Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Column


July 5, 2018 | View PDF

These reports are from the previous four issues of the Daily Bulletin in Colfax. They are reprinted here for the benefit of Gazette readers who reside outside of Colfax. Some accounts have been updated.


Taco Time in Colfax officially closed for business at the end of the month Saturday. The shutdown marked the end of a six-month extension the Wayne Bergeys of Colfax had negotiated with the Taco Time franchise holder.

Holly Lybbert, long-time manager of Taco Time here and the Bergeys' daughter, and Sunshine Lindsey, who has extensive restaurant experience, plan to put the restaurant back on line in a different format.

The Bergeys have operated Taco Time since 2000. They considered dropping the franchise at the first of the year but decided to extend the operation for another six months, which ended Saturday.

The new operators plan to get the business site going very soon. Under the franchise agreement, the restaurant will be required to be "white boxed," which means all signs of the Taco Time operation need to be removed, according to Pam Bergey.


Two defendants who entered guilty pleas Friday in superior court were sent to jail to await sentencing. A pre-sentence report from the Department of Corrections was ordered for both defendants.

Daniel L. Humphies, 20, Tekoa, has been scheduled for an Aug. 10 sentencing. He was charged with two counts of child rape involving the same female victim in the 14 to 16-year-old age bracket between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31 of last year.

Sebastian Me Shei Wyche, 21, Pullman, pleaded guilty to charges of possession of child pornography. He faces a sentence range of 46 to 61 months under the state's sentencing guidelines range for the multi-count conviction.

The Wyche investigation started with a tip from the Seattle Internet Crimes division which relayed a report of pornography being sent to a computer with an internet protocol address in Pullman. The tip came from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the investigation report by Pullman Police Officer Scott Kirk.

Wyche is scheduled for sentencing July 20.


Two defendants were sentenced Friday in superior court in cases involving assault of police officers. In both cases, the original charge of third degree assault was reduced to fourth degree in plea bargain agreements presented to the court.

Kayla Simonson, 22, Pullman, pleaded guilty to kicking Deputy Tyler Langerveld in the leg during a struggle when she was arrested outside of Stubblefield's bar in Adams Mall March 28 on College Hill.

According to the arrest report, Simonson had been asked to leave Stubblefield's and departed, but she returned and police were called to remove her.

Her attorney reported she had no criminal record and had completed three years of study in architecture.

Simonson was sentenced to 180 days in jail with all but 10 suspended. She was allowed to work nine of the 10 days with public service but ordered to serve one day in jail.

Duane Finley, 38, Pullman, was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 15 days to be converted for public service work. Finley was charged with hitting Pullman Officer Aaron Breshears in the back of the head with his arm. The assault took place when Pullman police responded to a report of possible domestic violence at a residence April 24.

Simonson and Finley were the last defendants to be allowed to convert jail time to public service time.

They were allowed that option because their sentences had been arranged in plea bargain agreements before the Friday court session.

Judge Gary Libey announced later Friday morning that he is no longer going to allow the public service option to convert jail time because the court at present lacks a probation officer to see the defendants follow up on their hours.

Many defendants do not complete the public service and that leads to an additional round of court hearings and possible arrest warrants.


Rebecca Thomas, 22, was sentenced to 30 days in jail June 28 on a third-degree assault conviction related to an accident a year ago when she intentionally drove a car across Highway 195 and collided with a pickup truck nine miles north of Colfax. Thomas, who was initially charged with vehicular assault, pleaded guilty to the amended charge June 15.

The 30-day sentence was jointly recommended to the court by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan LeBeau and Defense Attorney Steve Martonick.

Judge Gary Libey pointed out the case involved somebody being injured through no fault of their own. LeBeau told the court the driver of the pickup truck, Martin Alejos, Spokane Valley, had to undergo chiropractic treatments after the accident. He was unable to attend the sentencing.

Thomas told the court she doesn't remember anything about the collision.

"I just know that every day since then I've regretted it," she commented. She added she was "very, very sorry."

Her father, John Thomas of Colfax, said Rebecca had been driving south from Spokane that night to show the family a bicycle she had purchased.

He said the family has since restricted Rebecca from driving and that she has been undergoing counseling. Thomas also said their insurance company had made a restitution offer to Alejos but is was rejected.

Alejos was driving a GMC truck northbound pulling another truck on a dolly when the 1997 Buick being driven southbound by Thomas crossed the highway. He attempted to avoid the Buick, but the back of his truck was hit. A passenger in the pickup was not hurt.

The investigation report said Rebecca had sent a text message to her boyfriend just before the accident which indicated she planned to take her own life.

The judge allowed Thomas a three-hour furlough from her sentence for an appointment next month with a psychologist in Pullman. He also placed her on one-year of community supervision after her jail term and ordered her to adhere to treatment. A hearing will be set at a later date to determine restitution.


Superior Court Judge Gary Libey Friday announced the court will end a policy of converting jail time to public service work. He noted the court no longer has a probation officer who can keep track of defendants who have been allowed to convert part of their sentence to public service.

The judge noted most of the people who have been allowed to do the public work fail to get it completed.

The court has allowed defendants to convert jail days to public service work at the rate of eight hours a day. Judge Libey noted he and his secretary are the only people on staff now to monitor whether the work is getting done.

The judge noted many defendants fail to show up on the day they have been scheduled to appear and show they have finished the work. That leads to issuance of an arrest warrant and another round of court appearances.

The judge Friday morning allowed two defendants to convert part of their sentences to public service work because the option had already been approved in plea bargain agreements.


Plans are in the works for a run of "Haunted Hooper" tours which will take place August through October at buildings in Hooper, according to Val Gregory, Colfax unified executive director.

Gregory and a crew including Carol Larsen, Nancy Cochran, Sarah McKnight and Kim DeHart have been cleaning and staging rooms at the Hooper Hotel for the project which will be operated like the St. Ignatius tours. Haunted Hooper will include overnight stays at the hotel.

Gregory said Alex McGregor has been a driving force behind the project and has allowed the use of his buildings.

Haunted Hooper was posted on the website the night of June 26 and 30 tickets were sold in less than 10 hours.


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