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News brief: Apartment fire contained to one unit in Chehalis

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The family pet is okay but the kitchen cabinets burned up when a teenager got distracted while cooking up curly fries at a Chehalis apartment yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters were called just before 4:30 p.m. when a neighbor saw smoke at the Chehalis Avenue Apartments on Southwest Third, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

“Somebody tried putting it out with a fire extinguisher and everybody evacuated, except the dog,” Fire Capt. Rob Gebhart said.

One crew member began extinguishing the blaze while Gebhart searched for the animal, which he said was ultimately discovered sitting on a couch.

The kitchen cabinets were destroyed, a set of blinds on a sliding door melted and firefighters had to tear out some of the wall, Gebhart said. There was smoke damage as well, he said.

The lesson with the pan of oil is to never leave food cooking on the stove unattended, Gebhart said. The young man got a talking to by the fire department and was pretty distraught, according to the captain.

Another important piece of advice, is even if the particular item someone is making doesn’t call for putting the lid on the pan, it’s wise to keep the lid nearby, Gebhart said. If fire breaks out in a pan, one can cover it up with the lid and extinguish it, he said.

The small dog was unhurt, he said.

Gebhart estimated the repairs could be around $15,000.

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Prosecutor uncovers alleged perjured testimony, from state’s own witness

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 7:24 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office says it learned an expert witness it used multiple times was untruthful about her credentials, including on the witness stand in court.

Toni Nelson has worked in Lewis County as a victim’s advocate, and has testified in at three least trials, primarily about delayed reporting in sex crime cases, according to Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

Meyer said in the past Nelson had indicated she graduated from a specific college, but he now knows she attended there but left before earning her degree.

Meyer said she also had said she had a nursing degree and was a certified teacher, both of which she admitted to him were not true.

The prosecutor said he was given information tipping him off in early January, did some research and then two weeks ago met with her and asked her specific questions.

“We’re just trying to figure out how widespread this is, ” Meyer said today.

Nelson has worked for the White Pass Community Coalition, the Human Response Network and at one time was associated with Fresh Start, according to Meyer.

The statute of limitations for bringing charges of perjury is three years, and has passed, he said. The last time prosecutors had her testify was 2010, he said.

Meyer said so far they have found Nelson had involvement in approximately five dozen cases with the prosecutors office.

He said now he’s primarily working to contact and make sure victims and defendants are notified.

“She’s had training, but the problem is, once you’re not truthful on the stand, that taints everything you say,” Meyer said.

Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke is representing Nelson, but indicated he’s restrained from saying specifically when or why he is hired in any client’s case.

“My function is to represent somebody who is presently having significant allegations brought,” O’Rourke said this afternoon.

O’Rourke said he understands how the prosecutor’s office, if they believe they have something like they say they do, would need to look back over cases to try to determine if it could have drastic consequences.

“I can’t talk about any of the particulars at this point,” he said. “There may come a time when I can not be vague.”

He said he’s known Nelson as a professional acquaintance for about eight years, as an individual working in social services, someone known for things such as getting up at 2 o’clock in the morning to give people rides to shelters.

“I think you’d be hard pressed to find many people who have anything negative to say about her involvement,” he said. “And people would attest to the fact that this is a person who has dedicated a huge chunk of her life and career and doing what she could to help other people.”

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Read about deadly shooting in Ashford …

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports a 32-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting another man outside an Ashford bar will be released from jail today because Pierce County prosecutors have not decided whether to file charges.

News reporter Stacia Glenn reports 50-year-old Paul Hewlett of Eatonville died at a Tacoma hospital hours after the Sunday night incident and the suspect called 911 from home to turn himself in.

Read about it here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm
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•••

MISSING CAR

• Centralia police were called about 8:15 a.m. yesterday to the 1900 block of Honeysuckle Lane where they were told that a person known to the victim may have taken their vehicle without their permission, according to the Centralia Police Department. Missing was a gray 1997 Honda Civic with a license plate of ATW7541, according to police.

