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FALLS WILL PAY $15,000 TO SETTLE CLAIM IN CRASH INVOLVING FIRE CHIEF

The City Council agreed this week to pay more than $15,000 to settle claims against the city stemming from a Jan. 12 traffic accident involving Fire Chief Paul S. Shanks.

The Council voted to pay $10,500 to Faith and Wendell Clark of Dickersonville Road, Lewiston, and $4,649.20 to Travelers Insurance Co., the Clarks' insurer.

Faith Clark was treated in Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston, and released later that night after the collision at Rainbow Boulevard South and Niagara Street.

Shanks, who said at the time that the flashing lights and siren were in operation on the city-owned vehicle he was driving, was heading south on Rainbow, responding to a fire alarm at the Comfort Inn. The alarm turned out to be false.

Mrs. Clark had filed a notice of claim against the city for $4,649 for damage to her car and unspecified personal-injury damages. Her husband submitted the second claim for unspecified damages resulting from injuries his wife suffered, three days' lost work and car rental costs.

The accident became a bigger issue in the weeks after it happened.

Fire Capt. Ricky D. McHenry wrote a report stating that he smelled alcohol on Shanks' breath at the accident scene. McHenry's report, later leaked to the media, did not agree with the police accident report, which made no mention of alcohol involvement.

Shanks said at the time he had three drinks with his dinner that night.

McHenry was suspended without pay Feb. 10. A month later, a hearing officer reinstated him with back pay but ordered a letter of reprimand placed in his personnel file until he leaves city employment.

The incident added fuel to the long-standing feud between the firefighters and the city administration.

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