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December 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA — Police say a woman who was found dead in a Yakima house fire appears to be a homicide victim.
Cpt. Rod Light told the Yakima Herald-Republic the 62-year-old woman was not killed by the fire.
Firefighters found the body Saturday as they put out the fire, which apparently was set.
October 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Washington’s Supreme Court has upheld a Yakima police officer’s decision to search a woman’s purse without a warrant.
Lisa Ann Byrd was in the passenger seat of a car with stolen license plates in 2009 when the officer arrested her and the car’s driver. At the time of her arrest, she had a purse on her lap.
The officer handcuffed her and placed her in the back of a cruiser, and then returned to the car and searched the purse to find a glasses case containing methamphetamine.
A Yakima County Superior Court judge determined that the meth seized couldn’t be used at trial because the officer didn’t have a warrant, and the state appeals court agreed.
But in a 5-4 decision Thursday, the Supreme Court reversed that decision. Justice Debra Stephens wrote for the majority that officers are always allowed to search someone’s “person” at the time of arrest, and because the purse was on Byrd’s lap, it should be considered part of her person.
The dissent, written by Justice Mary Fairhurst, argued that searches of a suspect and his or her immediate surroundings are allowed to ensure officer safety and prevent destruction of evidence. In this case, neither of those concerns was at issue because Byrd had been secured in the car.
The case was sent back to Superior Court, but the justices raised further questions about the case. In a concurring opinion, Justice Steven Gonzalez questioned whether the officer had probable cause to arrest Byrd at all.
Byrd was arrested after the driver told the officer it was her car, but Gonzalez noted that the driver had significant motive to lie. He added that the driver’s statement likely could not be taken as reliable evidence that Byrd had ties to the stolen license plates.
If the officer did not have probable cause to arrest Byrd, then the arrest was illegal and so was the search of her purse, Gonzalez said.
The majority said Byrd could still pursue that line of appeal, which was not currently before the court.
September 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA — Police say they’re not getting a lot of cooperation from the victims of a shooting outside a hookah lounge — a private smoking club — in Yakima.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the four men and two women were shot early Sunday in the parking lot of Aladdin’s Hookah Lounge. A 31-year-old man was critically wounded, and their other wounds were less serious.
Capt. Rod Light says the shots were fired from the back seat of a car that circled the blocks several times. Light says investigators aren’t getting a lot of cooperation from the victims in identifying suspects.
The owner of the lounge S,onny Salha, says he suspects the problem started elsewhere and followed the victims to the lounge, which is open after bars close.
September 13, 2013 at 11:03 PM
A Civil Air Patrol plane made an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 395 north of Pasco Friday night, according to the Associated Press, citing an official from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The pilot and passenger were not injured. FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email that the pilot of the Cessna 182 declared an emergency due to engine failure.
The plane managed to avoid traffic when it touched down around 9 p.m. near milepost 40. It was partially blocking the roadway for a few hours while the Air Patrol responded to remove it, though traffic was able to go around it, said Josh Keightley, State Patrol communications supervisor.
The plane suffered minor damage to its landing gear. The Washington State Patrol identified the pilot as 63-year-old John Townsley of Spokane. The patrol said the plane was flying from Richland to Spokane.
May 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration will keep open for now the 149 control towers at small airports that had been slated to close as the result of governmentwide automatic spending cuts imposed by Congress, the Transportation Department said Friday.
Five of those towers are in Washington state: Olympia Regional Airport, Renton Municipal Airport, Felts Field in Spokane, Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor and Yakima Air Terminal, McAllister Field.
The towers, which are operated by contractors for the FAA at low-traffic airports, had been scheduled to close June 15. They will now remain open at least through Sept. 30, the end of the federal budget year, the department said in a statement.
A bill hastily passed by Congress last month to end air traffic controller furloughs also makes enough money available to keep the towers open, the statement said. The bill gave the FAA authority to shift $253 million from accounts with unspent funds to keep controllers on the job. The furloughs at all FAA-operated airport towers and air traffic control facilities caused widespread flight delays across the country for nearly a week before Congress stepped in.
FAA officials have previously said they needed at least $200 million to eliminate the need for furloughs. The bill didn’t require the FAA to spend the remaining funds on keeping towers at small airports open, but lawmakers said they anticipated the agency would use the money that way.
While the decision gives the small airports a temporary reprieve, FAA officials will still be under pressure to find ways to further cut spending in next year’s budget. (more…)
April 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM
COWICHE, Yakima County — A farmer taking potshots at rodents prompted a lockdown at an elementary school and a police response Wednesday morning.
Marcus Whitman Elementary School, part of the Highland School District, was locked down from about 9:45 until 10:40 a.m. while Yakima County sheriff’s deputies investigated reports of shots heard near the school’s east playground.