FRAUD

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to South Market Boulevard to take a report that an individual got a bill for cable services in the amount of about $300 related to a location in California. It appeared someone had fraudulently used her information, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

IMMORAL COMMUNICATION WITH MINOR

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested an individual for allegedly talking about sex on Facebook with a young teen. The case is still being investigated, so details are not being released, according to the sheriff’s office. The man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for communication with minor for immoral purposes and is scheduled to appear in Lewis County District Court today.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• One individual was transported to Morton General Hospital after a single-vehicle collision on state Route 508 near Mosswood Park Road about 6:30 p.m. yesterday with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Lewis County Fire District 4.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, hit and run, shoplifting, vandalism, custodial interference, protection order violation … and more, among the 136 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending just before 7 a.m. today

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 8, 2016 at 10:31 am
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•••

Updated at 5:12 p.m.

SMASH AND GRAB CHEHALIS

• Police responding to a burglary alarm about 4:20 a.m. yesterday at a Chehalis convenience store on the 600 block of North National Avenue found the front glass door broken, but no suspect. Cash in an unspecified amount appears to be all that was stolen, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BURGLARY SILVER CREEK

• Almost $2,000 worth of chainsaws, tools and other property were stolen from the 200 block of Huntting Road in Silver Creek, according to a report made on Saturday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the items missing are also ratchet sets, socket sets and wrenches, according to the sheriff’s office.

BREAKFAST FRAUD

• A 27-year-old Glenoma resident contacted authorities after finding someone used her bank card to spend $114.94 at IHOP in Tukwila. The victim said all her cards were accounted for, but deputies have some evidence they are following up on, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning.

OTHER THEFT

• A sign board was reported stolen from in front of a business on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia on Saturday afternoon.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Police were called about 3 p.m. yesterday to a car prowl at the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia. An officer was told a male who looked like a transient broke out a window and stole a backpack, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SPOOKY VANDALS

• Centralia police responded to an approximately 4:20 a.m. call on Sunday at the 500 block of South Pearl Street in which two hoody-wearing males came up to the victim’ window, yelled and broke the window with a hammer before fleeing. No arrest was immediately made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORE GLASS BREAKING

• Centralia police late Friday night took a report of a large window which had been smashed at the 100 block of West Pine Street.

DRUGS

• It was speeding that caught the attention of a Chehalis police officer about 9 a.m. yesterday at Fourth Street and Market Boulevard but it was the black substance that field-tested positive for heroin that got a 25-year-old Chehalis resident arrested for a drug violation. Zacharey J. Hanley was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

POLICE: OFFICER INJURED BY UNRULY BAR PATRON

• A 26-year-old Winlock resident who allegedly kicked a police officer in the face was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault early on Saturday morning. Jason L. Cothren was contacted by Toledo-Winlock police who responded to an approximately 12:25 a.m. call about a physical dispute at Franks Hideaway in Winlock, according to authorities. Police were told he had assaulted an employee but left and they subsequently found him at The Club, appearing to be intoxicated, according to court documents. Charging documents report Cothren was uncooperative and while enroute to the jail, was kicking at the rear window of the patrol vehicle, prompting the officer to pull over. When backup arrived and officers pulled Cothren out of the vehicle, he allegedly tried to kick Officer Randy Pennington in the groin and succeeded in kicking him in the mouth, according to charging documents. He was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with the same offense and a judge ordered him held on $10,000 bail. The court papers indicate Pennington suffered minor injuries.

FIRE CALL AT LUMBER MILL

• Firefighters responding to an alarm just after 1 p.m. on Friday at the 100 block of Ribelin Road in Chehalis found flames in the fire suppression sprinkler room at Cascade Hardwoods, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. The fire was knocked down within 10 minutes and no injuries were reported, according to District spokesperson DJ Hammer.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, runaway juvenile, protection order violation, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street; complaint of trains and helicopters impeding citizen’s sleep … and more.

 

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Sheriff’s high honors go to Corrections Officer Wood, Detective Seiber

Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 9:45 am
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The audience rises to its feet as Sheriff Snaza speaks of detective Tom Callas’s career and retirement during an awards presentation at Bethel Church.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

NAPAVINE –  Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza honored two officers with an award for portraying the guardian spirit.

Corrections Officer Bill Wood was recognized for his heroic actions when he pursued and apprehended a just-convicted defendant who fled a courtroom last October.

