Lights & Sirens

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Archives: April 2007


High court gives win to police chases

The following is an AP story this morning on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Supreme Court sides with officer in police chase case

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday gave police officers protection from lawsuits that result from high-speed car chases, ruling against a Georgia teenager who was paralyzed after his car was run off the road.

In a case that turned on a video of the chase in suburban Atlanta, Justice Antonin Scalia said law enforcement officers do not have to call off pursuit of a fleeing motorist when they reasonably expect that other people could be hurt.

Rather, officers can take measures to stop the car without putting themselves at risk of civil rights lawsuits.

"A police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death," Scalia said.

The court sided 8-1 with former Coweta County sheriff’s deputy Timothy Scott, who rammed a fleeing black Cadillac on a two-lane, rain-slicked road in March 2001.

Victor Harris, the 19-year-old driver of the Cadillac, lost control and his car ended up at the bottom of an embankment. The nighttime chase took place at roughly 90 miles an hour.

Harris, paralyzed, sued Scott.

Lower federal courts ruled the lawsuit could proceed, but the Supreme Court said Monday that it could not. Justice John Paul Stevens dissented.

In an unusual move, the court posted the dramatic video on its Web site.

Read more »


Deputies investigating school threat rumor reported on myspace

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has been alerted to a rumor of violence at Peninsula High School that’s floating around the World Wide Web.

The rumor of eminent violence has been perpetuated through a account.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said investigators have not found the actual threat or where it began. No arrests have been made and there is no person of interest.

Deputies are reminding parents to watch their children’s activities while online.

Toward that end, the Gig Harbor Police Department will be hosting informational sessions for parents in the coming weeks.


Read more »


An afternoon fireworks show to be wary of

Fire inspectors and marshals from around the area are in T-town today for a three-day seminar on fireworks education and safety.

They’re learning all about the “safety precautions required for safe outdoor and indoor fireworks displays” while in class at the Tacoma Dome.

As part of the class, they’ll be treated to an outdoor fireworks display today in one of the dome’s three parking lots. This display could go off around 2:30 p.m.

It sounds like it could be visible to passing traffic on Interstate 5 and 705, be aware. The trainers have notified the Washington State

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Former teacher to remain jailed in sex case

Remember Rebekah Todd?

She’s the former White River High School teacher who pleaded guilty earlier this year to attempted second-degree assault after allegedly engaging in a sex act with a student. To her surprise, she received a sentence of six months in jail.

Well, Todd was back in court Friday asking for Judge Bryan Chuschoff to re-consider the sentence. Her attorney, Tyler K. Firkens, argued his client deserves a break because of her lack of criminal record, her willingness to plead guilty and the fact that she’s pregnant. She also passed a polygraph exam in which she

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Shred-a-thon a success

It appears that state’s first-ever shred-a-thon was a success.

The state Attorney General’s Office reported that about 6,000 participate in the event Saturday at 29 locations throughout Washington, including five in the South Sound.

The event allowed people to bring in bags of papers and junk mail that carry personal information that could be used by no-good identity thieves.

Here’s a few tidbits from the Attorney General’s Office:

- A man who visited the Tacoma Police Department site brought bank statements and cancelled checks he had collected since 1965.


Read more »


Hilltop residents: Grab a garbage bag, rake

Don’t be alarmed if you see people picking up trash and doing landscaping today in the HIlltop.

Residents will be doing a large-scale cleanup.

The clean-up is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between the 1900 and 2100 blocks of Yakima Avenue to South I Street. The Home Depot in Fircrest has donated some supplies and tools to the efforts but residents are encouraged to bring their own.


Verdict in on Club Friday murder trial

The jury has reached a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of a gang-motivated shooting last summer outside Club Friday in downtown Tacoma.

The verdict was scheduled to be taken at 2 p.m. The jurors started their deliberations Wednesday afternoon.

We’ll post the result when we hear from our reporter in the courtroom.


The jury found Verrick Yarbrough guilty on all counts in the death of Rhaczio Simms.

We’ll have a story posted on the homepage shortly and more complete coverage in Saturday’s News Tribune