Benton Co. farmer accused of violating Hazardous Waste Management Act to be evaluated

<p>Philip Whitney</p>

Philip Whitney

A Benton County farmer accused of improperly storing waste that burned three men will be evaluated at Eastern State Hospital.

Prosecutors believe Philip Whitney violated the Hazardous Waste Management Act.

They say he stored fruit pomace - which is the solid remains of fruit after it has been pressed for juice or oil, at three dump sites on his property.

Prosecutors say on two different days in October 1996, two men fell into the pits on Whitney's property.

One man lost both his legs below the knee due to the burns, and the other man received 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

In March 2011, another man fell into a pit.

He received 3rd degree burns on both of his legs and had 11 skin grafts.

Last month, attorney James Egan said Whitney is not competent.

He said Whitney was evaluated at Virgina Mason Hospital in Seattle, and doctors there believe he has significant short and long term memory loss.

Whitney will be back in court August 1st.