Stories about big fish and crime were the most popular with readers of the Tri-City Herald’s website in 2015.
Here are the top 10 local stories for the year, ranked by number of page views.
1. Dozens of sturgeon found dead in Columbia River (bit.ly/TCHsturgeon)
Washington Fish and Wildlife officials were mystified about why more than 86 of the ancient fish, which can live to 100, died. Warm water, low flows, low oxygen levels and and gorging on abundant sockeye salmon were some of the theories. Warm water temperatures in Oregon and Washington also were blamed for killing a quarter-million sockeye salmon and some spring chinook.
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2. Witnesses: Pasco police kill rock-throwing suspect (bit.ly/TCHzambrano)
The death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes touched off weeks of protests, a months-long police investigation and a heated public debate that even extended to Mexico over whether the use of lethal force was justified. The three officers who shot him were not charged. However, a coroner’s inquest is still planned for Feb. 23 in Pasco.
3. Teen mother and son identified as victims of double murder (bit.ly/TCHdoublemurder)
Family members suspect jealousy may have led to the gruesome slayings of Maria G. Cruiz-Calvillo, 18, and her 3-year-old son, Luis Lopez-Cruz, found shot and severely burned in a remote part of Franklin County. Luis likely was still alive when the car went up in flames. Prudencio Juan Fragos-Ramirez, 25, of Connell, is charged with killing them.
4. KEPR anchor arrested for DUI, hit and run (bit.ly/kepranchor)
Terry Chick, a popular Tri-City TV anchor with KEPR Action News, was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and crashing into a parked truck in downtown Kennewick. The station removed him from the air after the incident and he no longer works there. He entered a deferred prosecution program and remains on probation.
5. Infant killed, multiple people injured in crashes on Interstate 82, Highway 221 (bit.ly/highwaycrashes)
An 8-month old boy died and several other people were hospitalized after car pileups brought traffic to a halt for hours on Highway 221 and Interstate 82 in west Benton County. Kadlec Regional Medical Center was forced to shift to mass casualty operations to treat the influx of patients. High winds that day had kicked up blowing dust and fanned the flames of a wildfire, causing poor visibility.
6. Miss Tri-Cities loses crown after theft conviction comes to light (bit.ly/misstricities)
Maeloni R. Ogle pleaded guilty weeks before the pageant to a misdemeanor theft charge for stealing some clothes. She lost her title, $12,000 in scholarship money and other prizes after failing to disclose the incident to pageant officials.
7. West Richland car plant ready to get rolling (bit.ly/shelbycar)
West Richland completed the infrastructure for a manufacturing facility to build “supercars” that can drive up to 276 mph. SSC North America’s founder, Jerod Shelby, said the facility should be finished in 2016 and start making cars the next year.
8. Monster of the Columbia: Kennewick man hooks 11-foot-long white sturgeon (bit.ly/monstersturgeon)
It took three hours for Ryan Armatrout of Kennewick to subdue the fish, estimated to weigh 700-plus pounds. He, his father-in-law and two friends fishing with him went to shore and snapped some photos with the sturgeon before releasing it back into the river.
9. Pasco father shoved from skateboard fighting for his life (bit.ly/skateboardshove)
Sean McClintock of Pasco was longboarding down the Road 44 hill near Riverhill Drive when the driver of a passing car honked at Sean, and a passenger yanked on Sean’s shirt, causing him to fall to the pavement. Supporters collected donations to help pay his medical expenses. No suspects were ever arrested.
10. Hunter from Yakama tribe to face trial for off-road driving on ecology reserve (bit.ly/alehunter)
Delbert Loren Wheeler, a Yakama tribal member, was charged with driving off-road and harming plants on the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, which is part of the Hanford Reach National Monument. He asserted hunting privileges established by the Yakama Treaty of 1855. He was eventually sentenced to probation and required to pay about $34,000.