“Basically he got into a fight,” Snaza said, of the chase that began on the fourth floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center, continued down a back stairwell and out onto the street in Chehalis.

Snaza spoke of Wood’s tenacious attitude when he presented him on Thursday with the Guardian Award.

“He wasn’t gonna let that guy go,” he said.

The high praise was offered during a gathering of members of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at Bethel Church in Napavine. The annual meeting is held to recognize outstanding work by employees.

A second Guardian Award was given to detective Gene Seiber, a person Snaza said had gone unrecognized for too long.

Seiber was part of the command staff under former Sheriff Steve Mansfield. After Snaza was elected sheriff, he moved Seiber into a newly created position, a detective focusing on the east end of the county.

Snaza spoke of Seiber’s consistent dedication and outstanding performance in the daily execution of his duties.

“Exceptional service with an excellent attitude,” he said.

Numerous honors and awards were presented, including a Distinguished Service Medal for detective Tom Callas whose retirement began that afternoon. Callas started at the sheriff’s office in 1988.

Snaza, with Undersheriff Wes Rethwill assisting in the ceremony, called three civilians to the stage as well.

Cameron Church, accompanied by his girlfriend Skyler Grimes, was given a Citizen Service Medal.

On Nov. 14, when a senior citizen drove her car onto a flooded Forest Service Road 25 south of Randle, Church put aside his own personal safety and rushed in to pull  her from her water-filled car.

“They then kept her warm while waiting for aid to arrive,” he said.

Snaza then gave a certificate of bravery and courage to Aiden Readman, a young man who called 911 when his mother was being assaulted, and helped protect his mother and sister.

The sheriff spent some time during the meeting sharing the office’s priorities and goals during his first year in office and also for the coming year.

His list for 2016 contains 47 items.

“When I thought of running for sheriff, I want to make sure you guys are taken care of,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion.

In closing, the sheriff told the employees, there’s no “I” in their organization.

“I cannot be successful without you,” he said. “We can be successful together.”

Among the awards presented were also, Employee of the Year, which went to:

• Field Operations Bureau – Deputy Justin Rodgers
• Corrections Bureau – Corrections Sgt. Joyce McCoy
• Corrections Bureau Support Technician – Ramona Romine
• Services Bureau – Support Technician Debra Hensley

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State patrol: Pe Ell man lost control of his truck, leading to deadly crash

Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 1:21 pm
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The light blue Mazda pickup and yellow Jeep rest on state Route 6 near Adna. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The cause of the collision on state Route 6 yesterday remains under investigation but the Washington State Patrol reports the pickup truck carrying two individuals who died was T-boned in its passenger side by the Jeep Wrangler.

Both vehicles had been traveling in opposite directions, about two miles west of Chehalis, according to the state patrol.

Firefighters from Chehalis and Lewis County Fire District 6 responding to the approximately 4:50 p.m. call near Highway 603 found the man and woman deceased and the driver – and sole occupant – of the Jeep in serious condition, according to authorities.

Glennon G. Stinson, 69, from Rochester, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The state patrol identifies the driver of the 1989 Mazda B2200 pickup as Joseph A. Schwartz, 23, of Pe Ell. His passenger was Katharina M. McKenna, 27, from Chehalis.

The investigating trooper describes the incident as Schwartz traveling eastbound and for whatever reason, he lost control of his truck and slid across the centerline into the westbound lane. The front of the westbound Jeep struck the passenger side of his truck, according to the state patrol.

The roadway was closed for nearly four hours, according to Trooper Will Finn.

All three individuals had been wearing seat belts, according to the state patrol.

It’s unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved, according to the initial information. No charges are expected.

Both vehicles were totaled, towed and impounded.

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Live military mortar removed from under Pe Ell chicken coop

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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This might look a little bit like an ugly fishing lure, but it’s almost two feet long. / Courtesy photo by Pe Ell Marshals Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad was called to Pe Ell yesterday evening after a large military mortar was found under a chicken coop.

“The homeowner was putting in a fence, dug in close to the chicken coop and noticed something hard and tapped it a couple times,” Pe Ell Marshal Mike Hartnett said.

It turns out the nearly two-foot-long object was live, he said.

“It’s firing mechanism was intact and its safety pin was gone,” Hartnett said. “One abrupt bump on the nose of that, could have set it off.”

