SPOKANE VALLEY-- An officer responding to a hoax call was injured Friday after running over debris intentionally placed in the road near South Pines Elementary in Spokane Valley.
Around 12:23 am, several officers from the Spokane Valley Police Department responded to a fight call at South Pines Elementary.
An anonymous caller had stated there were 20 subjects fighting at the school. As police units responded to the area, another update from the anonymous caller said there were now 25 people fighting with more cars pulling in.
Given the large number of people fighting and with more arriving, police units responded “code”, with lights and siren, to the school.
One of the officers responding to the call was Officer Rustin Olson, 35, a 6-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. Officer Olson was traveling south on Pines Road near 7th Avenue when he struck a large piece of firewood in the inside lane of the roadway.
Officers say this piece of firewood was around 2 feet long and 1 foot in diameter. The firewood became lodged underneath the patrol car and caused Officer Olson to lose control of his vehicle. Officer Olson’s patrol car ended up rolling over and coming to rest on its top in the southbound lanes of Pines Rd.
Sheriff’s traffic investigators were called to the scene to document the collision. During their investigation, they discovered another large tree branch that was located in the outside southbound lane of Pines Rd not far from where the piece of firewood was struck by Officer Olson’s patrol car.
Investigators say there was a large blue plastic Tupperware type of bin nearby as well. The plastic bin was filled with large rocks and was located in the outside northbound lane of Pines Rd a few hundred feet to the south of where the wood was located in the roadway.
When responding officers arrived at the school, they found absolutely nothing. There were no people or vehicles seen around the school or leaving the immediate area. Given that the objects placed in the roadway obviously had to be physically placed in the roadway on purpose, traffic investigators are looking into this incident possibly as someone or persons with the intent to have responding law enforcement officers crash into the road debris.
Traffic investigators have seized the plastic bin as evidence and will be having the Forensic Unit process it for latent fingerprints. Additionally, the anonymous caller’s phone number will be traced through 911.
Officer Olson was transported to a local hospital for his injuries sustained in the crash. He received a fractured vertebra of his spine and will be out of work for at least 1-2 weeks. Officer Olson has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.
Anyone with any knowledge of the alleged fight call at South Pines Elementary and/or knowledge of the road debris being placed onto Pines Road is encouraged to call Crime Check, (509) 456-2233.