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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Boat accident hospitalizes three people

The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Wednesday night boating accident on Priest Lake that sent three people to the hospital.

Around 11:30 p.m. an 18-foot ski boat T-boned a 32-foot Maxum that was anchored in Luby Bay, said Lt. Ed Jochum with the Sheriff’s Office.

“Obviously, they’re going to need lots of repairs,” Jochum said.

Neither of the boats sank, but the people onboard needed help to get to shore.

All seven of the people on the boats are from Washington. Medical responders airlifted one person to Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. The other two injured boaters were taken to Newport Hospital.

All the injured people left the hospitals after receiving treatment. The Sheriff’s Office has not released their identities.

The cause of the crash was still under investigation and Jochum was not sure about how fast the ski boat was moving when it hit the Maxum.

Man allegedly tries to extort grandma

A 22-year-old Spokane man is accused of extorting his grandmother by conspiring with his friend to tell her he was being kidnapped for ransom, police said.

Tevan T. Williams and his alleged accomplice, Riley D. Hull, 22, were arrested Wednesday after Williams’ grandmother said she’d received text messages from a stranger “saying Tevan was being held against his will and would not be released until she paid a ransom,” according to court documents.

The 61-year-old woman said she continued receiving text messages Wednesday indicating her grandson would be killed if she didn’t pay $500.

She agreed to meet the man at a restaurant near Francis Avenue and North Division Street. The woman and a relative contacted Spokane police, believing Williams “was possibly in grave danger,” police said. Police traced the text messages to a phone belonging to Hull and arrested him and Williams near the planned meeting spot.

Hull and Williams each were ordered to stay in jail on $7,500 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on a first-degree extortion charge.

Motorcyclist died from injuries

A motorcyclist injured in a June 16 crash near Sandpoint has died.

Craig A. Bloom, 54, of Sandpoint, was pronounced dead June 30 at Kootenai Medical Center of injuries suffered in the crash near milepost 39 along state Highway 200, the Idaho State Police said Thursday. Bloom was wearing a helmet, and while there are indications that he might have hit a deer, the state police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Police said Bloom was riding a 2000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle westbound on dry pavement when it drifted off the road and hit a guardrail, ejecting him.

Bloom was a truck driver and, according to his obituary, held an ownership interest in the Sandpoint area’s only Black Cat Fireworks stand.

Accused Wallace accomplice out on bail

A Spokane man accused of helping the fugitive who shot two sheriff’s deputies is out of jail after posting $100,000 bond this week.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, posted the bond through Bulldog Bail Bonds on July 2 after being in the Spokane County Jail since June 20, according to court records.

Ruth appeared before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Members of the drug task force were looking for fugitive heroin trafficking suspect Charles Robert Wallace at Ruth’s family’s property on North Alcan Street on June 19 when they followed Ruth’s SUV and a Chevy Tahoe with a young couple and a disguised man they believed could be Wallace. Wallace shot Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway after they stopped the Tahoe to try to identify the occupants.

Ruth has seven felony convictions; his latest occurred in 2000.

Two fires in two days on Tubbs Hill

Firefighters extinguished a small, human-caused fire on Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday, the second such fire in as many days in the area.

The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department and Kootenai County Fire District responded to a grass fire at about 7:15 p.m. in the Third Street dock area. The fire was less than a half-acre in size but was inaccessible by foot or trail to firefighters. The Kootenai County Fire Boat used its fire pump to quickly extinguish the fire, the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department said in a news release.

 Witnesses at the scene did not hear any fireworks but did see people flee the area after the fire started. The Coeur d’Alene Police Department is investigating the cause and attempting to locate those people.

This is the second human-caused fire on Tubbs Hill in the past two days. Both fires were discovered by boaters and reported immediately before the fires grew. The Coeur d’Alene fire and police departments are asking for the public’s help in immediately reporting any fire or anyone using fireworks in city parks.

The extended hot weather forecast will change the fire danger to high on Tubbs Hill.

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