Sheriff’s officials are seeking information on who may have intentionally caused a Spokane Valley Police car to crash last Friday night, injuring the responding officer.
Around 12:20 a.m. Friday, several officers from Spokane Valley Police – a division of the sheriff’s office – responded to an alleged fight at South Pines Elementary, located at 12021 E. 24th Ave. An anonymous caller stated there were 20 subjects fighting at the school, said Detective Dave Thornburg.
As police units moved in, another update from the caller stated there were over two dozen people fighting and more arriving.
Given the large number involved, police responded quickly with lights and sirens to the school.
One of the officers, 35-year-old Rustin Olson, was travelling south on Pines Road when he struck a large piece of firewood – about 2-feet long and 1-foot in diameter -- near Seventh Avenue. The wood became lodged underneath the car and caused the six-year veteran to lose control of the squad car.
Olson’s car rolled over and came to a rest on its top in the southbound lanes of Pines.
Another large tree brach was found in the outside lane of Pines not far away by sheriff’s investigators, and a large plastic bin containing rocks was also found in the outside northbound lane a few hundred feet to the south.
Officers responding to the school found nothing.
Thornburg said investigators are treating the incident seriously as someone – or someones – placed the objects with the possible intent to have law-enforcement crash into the debris. Finprint testing will be done on the plastic bin, and the anonymous caller’s phone number will be tracked, he said.
Meanwhile, Olson was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. He sustained a fractured vertebra on his spine and is expected to be out of work for at least one or two weeks. He has been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.
Anyone who has any knowledge of the incident or the caller is aked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.