Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2005

Man scheduled to plea bargain in fatal accident

JUNEAU - A 23-year-old man charged with second-degree murder after a Sept. 2 traffic accident that killed one of his passengers in Haines is scheduled to enter a plea agreement today that would send him to prison for 15 years on a manslaughter charge.

Raymond Pardee was charged with drunken driving and three other misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment after the accident in a Chevrolet Suburban that killed Daniel Folletti, 20, near Union Street and Allen Road.

Folletti sustained head injuries and was flown to Juneau, where he died, Haines police reported.

Pardee appeared in Juneau Superior Court Wednesday for a hearing in advance of his trial, scheduled for next week. Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner told Judge Larry Weeks that a plea agreement had been reached, but he wanted to give Folletti's family a chance to be present for the plea hearing.

Weeks scheduled the hearing for 10 a.m. today.

Assistant Public Defender David Seid later said Pardee had agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, as well as the misdemeanor charges. An addition felony charge of tampering with evidence was to be dismissed.

The agreement, Seid said, called for 15 years to serve on the manslaughter charge and three years to serve on the drunken driving charge, with other jail time suspended.

Deadline extended for First Lady's Volunteer Awards

JUNEAU - The deadline to nominate people for the Alaska First Lady's Volunteer Awards for 2005 is extended to March 30.

First Lady Nancy Murkowski is asking Alaskans to help her recognize citizens who have performed outstanding vol- unteer service to the state or their communities, by nominating them for the awards.

The awards are presented to those Alaskans or Alaska organizations who engage in unpaid volunteer activities within the state, who demonstrate extraordinary personal commitment to longtime volunteer service, and who have had significant influence on or important benefit to their community or the state.

All Alaskans may submit nominations.

Nomination forms may be obtained by contacting Martha Swink at the governor's office in Anchorage, at 550 W. Seventh Ave., Suite 1700, Anchorage, 99501; by calling (907) 269-7450; or by faxing a request to 269-7463. Nominations must be received by March 30 at 11 a.m.

Nominations will be judged by a statewide, nonpartisan panel. Winners will be honored at a reception during the Spring Regional Volunteerism Sum- mit, sponsored by the Alaska State Community Service Commission, at the Hilton Anchorage hotel on April 20, 2005.

Coast Guard cutter takes processing ship under tow

ANCHORAGE - A Coast Guard cutter towing a disabled fish processing ship turned the vessel over to a tug Thursday morning for the rest of the trip to a safe harbor.

There are 204 people aboard the 325-foot Independence, which began drifting in the Gulf of Alaska on Monday after it lost its ability to steer in rough seas.

The tug reached the Independence about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday and took over towing the ship to Cape Spencer and Juneau, the Coast Guard said.

The vessels are expected to arrive in Cape Spencer Friday morning before continuing about 80 miles east to Juneau, according to the Coast Guard.

The ship's steering system failed in 20-foot seas with blowing snow and winds as high as 60 mph. The weather calmed Tuesday and improved even more Wednesday, except for some morning fog, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Gail Sinner.

The cutter Storis took the Seattle-based Independence under tow on Tuesday.

Other than the failed steering system, there have been no reports of anything else wrong with the ship or any disturbances, Sinner said.

The Independence - owned by Trident Seafoods Corp. in Seattle - ran into trouble about 7 a.m. Monday, when the port rudder failed as the ship was heading back to Seattle following the end of its cod season, said Trident attorney Joe Plesha.

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