RICHLAND, Wash. -- A suspected impaired driver struck the back of a Richland patrol car late Saturday night while the officer was providing traffic control at a fire scene.
Mark W. Steele, 58, of Kennewick, was driving a 1992 Chevy pickup east on Interstate 182 near the Highway 240 exit when he rear-ended the cruiser, the Washington State Patrol said.
Cpl. Erik Lundquist, 41, was providing traffic control for firefighters who were extinguishing a brush fire on the shoulder of I-182.
He was in a coned off area when his car was hit, troopers said.
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Lundquist was taken by Richland police to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland for treatment. Initial reports indicated he suffered a knee injury.
His 2010 Ford Crown Victoria sustained about $3,500 in damage and was driven from the scene.
Steele suffered a minor injury but refused treatment at the scene. He was arrested and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of DUI.
The fire and subsequent wreck caused a traffic slowdown on I-182.
The brush fire started around 8 p.m. Lundquist was hit at 8:35 p.m. About 30 minutes later, a three-vehicle collision was reported behind the original crash scene, but there were no injuries.
The two lanes that brought traffic onto I-182 and turn into exit lanes to Highway 240 were temporarily blocked as officers investigate the crash and fire crews mopped up the brush fire.
Traffic heading to Kennewick was still able to exit onto eastbound Highway 240, but it slowed to a near stop as motorists moved past the flashing lights of the patrol cars, ambulances and fire trucks on I-182.
Franklin prosecutors still unable to use statements in slaying case
PASCO -- Franklin County prosecutors still won't be able to introduce statements former Pasco resident Todd Stuart made to police in his murder conspiracy trial, which starts today with jury selection.
Prosecutor Shawn Sant had asked the state Court of Appeals to review a decision by Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell that Stuart's statements weren't admissible because Pasco police detectives continued to question him after he asked for an attorney.
Sant filed a notice Aug. 31, asking for discretionary review of the Mitchell's ruling by the appellate court. The request, to present it to the court for review was denied.
Mitchell issued his first ruling on the statements Aug. 22, but Sant asked for a reconsideration, which was done on Aug. 29.
When denied for a second time, Sant asked to continue to the trial date to give him time to request review by the Court of Appeals, but that was also denied.
Stuart, 49, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly plotting with his estrange wife to kill his mother-in-law.
Judy Hebert, 58, died March 3, 2011, after being shot in her west Pasco home. Her daughter, Tashia Stuart, claimed self-defense, saying she fired the gun after Hebert came at her with an ax.
Todd Stuart is also accused of plotting to help kill Hebert about two weeks before her death by having an 18-gallon bin of books fall on Hebert's head in the garage.
Todd Stuart's defense attorney, Jeffery Robinson, has said his client's defense is that he "did nothing."
Tashia Stuart's trial is set to start Oct. 24. She's charged with first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances.