Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Show and tell for law enforcement and fire service personnel draws moderate crowd

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
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Lewis County Fire District 2 Firefighter Hadly Blankenship helped his three boys – Oliver, Kayden and Noah – into a brush truck.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

NAPAVINE – First responders.

The people on the front lines and behind the scenes when emergencies arise and someone calls 911 for help.

Representatives from Lewis County public safety agencies and organizations spent yesterday under sunny skies in a sort of show-and-tell.

For kids, it included invitations to climb behind the wheels of fire trucks, the sheriff’s office’s 48,000 pound armored SWAT and rescue vehicle and even into a shiny black and white 1940 Ford patrol car.

“These are all the people you would see if there was a large scale disaster here,” Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza said as he motioned toward those with the booths and vehicles that formed a horseshoe in the parking lot alongside Interstate 5.

The event, called First Responders Day, was held outside Bethel Church of the Assemblies of God in Napavine.

Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, formerly known as Lewis County Fire District 5, had their extrication tools on display and hope next year to do an actual demonstration of cutting into a vehicle to get to the injured.

Lewis County Fire District 6 handed out plastic fire helmets and pencils reminding about the importance of smoke detectors. The state patrol gave out junior trooper sticker badges.

Among the demonstrations, were Sheriff’s Cmdr. Dusty Breen zapping a paper silhouette of a man with a Taser, and answering questions about how very thin wire and prongs make the connection when used.

The crowd got to watch a simulated police pursuit, complete with the “suspect” getting grabbed by a police dog after bailing out and running across a field.

Two search and rescue dogs, plus one in training, with the Lewis County-based Cascade Dogs were on hand.

Other participants included Human Response Network, the local Red Cross and the relatively new Lewis and Mason County Crime Victim Service Center. And more.

Lewis County Crime Stoppers was there to promote their program, and put together free ID kits for parents.

That was the first booth Leslie Hill of Toledo visited with her children, ages 6 and 4.

“I always get these updated every year,” Hill said, as she waited for photo identification cards, DNA swabs and fingerprints to take home.

Centralia Police Department’s SWAT team laid out the various tools of their work, including newer-style spike strips that would flatten a tire slowly if a suspect drove over it.

The four-hour event was winding down when a Life Flight helicopter and its three-person crew arrived from Longview.

“I’m pretty happy with the turnout,” organizer sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Wetzel said. He said he and other already have more ideas for next year.

A somewhat similar gathering is planned for Tuesday evening, with the Centralia Police Department’s National Night Out.

The department has traditionally participated in the nationwide annual community-police awareness-raising event by caravanning to various neighborhood Block Watch group gatherings.

This year, the department is inviting folks to come see them at Washington Park on Pearl Street from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Centralia police plan to offer opportunities to drive a golf cart wearing goggles that simulate drunk driving, and say there will be face painting, a balloon artist, a bounce house, live music and free hot dogs.

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Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Dusty Breen demonstrates use of a Taser for attendees at First Responders Day in Napavine.

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See lots more photos from the day on Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page

News brief: Grass fire threatens Rochester residences

Friday, July 31st, 2015
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Crews work to extinguish fire on Southwest Bonnie Lane  /  Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority reports five acres burned but the flames have been extinguished with no loss to structures.

Crews were called around 11:40 a.m. to the area along Southwest Bonnie Lane near School Land Road in Rochester.

They were joined by departments from as far away as Tenino.

Six homes, outbuildings and vehicles were threatened, according to the department’s post on Facebook moments ago.

Failed double crossing drug deal ends with prison for “seller”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
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•••

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 24-year-old who robbed a potential drug customer of $1,000 in Centralia last month – and kept the bag of salt he pretended was ecstasy – was sentenced today to just shy of 10 years in prison.

McRae D. Armstrong was in Lewis County Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty as charged a week after his arrest.

The incident at the end of June took place inside a car in the parking lot at Safeway on Harrison Avenue.

The Centralia Police Department had provided the money, as the buyer was a confidential informant and officers were conducting surveillance during the transaction. A short police pursuit ensued but Armstrong wasn’t located that day.

He admitted he used a firearm, and told the buyer-turned victim to get out of the car.

Armstrong pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, attempted eluding, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and  possession with intent to deliver an imitation controlled substance.

His lawyer Don Blair asked the judge for a mid-range sentence, noting his client accepted the deal basically within a day of getting the offer from the state.

“And the fact that he is here taking responsibility, literally within a week of court,” Blair said.

Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain recommended Armstrong be given 116 months on the first count – the top of the standard sentencing range – and lesser amounts for the other offenses to be served concurrently.

