Fatality accident, robbery over July 4th weekend

OKANOGAN COUNTY – While many people were enjoying a sunny, long Fourth of July weekend, there were some less happy incidents, including a fatality accident and robbery.

On Saturday, July 2, at around 5 p.m. sheriff’s deputies and the Molson-Chesaw Fire Department responded to a report of a vehicle that crashed into a tree on Chesaw Road.

“When they arrived on scene they discovered the vehicle, a 1991 Ford flatbed, had in fact left the road way and struck the tree, destroying the cab of the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle Frank L. Waleczak, 69, of Oroville was pronounced dead at the scene,” said Sheriff Frank Rogers.

“The accident is still under investigation, but alcohol was believed to be a factor, Rogers added. “Family members have been notified.”

Waleczak’s dog was in the back of flatbed at the time of the accident, but appeared not to be injured and we being taken care of by a member of the Chesaw Fire Department.

Also on Saturday, a resident of a home reported a robbery on Holmes Road near Oroville. Deputies responded to the robbery call at around 7:30 p.m., according to the sheriff.

“The investigation at this time shows that the suspect was a male subject, who was wearing dark blue or black pants, black shirt and hat and had mask on which concealed his face,” Rogers said.

According to the deputy’s report, the suspect went to the residence and confronted the homeowner demanding her purse and car keys. The suspect was armed with a pistol at the time of the robbery and was waving it around while he was demanding the victim’s purse.

“The suspect then fired one shot into the floor of the residence. The victim then handed the suspect a five dollar bill and told the suspect that she did not have any other money. At this time the suspect ran from the residence. The victim was not injured during the incident,” Rogers said.

A search was done of the area but it is believed the suspect fled in a vehicle. The investigation is ongoing at this time. If anyone has information reference the robbery please contact the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office at (509) 422-7232.

The day before, Friday, July 1, the Washington State Patrol reported a motorcycle accident on north Highway 97 near milepost 334. According to Sgt. M. Saunders’ report, Jennifer M. Paterson, 35, Calgary, Alta., was northbound when she attempted to switch fuel tanks and went off the northbound shoulder. Peterson was transported to North Valley Hospital in Tonasket with a broken collarbone. Her 2000 Honda VT750 sustained about $200 in damages.

The cause of the accident was inattention, according to Trouper Saunders who reports that no drugs or alcohol involved. His report also lists charges as “pending.”

The police departments in Oroville and Tonasket reported that with a few exceptions, mostly fireworks related, it was a relatively quiet holiday weekend.