KENNEWICK -- Authorities continue to investigate a motorcycle crash that killed a 49-year-old Grandview man early Sunday.
It is believed Thomas T. Hutches drove off a curved portion of Wine Country Road as he headed west between Prosser and Grandview, said Lt. Chuck Jones of the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
The crash site was near the Washington State Patrol's commercial vehicle weigh station on Interstate 82.
A passerby called to report a motorcycle on its side in the road, partially blocking the westbound lane about 1:35 a.m. Sunday, Jones said.
Hutches drove his motorcycle off the road, clipped several signs warning of a turn ahead, and rode about 250 feet in the gravel shoulder before the motorcycle flipped, Jones said. The rider was found about 30 feet away from his bike, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities don't suspect alcohol or speed were involved.
However, Benton County Coroner John Hansens said his office has sent a blood sample for a toxicology screen.
It's a routine process in fatal accidents, Hansens said, adding that results aren't expected back for at least two weeks.
The sheriff's office needs help in determining what happened. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or can provide further information is asked to call nonemergency dispatch at 628-0333, and ask to speak with a sheriff's deputy.
Prosser farmer helps make arrests in theft
PROSSER -- A Yakima couple remain behind bars on allegations they tried to ram the truck of an armed Prosser farmer after he caught them stealing scrap metal and diesel fuel.
Lucas J. Tweeten, 32, and Margaux A. Vautour, 22, are being held in the Benton County jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery. Vautour also has an investigative hold for second-degree theft, according to online jail records.
The farmer -- who isn't named in a news release -- called 911 at 10:04 a.m. Friday to report a theft in progress in an orchard at Snipes and Griffin roads near Prosser.
He told dispatchers that he had found a man and a woman stealing scrap metal and confronted the suspects, who then ran to their Dodge truck and tried to take off.
The farmer said he was seated in his vehicle when he needed to quickly move to avoid being rammed as the suspects got away, according to Benton County sheriff's Lt. Chuck Jones. The farmer reportedly pursued the Dodge truck on a farm road, only to have the suspects make a U-turn and appear to be heading straight at his vehicle.
The Dodge then stopped and the driver, later identified as Tweeten, got out and allegedly walked toward the farmer in an aggressive manner.
The farmer feared for his safety so he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the suspects until deputies arrived, Jones said in the news release.
Tweeten and Vautour were in the process of stealing diesel fuel when the farmer found them, but further investigation over the weekend determined they also were after scrap metal, car parts and about $1,300 worth of brass sprinkler heads from Wyckoff Farms, the news release said.
Detectives suspect the duo are responsible for other thefts in the Yakima Valley and continue to investigate their alleged involvement.
Othello woman injured in 1-car crash near Mesa
MESA -- A one car accident Monday on Highway 17 near Mesa sent an Othello woman to the hospital.
The Washington State Patrol reported Guisela A. Veintimilla, 35, of Mattawa, was driving south on Highway 17 near Merion Road at 12:30 p.m. when he swerved and lost control of his 2005 Chrysler Sebring.
His passenger, Carla J. Smith, 44, was injured and transported to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, where she was treated and released.
Veintimilla was not injured.
Officers said the accident was caused by inattention and charged Veintimilla with driving with his wheels off the roadway.
Coroner investigating possible suicide
The Benton County Coroner's Office is investigating the death of a Kennewick woman that may have been a suicide.
Susan Lee Praino, 39, died Friday at her home in Kennewick.
Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said initial reports indicate her death appears to be self-inflicted.
Benton County Coroner John Hansens told the Herald he's waiting for the outcome of a toxicology test before ruling on the cause and manner of Praino's death.
Results should be available in six to eight weeks.
Hermiston man zapped, arrested on gun charges
A Hermiston man was zapped with a Taser on Saturday after reportedly waving a gun at someone and then resisting arrest when officers caught up with him.
Jesse Lopez, 20, was booked into the Umatilla County jail on suspicion of pointing a firearm, menacing and resisting arrest.
Lopez reportedly was involved in the firearm incident about 9 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Hermiston police found him about 24 hours later in the 200 block of East Beech Avenue. Police said he was "verbally aggressive" and pulled away from officers who were trying to restrain him.
He was arrested with the help of Oregon State Police troopers after being zapped with a Taser.
"Unfortunately, the crimes Mr. Lopez was charged with were all misdemeanors, yet his actions clearly show he is willing to elevate to criminal incidents where he displays his intolerance for the norms of our society," Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said in a statement.
"The Hermiston Police Department has arrested Mr. Lopez eight times and charged him with 26 different things."
Richland teens arrested in Steptoe car prowls
Richland police arrested two male teenagers Sunday morning near Steptoe Street and Tapteal Drive in connection with car prowls in Kennewick and Richland.
Capt. Mike Cobb said in a news release that the two males, ages 16 and 17, were seen at 4:30 a.m. Sunday wearing dark clothing and carrying backpacks in an area plagued by vehicle prowls in recent months.
Police said they identified the 17-year-old and learned he had a warrant issued for a burglary.
He was arrested and police say they found in his posession a female's wallet with credit cards and a marijuana pipe.
The 16-year-old was turned over to his parents until his case is reviewed. Both were arrested on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, vehicle prowling and possessing of stolen property.
The teens may be connected to as many as 10 break-ins, police said. A search warrant on a backpack seized will be served Wednesday, police said.