Seven die in three weekend crashes

Six people died in two head-on crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend, and a seventh died in a five-vehicle wreck on I-5 north of Kelso, Washington State Patrol troopers reported.

Four cars and a tractor-trailer rig, all northbound, were involved in the crash late Sunday on rain-slicked I-5, and traffic was detoured well into the Monday morning commute, dispatchers said. Ten people were injured, including three who were flown to hospitals in Portland, Ore.

Three people died in a head-on collision Saturday evening on Highway 20, near Burlington. Two adults were injured in that crash.

Patrol investigators said an eastbound car driven by Ryan Togstad, 22, of Oak Harbor, collided with a westbound car driven by Scott Allen, 46, of Anacortes, in the westbound lane.

Allen and his 11-year-old daughter were killed, along with Jennifer Devine, 22, of Anacortes, a passenger in Togstad’s car. Allen’s wife, Terri Allen, 51, was in serious condition, and Togstad was in critical condition but improving early Monday. Both were at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A head-on crash early Thursday in rainy weather on U.S. 2 about eight miles north of Wenatchee left three people dead and two injured. The road on the east side of the Columbia River was closed for nearly four hours.

Crystal Mountain

Winter ski season begins: Snowboarders were out in force as this central Cascade Mountains ski resort opened for business last weekend, and skiers and boarders agreed it was good to be back on the slopes. Mount Baker, east of Bellingham, also started its season. Crystal and Baker offered only limited runs and reduced lift-ticket prices. Several other Washington state ski areas said they could open by this weekend if predicted mountain snowstorms deliver. Stevens Pass, at the crest of U.S. 2, planned to open Wednesday if storm forecasts prove correct, and Snoqualmie Pass off I-90 hoped to have enough snow by this weekend. Mission Ridge near Wenatchee planned to open Dec. 8. White Pass west of Yakima has not set a date, and a spokeswoman said Sunday the ski area needs another foot of snow at its base before it can start its season.

Spokane

Mother and daughter found dead in apartment: A mother and daughter found slain in an apartment were stabbed to death, an autopsy revealed Monday. The bodies of Samantha A. Bowyer, 25, and her 7-year-old daughter, Melissa Larkin, were found Saturday morning by a friend who stopped by to take Bowyer to work, police said. Homicide detectives continued their investigation Monday. No arrests have been made.

Longview

Former radio entertainer dead at 103: Jessie Lynne Sawyer, a former radio entertainer who specialized in Celtic music and poetry and once performed for the queen of England, is dead at 103. Sawyer, long known as the grande dame of Wahkiakum County for her piano playing, singing, dancing and poetry reading, died Nov. 20 at the Hospice Care Center. "I loved the radio," she said in an interview with The Daily News of Longview in 1986, "because you don’t know where you’re going, into whose home, into whose heart." In 1929 and 1930, she was the Sunshine Girl on WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee, Wis.

Pasco

Franklin County seeks state help for murder case costs: Investigative and legal work on the 1999 murder of a Washington State Patrol trooper cost Franklin County nearly $1 million. Nicolas Solorio Vasquez in August entered a modified guilty plea to a charge of aggravated first-degree murder — avoiding a possible death penalty — for killing Trooper James Saunders, 31, during a traffic stop in Pasco. Franklin County last week asked the state Office of Public Defense for nearly $620,000 in costs accrued in the past year. The state already has paid $321,000 for work done in 1999 and 2000. State law lets smaller counties seek reimbursement for up to 80 percent of extraordinary criminal justice costs, but there’s no guarantee all submitted costs will be covered.

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