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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Tent on I-90 causes trooper to roll cruiser

A Washington State Patrol trooper rolled his patrol car on Interstate 90 Thursday night after swerving to miss a camping tent that had fallen off a truck, according to WSP.

Trooper Dustin C. Stephan, 24, was treated and released at the East Adams Rural Hospital in Ritzville after his 2005 Ford Crown Victoria cruiser hit an embankment on the right side of the westbound freeway at milepost 222 and rolled over at 10:08 p.m.

He’d swerved to miss a tent that had fallen off a 1997 Dodge Ram pickup driven by Joseph C. Hardin, 25, of Spokane Valley, WSP said. Hardin, who was not injured, was cited for failure to secure a load.

Stephan was wearing a seat belt, according to a news release. His patrol car was destroyed, WSP said.

Meghann M. Cuniff


Drug ringleader sentenced to 12 years

The head of a major drug trafficking ring with ties to Idaho has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

The sentencing this week of Kent Allen Jones, 54, of Vancouver, Wash., who also was ordered to forfeit $5 million in cash, marks the cracking of a ring that authorities said reaped more than $20 million in drug proceeds over a long period, first from growing marijuana in Oregon in the 1990s, and then from importing drugs from Mexico and Southern California and shipping them from Portland to Idaho, Washington and numerous other states.

The prosecution of drug trafficker Leland Lang, of Stites, Idaho, in 2002 led to the wider investigation, which included money-laundering charges against three Priest River, Idaho-area residents, and various charges against a dozen defendants from six states.

“This was a classic case of ‘follow the money,’ ” said U.S. Attorney Tom Moss. Jones was sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise.

Betsy Z. Russell

High court upholds ruling in CdA case

The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled against the state, upholding a thrice-appealed court decision to suppress key evidence in a DUI case.

An anonymous tip about a fight, of which no evidence was found, didn’t provide reasonable suspicion for two Coeur d’Alene police officers to block in and arrest a man for drunken driving while he was parked in the parking lot of an apartment complex, the court ruled this week. The case involves an 1:30 a.m. incident on the Fourth of July in 2005. Defendant Christopher Willoughby successfully got a magistrate court to suppress all evidence from the two officers’ contact with him that night.

The state appealed to district court, then to the state Court of Appeals, and then to the Idaho Supreme Court; it lost at every point. The state argued that the officers could legally detain Willoughby as either a suspect or a witness to the reported fight, though they found no evidence of any fight.

“An anonymous tip alone cannot supply the requisite basis for reasonable suspicion,” said the unanimous opinion, written by Justice Joel Horton.

Betsy Z. Russell

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Bluegrass Hemp Oil in Spokane Valley offers a variety of products that can be very effective for helping with some health conditions. (Courtesy BHO)

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