Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Joyriders plowed down a painter, whose chances at pulling through didn’t look good

December 1, 2004 -- Drivers relearn snow mobility. Region's first substantial snow trips up motorists, but accidents cause few injuries. Local law enforcement officials have for weeks been reminding motorists to slow down in anticipation of winter driving conditions. But the region's first significant snow Tuesday caused road conditions that left even cautious drivers helpless.
December 1, 2004 -- Drivers relearn snow mobility. Region's first substantial snow trips up motorists, but accidents cause few injuries. Local law enforcement officials have for weeks been reminding motorists to slow down in anticipation of winter driving conditions. But the region's first significant snow Tuesday caused road conditions that left even cautious drivers helpless. "We were running from crash to crash," Washington State Patrol Trooper Jim Hays said. Some of the collisions included as many as six cars. "I tried to listen on the radio," Hays said. "I couldn't keep up with it all." (S-R archives)

Fritz Sclanong, 73, a painter, was crossing Sprague Avenue at Magnolia Street when a car full of joyriders ran him down and dragged him 50 feet as he screamed in agony.

Did the joyriders stop and render assistance?

No, said witnesses. They yelled, “Why the hell don’t you get out of the way?”

Then they roared off into the distance. Police found Sclanong covered with blood. A crowd of spectators was attempting to help him.

He was rushed to Sacred Heart Hospital, where doctors were concerned that his injuries would prove fatal.

From the freight rate file: The Spokesman-Review’s editorial page gloried in the region’s great victory in the railroad freight rate conflict. The Interstate Commerce Commission had just issued a ruling forbidding railroads from charging higher rates to Inland Northwest customers than to coastal customers.

“The powerful hand of the law has laid its grip on the railroads and told them they must have a just regard for the rights of the interior,” the editors said.

It was a long, hard-fought battle, and people in the region were correct to regard it as a momentous victory. However, the editors said, it was not a “conclusive victory.” The battle was not over.

The railroads, they said, would now turn to other methods to gain an advantage. Vigilance was still needed.

Also on this day

(From onthisday.com)

1927: Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, paving the way for Joseph Stalin to consolidate complete power.

More from this author