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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Region in brief: Pomeroy man dies in crash

A 25-year-old Pomeroy, Wash., man died Thursday morning after rolling his truck on Highway 194, west of Pullman.

Erich C. Parizek was westbound in a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup about three miles north of the Snake River when the truck left the road on a curve and rolled multiple times, the Washington State Patrol said. Parizek was ejected, and the truck came to rest about 300 feet off the road in a ravine.

Sara Leaming

Pair died of gunshot wounds

An Iraqi war veteran and his wife found dead early Saturday in Republic, Wash., both died of single gunshot wounds, authorities said Thursday.

Chad Olson and Jessica Armstrong-Olson, both 21, died at Olson’s childhood home in what Ferry County authorities said appears to be a murder and suicide committed by the former Marine, who returned from Iraq earlier this year.

Olson apparently had been having emotional problems in recent weeks stemming from his war experiences, authorities and residents in Republic said.

Staff reports

Residents escape house fire

Occupants of a home in southeast Spokane escaped a raging fire that destroyed the dwelling early Thursday, according to firefighters and neighbors.

The blaze started about 1 a.m. at the rear deck of the home at 3528 E. Lydia Court and moved to the center of the house, burning through the roof before firefighters could bring it under control.

Three occupants got out safely, including the owners, who were identified as Mike and Joann Vathis.

One firefighter suffered an injury tearing wallboard away from framework in the effort to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

Staff reports

Judge mulls signatures case

TACOMA – Signed petitions seeking a statewide vote on expanded gay partnerships will remain shielded from public view for at least a few more days, while a federal judge decides whether Washington state’s public records law could pose a risk to free speech rights.

The case revolves around Referendum 71, which would put the Legislature’s latest expansion of domestic partnership rights for gay couples on November’s general election ballot.

The conservative political group Protect Marriage Washington turned in nearly 138,000 petition signatures to state election officials to qualify R-71 for the ballot. Those petitions are public records under state law. Gay rights activists have pledged to post the names of the petition signers online, encouraging supporters of same-sex unions to discuss the issue with anyone they may recognize.

Protect Marriage Washington argues that tactic could lead to harassment, amounting to an unconstitutional infringement of free speech rights.

Collision injures motorcyclist

A Montana man was injured Thursday after a vehicle turned in front of his motorcycle on a northwest Spokane highway.

Daniel L. Brunke, 40, was southbound on Nine Mile Road about 4 p.m. when a northbound 1995 Chevy Blazer attempting to turn left at Seven Mile Road collided with his 1982 Honda motorcycle.

The Blazer’s driver, Joanie M. Flett, 28, of Ford, was cited for failure to yield, the Washington State Patrol said. Flett and her three passengers were not injured.

Brunke was transported by ambulance to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was in satisfactory condition Thursday evening, a nursing supervisor said.

Sara Leaming

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