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Entries in Seattle (40)

Friday
Jul052013

Seattle Fireworks Show Marred by Fire

John White Photos/Flickr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- An annual fireworks show in Seattle was the ruined by a fire at a boat storage facility on Lake Union Thursday.

According to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, at least six boats were damaged in the fire. Witnesses said that the fire spread quickly.

"It started out as a small ember in a small boat," one witness told KOMO-TV, "and they didn't remove it quick enough and the whole thing caught fire."

Firefighters responded to the report at about 10 p.m. on Thursday and the flames were extinguished in under one hour.

According to the Seattle Fire Department, up to 14 boats may have suffered as much as $1.5 million in damage in the fire.

The fire was apparently caused by a stray firework. There were no reported injuries in the fire. The fireworks show went ahead as scheduled after the fire was extinguished.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr242013

Woman Impersonates Nurse to Steal Drugs from Seattle Hospital

ABC News/KOMO(SEATTLE) -- Dressed in slacks, a blue blouse and fluent in medical terminology, an unidentified woman walked into the rooms of two patients at the Swedish Medical Center, posing as a nurse. She then cut the tubes connecting them to their pain medications, according to the Seattle Police Department.

The nurse impostor, who police say walked confidently into the patients' rooms without arousing suspicion, is still at large.

On April 13, police said, the suspect entered a patient's room as he slept and tampered with his patient-administered pain medication machine. When the man awoke and asked the suspect what she was doing, she told him she would get his nurse, the police report said.

"When his nurse did come in, she found that the line from the machine to the witness had been cut and that the pain medication was dripping on the floor," the police report said.

Shortly after the first incident, police said a second report came in that the suspect was seen peeking into rooms on another floor and had entered the room of a second patient, whose family was visiting.
When an alarm sounded at the hospital, police said the suspect fled. A family member from the second patient's room reported there was blood on the floor and that the line to her mother's pain medication had been cut, police said.

The phony nurse walked out of the hospital undetected with two feet of tubing in tow, security told police. A nurse advised police that a negligible amount of pain mediation would have been inside the tuning, police said.

Swedish Medical Center notified police four days after the breach, said Det. Mark Jamieson.
He said it was unclear why the hospital waited to notify authorities.

"It's possible there is surveillance video. Our detectives are working with the hospital," he said.

Ed Boyle, spokesman for the hospital, said an internal investigation has been launched into the incident.

"Swedish is and has been working closely with Seattle Police over the course of the last week in hopes of identifying the suspect and preventing any further incidents at Swedish or any other area hospitals," he said in a statement. "Although a delay in reporting the incident to Seattle Police occurred, Swedish security staff continued to investigate the incident."

The suspect is described as a white female in her mid-30s to early 40s with blonde hair that is either shoulder length or pulled back into a pony tail.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Seattle Police Department.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar112013

Family: Seattle Shooting Suspect Had Life Shaken Up by Gun Violence

Hemera/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Those who know Carolyn Piksa say she hadn’t been herself lately.

Piksa, a Seattle Parks employee, is accused of shooting Bill Keller, 65, the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council, inside a Seattle Parks maintenance building last Friday.

“A lot of events … have led up to this situation,” Piksa’s nephew, Cody Shearer, told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.

Shearer said his aunt’s life was rocked when her sister and brother-in-law were murdered in 1985, and again in July 2012 after burglars shot her dog, Roulette.

“She started to develop paranoia and she expressed to me that she felt unsafe in her home,” he said.

In November, Piksa was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in Oregon, according to court records obtained by KOMO.  The records show that in December, after she failed to appear in court, a warrant was issued.

Shearer said he’s speaking out “just to ensure that all the information is out there and that she has a fair trial.”

Authorities are working to determine the relationship between Piksa and Keller, as well as the motive for the alleged shooting, Seattle Deputy Chief Nick Metz said.