McClain was asked to handle the case, because of a potential appearance of a conflict. Armstrong’s father is a private investigator who often works on cases in Lewis County.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler gave Armstrong nine years and eight months.

The sentence also includes three years under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections when he is released and a requirement the defendant be evaluated for drug and alcohol abuse and follow through with the recommended treatment.

An 18-year-old Olympia woman has been charged in the case, as she was allegedly with Armstrong when it happened. A second male has been charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly helping Armstrong hide from police, according to McClain.
•••

For background, read “Teen driver for ecstasy drug deal-turned robbery booked” from Saturday June 27, 2015, here

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigating child assault, one arrested

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
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Chandra M. Munsey consults with a temporary defense attorney during her bail hearing on Monday afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 22-year-old arrested on Thursday was charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with two counts of second-degree child assault, in a case involving her boyfriend’s toddlers.

The two little boys were taken into protective custody after their father called police and the children were checked out at Providence Centralia Hospital and then Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, according to their father Casiano Baldovinos.

Baldovinos is standing by his girlfriend, Chandra M. Munsey, and attended her bail hearing yesterday afternoon.

“I know that Chandra’s innocent,” Baldovinos said outside the courtroom.

Authorities have revealed little about the case, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Munsey was brought before a judge on Friday afternoon, when a prosecutor asked to have the documents detailing the allegations sealed. Judge James Lawler granted the request.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead indicated he wasn’t ready to file charges, and asked that Munsey continue to be held in the jail at least until another hearing after the weekend.

Munsey was brought before the judge again yesterday afternoon, after the criminal charges were filed, where defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked the court to consider releasing her with an unsecured or co-signed bond.

“She has absolutely no felony history, and has a stable residence in Chehalis with her boyfriend,” O’Rourke said.

Judge Lawler set her bail at $50,000.

Baldovinos said his boys, ages 2 and 3, live with him in rural Chehalis. He’s cared for the oldest one nearly all his life, and last year at this time, got the court to make their mother’s family turn the youngest over to him.

He and their mother are not together, he said.

The boys’ grandmother, Rebecca Torres of Centralia, said she’s been warning authorities something bad could happen, since the day police came to take the youngest from her home.

“I’ve been trying for a year to keep them safe,” Torres said, sobbing.

Their mother is in prison, serving a sentence of a year and day for something Torres called petty. Jessica Schroeder, 27, should be getting out next month, her mother said. But Schroeder signed her youngest over to her mother when he was five months old, Torres said.

Exactly what happened remains under investigation, but photos shared by Torres and her 17-year-old daughter on social media last week show the two-year-old with a black and swollen eye. His brother’s picture shows marks on his face as well.

Baldovinos said the children stayed a couple of nights early last week with his girlfriend’s parents, in rural Centralia. When he picked them up, Munsey’s father told him the children scuffled, and one gave the other a black eye, he said.

But he didn’t believe that, he said, and he called police.

The court document filed yesterday that charges Munsey, indicates prosecutors believe the assaults occurred between Monday and Wednesday of last week.

Second-degree child assault is a class B felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. The offense involves recklessly inflicting substantial bodily harm upon a child younger than 13 years old.

Munsey’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Prison awaits Toledo man who tried to catch possible burglar, with gun

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
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Larry N. Bemrose waits in the jury box for a corrections officer to take him down to the Lewis County Jail following his sentencing.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 66-year-old Toledo resident who thought he was protecting his neighborhood when he pointed a shotgun at an 8-year-old boy and then the boy’s mother was sentenced yesterday for two felonies.

Larry N. Bemrose was arrested after the Nov. 7 incident  in the area of North Fifth Street in the South Lewis County town and charged with two counts of first-degree assault.

The woman, Finola Erickson, told police she’d just left a relative’s house in the area of Middle Crest Road and when she came to the stop sign, a pickup truck pulled a U-turn in front of her and blocked her, according to charging documents. She said a man she’d never seen before got out, approached with a rifle and pointed it at her son who was sitting in the passenger seat, and then walked around her side of the car and pointed it at her, charging documents relate.

Erickson took off in her yellow Neon and parked near Toledo High School, where she turned off her headlights to hide from the man and called 911.

It was an unfortunate incident of mistaken identity, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told a judge yesterday.

Halstead, the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer were in Lewis County Superior Court after striking a plea deal.

Prosecutors reduced the charged to two counts of second-degree assault, to which Bemrose pleaded guilty earlier this past spring.

“Unfortunately for him, it was a mother with her child in the vehicle,” Halstead said.

