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Motel death ruled accidental

The death of 33-year-old Sunnyside businessman Christopher Leach, who was found dead in a local motel room last Friday morning, has been ruled accidental by the Sunnyside police.

Saying it was a tragic situation, Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder said his department, based on its investigation and in conjunction with the coroner's report, have ruled that Leach's death was an unfortunate accident.

Yakima County Coroner Maurice Rice reported Leach died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fire.

From what police detectives were able to determine, Leach had reportedly been checked into the Sunnyside Country Inn and Suites, 408 Yakima Valley Highway, by a friend late Thursday night, after having too much to drink at a nearby restaurant.

"The friend did the absolute right thing," said Radder. "Unfortunately, what happened next was out of the control of the friend," he added.

The motel room fire was reported to the Sunnyside police at about 6:30 a.m. after firefighters received reports of smoke at the motel. Sunnyside firemen discovered Leach's body in the bathroom, where he had collapsed.

Leach, who was the owner of the Centennial Tank Wash in the Sunnyside Port District, is survived by his wife, Lisa Donael Leach, and two children, and his mother.

Smith Funeral Home is in charge of services, which will be held Friday, July 22, at 1 p.m.

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