Students were in recess and on the playground when the report came in.
Yakima County sheriff’s Sgt. John Durand said a perimeter around the school was established with help from the Washington State Patrol, Tieton police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. A security sweep determined all students and staff were accounted for.
Durand said deputies determined the source of the gunfire was a farmer shooting rodents in a field about three-quarters of a mile away.
“With the continuing concern over school violence and safety, citizens should be aware and use good judgment when making decisions to target-practice or shoot near a school — especially while school is in session,” Durand said in a statement.
November 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA — A 3-year-old Sunnyside boy who was accidentally shot in the face two weeks ago remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Sunnyside police believe the boy shot himself with his father’s handgun Oct. 22 while riding with his father and two siblings in a pickup truck.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the father, 31-year-old Refugio Lara, has a concealed weapons permit and has cooperated with investigators.
October 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA — Two brothers, ages 10 and 11, on their way to school were struck by a car and dragged Monday morning in Yakima.
Police say the 10-year-old was critically injured. He has been taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with multiple fractures and head injuries.
Capt. Rod Light told Yakima Herald-Republic the boys had just stepped out of their home and were drawing in the condensation on the family car when they were struck.
Light said the boys fell under the car and were dragged nearly 80 feet before a neighbor was able to get the attention of the driver to stop.
The driver was jailed for investigation of vehicular assault. Light said drugs or alcohol may have been involved.
October 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM
Most of us can be pretty self-righteous when it comes to knowing the rules of the road, so we thought you might enjoy this exchange between a reader and Yakima Herald-Republic’s OnMagazine writer Pat Muir on walking on the “right” side of the street. The feature is called “Dear Crabby.”
We live in the Barge-Chestnut historic district, which means no sidewalks. None. Zip. Nada. A lot of people walk in the area, which is great. The problem (concern) is that at least half of them don’t walk facing traffic. Were they never taught that safety step? Were they absent that day from school? I’m not sure?
I once stopped my friends while walking their dog and pointed out that they were walking on the wrong side of the road. The response: “My dog likes this side.” Well, I was surprised that a dog that is no bigger than a toaster would have that much power.
So, what do I do when driving and I come across these wrong-side-of-street walkers? Honk as I approach them from behind? Stop and point out their error?
So, here’s the thing, Concerned: I just don’t think it’s that big a deal.
Complaining about people walking on the wrong side of the street in a neighborhood with 20-25 mph speed limits and massive speed bumps every 15 feet seems kind of dogmatic and petty. Walking in your neighborhood is plenty safe, no matter which side of the road you’re on.
Now, for what it’s worth, I can be plenty dogmatic and petty myself. I see how you might have expected me to join the crusade on this one. It’s hard for people in my life to tell which rules I’ll get worked up about and which I won’t. I break some traffic laws regularly — speeding, U-turns, even the occasional red light — but steadfastly refuse to break others. Like, I turn into the nearest lane without exception. And I use blinkers when I change lanes, even if it’s 3 a.m. and there’s no one around.
So I’m not saying you’re wrong to get worked up over this. We all have our things. I’m just saying that, unlike the question about people screwing up the four-way stops, I can’t gin up any real outrage on this one. I mean, yeah, people should walk facing traffic. It’s marginally safer that way. But I’ve never driven past someone walking with traffic and thought to stop and point out their error. (And this is coming from a guy who will flip a double-bird at you if you fail to use your blinker.) I’ve got plenty of righteous indignation, just not about this.
My answer to your question, then, is that you should try to stop caring about it. I know that’s probably not satisfying — perhaps you wanted to hear, “Run ‘em over; they deserve it” — but it’s my honest advice. I definitely do not recommend stopping and telling strangers they’re on the wrong side of the street. You’d be right, of course, but you’d come off like the guy in the bathrobe shouting at “those damn kids” to get off his lawn. Sorry.
September 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM
The Associated Press
SPOKANE — A 34-year-old Bonneville Power Administration lineman from Yakima has died after falling from a transmission tower near the Montana-Idaho border.
KREM-TV reports lineman Matthew Karstetter fell more than 100 feet on Sept. 20.
The accident is still under investigation.
BPA officials did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking more information on where the fall occurred.
Karstetter joined the BPA in June 2004. He worked on the Kalispell, Mont., transmission line maintenance crew until graduating from the apprentice program in 2008. Most recently, he worked as a journeyman on a transmission line crew in Spokane.
His obituary said a few days before his death, Karstetter was lowered to the wires by helicopter to rescue a crewman having a heart attack. The Yakima native is survived by his wife, daughter and unborn son.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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