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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

In brief: Cargo pilot accused of flying drunk

A commercial cargo pilot was drunk when he landed a plane at the Spokane International Airport in April, federal prosecutors allege.

Paul Robbin Roessler, of Federal Way, is to appear in U.S. District Court in Spokane on June 29 on a charge of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The charge alleges Roessler flew a twin-engine PA-34 aircraft for Airpac Airlines Inc. from Boeing Field in Seattle to the Spokane airport while drunk on April 26.

A federal grand jury indicted him last week, but it’s unclear what prompted authorities to open an investigation. Airport spokesman Todd Woodward directed questions to the U.S. attorney’s office, but an office spokesman declined to comment beyond what’s in the indictment.

Federal aviation records say Roessler was a certified commercial pilot and flight instructor but that his certificates are no longer active.

A man who answered the phone for Airpac Airlines who identified himself as Roger declined to comment. The company is described on its website as a contract cargo operator based out of Boeing Field since 1976.  

Another body found in Spokane River

Another body has been pulled from the Spokane River.

A dive team Monday retrieved the body of an unidentified man in his early to mid-20s from Riverfront Park. He is believed to have entered the river about 2:30 a.m. Sunday near the big red wagon area of the park. It is unclear why or how he ended up in the river.

Bruce Moline, battalion chief with the Spokane Fire Department, said rescue crews scoured the area for hours Sunday. The body turned up Monday just downstream, near the Looff Carrousel. Avista officials lowered the water level to aid in the search.

It’s the second body found in the river in less than 24 hours. The body of a man was found Sunday afternoon near the 2000 block of South Riverton Avenue. Police said it appears to be that of a man who reportedly was distraught on Saturday evening.

Court won’t rehear Rep. Hart’s appeal

BOISE – The Idaho Supreme Court, without comment, has dismissed tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart’s request to reconsider his state income tax appeal, in which he argued the court should have given more consideration because he’s a legislator.

In a one-page ruling, the Supreme Court declared, “After due consideration, it is hereby ordered that Appellant’s petition for rehearing be, and hereby is, denied.”

Hart appealed an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, but filed his appeal months after the 91-day appeal period had expired.

He unsuccessfully argued that because an Idaho legislative session fell just after the appeal period, his status as a lawmaker should have given him more time to file.

The Idaho Supreme Court strongly disagreed, writing in its unanimous decision in April, “In this instance, Hart is just a taxpayer, with no greater privilege than his constituents.”

FEC sues Craig over use of funds

BOISE – Former Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was sued Monday by federal election regulators who contend he misused some $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting.

Federal Election Commission officials said in their complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Craig should repay the money and pay a fine.

The FEC contends the three-term U.S. senator’s campaign account, Craig for U.S. Senate, paid at least $139,952 to the law firm Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan in Washington, D.C., and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson in Minnesota for legal services related to his guilty plea to disorderly conduct.

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