Centralia defense attorney Don Blair said his client was witness to what he thought was a burglary to a neighbor’s home and when he approached what he thought was the suspect vehicle, they “threw it in reverse” so he went and retrieved his gun.

“Unfortunately for the woman and her son, the vehicles looked similar,” Blair said.

According to charging documents, Bemrose admitted to police at the time to confronting a sport utility vehicle and a Lincoln, but denied contacting the yellow Neon.

Blair told Judge Richard Brosey that when Bemrose first learned it was a different party, he broke down and cried in Blair’s office, realizing what the woman and her child must have gone through.

The standard sentencing range for the offense is 12 to 14 months in prison. The two lawyers agreed to recommend Bemrose be sentenced to 12 months and one day.

Judge Brosey agreed, and gave Bemrose 11 days credit for time spent in the Lewis County Jail.

As Lewis County Superior Court judges customarily tell defendants when they are convicted of felonies, he explained to Bemrose he’d lost his right to possess firearms, and lost his right to vote.

When he is released, he will be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for 18 months.
•••

For background, read “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – FROM THE COURTHOUSE” from Monday November 10, 2014, here

Suspected gunman in Centralia home invasion held on $500,000 bail

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
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Hennessy R. Turner-White, 22, from Portland, was represented by temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke at his bail hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The second of the three males believed to have barged in and shot up a Centralia residence demanding cash and weed earlier this year has been arrested.

Hennessy R. Turner-White was picked up in Clark County on a $500,000 arrest warrant.

The 22-year-old Portland resident will get his chance to make his plea tomorrow morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

Centralia police found nine shell casings and two bullet jacket fragments at the small home on Marion Street when they investigated the Feb. 19 incident. They also found one of the resident’s two dogs shot dead on the sidewalk.

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Marion Street, Feb. 19, 2015

Dustin Palermo and his girlfriend initially wondered if it could have been related to winning money at the casino the night before, but the police investigation pointed to a local teen who once helped trim Palermo’s pot plants.

Palermo had medical marijuana growing inside.

Brian A. Carreon, 17, of Centralia, was arrested last week, charged as an adult and is being held on $75,000 bail.

Turner-White was brought before a judge earlier this week, who left his bail at $500,000.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey noted police are still looking for the third suspect in Nevada.

The two currently housed in the Lewis County Jail are both charged with first-degree robbery. Turner-White is additionally charged with first-degree assault.

One of Carreon’s two sisters who live in Portland has been charged with rendering criminal assistance. Taina Duncan is accused of driving with the others to the house, but staying inside her car with her daughter.

According to charging documents, when Carreon was interviewed by police a second time told them he’d taken a video of himself once when he trimmed Palermo’s’ plants for him, and he’d shown it to Turner-White.

He said he was phoned by Turner-White who said he knew he had a connection to get weed, and was headed up.

“(When) they arrived at the Palermo’s residence, Hennessy pulled out a gun and said they weren’t going to buy the weed,” Carreon told police according to the charging documents.

Carreon told police they went to the door and he was behind them telling them to stop; that the third male kicked in the door, and that Turner-White shot the dog.

Charging documents in the case don’t relate what was actually stolen, but state they were only inside about 45 seconds based on Palermo’s security video.

Palermo described to police that one of the intruders was very tall, wearing a maroon hoodie and seemed to be in charge, doing a lot of the yelling. It appeared he had a black 9 mm or 45 semi-automatic handgun, according to Palermo.

Turner-White is Carreon’s other sister’s ex-boyfriend.

He grew up in Portland, according to his temporary defense attorney earlier this week. His mother was in the courtroom for his short hearing.

Judge Brosey appointed Centralia lawyer Don Blair to represent Turner-White.
•••

For background, read “Two arrested, two sought in February Centralia home invasion” from Thursday July 9, 2015, here

Winlock company loses $1 million, temporarily

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – More than $1 million worth of checks left in an unlocked desk in an unlocked office at a Winlock business last summer disappeared. But they were returned a couple of days later.

However, according to prosecutors, one of them in which the payee line had been left blank was written out and cashed for more than $16,000 by an individual who worked for Jake’s Fireworks for a day and a half.

Jake’s is a distributor of wholesale fireworks and a fireworks retailer on Nevil Road in Winlock.

Carlos D. Linares, now 21, reportedly sent an email to the company within weeks, and admitted he took the check and used the money, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

When law enforcement spoke with Linares this spring, he allegedly said he chose the one check because it was the only one not made out to someone, that he put his name on it and had a relative cash it for him.

Linares was summonsed into Lewis County Superior Court yesterday, where he is charged with first-degree theft and forgery.

He’s unemployed and lives in Chehalis, the judge was told. Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said Linares has no criminal history,.

