Grenade scare, school bond update, missing teen and loose tires

Grenade scare:

The Federal Way Bomb Disposal Unit was called in after police made a traffic stop at 4 p.m. Oct. 23 near South 317th Street and the northbound Interstate 5 on-ramp.

Police were monitoring traffic in the area when a male, in his 30s, was pulled over for a HOV lane traffic violation. Police found the male suspect was driving with a suspended license and apprehended him for the offense, said police spokeswoman Stacy Flores.

Police then searched his vehicle. They found narcotics and a pineapple-type grenade, Flores said. The bomb disposal unit was called in to determine if the device was active. Meanwhile, the northbound Interstate 5 HOV on-ramp was closed as a precautionary measure.

Police concluded the device was inactive and the suspect had no intention of using the grenade in connection to any terrorist attacks, Flores said.

The man was arrested and faces charges for driving on a suspended license in the third degree and being in possession of an illegal substance, Flores said. He may also receive ramifications for violating laws pertaining to the use of the HOV lane, she said.

However, the man is not facing charges for his possession of the hand grenade, Flores said.

Explosive devices, such as the one the suspect was carrying, can be obtained over the counter at most military surplus stores and are not illegal to possess, Flores said. The inactive grenades are bought to use as ornaments, souvenirs, gifts and paper weights, among other things, she said.

School bond update:

The Federal Way School District found its first winning bidder for the $149 million construction bond approved by voters in May.

The Chicago-based investment firm Hutchinson Shockey Erley and Co. agreed to buy a $45 million portion of the bond at an interest rate of about 4.317 percent, according to district reports.

A bond is like a mortgage. The investment company agreed to finance that portion of the bond, and will make its money through interest when the school district pays back the loan.

“The voters authorized the ability for us to go borrow money. Voters have agreed to let us tax them to pay it back,” said Sally McLean, the district’s chief financial officer.

In other words, the school district will pay its debts through Federal Way residents’ taxes.

The $149 million construction bond will rebuild five schools Lakota Middle School and Lakeland, Panther Lake, Sunnycrest and Valhalla elementary schools.

The district’s transportation center, central kitchen and maintenance facilities will be rebuilt and relocated to an area near Celebration Park.

The bond will trigger $20 million in matching funds from the state to provide improvements to 23 Federal Way schools built before 1990, with the exception of Federal Way High School. Renovations will include repairing items such as heating, roofs and plumbing.

The district plans to complete the projects by 2013.

The bond will maintain the current property tax rate at $4.19 per $1,000 valuation of property as previous bonds expire.

Loose tire:

A Federal Way man narrowly escaped injury when a tire from a sport utility vehicle went through the window of his 1992 Ford Astro Van at 11:36 a.m. Oct. 23 while he was driving on Interstate 5 near Madison Street in Seattle.

The van, belonging to Antonio Ayala-Garcia, 30, was totaled from the impact of the tire, according to a Washington State Patrol news release.

The tire, which came from the left front side of a 1994 Nissan Pathfinder owned by Shoreline resident Ala Marwan, 27, escaped from the SUV when the lug nuts affixing it to the vehicle worked loose and fell off. The tire traveled across four traffic lane and over three barriers, missing multiple vehicles before striking Ayala-Garcia’s van. After shattering the van’s windshield, the tire bounced up and over the vehicle and came to a stop on the Interstate 5 shoulder. Marwan was cited for defective equipment and his tire was re-attached with the lug nuts from his spare tire, according to the news release.

Missing teen:

(UPDATE: Sara Cross has returned home unharmed after running away, according to reports Friday -- Ed.)

Federal Way teen Sara Cross, 14, has been missing since the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 24. Sara’s family and friends are asking the public for help in locating her. Sara is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. She has dark blonde hair and may be wearing a wine-colored “Hollister” hoody and/or a cream-colored down vest. Sara was last seen at her parents’ home in the Adelaide area Tuesday evening. A missing persons report has been filed with Federal Way Police Department, but public assistance is needed to locate her. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call (253) 874-2103 or (253) 347-5146.

Town hall Oct. 27:

State Rep. Skip Priest, R-Dist. 30, will hold two town hall meetings to update residents on education finance and career issues as well as give a status report on sex offender legislation. The public meetings will run 10 a.m. to noon today, Oct. 27, at Federal Way City Hall, 33325 8th Ave. S.; and 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at Pacific Senior Center, 100 3rd Ave. SE, Pacific. To learn more, call (360) 786-7252 or visit

Farmers Market wraps up:

The Federal Way Farmers Market will be open for the last time this season from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at The Commons mall, at 320th St. and Pacific Highway.

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