Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Suit filed over 2003 street fight

JUNEAU - A Juneau man who said he suffered broken facial bones and couldn't eat solid food for six weeks after a fight outside a downtown bar two years ago has filed a lawsuit against his alleged assailants and the bar.

Samuel Stracener filed suit against Robert MacKinnon and Jeffrey Trucano, who were charged with felony second-degree assault against him. In May 2004, a Juneau jury acquitted both.

The suit also names Kenneth Scott Ulery, Mohammed Soltani and the Imperial Bar, where a confrontation between MacKinnon and Soltani allegedly led to a fight outside that resulted in Stracener's injuries. The lawsuit states that Stracener was talking to Soltani before the fight started.

It seeks unspecified damages.

The fight took place on Front Street in the early hours of May 4, 2003.

After the criminal trial, defense attorneys Thomas Nave, representing Trucano, and Louis Menendez, representing MacKinnon, said they argued their clients weren't to blame for Stracener's injuries.

Ulery agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault in December 2003 and was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.

Stracener's lawsuit claims he was severely injured in an assault by MacKinnon and Trucano. It also claims the two acted recklessly in causing the plaintiff physical injury.

Against MacKinnon, Trucano Ulery and Soltani, the suit alleges negligence, claiming the four engaged in a physical conflict in a public place, without regard to the injuries of others, leading to Stracener's injuries.

It also claims the Imperial Bar was negligent for ejecting the people involved in the conflict from the business without regard to the safety of bystanders immediately outside.

Ex-husband accused of stabbing woman

ANCHORAGE - A man was taken into custody after attacking his ex-wife with a butcher knife, prosecutors said.

Donald Horton Sr., 43, allegedly attacked Bridgette Horton, 43, Saturday in the driveway of her home in East Anchorage.

Bridgette Horton underwent surgery at a local hospital and is recovering, the district attorney's office said.

The couple has adult children and a long history of problems, Bridgette Horton told police after the stabbing. She said her husband told her in the past that he would kill her, court documents said.

They divorced in February.

Saturday afternoon, Bridgette Horton was getting into her car when Donald Horton approached her, the charging documents said. Two of the couple's adult children were at the house.

Bridgette Horton tried to open the car door to get away, but Donald Horton blocked her, accused her of being with another man, then told her, "You brought this on yourself," according to the documents.

Bridgette Horton told police her ex-husband stabbed her in the neck with a butcher knife and twisted it, then tried to stab her again. The couple's 26-year-old son ran outside and threw a bicycle at his father, breaking up the assault.

Donald Horton picked up the bicycle and rode it away. Police found him in nearby woods. Horton told them he had tried to overdose on a mixture of drugs including the anti-seizure drug Gabapentin and anti-depression drugs Zoloft and Prozac.

Horton was in custody Monday and was undergoing medical treatment for the overdose of pills, according to the district attorney's office.

Driver goes on trial for death of couple

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia - A Williams Lake truck driver is on trial, facing charges after a double-fatal crash in the Fraser Canyon that killed a Fairbanks, Alaska couple in 2002.

Robert Derbyshire, 55, is charged with speeding and driving without due care and attention in the accident near Lytton.

Derbyshire's logging truck went out of control on a curve, spilling its load of logs that hit an oncoming car, killing Candice and Douglas Arruda.

At issue in the trial is the highway signage that warns about the curve.

The Arrudas were returning to Fairbanks after spending a month in San Francisco. They were driving along the Trans-Canada Highway almost 15 miles north of Lytton when the truck driver towing a trailer lost control on the right-hand curve and overturned.

The Arrudas died at the scene.

Weather and road conditions did not appear to be a factor, Royal Canadian Mountain Police said at the time.

Derbyshire and a passenger were not injured.

The load was headed south for Abbotsford just inside the Canada border.

No chinook take from part of Snake

BOISE, Idaho - Hit by paltry numbers of returning salmon, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials will close a 23-mile stretch of the Snake River near Lewiston on Wednesday to spring chinook sport fishing to preserve the few fish headed upstream.

In a related action, four Northwest Indian tribes said they would not conduct ceremonial or subsistence fishing on part of the Columbia River this year.

Sharon Kiefer, the Idaho agency's manager of anadromous fisheries, said the closure protects fish headed to Snake tributaries, including the Salmon and Grande Ronde rivers.

Idaho's spring chinook fishing opened 20 days ago. Officials in Washington and Oregon have already closed Columbia River chinook fishing.

While other Idaho rivers, including the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and upper Snake River, remain open, those areas could have fishing limited or closed should fish numbers remain dismal, Kiefer said.

As of Monday, just 851 fish, or less than 1 percent of levels seen during 2001's record run, had passed through fish ladders at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake near Pullman, Wash., the last dam before fish swim into Idaho.

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