After a three hour-long manhunt on Friday, Piksa was arrested at her home in Burien, Wash., at 4:49 p.m.  The shooting unfolded just before 2 p.m. Friday and prompted the city to shut down all community centers and put area schools on high alert.

“We looked at this incident as a citywide emergency, because we knew that this suspect was likely to have access to a variety of parks department facilities, including some of the community centers,” Metz said.

Authorities responded to a Seattle Parks maintenance building after receiving a call from a man believed to be the victim, Keller, who said he had been shot.  None of the other employees in the building had been targeted, Metz said.

Keller was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, in critical but stable condition.  He was last listed in stable but serious condition, according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Shortly after authorities responded to the first scene, they received a second emergency call from Bitter Lake Community Center, about two miles away, from a distraught employee who said a woman, who police believe is Piksa, had threatened her with a gun.

“She came into the building, they had a conversation, and during that conversation, she brandished a weapon,” Metz said.  “The suspect then left the building.  No shots were fired, not any kind of physical altercation occurred.”

Metz said there were no immediate details of what the woman told the employee, who he said was too distraught at the time to be interviewed by police.

Meanwhile, investigators used cellphone signals to track Piksa to her house.  A SWAT team surrounded her residence and ordered her through their bullhorn to come out of the house.

Piksa immediately surrendered unarmed and was taken to the Seattle Police Department’s homicide unit.

A weapon has not been recovered, but Metz said authorities planned to search Piksa’s home.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar092013

Seattle Police Seek Motive in Parks Department Shooting

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Seattle police are working to determine the motive of a woman suspected of critically wounding a 65-year-old man inside a city parks building on Friday.

After a three hour-long manhunt for the suspect, police arrested Carolyn Piksa, a Seattle Parks employee, at her home in Burien, Wash., at 4:49 p.m. Friday.

Authorities are working to determine the relationship between Piksa and the 65-year-old victim, Bill Keller, as well as the motive for the shooting, Seattle Deputy Chief Nick Metz said.

The shooting unfolded just before 2 p.m. Friday and prompted the city to shut down all community centers and put area schools on high alert.

“We looked at this incident as a citywide emergency, because we knew that this suspect was likely to have access to a variety of parks department facilities, including some of the community centers,” Metz said.

Authorities responded to a Seattle Parks maintenance building after receiving a call from a man believed to be the victim, Keller, who said he had been shot. None of the other employees in the building had been targeted, Metz said.

Keller, the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council, was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, in critical but stable condition. He was last listed in stable but serious condition, according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Investigators used cell phone signals to track Piksa to her house. A SWAT team surrounded her residence and ordered her through their bullhorn to come out of the house.

Piksa immediately surrendered unarmed and was taken to the Seattle Police Department’s homicide unit.

A weapon has not been recovered, but Metz said authorities planned to search Piksa’s home.

All park facilities and events will run on a normal schedule over the weekend, according to the Seattle Mayor’s Office.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Seattle Commuter Bus Bursts into Flames

KOMO/ABC News(SEATTLE) -- A commuter bus burst into flame on Interstate 5 in Seattle during the heart of the morning commute Friday, but the fire department said the driver’s quick thinking helped prevent deaths or injuries.

“The bus driver said he heard a couple of pops and evacuated 30-40 people off the bus,” fire department spokesman Kyle Moore told ABC News. “He not only evacuated them but moved them a significant distance away, which helped greatly with our firefighting efforts.”

“Everyone starts looking around at each other, like, ‘What's happening?’” passenger Emalasa Franulovich told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV. “Then we hear a second ‘pop’ and everyone starts panicking and yelling, ‘Get off the bus.'”

The fire erupted before the bus came to a full stop, and soon consumed its rear half.

Aerial footage of the blaze showed billowing clouds of black smoke from the bus and traffic backed up for miles. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire around 7:30 a.m. local time.

Moore said that the blaze could have been much worse had the bus been powered by natural gas, and not by diesel fuel.  “Diesel fuel is not explosive like a natural gas bus,” he said.