The marshal said he understood it would have a “kill radius” of up to 50 meters.

One meter is a little longer than three feet.

Hartnett said two of his deputy marshals were on duty, and they evacuated a couple residents and blocked off the area. It was in the backyard of a residence on East Pe Ell Avenue, near the edge of the city limits, he said.

It was about 5:45 p.m. and the bomb squad came out and ended up putting it in their bomb trailer and hauling it back to Shelton to dispose of it, he said.

Hartnett said he was told it was an 82 mm mortar.

“Probably an old Vietnam-era mortar, is our best guess,” he said.

How it got a backyard in Pe Ell, they don’t know. It’s an older home, that’s had a few owners, he said.

“Either somebody brought home a souvenir, even off a military firing range and thought it was a dud,” he said. “Maybe someone didn’t want it anymore and poked it under the chicken coop.”

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Breaking news: Two dead, one injured on state Route 6

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 6:20 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  State Route 6 west of Chehalis is closed in both directions as troopers investigate a double-fatality collision.

Firefighters called at 4:50 p.m. to the scene at Highway 603 immediately confirmed the deaths of two occupants and found one patient in serious condition, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

District spokesperson DJ Hammer indicates that person was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The initial reports of the two-vehicle accident suggested it may have been head-on or it may have been a T-bone incident, according to Hammer.

The Washington State Patrol is on the scene conducting its investigation.

State Route 6 is expected to remain shut down for the next few hours.

Further details were not readily available. More information will be reported when available.

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News brief: Man’s body found on South Lewis County road

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says a body was found lying on Mandy Road by a passing motorist last night.

Detectives responded to the report about 8 p.m. from the area near Interstate 5 west of Toledo, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The investigation, thus far, leads detectives to believe a man had been walking southbound on I-5 and possibly jumped or fell from the overpass onto the roadway below,” Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this afternoon.

Brown indicated there is no evidence of foul play, at this time.

Witnesses described seeing a man walking across the freeway bridge above Mandy Road, acting erratic and animated, shortly before the body was discovered, according to Brown.

An autopsy is scheduled for next week. The Lewis County Coroner’s Office will release identification information once next of kin has been notified.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm
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•••

INVESTIGATION AT CHEHALIS SCHOOL ONGOING

• Police were called to W.F. West High School yesterday in reference to a “bottle being ignited” inside the school, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer is continuing the investigation and no further details were available this morning, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called to the 1300 block of Alexander Street about 9:20 p.m. yesterday to take a report that checks had been stolen.

• An individual was arrested yesterday morning in connection with the truck taken for a test drive the day before and never returned to a car dealer on the 200 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. It was spotted by an off-duty officer in Grand Mound and Joseph T. Light, 54, from Rainier, was taken into custody by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LOST AND FOUND

• A found wedding-style ring was turned in to the Chehalis Police Department yesterday.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 23-year-old Winlock woman was hospitalized after she failed to negotiate a left turn at the 100 block of Larmon Road, drove off the roadway and wedged her truck in between some trees last night. Deputies called about 11:10 p.m. concluded she was traveling faster than she should have been and that her pickup truck was totaled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She sustained scrapes from broken glass, according to the sheriff’s office, and will be mailed an infraction for speeds too fast for conditions.

• A motorist was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital after his car left the roadway and sheared off a utility pole at its base this morning in north Centralia. Firefighters called about 9 a.m. to the 1300 block of North Pearl Street report the approximately 25-year-old man had gotten himself out of his vehicle before they arrived and appeared to have suffered only minor injuries, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, out-of-control child, possibly fraudulent check, collision on city street … and more.

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North Pearl Street / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:41 am

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Updated at 11:29 a.m.

AUTO THEFT

• A red 2007 Ford Mustang disappeared from where it had been left a Schaeffer Park in Centralia, according to a report made about 10 a.m. yesterday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Its owner, a Bucoda resident, said he parked the car there off the 800 block of state Route 507 about 5 p.m. on Tuesday and when he returned on Wednesday morning to pick it up, it was gone, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called about 1:10 p.m. yesterday to a car dealer on the 200 block of South Tower Avenue to take a report that a potential customer who took a truck for a test drive never returned. The vehicle is described as a green 1989 GMC 1500 pickup and has a Washington state dealers’ license reading 3909G, according to the Centralia Police Department. The suspect is identified as Joseph T. Little, 54, according to police.

