Trains hit vehicles on the west and east sides of Spokane County within 30 minutes of each other Tuesday.
The first incident, at Trent Avenue and Idaho Road near the Idaho state line about 5:15 p.m., killed a man in what appeared to be a suicide, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
A 40-year-old man who’d been contacted by police earlier in the day after exhibiting suicidal behavior pulled his Chevy Suburban onto the tracks, Reagan said. The train’s engineer said the man made no attempt to flee as the train approached, Reagan said.
The Spokesman-Review generally doesn’t report suicides unless they are committed in a public manner.
No injuries were reported in the second collision, which occurred about 5:42 p.m. at Pines Spring Road and B Street near Cheney.
A 2003 Oldsmobile minivan with a couple and four children inside had gotten stuck on the tracks but was unoccupied when the train hit it, Reagan said.
The trains, operated by BNSF Railway Co., had only minor damage, according to a spokesman.
Safe-haven law reminder issued
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services has issued a reminder about the state’s safe-haven law after the body of a baby boy was discovered at a Tacoma-area dump site and a 16-year-old girl was arrested.
Within 72 hours of a child’s birth, a parent can take a newborn to a hospital or staffed fire station without fear of being identified or prosecuted, the agency said in a press release.
The National Safe Haven Alliance recently reported that all 50 states now have safe-haven laws; Washington, D.C., does not currently have the protection. The Alliance estimates that 1,000 babies have been saved through the programs, first enacted in Texas in 1999. Both Washington and Idaho legislatures passed safe-haven laws in 2001.
Liberty Lake man killed in U.S. 95 crash
A Liberty Lake man died Tuesday in a crash on U.S Highway 95 south of Coeur d’Alene.
Gary G. Lawrence, 72, was northbound in his 2005 Chevrolet Malibu when Douglas Pomerinke, 40, of Coeur d’Alene, lost control of his 1993 Ford 250 pickup while southbound on the slush-covered highway about 4 p.m. and struck Lawrence’s Malibu head on, according to Idaho State Police.
A 1999 Ford Windstar van driven by Samuel G. McCarthy, 66, of Blanchard, then rear-ended the Malibu, according to ISP.
Lawrence was pronounced dead at the scene; Pomerinke and McCarthy were treated and released from Kootenai Medical Center.
The crash blocked the highway for three hours and is still under investigation. The accident occurred near milepost 425.
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