Two elementary students on their way to school in Kennewick were approached by an unknown man who tried to get them to get into his truck, police said Thursday.
The girls didn't recognize the man, ran to a nearby apartment and the man drove away, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police spokesman.
The incident occurred around 7:50 a.m. Thursday, when the two Hawthorne Elementary School students were walking near Hood Avenue and Morain Street. Hawthorne is at 3520 W. John Day Ave.
The students said the man stopped his truck and said "get in the car," Blatman said.
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The girls became frightened and ran to a nearby apartment. The man made no attempt to grab or follow them and drove away, he said.
"These kids did exactly what they should do," Blatman said. "They ran to the closest available help. ... They didn't know the man and they decided they were going to run the other direction."
The girls, who are 5 and 9, went to an apartment nearby and a resident at the apartment escorted them to the school crosswalk. A district employee was told about the incident and school officials called police.
The suspect is described as being 40-50 years old, with a salt and pepper goatee and mustache. He was said to be wearing a long-sleeve red shirt with white stripes and also may have been wearing brown cowboy boots.
The truck was described as being red with a high white canopy. It may have had a ladder on top with small letters or numbers on the side.
Blatman encourages parents to use this incident as a reminder to talk to their kids about safety and being conscious of their surroundings.
"Talk to kids about these types of situations. ... (They should) holler, scream and yell and run in the other direction," he said.
It's also safer to walk in a larger group, and an adult should walk with them, if possible, he said.
Anyone with information about the suspect or incident can call Kennewick police at 628-0333. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 586-8477 or www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.
Chemical leak causes Tyson plant evacuation
An ammonia leak at the Tyson Foods in Wallula forced a temporary evacuation of part of the plant, but no injuries were reported.
Firefighters from Walla Walla Fire District 5 in Burbank were called to the plant around 10 a.m. Thursday for a hazardous material response in the mechanical room.
Chief Mike Wickstrom said a seal in a valve failed on a line of ammonia, causing ammonia to get dumped onto the floor.
The workers were evacuated and the company's own hazardous material response team responded and were able to isolate the leak and shut it down before fire crews arrived, Wickstrom said.
His crews then verified everything was OK.
"The problem with ammonia is you definitely don't want to breathe it, especially in liquid form," Wickstrom said.
Tyson's team was able to quickly shut down and drain the system, keeping the incident contained to just the mechanical room.
"They did a great job," he said.
The processing area of the plant was not affected.
SUV, minivan collide in downtown Kennewick
An intersection near downtown Kennewick was partially blocked for a short time Thursday when an SUV apparently ran a red light and crashed into a minivan.
The 12:25 p.m. crash was at the intersection of Kennewick Avenue and Fruitland Street.
Kennewick police Officer Ron Salter said a Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Chester Leslie, 64, of Kennewick, was going south on Fruitland when he continued through the red light and hit the van going west on Kennewick Avenue.
The Dodge Grand Caravan was driven by Michael Selz, 50, of Kennewick.
Selz was not hurt. Leslie was treated at Kennewick General Hospital.
3 injured in accident on Nine Canyon Road
Two men and a woman were injured in a crash three miles south of Kennewick on Wednesday, the Washington State Patrol said.
Jeffery Johnson, 52, of Kennewick, was on Nine Canyon Road in a 2005 Dodge Magnum when he failed to stop at a stop sign, troopers said.
Johnson struck a 2009 Saturn driven by Riker A. Monlux, 18, of Kennewick, troopers said.
Monlux was treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. He has been released but doesn't remember the crash, his mother told the Herald.
Johnson and his passenger, Bonnie J. Chasteen, 30, of Kennewick, were taken to Kennewick General Hospital.
Johnson was in stable condition Thursday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said. No information was available on Chasteen.
All were wearing their seat belts, the patrol said.