MISSING MEDS

• Centralia police were called about 7:35 p.m. yesterday to the 400 block of West Main Street to take a report of prescription medications stolen from the home.

SHOPLIFT OF INFANT FOOD

• Chehalis police were called about 8:10 p.m. yesterday to Safeway on South Market Boulevard where two females were reported to have stole a shopping cart-full of baby formula. An officer was told they got into a green car and fled, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

• An officer was called to a residence on the 1500 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning, following a report from Centralia City Light that a meter had been tampered with

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police gave up trying to catch a car that fled an attempted traffic stop around 7:15 a.m. yesterday, for safety reasons, according to the Centralia Police Department. The incident associated with the 100 block of West Maple Street involved a minor traffic violation and a 2002 Dodge Neon, according to police. The car made several turns on various roads in an effort to lose the pursuing officer. Officers have its license plate numbers and continue to investigate, police indicate.

UPDATE TO UNFOUNDED STABBING REPORT

• Chehalis police this morning said they don’t know why a 28-year-old woman called for help yesterday morning, saying she had been stabbed. She went to a neighbor’s for help, at the apartments at the  300 block of Southwest Third Street and officers looked for a time for a supposed suspect who they were told had fled. At the hospital, she was found to have no injury, police said. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said this morning he couldn’t say for sure if she lied, had a medical event or maybe even just a nightmare.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, third-degree domestic malicious mischief, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

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Centralia grade school threatened

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Fords Prairie Elementary School in Centralia went into a modified lockdown after receiving a threatening phone call this afternoon.

School district spokesperson Ed Petersen said police are at the building on Harrison and Reynolds avenues.

Petersen said the call came into the school at 1:35 p.m. and he didn’t know exactly what was said, but described it as “kind of a robo-voice threat.”

The plan is for students to be released as usual and after school programs will go on as planned, Petersen said.

Petersen described the lock down as more of lock out.

Centralia Police Department spokesperson detective Patty Finch said officers, including with help from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol, covered each school in Centralia this afternoon until students’ dismissal time.

“We’re attempting, still attempting, to trace the phone call,” Finch said at about 3:15 p.m.

Police have the number the call came from and the cell phone company involved is assisting them, she said.

“They said it possibly was a computer-generated call,” she said.

It was described as a male voice who said he had a gun, was on his way to the school and was going to shoot people and then shoot himself, according to police.

Students at all the schools by now have been released, without incident, according to Finch.

An increased police presence can be expected in the area around the school for the next day or two.

 

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Salkum man charged with rape, kidnapping

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors yesterday charged 25-year-old Joel L. Kaech with multiple felonies in connection with weekend incidents involving alleged sexual assaults of a Longview woman.

The Salkum man was arrested on Sunday, brought before a judge on Monday and then made another court appearance yesterday afternoon.

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Joel L. Kaech

Kaech is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree kidnapping and one count of felony harassment. Harassment has a maximum penalty of five years, but the other offenses carry a possible life sentence.

The 32-year-old woman spoke with police on Saturday night near the Goodwill store in Centralia, saying she had run away from Kaech at the skate park across the street.

She spoke of she and a mutual friend being picked up by Kaech in Longview, and Kaech kicking the friend out of the car and then an unspecified period of time in which the two drove to several places in Lewis County.

Charging documents describe the events as occurring on or about and between Friday and Saturday.

On Monday afternoon, a Lewis County Superior Court judge ordered the defendant held in the Lewis County Jail and continued his preliminary appearance one day while prosecutors made a charging decision.

Kaech mouthed off the to the judge, and was held in contempt Monday afternoon. Judge James Lawler ordered a no-bail hold and gave Kaech 60 days lock up as a penalty for his behavior.

Yesterday afternoon at the start of his hearing Kaech apologized to the judge for his attitude the day before.

Lawler thanked him, told him he had been way out of line, and then decided to reduce the contempt time to 10 days.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said Kaech is unemployed and she believed he qualified for a court appointed lawyer. Chris Baum was set to represent him.