Judge Richard Brosey allowed him to remain out of jail pending trial on a $5,000 unsecured signature bond.

Charging documents in the case state the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was contacted on July 9 of last year by the fireworks company.

An employee said she’d been contacted by a girl who returned several two-party checks made out to Jake’s.

The girl said she found the stack of checks in an envelope inside a backpack in a park, charging documents say.

She was engaged to Linares, and said she found them on July 7 and that he would have had access to them before she returned them on July 9, according to the allegations.

The stack of checks totaling more than $1 million were believed to have disappeared on July 8, the same day Linares is believed to have come into the office to be paid, according to charging documents.

It wasn’t until August 11, that the discovery was made that one of them had not been returned, and had been cashed for $16,040.51, according to the documents.

Linares’s arraignment is scheduled for July 30.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
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•••

INJURY COLLISIONS

• A 28-year-old Packwood resident riding a dirt bike without a helmet was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after crashing yesterday. Deputies responding about 5:45 p.m. learned from witnesses the man was traveling along Elkhorn Drive in Packwood when he lost control and wrecked near Cannon Road and Holiday Lane, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown described his injuries as serious and the damage to the 2000 Kawasaki as minor. The sheriff’s office suspects alcohol was involved, according to Brown.

• A 51-year-old driver ended up with a possible broken hand or wrist when she wrecked yesterday afternoon, her Jeep Cherokee rolling end over end along the 400 block of Chilvers Road west of Chehalis. Deputies responding to the approximately 5 p.m. incident were told she was traveling westbound when her vehicle left the roadway and struck a raised driveway entrance, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Bellevue woman had been wearing her seat belt; the vehicle was totaled, according to the sheriff’s office. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

VEHICLE THEFT

• A white 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 pickup truck with Illinois plates was stolen sometime during the night from the 100 block of South Cedar Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 7:30 a.m. today.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 8 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 700 block of Pioneer Way.

• Someone stole a tent from the back of a truck parked at the 800 block of South Silver Street. An officer called about 3:50 p.m. yesterday learned it must have occurred during the night.

• A vehicle was broken into and its stereo stolen on the 700 block of Bengal Court in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called at 10 a.m. yesterday to the 900 block of West Main Street to take a report an individual’s vehicle got spray painted.

BURNING BUSHES

• Firefighters were called about 6 o’clock yesterday evening when hedge trees caught fire in a planting bed at Applebee’s restaurant on Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis. It was near the road and likely was ignited from a cigarette butt, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, dispute, suspicious circumstances, vandalism, collision on city street … and more.

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Burning bushes along Northwest Louisiana Avenue. / Courtesy photo by Lori Cusson

Prosecutors: Winlock park shooter grew tired of ex-girlfriend disrespecting gang

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
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Joseph M. Lowery is charged with attempted first-degree murder in Lewis County Superior Court, an offense with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 20-year-old who grew up in Winlock is being held on $500,000 bail, accused of leaning into the bushes and taking aim with a pistol – from some 50 feet away – at his former girlfriend as she sat alone next to a stream in the woods.

Shyann Gallimore, also 20, was struck in the back with what authorities believe was a 22 caliber bullet.

But it could be as long as two weeks before the round is removed, and examined.

“It ricocheted off something, and lodged in my shoulder,” Gallimore said yesterday.

The young woman was taken by a friend to Providence Centralia Hospital where she was treated and sent home the same night. Gallimore is home in Winlock, where she lives with friends she said are taking care of her.

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Courtesy photo from Gallimore.

The incident took place on the outskirts of Winolequa Park in the South Lewis County community. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it happened about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“This is a safety issue,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said as she addressed bail for the suspect yesterday afternoon.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey agreed the amount was appropriate.

The sheriff’s office reported the suspect had threatened violence before against the victim and made reference to an ongoing dispute.

Prosecutors in charging documents allege the suspect told deputies he had become tired of Gallimore disrespecting the “Juggalo family.”

Joseph M. Lowery is charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say he and a 16-year-old boy who was with him that evening admitted they are members of the Juggalo gang. And that on a previous occasion, Lowery had allegedly told the teen if he ever saw Gallimore in “his” woods, he would shoot her.

And that he would “put it on the hatchet,” a Juggalo term meaning promise, according to prosecutors.

Juggalo is a name used by fans of performance artists called the Insane Clown Posse. Federal law enforcement agencies identified Juggalos as a non-traditional type gang in 2011.

Whatever exactly the reason for the weekend shooting, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke alluded to another possibility yesterday afternoon when the suspect was given a court appointed attorney.

