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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: A near-plane crash ended miraculously with no injuries, and the suspect in Goldie Flaugher’s killing wanted to go to her funeral

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A pilot and three passengers “rubbed shoulders with death” when their airplane developed engine trouble above Audubon Park.

Spokane aviator Verne Brookwalter was giving a “demonstration flight” with three local men when the engine began to sputter. Bookwalter immediately began looking for a spot to make an emergency landing and spied a vacant area near Audubon Park.

Residents reported seeing the plane flying “dangerously low above their houses.” Brookwalter managed to aim the plane toward “the broad slope south of Northwest Boulevard.”

“Nosing his plane down, it struck the ground and continued on its westward course to the edge of a steep bank, where Brookwalter found it necessary to make a hard left turn to avoid an upset,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported. “So sharp was the turn and swift the speed that an inspection of the landing showed that the tail skid dug several inches into the ground during the turn.”

Yet the outcome was happy. Nobody was injured and the plane was undamaged.

While a large crowd gathered around, Brookwalter fixed the engine himself, turned the plane around and took back to the sky, bound for the Parkwater airfield.

From the murder beat: John Hardiman, 22, expressed his desire to attend the funeral of his sweetheart, Goldie Flaugher.

He was denied that privilege, because he was in jail on charges of shooting her to death.

He claimed the two were scuffling for possession of a loaded revolver when it accidentally fired. Police and prosecutors were not buying that story, and he was charged with first-degree murder.

In another development, Hardiman was treated in jail for a bullet wound on his arm. Authorities said this was a self-inflicted wound, which apparently occurred after Flaugher’s death and before officers arrived. It was a mere flesh wound, doctors said.