Lewis County Prosecutor Sheila Weirth requested and was granted a sexual assault protection order for the alleged victim

Kaech is being held on $500,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow.
•••

For background, read “Rape investigation: Salkum man held with no bail, no charges” from Monday February 1, 2016, here

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News brief: Police investigating stabbing report from uninjured victim

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 1:03 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Chehalis police can’t explain it yet, but the stabbing victim this morning was found to have no stab wound.

Officers were called just before 7 a.m. to a report of a stabbing at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street. They were told a suspect had fled, according to the Chehalis Police Department

The area was searched with assistance from the Centralia Police Department, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and included a track by a police dog. No suspect was located.

The 28-year-old Chehalis woman was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital where it was determined she did not have any injuries, according to police department spokesperson Linda Bailey.

Bailey said police are no longer looking for a suspect, at this point. But they are investigating the incident, she said.

Bailey said she had no further information to release at this time and could not speculate as to what did or did not occur.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 10:18 am
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•••

FOUR-THOUSAND-DOLLAR TOOL SNATCHED IN CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called at 1:18 p.m. yesterday to an automotive business regarding a theft from a customer’s car. The business at the 1000 block of Northwest Avenue had parked the unlocked vehicle on the street and when they went to bring it in, discovered their diagnostic machine had vanished, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The approximately $4,000 item is black and red with a 7-inch touch screen, according to police. The brand is Snap-on and it’s a Solus Ultra vehicle diagnostic machine, according to police.

GARDENING EQUIPMENT STOLEN

• Centralia police were called about 6:50 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of South Gold Street where someone had taken a lawn mower and a weed eater from a shed.

TRESPASSING

• A 25-year-old woman found by the property owner in a vacant Centralia residence yesterday was arrested for trespassing. Police, called about 7:35 p.m. to the 500 block of South Pearl Street, say Shiela K. Brennan, described as transient, had forced her way inside and was staying there. She was issued a citation and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 48-year-old Chehalis woman sustained a head injury in a single-vehicle collision last night south of Napavine. Deputies responding to the approximately 8 p.m. wreck found the 1997 Ford Ranger with major damage. The driver had been traveling east on Jordan Road and lost control at a turn onto Koontz Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.  Her truck struck a ditch and rolled, coming to rest on the roadway, according to the sheriff’s office. The patient was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, probation violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, disturbance, shoplifting, suspicious vehicle … and more.

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Breaking news: Police investigating stabbing in Chehalis

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police and aid were called at 7 o’clock this morning to a stabbing at the Chehalis Avenue Apartments.

The victim, in her mid-20s, was conscious and alert, and taken to the hospital, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said officers are investigating and she didn’t have many details yet.

“I know they brought the K-9 out,” Bailey said. “It didn’t seem as though it was a life threatening injury.”

The apartments are on the 300 block of Southwest Third Street.

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Chehalis 10th Street garage dweller charged with dealing meth

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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Russell S. Foster is brought into Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon to see a judge.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors today requested a $5,000 unsecured bond for the Chehalis woman whose property was searched yesterday morning following a visit by a SWAT team and an ongoing drug investigation.

Fifty-one-year-old Mary K. West, also known as Mary K. Craig, was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of possession of methamphetamine.

Police reported finding a pipe with residue and three ziplock baggies with an unspecified amount of meth in her bedroom, according to charging documents.

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Mary K. West

Russell S. Foster, 46, who resides in a detached garage on the property on Southwest 10th Street was arrested as well and charged today with three counts of delivery of methamphetamine.

The Lewis County Regional SWAT Team and the Joint Narcotics Task Force yesterday morning served a search warrant and turned up items in Foster’s dwelling such as digital scales, numerous empty small baggies and what prosecutors described in charging documents as a receipt book with notations such as “T-shirt” and “Half T-shirt” which detectives say refer to “teeners” or 1.5 grams of meth.

They also seized a plastic bag containing approximately two “teeners,” according to the documents.

Foster allegedly sold meth to a confidential police informant back in early 2014 and then twice more sometime during the month that ended yesterday, according to the documents.

Chehalis Police Department Chief Glenn Schaffer said in a written statement yesterday the residence has been “an issue” for police and for its neighbors.