Police and Sound Transit, which owns the bus, are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Serial Rape Suspect's Wife Moved Car from Crime Scene, Police Say

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- A prosecutor in the district attorney's office in Seattle, whose husband has been charged as a serial rapist, removed her husband's car from the scene of his arrest and didn't tell investigators about it for weeks, according to newly released court documents.

Danford Grant, 47, a partner at the Seattle law firm Bailey Grant Onsager, is facing seven felony charges of rape and attempted rape in attacks involving Chinese immigrants at massage parlors.  The father of three was arrested on Sept. 24, but was released on $1 million bail last week and is on home detection with a monitoring bracelet.

Grant's wife, Jennifer, is in the eye of the storm after court documents released Tuesday reveal behavior that has drawn the attention of authorities and prosecutors.  Police say Jennifer Grant, a supervisor in the criminal division of the Seattle City Attorney's Office, moved her husband's car from the scene of his arrest at the Carnation Massage Clinic and parked it at a random location near her home.  She didn't tell investigators about the car's location for weeks.

Detectives had served search warrants looking for the car, hoping to find "a folding knife, cell phones and other evidence," according to court documents.

Police also say that Jennifer Grant used her husband's key card to get into the parking garage of his office shortly after the arrest.

No charges have been filed against her.

"There could be severe consequences, and as a prosecuting attorney, one could argue that she should have known better," said ABC News legal analyst Dana Cole.

Jennifer Grant and her husband's attorney declined ABC News' request for an interview.  Danford Grant's attorney, Richard Hansen, told a local reporter that Jennifer Grant had parked her husband's car away from the house to avoid the news media and that she wasn't trying to hide the vehicle.

Seattle City's Attorney says Jennifer Grant "has been reassigned to responsibilities that do not entail courtroom prosecutorial work."

Danford Grant is working on his defense and has pleaded not guilty.  Police claim he raped the women after using personal information he'd somehow uncovered about their backgrounds and threatened them with it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Seattle May Drop Hygiene Requirements for Taxi Drivers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Seattle currently regulates what taxi drivers wear, how they look and how they smell.  But the city is considering pumping the brakes on this measure, and letting drivers set their own standards for dress code and hygiene when they are behind the wheel.

As part of the budget package for next year, Seattle may do away with the city-mandated taxi driver dress code.

While some view it as a positive step for drivers whose companies and jobs have been subject to too much government oversight, others are concerned that without such regulations, riders may receive an unpleasant experience.  The convenience of getting across the city in the back of the cab might be overshadowed by the stench coming from the driver's seat.

Currently, drivers are expected to have "well groomed facial hair," wear clothing "without unrepaired rips and tears," and are expected to be free from "offensive body odor," to name a few requirements.

Lisa Peyer, chief of staff of the city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which oversees taxi regulations in Seattle, said she thinks this is the first time a proposal has been put forth to eliminate the dress code.

"The city doesn't dictate to any other business in the city how they should dress," Denise Movius, deputy director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV.

"Basically they're saying, 'Treat us like adults,'" Movius said.

If the taxi dress code is eliminated, Peyer said some rules would still exist for drivers, but that they would be "self regulated by the company, the association, and the drivers."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Pregnant Mom Kicked Off Bus Over Baby’s Dirty Diaper

ABC News(SEATTLE) -- A pregnant Seattle woman who was kicked off a city bus when her baby’s dirty diaper was deemed to be a disturbance to other passengers is questioning why normal baby behavior would lead her to be removed from city transportation.

Any parent can tell you how stressful it is to travel with a baby, but Nichole Hakimian says the problem she ran into this week when she boarded a city bus with her 1-year-old took it to a whole new level.

“He had just pooped in his diaper as soon as I got on [the bus],” she told ABC News.

Hakimian’s son was sick, and she was taking him to the doctor.

“Right after that, the bus driver told me to get off the bus.  And I said, ‘why is that?’  She said, ‘your baby … smells really bad.  And it’s not fair that we all have to smell that.’”