“I suspect Mr. Arcuri will be asking for a mental health evaluation,” O’Rourke told the judge.

His mother was among those in the courtroom, to support him, O’Rourke said. And he has absolutely no criminal history, she said.

The sheriff’s office and charging documents give the following account of what took place:

Gallimore was at a mutual friend’s home on Limmer Road earlier on Saturday, and when she learned Lowery was headed there, she called a friend to pick her up near Winolequa Park to make sure she didn’t walk home alone. Gallimore was afraid of Lowery.

She walked to a trail leading to the park and was sitting down and on the phone with the friend when she heard a pop, felt pain in her back, reached around to touch and then found blood on her hand.

The friend, who Gallimore said is a roommate and like a little brother to her, took her to the hospital. That’s where deputies responded to learn what happened.

An X-ray revealed an object in her back consistent with a .22 caliber round. An injury near the middle of her back is consistent with a bullet wound.

When deputies located the 16-year-old later that night at a residence on Sears Road, he told them he and Lowery knew Gallimore was at Limmer Road and were on their way there, but as they got to the park, Lowery asked him for the .22 revolver in his backpack.

They went into the woods and as they walked up the trail they saw her, sitting next to the stream. The teen said Lowery told him to keep walking, and then Lowery leaned into the bushes and aimed the gun.

The teen said he heard a pop, he heard Gallimore yelling, and they ran away up a trail.

The 16-year-old, who also lives in Winlock, was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center and yesterday, Judge Brosey found probable cause to hold him, as prosecutors requested, as an accomplice in the crime of attempted first-degree murder.

His bail was also was set at $500,000.

Prosecutors wanted more time to make a final decision, but the nature of the proposed potential charge, a class A felony, made it automatic the 16-year-old be handled in adult court, according to Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher.

However, today, Meagher said further review of the case indicated the more appropriate charges for the teen were only second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and tampering with evidence. And prosecutors decided not to charge him as an adult.

The charges were filed today.

The 16-year-old, who had been moved to the Lewis County Jail, went before Judge Brosey once again this afternoon, for a juvenile detention hearing.

Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio and a juvenile probation officer urged the judge to continue to hold the teen until his arraignment.

A major concern is the gun has not been recovered, Judge Brosey was told.

The teen was to be sent back to the juvenile detention following the hearing. Court appointed attorney Shane O’Rourke is representing him

The teen’s arraignment is Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Lowery’s arraignment is Thursday at 10:40 a.m.
•••

For background, read “Sheriff’s Office: Winlock woman shot in back in park by ex, survives” from Monday July 20, 2015, here

Court cases stalled for Centralia man while mental evaluation sought

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
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Wellington M. Waggener hasn’t been back to Lewis County Superior Court since he threw himself over the half wall behind the defendant’s table shortly after this photo was taken on Wednesday afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia resident arrested three times in four days – twice for his alleged actions inside the jail – won’t be arraigned anytime soon.

Wellington M. Waggener, 26, is scheduled to return to court for a review next month.

He was to have the opportunity to make his pleas on Thursday morning to four felony charges, but the judge signed an order for a mental evaluation to be conducted by Western State Hospital.

The former Centralia College basketball player was booked into the Lewis County Jail after a Friday night incident in which a woman said she found him in her bed at a Centralia motel, touching her with his hands.

While being housed in the medical observation portion of the jail on Sunday, he allegedly spit on a corrections officer’s face as he was being served dinner.

Then on Tuesday morning, he allegedly threatened to kill two other of the officers, telling one of them that he would kill her if he saw her outside the jail and telling the other he wanted to slit his throat.

Defendants can’t be arraigned unless they are competent to understand the charges against them.

The judge had already noted at Waggener’s first appearance in Lewis County Superior Court that he was familiar with Waggener, and that he may need to be on some mental health treatment.

Then on Wednesday at his second bail hearing, the handcuffed and shackled  6-foot 9-inch tall defendant threw himself over the half wall that separates the public seating area from the front portion of the courtroom. Guards dragged him out of the courtroom.

It was about 18 months ago that jail staff left Waggener in a cell to suffer for more than five hours without any water for relief after an entire three-ounce can of pepper spray was discharged into his cell. Lewis County had a check for $300,000 delivered to his lawyer last month as a settlement regarding the incident.

The sergeant held responsible was fired.

According to charging documents in his newest case, at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Waggener became angry when told he couldn’t take a shower at that moment, and 40 minutes later tried to flood his cell.

He was still being held in the medical observation unit.

When a corrections officer responded, he allegedly said he would shoot her, he would kill her if he saw her on the streets. He acted like he had a rifle in his hand and told he’d like to see her head explode, charging documents state.