While yesterday’s news release reported the home was on the 100 block of Southwest 10th Street, it actually is on the next block east of that, in between South Market Boulevard and McFadden Street.

Foster and West were booked into the Lewis County Jail. At least one other person present was arrested on an outstanding warrant. The court documents relate Foster has a girlfriend who resided with him, but no mention has been made of the woman being arrested.

Police yesterday reported a stolen generator turned up during the search, from a December burglary on Jackson Highway.

West, who works part time at Burgerville, qualified for a court appointed lawyer. Her arraignment was scheduled for Feb. 11.

Police yesterday booked West for endangerment with controlled substance and subsequently added a potential charge of maintaining a dwelling for drug purposes, but those criminal charges were not filed today by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Foster, who is unemployed and has prior criminal history about a decade old, was ordered held on $20,000 bail. Prosecutors had asked for $50,000. He is unemployed and likewise was given a court-appointed lawyer.

His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

 

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JNET: Firearms, stolen equipment and drugs seized

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local drug detectives’ work on a meth distribution and stolen property ring that stretched over three counties led them to a storage unit containing over $60,000 worth of property they’d like to return to its rightful owners.

The Lewis County Joint Narcotics Task Force today revealed an investigation that early last month led to a compound in Graham where they, along with federal agents, seized more than three pounds of meth, 24 guns and four stolen vehicles.

Jeffrey Pedigo, 48, and Cathy Pedigo, 43, of rural Pierce County are two of the four individuals arrested at the time, according to a news release. Two more are still being sought by law enforcement.

The investigation led to members of JNET and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration then arresting Jose L Gutierrez-Lopez, 33, and his sister, Elvia Gutierrez-Lopez, 43, for delivery of methamphetamine, and the seizure of more than 500 grams of the drug and a firearm, according to JNET.

The team led by Centralia Police Department’s Sgt. Brian Warren, the JNET supervisor, reports those arrests led them to Jeffrey Pedigo for a second time, who was allegedly in possession of a sawed-off, pistol gripped-shot gun, more than a pound of meth, and more stolen property, according to the news release.

Jeffrey Pedigo was booked into the Pierce County Jail and is currently being held on $1.25 million dollars bail.

Last week, law enforcement received new information regarding additional stolen items allegedly being concealed by the Pedigos and discovered the storage unit in South Hill, according to Warren.

They recovered numerous tools and equipment, some used for commercial construction, including an industrial walk-behind concrete saw. Among the loot: Over 30 drills, 12 air compressors, 12 generators and 10 leaf blowers.

The crimes involve Lewis, Thurston and Pierce counties.

Warren states if someone has been a victim of theft in the recent past and can identify their property with a serial number, to phone him at 360-330-7680.

The investigation has included involvement also from the Pierce County Auto Theft Task Force, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Teams and the Washington State Patrol.

Three of the 26 firearms recovered came from Lewis and Pierce counties. Altogether, about five pounds of meth was confiscated.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:08 am
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•••

Updated at 10:20 a.m.

DRUGS

• An individual arrested overnight for trespassing at a retail store on the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis was subsequently also arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a dangerous weapon,  according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer responding about 3:50 a.m. allegedly found a switch blade as well as a white substance and a brown substance. Jeremy D. Barnes, 26, from Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• Centralia police contacted a 27-year-old man wanted for two municipal warrants just after 1 p.m. yesterday on the street at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue and when he was searched, found unspecified controlled substances on him. Robert L. Huey was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A 35-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree malicious mischief yesterday afternoon after allegedly smashing the windows out of a car parked on the 1100 block of J Street in Centralia. Officers called just before 4 p.m. located Mark A. Silva nearby and booked him into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called just noon yesterday about a vehicle prowl on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue in which someone busted out a window, rummaged around and stole as-yet unspecified items.

AND FROM MORTON

• Morton police reported yesterday they were called at 10:55 p.m. on Friday regarding an individual allegedly using social media to harass another individual. The case is still under investigation, according to the Morton Police Department.

