Bothell-Kenmore Reporter’s top 10 most-viewed web stories of 2019

From criminal activity to haunted houses, these stories received the most clicks on our website.

1. Bothell teen dies after falling from overpass into semi on I-5

A teenager died after falling from an overpass and hitting a semi-trailer truck early May 12 on Interstate 5. The 18-year-old Bothell woman, identified as Danica Plunk, fell from the Alderwood Mall overpass around 3:52 a.m., according to the Washington State Patrol. She hit a semi-trailer truck in the northbound lanes of the freeway, which caused the driver to lose control and sent the vehicle off the road and into the right shoulder, just south of Interstate 405. The driver, 46, was taken to Swedish Medical Center Edmonds, and a passenger was not injured.

2. Bothell police escort legislators to their cars after Town Hall

Sen. Guy Palumbo, Rep. Shelley Kloba and Rep. Derek Stanford, all Democrats from the 1st Legislative District, were hosting a question-and-answer session Jan. 9 on the UW Bothell/Cascadia College campus when an alleged threat emerged. An audience member commented about new gun laws in Washington and asked if someone could get in trouble for having more than the allotted number of rounds in a handgun. UW Bothell security were posted in the hall for the remainder of the event, and the elected officials were escorted to their cars later. Some weighed in on social media thanking law enforcement. “It wasn’t a threat. It was just odd,” said Bothell Police Department spokesman Cpt. Mike Johnson, adding that the person “had a First Amendment right” to ask the question and that no crime occurred.

3. Driver who intentionally hit Bothell pedestrians given jail time

On May 31, a driver who ran his car into two pedestrians walking in downtown Bothell was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The driver, Eli Aldinger, pleaded guilty to the charges of assault in the first degree and two counts of assault in the second degree. According to court documents, on April 20, 2018, Aldinger admitted to intentionally striking pedestrians with his Toyota Camry at two different intersections — one of which he said he intentionally sped up to hit as the victim crossed the street. In the case of the second victim, he said he swerved to hit her. The assaults were a way for Aldinger to “get out of going to work,” he told officers. He vocalized he was unhappy with his life of food service work and the direction his life had taken.

4. Kenmore youth dies after near drowning on Memorial Day

A Kenmore youth died the morning of May 28 after nearly drowning in Lake Washington at Seattle’s Magnuson Park on Memorial Day. Kenmore Middle School student Ryan Payne was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition after being trapped underwater for nearly 10 minutes. Bystanders pulled the 14-year-old boy onto a floating dock about 100 feet from shore, according to firefighters, who said an off-duty firefighter, nurse and doctor all worked to help the teen. Payne would have entered ninth grade at Inglemoor High School in the fall. As an avid sports player, he played on his soccer team with Northshore Youth Soccer Association, Kenmore Elementary School, KMS, North Lake Little League and the Vikings Junior Football.

5. NSD rescinds Ramadan policy following lawsuit threat

The Northshore School District was issued a “cease and desist” letter by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund that demanded the district shut down what the FCDF called the district’s “Ramadan policy.” Prior to the May 10 letter, the school district’s Equity and Diversity department issued guidelines — not a policy — to school officials to make sure “students have the right accommodations and support from teachers and their peers.” The original guidelines included the following: Planning in advance with Muslim students to allow them to “quietly slip away” for prayer to “avoid calling unwanted attention to them.”

6. Police blotter: Strange card arrives at city finance office, has slave trade sticker and $3

At 2:03 p.m. in the 18400 block of 101st Avenue Northeast, the city finance office received a suspicious card with $3 attached. It was addressed to the finance director, but was not expected. It had a sticker depicting the slave trade and a “Walter J Freeman Foundation” sticker on the front. It also had a “George III” sticker on the back. They were unable to determine who it was from or where the money should be applied.

7. Historic Country Village homes being offered to anyone who can move them from the property

Bothell’s Country Village closed after the 6-acre property was sold back to housing developer Pulte Homes, but there is still hope to save two of the area’s historic buildings. Pulte Homes, the Atlanta-based housing developer, offered the historic Ericksen House and Carriage Barn to anyone who would be able to move the buildings off the property. The houses are available until April 1, 2020. If not taken, Pulte Homes will be able to apply for a demolition permit. Country Village, a longtime shopping center focused on local businesses, closed in June after being sold by the Loveless family after increasing property taxes made the ownership of the property unfeasible.

8. The haunting of Hell House continues

Local information technology professional Keith Linder alleges to have also lived in a kind of house most people might only encounter in an “Amityville Horror”-style movie: a place ostensibly teeming with disembodied voices, poltergeists and other inexplicable forces. He, too, was able to “get out” of his haunted home, which is located in Bothell. He lived there between 2012 and 2016. But Linder doesn’t want to put his experiences behind him, pretending like they never happened. He previously published “The Bothell Hell House: Poltergeist of Washington State,” a 442-page book chronologically covering what he and his girlfriend at the time went through living in the home. In August, Linder released “Poltergeist of Washington State Part Two,” a sequel. The new book takes place immediately after the events covered in its predecessor. It especially focuses on three subjects: Linder’s transition out of the house in 2016, the contents of a mysterious substance discussed in “Hell House,” and the home’s history.

9. Lynnwood purse robbery ends in Bothell collision

A Lynnwood robbery resulted in the arrest of three suspects on June 19 in Bothell. A purse was reported stolen in the parking lot of Costco in Lynnwood. It was taken from a shopping cart as the victim’s attention was diverted. A description of the suspect’s vehicle was broadcast to neighboring agencies so that they could be on the lookout for an orange sports car. At about 1:15 p.m., the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle and a pursuit with deputies ended in a collision at Maltby Road and SR 527 Southeast. The suspect vehicle collided with another car at the intersection. Three suspects were taken into custody and two others — inside the car hit by the suspect vehicle — had minor injuries.

10. Police continue extra patrols in Kenmore following attempted kidnapping

Kenmore police were on the lookout for a kidnapping suspect after a 12-year-old female reported that a male attempted to lure her verbally, and then by force, on March 21. The victim was walking to her school bus stop that morning, following her typical route. In the 6900 block of Northeast 182nd Street, as she was walking south, she noticed a white adult male following her. The girl witnessed the man cross the street and he asked her if she wanted to go to a Kirkland park with him, that they could ride the bus together. She responded no. She continued walking and thought the man had left. Then, in the 7000 block of Northeast 182nd Street, near a fenced empty lot, the man grabbed her from behind by her backpack. The girl said she spun around, breaking his grasp and kicked him once in the leg before running away. She ran to a friend’s apartment but was met with no answer. The suspect was described as being in his 40s, with a medium build, with a scruffy beard and salt-and-pepper hair.