Charging documents go on to allege that when questioned, Waggener said they were not threats, but promises.

It was a few hours later when he allegedly told a jail sergeant that he wanted to slit his throat.

He asked the sergeant if that scared him, and the sergeant said no, charging documents state. He allegedly said it should, because when he was released, he would do it.

When Waggener was interviewed about it, he said he’d been asleep all day and made no threats.

He is currently charged with residential burglary with sexual motivation as well as custodial assault, for which his bail was set at $25,000. He is also charged with  two counts of felony harassment, for which bail was set at $50,000.

Waggener’s review hearing is on the court calendar for Aug. 8.
•••

For background, read:

• “Former Lewis County Jail inmate paid $300,000 for pepper spray abuse incident” from Wednesday July 15, 2015, here

• “Centralia man jailed after woman tells of waking up to stranger in her motel room bed” from Tuesday July 14, 2015, here

Surviving driver from fatal Onalaska wreck ordered to wear alcohol monitor while case pending

Friday, July 17th, 2015
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Three wooden crosses mark the roadside of Monday night’s collision. / Courtesy photo by Ayla Marie Withey

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The driver of the second vehicle in the Onalaska crash that killed three teens told the investigating trooper he’d drank a beer about five hours earlier, but his breath and his entire van smelled of alcohol, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Joseph W. Rogerson, 36, and his wife were returning home to Chehalis from getting a shovel at Cowlitz Timber Trails when they collided head on with a sport utility vehicle carrying eight young people on state Route 508 near Hyak Road.

The state patrol has said both vehicles crossed the centerline and the investigation is ongoing.

The Monday night tragedy has left a community grieving.

Wooden crosses have been placed beside the road at the scene and a vigil is set for tomorrow night, where organizers hope mourners will encircle the entire Carlisle Lake mill pond.

The state patrol’s initial reports indicated the black 2002 Land Rover Discovery was occupied by four 18-year-olds and four 13-year-olds from Onalaska and Chehalis.

However, the police report indicates slightly different ages.

Dead at the scene were the driver, Arnold W. Mullinax, 17, and Taylor N. Thompson, 12, both from Onalaska, according to Trooper Torson Iverson’s report.

Dakota L. Dunivin, 18, from Chehalis, died the following day at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. All the deaths were caused by blunt force trauma and listed as accidental.

Trooper Iverson writes he arrived shortly after 10 p.m. that night, and saw emergency lights ahead, and then a silver van partially blocking the westbound lane, and the Land Rover on its top in the center of the road.

The bulk of his report focuses on Rogerson, the driver of the Ford Freestar minivan.

The man was crying as he answered questions, and said he’d been doing CPR on someone for about five minutes. When asked if he was hurt, he said he didn’t know.

“Rogerson stated he was driving ‘and all of a sudden, it’s like, you just never think someone like you is going to be involved … all of a sudden bam’,” Iverson wrote.

Rogerson agreed to perform field sobriety tests, during which at some points he stumbled and also swayed from side to side, the trooper wrote. He declined a portable breath test.

From the beginning, the man told the trooper the other vehicle basically was in his lane, and that it ran into him

Three troopers located what they believed to be the point of impact, deep gouges in the roadway, right on the centerline, between the yellow lines that form the centerline, according to the report.

Rogerson, who mentioned the next day was his first day at work as a medical assistant, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital by ambulance, where the trooper met him to have his blood drawn for testing.

The report does not include his blood alcohol level.

Rogerson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence on the instructions of his sergeant and the prosecutor, Iverson wrote.

The following day, Rogerson appeared in Lewis County District Court where he pleaded not guilty. A $5,000 appearance bond was posted on his behalf.

Among his conditions of release, is that he may not consume any alcohol or go into a bar. The court order stated he had to be equipped with a SCRAM – an alcohol monitor bracelet – before leaving the jail.

And he may not drive without an  ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle.

Rogerson was appointed Chehalis attorney Jacob Clark. His court file does not indicate when he will return to court.

The state patrol indicated the night of the accident that if the investigation reveals his driving is the cause of the collision, the charge could be elevated.
•••

For background, read “Two dead, at least three injured in head on crash in Onalaska” from Tuesday July 14, 2015, here

Prosecutor: Chehalis shooting was about a woman

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
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Chan H. Oscar is seated with his lawyer David Arcuri at his sentencing hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chan H. Oscar’s voice broke and he looked down as he apologized to the friend he called his cousin, for shooting him on a Chehalis street.

The round from the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun grazed an eyebrow and traveled through Kevin St. Catherine’s wrist.