• Officers responded to 200 block of Seventh Street in Morton about 5 a.m. on Sunday to a report of a man passed out on the reporting party’s couch. The individual was recognized by the officer from an earlier dispute and was escorted to his home, according to the Morton Police Department. The complainant did not want to pursue trespassing charges, according to police.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 20-year-old motorist was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after a single-vehicle rollover accident yesterday afternoon at the 1700 block of Little Hanaford Road outside of Centralia. Dakota L. Nelson, from Centralia, suffered a minor lacerations but the 2004 Jeep Liberty sustained major damage after the approximately 2:30 p.m. wreck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Nelson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

• The tongue of the trailer on a log truck struck a cement beam under Interstate 5 at the Cowlitz Loop Road near Toledo about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 39-year-old driver of the 2015 Kenworth was unhurt, but the truck sustained minor damage, according to the sheriff’s office. It was not hauling any logs, but the trailer was loaded onto the truck’s bunk, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for hit and run, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street, possibly suicidal person … and more.

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Read about Rochester man off to prison for deadly wreck …

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 8:40 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a Rochester resident was sentenced yesterday in Thurston County Superior Court to 20 months in prison following his guilty plea to one count of vehicular homicide in connection with a December 2014 crash on state Route 507.

News reporter Andy Hobbs writes Corey R. Tribble, a former kindergarten teacher who is now 41, tried to illegally pass as many as eight vehicles while speeding just south of Yelm when he swerved and lost control of his car the morning of Dec. 11. He collided head on with Rainier resident Kenneth Brackett’s vehicle.

Brackett, 51, of Rainer, died on Dec. 26.

Read about it here.

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Rape investigation: Salkum man held with no bail, no charges

Monday, February 1, 2016 at 6:54 pm
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Joel L. Kaech looks toward lawyers during his hearing in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County prosecutors held off on filing any criminal charges today against the Salkum man arrested yesterday for the alleged kidnapping and rape of a 32-year-old Longview woman.

Joel L. Kaech, 25, will be held with no bail at the Lewis County Jail at least until tomorrow when the state should be in a better position to make an informed decision, according to authorities.

The alleged incident came to the attention of police, who made contact with the alleged victim around 8:25 p.m. on Saturday at the Goodwill store in Centralia after she reportedly ran away from Kaech at the skate park across Harrison Avenue.

She told law enforcement officers Kaech earlier had picked up her and a mutual friend in Longview, but kicked the friend out of the car and said, “Now you are my hostage,” according to court papers filed today.

The alleged victim told of being driven to the Spiffy’s parking lot on U.S. Highway 12 and raped and then to Kaech’s home in Salkum where he would take a shower and pick up some clothing, telling his mother not to let her leave, according to the declaration of probable cause.

The document offers other details including the following:

The alleged victim told a sheriff’s deputy Kaech drove them to a state park where he wanted to pick up some hidden stolen items – which he allegedly wanted to sell to get money to buy drugs, but they were not found – and to a church parking lot to sleep. She reported she awoke to Kaech  breaking in to the building and he threatened he would kill her if she didn’t help.

She told the deputy he then drove to a secluded place off U.S. Highway 12 where he allegedly pulled her by the hair into the back seat and once again raped her. Then they traveled to the skate park in Centralia. She also said she was threatened with a metal pipe.

When found sleeping in his car on Stowell Road in Salkum yesterday and questioned, Kaech denied knowing the alleged victim.

In Lewis County Superior Court today, Kaech talked back to the judge, and was told he would be held in contempt for 30 days, and then 30 more days when he did it again.

Lewis County Prosecutor Sheila Weirth had asked for bail to be set at $500,000, but Judge James Lawler made it a no-bail hold after the first outburst.

His temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said afterwards, Kaech hadn’t known the details of the accusations being leveled against him until he got into the courtroom this afternoon.

“He was frustrated, as you can imagine,” O’Rourke said. “He didn’t have an opportunity to read though the probable cause statement until he got to court.”

Deputies saw a metal pipe in his car and applied for a search warrant to look for evidence in the vehicle, according to the court papers. The documents also relate that the alleged victim was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia for evidence collection.

Prosecutors asked for and were granted the opportunity to keep Kaech in jail and bring him before a judge again tomorrow afternoon.
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For background, read “News brief: Kidnapping investigation leads to Salkum resident” from Monday February 1, 2016, here