Northwest NEWS

September 28, 1998

Local News

News Briefs

Compiled by Woodinville Weekly staff

No charges for driver in three-fatality I-405 semi crash

BELLEVUE--No criminal charges will be filed against the driver of a semi-truck that crashed into a van, killing three.
   The King County Prosecutor's Office could find no evidence that Stephanie Ponder, 50, had acted recklessly or was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs Feb. 17, 1998 when the brakes of her Inland Transportation tractor trailer failed, ramming the van 70-feet forward into the back of another semi.
   "Nothing suggested she acted in reckless disregard of others in not having the brakes checked," said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the Prosecutor's office.
   Gigi Mendoza, 45, was killed by the crash, the Washington State Patrol's investigative report says. Christopher Bemish, 39 and Edith Fisher, 52 died as a result of a fire that engulfed the van. All were residents of Oak Harbor.
   According to the report, Ponder twice had the brakes checked and worked on in the hours before the crash. But the report, released last week, noted that of 14 brake assemblies on the tractor-trailer, 11 were found to be defective.
   Though Inland Transportation of East Wenatchee maintains they inspect their fleet of trucks and trailers weekly, the patrol found that "lack of maintenance made it impossible for Ponder to stop her vehicle for the traffic ahead of her."

Bothell man acquitted of New Year's shooting

EVERETT--A Bothell man was acquitted of shooting his neighbor by a Snohomish County jury last week.
   The jury found that William Voorhies acted in self-defense when he shot Fred Roger at the Green Acres Mobile Home Park in north Bothell just eight minutes into 1998.
   Voorhies shot Roger outside his (Voorhies') mobile home then dragged the body inside. Roger had set off fireworks in Voorhies garage earlier that night.
   There was a history of bad feelings between the two men. Voorhies' wife, Sherry, left him to live with Roger for awhile then returned, court papers show. Papers also say that both men lived in fear of one another. Voorhies "expressed to others great fear of Roger," and Roger wrote numerous "notes, journals, letters and writings" which "express great fear and belief that the defendant and Sherry may try to kill him."
   Voorhies had been charged with second-degree murder.

Cops steamed

WOODINVILLE--The Woodinville police got steamed last Thursday morning when a valve began emitting hot vapors into their downstairs office at City Hall.
   According to Police Chief Ken Wardstrom, with cooler weather a boiler had been turned on that morning, but a cap on a valve wasn't totally closed, allowing steam to escape.
   "It was like that hurricane in Florida turned north," said Wardstrom, referring to Georges.
   "It was very humid, very wet; now, we're drying out," he said Friday morning.
   Computer equipment was being checked for damage.