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

In brief: Inmate electrocuted on work crew

An inmate from Airway Heights Corrections Center was killed Monday south of Springdale, Wash., when he was electrocuted cutting a tree near a power line.

The inmate, 22-year-old Danny R. Bergeson, was working with a Department of Natural Resources work crew in Stevens County, according to a news release from the prison. Bergeson was convicted in Skagit County of trying to elude a police vehicle and was scheduled for release in January.

The crew, one of four 10-person groups that work with the Department of Natural Resources fighting and preventing fires, was thinning trees, the release said. Crew members and medical units performed CPR, but Bergeson was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m.

“This is the first fatality or serious injury involving an offender on an Airway Heights work crew,” the release said.

WSU student in satisfactory condition

A 22-year-old Washington State University student who fell 11 stories from Orton Hall last week was listed in satisfactory condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The man identified as Luke C. Ettensperger survived the Wednesday night incident when trees near the residence hall broke his fall and he landed in the grass.

When emergency crews arrived, he was conscious and talking.

He was flown to Spokane with a broken hip and arm and underwent surgery on Thursday.

Alcohol was not a factor in the fall, and police do not suspect foul play.

This is the fourth reported fall at WSU and the University of Idaho in recent weeks. The previous three incidents were confirmed as alcohol-related.

Escaped sex offender back in custody

A convicted sex offender who escaped the custody of his parents last week was arrested by Spokane Police late Sunday night.

An arrest warrant was issued by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 10 after 27-year-old Derrick L. Wilson escaped while his parents escorted him to see a specialist at Spokane Eye Clinic.

Spokane Police said he was arrested around 11 p.m. near Eighth Avenue and Cannon Street after a tipster called in his whereabouts.

Lincoln County prosecutors said Wilson had $160 in cash and a sleeping bag when he was arrested.

Wilson was convicted in 2007 of molesting a 5-year-old girl. He was put under lifetime supervision of the Department of Corrections while participating in the special sex offender sentencing alternative program after serving one year in prison.

He was arrested Sept. 25 for violating his supervision conditions, including having sexual contact with a minor and frequenting areas where minors might be present and drinking. Wilson will be arraigned today for escape charges and will face a revocation hearing that will attempt to reimpose his original sentence of 68 months to life in prison.

Firefighter injured during Sunday blaze

A firefighter was injured while tackling a barn and house fire on Sunday night near Suncrest.

District 1 Fire Chief Mike Bucy said the firefighter received a minor concussion while working on the fire in the 6500 block of Pine Lodge Way. He was treated at Providence Holy Family Hospital for those injuries and later released.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Neighbors saw the blaze and called it in around 8 p.m. By the time crews arrived, the fire had spread from the pole barn to a nearby modular home. The home was destroyed. Damage was estimated at $125,000.

All-day roller derby event Saturday

A daylong roller derby tournament with teams from throughout the Northwest will be held Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene.

Coeur d’Alene Tour d’Pain, presented by Snake Pit Derby Dames, will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and feature five bouts between the Venomous Vixens, Oly Rollers, Underground Derby and One World Derby.

Tickets are $15 at the door or online at


Local chapter celebrates BBB centennial

The national Better Business Bureau turns 100 this year, and to celebrate the Spokane chapter will host a centennial celebration on Wednesday.

The event will be held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. Author and entrepreneur David Horsager will speak at 5:45 p.m. Admission is $25.

The Spokane BBB opened in 1929.

Missing Glacier Park hikers found alive

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Two Virginia veterinarians reported missing while hiking in Glacier National Park were found alive Monday, elated family members and park officials said.

Jason Hiser and Neal Peckens were found by searchers about 3:30 p.m., park officials said, noting the men had no injuries and were reunited with waiting relatives.

“Initial information indicates they are well and will be returning to their families! Yeah!” announced a post on the park’s Facebook page. The two had been reported missing by their families Friday after failing to catch a flight home.

Rescue teams located the men after as many as 50 people laboring in wintry conditions scoured backcountry near Two Medicine, Mont., by air, on foot and on horseback, aided by a dog team.

The men were capable of walking but were being flown by helicopter to the nearest ranger station, a relative said.

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