SEATTLE — King County has been fined $24,000 for a December sewage spill that the Department of Ecology says could have been prevented.
The 8.7-million-gallon release of untreated sewage flowed nearly 3 hours into Puget Sound off West Point. The Dec. 14 spill had originally been estimated at 10 million gallons.
An investigation found operators failed to follow the wastewater treatment plant’s standard operating procedures and did not use a backup system that could have closed the gate within minutes.
A Department of Ecology official says the backup system was tested and ready, but not used during the kind of incident for which it was designed.
Teen charged with second-degree assault in bus driver beating
A 15-year-old Renton boy has been charged with second-degree assault in an attack that left a Metro bus driver unconscious.
The female bus driver is now recovering from the head trauma she suffered last weekend in Tukwila.
King County prosecutor’s spokesman Dan Donohoe said based on the victim’s injuries, second-degree assault is the maximum charge possible. Donohoe said the teen is not eligible for adult prosecution because of his age and lack of criminal history. However, if he is convicted, prosecutors plan to recommend an exceptional sentence of more than a year.
Two other boys, ages 16 and 17, were charged Wednesday with first-degree malicious mischief, accused of breaking windows on the bus’ back door and damaging the door frame. They too will be prosecuted in juvenile court.
Police said the teen attacked the 56-year-old driver because she wouldn’t let the group exit through a rear door.
Walla Walla: Penitentiary fight leads to lockdown
A Washington state spokeswoman says state penitentiary guards used pepper spray to break up a fight involving nearly 50 inmates at the Walla Walla prison.
Spokeswoman Shari Hall said Wednesday that an initial fight between two inmates broke out Tuesday evening in a commons area of one of the prison’s close-custody living units. She said guards resolved that fight but a second fight involving multiple inmates broke out within minutes.
The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin reported that several prisoners were injured but none required transport to a hospital. Hall said no significant staff injuries were reported.
Nearly 50 inmates have been placed in segregation. Hall said Superintendent Stephen Sinclair has placed all four close-custody units in the prison’s West Complex on lockdown as staffers investigate the fights, interview inmates and search the living units. The units on lockdown house nearly 800 inmates. The lockdown is expected to last through the weekend.
McCleary: $20,000 reward offered in case of missing girl
The reward for information about a missing McCleary girl has been doubled to $20,000.
Police hope the reward will bring in more tips as they restart the investigation into the disappearance of Lindsey Baum. The 11-year-old hasn’t been seen since June 26 when she left a friend’s house to walk home.
Police told KIRO-TV they plan to reinterview people they’ve already spoken to about the girl.
Tacoma: Police searching park after tip
Eleven years after little Teekah Lewis disappeared on a family outing to a Tacoma bowling alley, a tip has prompted police to start digging at the Native Garden in Point Defiance Park.
Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum told KOMO-TV that investigators have spoken to the tipster, whom he only described as an “area man.” Fulghum says detectives are simply looking for “evidence.”
Teekah was just 2 when she disappeared on Jan. 23, 1999.
Her mother, Theresa Lewis, says she received the new tip last weekend from a man in his 40s at the annual vigil for the missing girl. The stranger told her he’d had visions of the missing girl and the mother relayed that information to police.
Oregon: Officials seek reason for dead man’s self-immolation
Police and fire officials are trying to determine why a man set himself on fire in downtown Portland near a fur store that has been the scene of numerous protests.
Portland Fire Bureau Lt. Damon Simmons said Wednesday evening the man died at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. The Multnomah County medical examiner identified him as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull.
Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday to find a man with serious burns. Simmons says police and bystanders apparently extinguished the flames.
Witnesses told KATU-TV the man was screaming, “There are animals dying! Animals dying!”
Mike Cheema owns a food cart nearby. He says the man tried to run into the building but the door was locked.
KATU says no one at the fur store wanted to comment.
Man is sentenced in Eugene-area crime spree
A 28-year old former Veneta man has been sentenced to nearly 60 years in prison for a 2006 crime spree.
Lane County Circuit Judge Jack Billings ordered the sentence Tuesday for Sean Richard Monro, who was convicted last week of 18 felony counts. The charges include two counts of attempted aggravated murder for cutting a Eugene drug dealer’s throat during a home invasion robbery. He also was found guilty of eight felony robbery charges, four felony theft charges and one charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
Monro is one of at least four people sentenced in connection with the crime spree and the killing of 21-year-old Noah Thacker of Eugene. Another Eugene man, Michael Vaughn, has been sentenced to life in prison for that murder.
Burning bagel empties Portland City Hall
An overdone bagel forced the evacuation of Portland’s City Hall.
The Oregonian reported that City Hall emptied for about 20 minutes Wednesday morning while firefighters dealt with the burnt bagel in the break room of Mayor Sam Adam’s office. There was no immediate word on who burned the bagel in the toaster oven or what type of bagel it was.
City commissioners were meeting at the time and joined those who took to the sidewalks. Adams apologized for the interruption after the evacuation.