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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Deputies respond to threats made to Spokane County plow driver for second day in a row

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 15, 2019

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies respond to a call where a Spokane County plow driver said a local man brandished a firearm and told him to step out of his plow on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane County Sheriff's deputies respond to a call where a Spokane County plow driver said a local man brandished a firearm and told him to step out of his plow on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

For two days in a row, Spokane County snowplow drivers have been threatened by residents angry about snow berms in their driveways.

County officials did not provide details about the Thursday incident.

The incident follows a situation that unfolded Wednesday in which a plow driver working in the Camelot neighborhood in north Spokane claimed a resident with a gun, who was upset the driver created a berm in his driveway, climbed onto the grader, screamed obscenities and attempted to open the door.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office responded to both incidents, but determined there wasn’t enough probable cause to charge the residents with a crime, said Mark Gregory, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

“People need to not let their frustration get the best of them. These are examples of two people in our community that get so frustrated with snow that their frustration is boiling over and taking it out on the people that are trying to keep our roadways safe,” Gregory said. “Drivers should feel safe while they are doing their job trying to keep us safe. We are all going through the same trials with snow right now and we just need to rise above it and work together.”

Gregory said if somebody breaks the law and there’s enough probable cause, it could lead to criminal charges.

The county recently purchased two snow gates for its graders to prevent berms in driveways and is testing them in two residential neighborhoods as part of a pilot program.

County road crews made progress plowing neighborhoods and will finish clearing the entire 2,500-mile road system before the next storm arrives, according to a county news release.

“Our crews have been working 10-14 hour shifts around the clock since last Thursday,” said county engineer Chad Coles, referring to the two incidents in a news release. “We understand that the level of frustration is rising, but please allow them to do their job.”

Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney reiterated that employees must be provided a safe work environment.

“Hindering public employees from doing their jobs will not be tolerated,” she said in a news release. “These men and women are doing great work under some incredibly long hours.”

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