A 57-year-old Prosser man claimed he was trying to herd his cows that had wandered onto city property when his van hit at least three of them.
Thomas David Humphrey pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree animal cruelty and reckless driving. His trial is Oct. 17.
Prosser police were called June 10 for reports of a disturbance in the city's spray field on Bettinson Road.
Witnesses reported that a man in a white van was trespassing, chasing and hitting cows with his van, court documents said.
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Officers found Humphrey "driving extremely recklessly" and noted that the van appeared to be out of control at times as it spun around, raising dust and throwing debris from its tires, documents said.
Two city employees reported that Humphrey was hitting the cows with the front of the van, and at one point the vehicle became high centered on top of a cow, documents said.
Eventually the cow was able to get up and tried to run away, but was unable to go far because of its injured legs, witnesses told police.
Humphrey allegedly continued recklessly chasing other cows until the van hit two more. Both didn't get up.
Police at the time said Humphrey apparently became frustrated and drove his van over a city-owned fence, past a posted "No Trespassing" sign, in an attempt to corral six of his cows that had escaped.
Humphrey denied intentionally hitting the cows, court documents said.
The injured animals "were unable to walk, appeared to be in great pain and were subsequently euthanized," said Deputy Prosecutor Christine Bennett in documents.
Kennewick man faces trial for allegedly stealing metal
A Kennewick man faces trial Oct. 24 for allegedly stealing scrap metal from a storage area at the Chandler dam near Prosser.
Daniel Ray Hansford, 50, pleaded innocent to second-degree burglary.
Court documents say a Benton County sheriff's deputy was patrolling the area Aug. 2 when he saw a vehicle parked near a fenced-in shed used for storage by the Bureau of Reclamation.
The driver, Hansford, said he had pulled over because he was ill, but the deputy became suspicious based on the location and the way he was parked which would have required multiple turns, documents said. The deputy also noticed some metal scraps overflowing from the truck bed and trailer.
Tire tracks allegedly led from the truck to the less visible east gate of the fenced area, where a chain had been cut.
Inside the gate, the deputy found footprints that appeared to match Hansford's shoes and a Pall Mall cigarette, court documents said. Hansford was smoking that same type of cigarette when questioned, documents said.
After he was arrested, officers said they found a receipt from a Kennewick scrap metals recycler.
A Bureau of Reclamation representative also allegedly identified items inside the pickup and trailer that had come from the storage building and fenced area.
Kennewick man accused of threatening girlfriend
A 45-year-old man is accused of holding his girlfriend against her will and threatening her with a knife after she announced she was leaving him.
Jerry Alan Reis of Kennewick pleaded innocent to unlawful imprisonment with allegations of domestic violence and use of a deadly weapon. Prosecutors also claim that the crime was part of an ongoing pattern of abuse of the girlfriend over a long period of time.
His trial is scheduled to start Oct. 3.
Richland police responded to a south Richland apartment Aug. 1 after a friend of the victim said Reis was holding a knife to his girlfriend's throat and wouldn't let her leave their Peachtree Lane home, court documents said.
Police said officers discovered Reis was a convicted felon and had threatened to shoot police officers in the past, so they first used a public address system in a police car and bullhorns to try to talk with people inside the apartment. After several attempts with no response, police asked neighbors to leave their apartments.
Officers then opened the front door and sent in a SWAT robot equipped with a camera and radio to search for the victim and Reis. Using the robot, they found the victim sitting upright in the bed next to Reis, who appeared to be asleep while holding something in his hand, court documents said.
Reis was told to stand up and show his hands, and that's when he reportedly tossed an object onto the floor, documents said. Officers later found a knife on the floor.
The victim told police that Reis had become angry when she said she was leaving him, court documents said. When she tried to leave, he blocked her car with his own vehicle. She then got angry and went back into the house.
The victim denied that a knife was used against her, documents said.
Reis is being held in the Benton County jail.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org