The 4-month pregnant mom then exited to the bus, she says, still a mile and a half away from her baby’s doctor.

A Seattle Metro spokesperson said they are now investigating the incident.

“[This is a] very unique situation … Our goal is always to balance the comfort of all our riders,” the spokesman said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep252012

Anger Grows over NFL Replacement Refs After Seahawks-Packers Game

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Football fans have had enough and are demanding that the NFL bring back its regular referees, who were locked out before the season started because of a contract dispute.

The last straw may have come Monday night on what was technically the second-to-last-play of the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game when the much maligned replacement referees allegedly blew the call in the end zone.

With Seattle down 12-7 and almost no ticks left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary pass as receiver Golden Tate was surrounded by a mob of Packers.

As the ball came down, Green Bay's M.D. Jennings jumped up and grabbed the interception.  Or so everyone thought.

Tate fell down with Jennings, grasping for the ball that the Green Bay safety had cradled in his arms.

The refs ran over and ruled a completion for Seattle, giving them a 13-12 lead.  After 10 minutes, in which a replay inexplicably vouched for the refs' bizarre call, enough Packers returned to the field so that the Seahawks could kick the extra point, sending the hometown fans home happy but angering just about everyone else.

After three weeks, the consensus is nearly unanimous that the replacement referees have done a terrible job and the NFL needs to negotiate in good faith with regular crews to get them back on the field for the next full slate of games this Sunday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Caffeine Defense Claimed by Serial Groper

Gerald Zanetti/FoodPix(SEATTLE) -- There’s been the Twinkie defense, the Zoloft defense, the PMS defense and the Ambien defense.  Now, Kenneth Sands -- convicted on July 3 of groping women and teenage girls -- has tried and failed to create legal precedence with the caffeine defense.

Sands attributed his behavior to “an excessive intake of caffeine,” ABC News' Seattle affiliate KOMOnews.com reported.

Sands, 52, is a bus driver for the Rainier School District.  He was convicted of molesting three teenage high school girls and two women during and after a volleyball game on Oct. 18, 2011.

The first groping incident occurred while Sands was a spectator at the game when he “allegedly touched a 46-year-old woman’s breasts multiple times and later tried to grab her butt as she was trying to get away from him,” KOMO reported and a representative from the Lewis County Washington Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Following the game, Sands then grabbed two teenage girls outside of a school bus and proceeded to follow the volleyball players onto the bus, according to court documents.  Sands touched another female student in an inappropriate manner before “the bus driver kicked him off of the bus,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Sands insists his behavior was a result of caffeine and that this incident is not representative of his normal behavior.

Dr. Martin Blinder, a psychiatrist known for presenting the “Twinkie defense” in the 1979 trial of San Francisco Supervisor Dan White, told ABC News that he has never heard of caffeine induced groping.

Blinder contrasted the Twinkie defense with the caffeine defense.  The Twinkie defense was successfuly used to help White avoid a first-degree murder conviction for the 1978 assassination of San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.  White’s attorneys argued he had diminished capacity because of depression.  He was convicted of manslaughter instead.

“When someone gets depressed and abandons his diet, eats junk food, and if you are already on a downward spiral, I can tell you that eating junk food is not therapeutic,” Blinder said.  “If you ever read the label on a Twinkie, only two of the ingredients sound like food products.”

But caffeine is made out of coffee beans, all natural and free of artificial ingredients, he said.

“We have no evidence that coffee is harmful.  In fact, there is some evidence that drinking it in one’s old age can assist in some Alzheimer’s cases,” Blinder said.

Blinder admitted that if someone is trying to quit coffee cold turkey that some withdrawal symptoms have taken affect in the form of cravings, headaches and restlessness.  “But going out and molesting women is not one of those symptoms,” says Blinder.

Sands was unable to be reached for a comment.  He has been sentenced to 30 days for each of the five counts of fourth-degree assault, totaling five months in jail.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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