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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Investigators consider manslaughter charge for driver in deadly North Side crash

An early-morning crash on Illinois Avenue in north Spokane killed Pauline Kvern, 20, a waitress, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on March 27, 2019. Manslaughter charges were pending for the driver, Murray Newton, 21. The newspaper also reported that Kent Hitchcock of Boise, Idaho, enrolled at Lewis and Clark High School, making him the 2,000 student attending the Spokane school. (Spokesman-Review archives)
An early-morning crash on Illinois Avenue in north Spokane killed Pauline Kvern, 20, a waitress, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on March 27, 2019. Manslaughter charges were pending for the driver, Murray Newton, 21. The newspaper also reported that Kent Hitchcock of Boise, Idaho, enrolled at Lewis and Clark High School, making him the 2,000 student attending the Spokane school. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A group of young people went dancing at the Silver Grill, had several drinks of illicit whiskey, then went on an early-morning drive in a seven-passenger Buick.

It ended in tragedy when the car hit a pole on Illinois Avenue. Passenger Pauline Kvern, 20, a waitress, was thrown from the car and killed. The driver and two other people survived. They were being held in jail.

“It was a case of liquor and gasoline not mixing,” the investigating sergeant said.

The driver, Murray Newton, 21, said he was not drunk. He said he had “taken but three drinks.” He also said he was not going more than 25 mph. Yet police estimated the car was going at least 50 mph. It skidded 40 feet after hitting the pole, and both rear wheels were ripped off.

One of the other passengers, Newton’s cousin, said she warned him several times about his excessive speed. Charges of manslaughter were pending.

From the railroad beat: The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad announced that electric locomotives would soon be hauling trains from Othello, Washington, over the Cascade Range to Seattle.

That entire stretch was being electrified, and officials hoped to have it finished by fall.

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