss the issue.
Clinger was arrested Nov. 4 on suspicion of attempting to elude police after he and his two sons, Daniel and Timothy, fled the Chattaroy lounge. Ronald Clinger, who has no criminal history, was released from Spokane County Jail on his own recognizance.
Daniel Clinger, 32, remains in jail on a charge of second-degree assault for allegedly stabbing a man twice in the back during the fight, according to jail records.
According to police, the 29-year-old stabbing victim was talking to a waitress when a man behind him made an inappropriate comment to her. A fight ensued among four men. Witnesses saw one of the men with a folding knife, court documents say.
The Clingers reportedly fled the restaurant in a Ford pickup, which sheriff’s deputies spotted going 85 mph in the opposite direction of a patrol car. Ronald Clinger “recklessly” pulled into his driveway on Deer Park-Milan Road, authorities said.
Ronald Clinger allegedly told a deputy he had had five mixed drinks before driving. Officials determined his blood-alcohol level was between .035 and .039, which is under the legal limit.
A police dog found Daniel Clinger hiding under the truck, police said.
Spokane fire Chief Bobby Williams declined to comment on the charges Wednesday.
Greg Borg, president of the firefighters union, said he believes that civil service rules don’t require that an employee be laid off in the event of a felony charge but that management “may” take that step.
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