St. Catherine did have a full time job and commuted to Bremerton, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge. But he’s had two surgeries and won’t be able to bend his wrist.

“He won’t be able to work,” Halstead said.

The two men, are both from the Caribbean, are both Chehalis residents and their families have known each other for quite some time, Halstead said.

“Unfortunately, on this particular day, things got out of hand,” he said.

Oscar was in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday morning, to be sentenced for second-degree attempted murder. He’d made an Alford plea, not admitting guilt.

Halstead as he made his recommendation, told the judge Oscar wasn’t the instigator, that the two 36-year-olds had agreed to go fight. It had to do with a woman, Halstead said.

Defense attorney David Arcuri spoke on behalf of his client, telling of St. Catherine being the aggressor, tracking Oscar down at the Motel 6 where he assaulted him.

“And it wasn’t until my client opened his coat and showed he had a firearm, that Mr. St. Catherine backed off,” Arcuri said. “Our evidence would have showed Mr. St. Catherine said words to the effect, you’re not the only one with a gun.”

The incident took place the night of May 13,  on Southwest William Avenue near Fourth Street in Chehalis. Their two vehicles met up there.

“No doubt Mr. Oscar is culpable for discharging that firearm” Arcuri said. “But one has to appreciate how terrifying that could be.”

Oscar was taken into custody a few hours later, a loaded handgun found on his person.

Arcuri asked for 108 months in prison for his client. Halsted asked for 160.

Judge Richard Brosey imposed 156 months, which is 13 years.

He also ordered three years of community custody with the state Department of Corrections upon Oscar’s release.

And no contact for life with the victim.

Prosecutors dismissed a charge of rendering criminal assistance against 50-year-old Lenard A. Carlile, who was a passenger in the vehicle that police found Oscar in when they took him into custody that night.

•••

For background, read “Police: Chehalis resident jailed for shooting cousin on neighborhood street” from Thursday May 14, 2015, here

Stranger with knife sentenced to time served

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
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Sean M. Ferrel listens to lawyers and the judge as he learns he is about to be released from jail.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to a sentence even lower than the standard due to ongoing mental health issues for a man who walked into a rural Centralia home with a serrated steak knife in his hand.

Sean M. Ferrel, 43, from Bremerton interrupted a couple at the residence near the far end of Little Hanaford Road, and was held at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived early last summer.

Ferrel made a so-called Alford plea to first-degree burglary, and appeared before a judge yesterday to be sentenced.

The man who was just passing through Lewis County, and now plans to head south to California has been waiting in the Lewis County Jail for more than a year now, and should be released with time served, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge.

“I’ve spoken with the victim and the victim is on board,” Halstead said yesterday morning. “He doesn’t want to testify, he has other things going on.”

Halstead asked the judge to order Ferrel to get evaluated for and comply with substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Defense attorney Sam Groberg said his client had been to Western State Hospital three times since his arrest.

“He still has ongoing mental health issues he continues to deal with,” Groberg said.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler said what he heard made sense. He agreed to the recommendation, and imposed 384 days.

But Lawler told the defendant he would be on community custody with the state Department of Corrections for 18 months.

“That means you need to check in with DOC at the Lewis County Mall when you get out,” Lawler said.

He put in place a no contact order regarding the victim and explained to Ferrel he now had two strikes against him.

“That mean, if you have a third strike, you’ll go to prison for the rest of your life,” Lawler said.
•••

For background, read “Stranger with knife walks into rural Centralia home” from Friday June 27, 2014, here

Former Lewis County Jail inmate paid $300,000 for pepper spray abuse incident

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County paid a former inmate $300,000 not to sue the county, its jail or any of its employees for mistreatment he suffered while incarcerated.

The then-24-year-old Centralia man was housed at the facility in January of last year, described as a person with mental health issues who was being held in the medical observation area.

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Wellington M. Waggener

An entire three-ounce can of pepper spray was discharged into his cell to get him to give back keys he’d grabbed off a guard through the cuff port, and then he was left to suffer for more than five hours without being given any kind of relief – such as water or decontamination.

There was no running water in the cell at the time, having been shut off the day before due to his attempt to flood the cell.

Then-Sheriff Steve Mansfield called the incident disgusting and embarrassing for the sheriff’s office, after he fired the corrections sergeant he held responsible for what happened.

Undersheriff Wes Rethwill today said the settlement was handled not by the sheriff’s office, but by the Lewis County risk manager.

“Obviously this is an incident that took place involving an employee, that employee is no longer here,” Rethwill said. “The sheriff at the time took appropriate action.”

The sheriff’s office operates the jail. Mansfield was replaced by newly elected Sheriff Rob Snaza in January. Rethwill is new to office as well.

