Northwest Briefly: Driver charged in elderly pedestrian’s death

SEATTLE — Prosecutors have charged a 37-year-old man with vehicular homicide in the death of an elderly, legally blind pedestrian near Northgate Mall. Police say the driver was looking at his cell phone GPS at the time.

Charging documents filed this week in King County Superior Court say Scott Caudel of Seattle is accused of killing 91-year-old Grant Meyers last June 10. Court papers say Meyers was near a crosswalk when he was struck. He died two days after the crash.

Court documents say Caudel told police that he was lost on his way to the mall and was looking at his cell phone GPS when the crash occurred. Police say the driver slammed on his brakes when he looked up and saw the elderly man, causing “all four tires to lock up and skid.”

UW leads Peace Corps volunteers fourth year in a row

The University of Washington has the most volunteers in the Peace Corps for the fourth year in a row.

The Peace Corps says 101 UW undergraduate alumni are currently serving.

The University of Colorado at Boulder ranks next with 95, followed by University of California Berkeley 89, Michigan State University 86 and University of Florida 79.

Washington also has 17 graduate school volunteers, tying it for tops in that category with the University of Texas at Austin.

Ellensburg: Gov. Gregoire approves new wind farm

Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved the Desert Claim wind farm project eight miles north of Ellensburg, following the recommendation of a state energy council.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported Desert Claim will have up to 95 turbines across eight square miles.

The developer, the French firm EnXco, plans construction this summer.

It will be the fourth wind farm in Kittitas County.

Chehalis: Lewis County coroner appeals court ruling on suicide death

Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson is appealing a court order to change the cause of death on a death certificate.

KOMO News reported Wilson has asked an appeals court for an emergency stay. Otherwise he’ll have to issue a new death certificate by Monday for Ronda Reynolds.

A jury ruled in November the coroner was wrong to conclude that the former state trooper committed suicide in 1998.

Reynolds’ mother, Barbara Thompson, filed a civil lawsuit because she believed her daughter’s death was a homicide.

Federal Way: Elderly couple found dead in mobile home

A man and a woman in their 80s have been found dead in a Federal Way mobile home. Police are investigating what they believe is a homicide-suicide.

Federal Way police spokesman officer Raymond Bunk said the man and woman had been shot. An adult family member found the bodies Thursday and called police.

The two were not immediately identified.

Tri-Cities: Decision is near on regional public facilities district

After three years, officials in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland are close to deciding whether to form a regional public facilities district.

The Regional Facilities Oversight Committee met Wednesday night but put off action until next month to give new representatives more time.

The Tri-City Herald reported the main dispute is the choice of funding a public facility district by sales tax or a metropolitan park district by property tax.

All three cities have to agree on a financing method before they ask voters for a tax increase.

Washington, D.C.: Lawmakers ask Corps for prompt Green River dam fix

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and seven other members of Washington’s congressional delegation are asking the Corps of Engineers to keep working at full speed on a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam.

In a letter Thursday they asked the Corps to complete a study by June so the project can be considered for construction funding in 2012.

An abutment to the flood control dam was weakened by heavy rains a year ago. Officials warned the dam would not be able to hold a full reservoir and there was a risk of flooding through the Green River Valley.

Temporary repairs have reduced the risk of flooding. Millions of dollars have been spent to add sandbags on levees through Kent, Renton, Auburn and Tukwila.

Idaho: Portion of closed Sunshine Mine collapses

A portion of the closed Sunshine Mine complex in Idaho’s Silver Valley has collapsed, and there were no injuries.

Sterling Mining Co. executive Robert Higdem said some shaft timbers deep in the mine gave way last Thursday, blocking access to a tunnel. There were no workers in the area, and the extent of the damage has not been determined.

The mine has been closed since 2008, but Sterling continues to pump out water in case of a future opening.

The underground mine was the site of a deadly fire in 1972 that killed 91 miners.

From Herald news services

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