Northwest NEWS

November 2, 1998

Local News

News Briefs


Police search for man who left fatal crash

   KENMORE--Someone, running a red light on Bothell Way, struck the vehicle Sandra Melendrez was driving early in the morning Oct. 26, then drove off.
   Melendrez, 49, died from "devastating spinal cord injuries," according to a Harborview Medical Center spokesman. She was pronounced dead within minutes of being airlifted there. Melendrez, a Lynnwood resident, was a nurse, mother and grandmother of four.
   The Washington State Patrol is asking for the public's help in locating the driver of a light-colored late 1990s model full-size Ford 4X4 pick-up who hit Melendrez's 1982 Mazda RX-7. He is described as a white male with light-colored hair.
   Police say the truck should have heavy damage to its front end. WSP Lt. Steve McCulley said the patrol has received many calls, though no leads have panned out.
   After being hit, Melendrez's vehicle hit Wallace May's 1993 Nissan pickup. May suffered no injuries. The suspect left the scene westbound on Bothell Way. Anyone with information on the identity of the driver or vehicle is asked to call the patrol at (425) 649-4370.

Woodinville firefighter found guilty in three deaths

   SEATTLE--George Moorhead, a Woodinville firefighter, was convicted of three counts of vehicular homicide by a King County jury for his part in the deaths of three Vietnamese immigrants in Renton last year.
   Moorhead, 30, faces a three to four year sentence for the deaths of Tien Thai, Huu Hoang and Phu Huynh. He is free on $25,000 bail until sentencing sometime next month, according to King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe.
   Thai, Hoang and Huynh were returning from work early in the morning of June 14, 1997 when Moorhead's vehicle slammed into theirs. Moorhead had run two stop signs before hitting them.
   According to court documents, Moorhead had just left a friend's party. Prosecutors alleged he'd been drinking and had a blood alcohol content of .07 an hour after the crash.
   On the witness stand, Moorhead reportedly told the jury he hadn't poured himself a drink, rather he drank from his girlfriend's glass. He called 911 from the scene.
   Moorhead, a Kirkland resident, has been with the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District full time for 11 years and served as a volunteer for two years before that, according to Fire Chief Steve Smith. Moorhead was on administrative leave from his position as a senior firefighter last week, Smith said. He termed Moorhead, the 1996 firefighter of the year, an "outstanding employee."
   Donohoe said prosecutors will look at asking for an exceptional sentence, though sources have reported they would not.

Ackley, newly married, gets life

   Gary Dean Ackley, the Clearview man convicted of killing his girlfriend's mother, Arlene Jensen, then covering up that murder by slaying friend Stephanie Dittrick, was sentenced to life in prison late last week. It was also revealed that Ackley, 30, had married Julie Jensen.