Lewis County RIsk Manager Paulette Young said a lawyer representing the county and a lawyer representing the inmate reached an agreement with the help of a mediator.

“We thought that would be the best way to settle the claim without going to a lawsuit,” Young said. “If Mr. Waggener  had sued us, it would be a civil rights violation in federal court.”

The check was written on June 2, and delivered to the former inmate’s attorney, she said.

Wellington M. Waggener was in the jail because he’d been arrested by Centralia police after he returned to a downtown business he’d been barred from, and then allegedly fought with officers who attempted to detain him.

Now 26 years old, Waggener is being held once again at the Lewis County Jail.  The Centralia man was booked on Friday night in connection with an incident a local motel for which he has been charged with a felony.

Then yesterday morning, he allegedly threatened to kill two jail guards.

He was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with two counts of felony harassment.

The 6-foot 9-inch tall former Centralia College basketball player was handcuffed and shackled at his waist and ankles as many defendants often are.

As his bail hearing came to a close he threw himself over the half wall that separates the public seating area from the front portion of the courtroom.

The four corrections officers already present were on him fairly quickly.

“Oops, I slipped,” Waggener said, as he lay partially on the first bench, with his lower half of his body still on the proper side of the wall.

Trena Krause, who was seated in the courtroom waiting for another matter, heard someone holler, get back, and jumped and walked over the benches to get to the rear of the room.

“The way he was acing, I completely figured he was on drugs, or mental,” Krause said. “I think he was just making an as* out of himself.”

Waggener stayed limp as the guards dragged him off the bench and out of the courtroom, back down to the jail.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke had been about to tell the judge Waggener would qualify for a court appointed attorney, when Judge Richard Brosey suggested she inquire about his assets, in particular if he’d received a settlement to the tune of $300,000 from the county.

Centralia attorney Don Blair was appointed already for his other case.

Judge Brosey said the matter could be discussed further tomorrow, at Waggener’s arraignment.

The $300,000 check was paid by Washington County’s Risk Pool, Lewis County’s insurer.

It was made out to the law firm representing him, in trust for Waggener.

Young said today Waggener never filed a lawsuit or a tort claim, regarding his treatment at the jail last year.

The family’s attorney made a public disclosure request for the documents about the incident, she said.

“We knew where that was going,” she said. “We had an attorney, we went to mediation.”

Lawyers on both sides mutually reached out to each other, she said.

The agreement, signed May 22, means Waggener would release all claims against the county and it’s employees, among those named, Jail Chief Kevin Hanson and former Corrections Sgt. Trevor S. Smith.
•••

For background, read:

• “Sheriff’s Office: Fired corrections officer allowed inmates to suffer” from Friday July 18, 2014, here

• “Centralia man jailed after woman tells of waking up to stranger in her motel room bed” from Tuesday July 14, 2015, here

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Corrections officers grab Wellington M. Waggener as he lay on the first bench behind the defendant’s table in Lewis County Superior Court today.

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Waggener remains limp as corrections officers move him out of the public seating area of the courtroom.

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Waggener is dragged out of Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey’s courtroom this afternoon.

Centralia man jailed after woman tells of waking up to stranger in her motel room bed

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
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Wellington M. Waggener is brought before a Lewis County Superior Court judge for a bail hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 26-year-old who recently earned an associates degree in criminal justice and was arrested over the weekend by Centralia police for rape was not charged with that offense.

Wellington M. Waggener appeared before a judge yesterday where prosecutors asked he be held on $100,000 bail.

Waggener was detained at the Travelodge on Harrison Avenue on Friday night after a 28-year-old woman told police she was sexually assaulted in her room by someone she did not know.

Police on Saturday morning indicated the Centralia woman told them that a black man entered the room and forced sex on her. But charges filed on Monday in Lewis County Superior Court state the woman told an officer she woke up in bed and her clothes had been removed, and a strange male in her bed was touching her body with his hands.

Waggener reportedly followed the woman to the lobby where she went to call 911.

“Apparently he was not acting very rationally,” Centralia Police Department Sgt. Kurt Reichert said.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey yesterday afternoon noted he was familiar with the Centralia man, and suspected there were other issues that needed to be addressed.

“I know he’s been working with Cascade for some time, and may need to be on some mental health treatment,” Brosey said.

Charging documents offer some of the following details and allegations about what occurred:

Police were called at 10:10 p.m. on Friday for an alleged rape. The male was described as a tall black man with dreadlocks wearing a wife beater shirt.

Officer Buddy Croy arrived and saw Waggener in the lobby, who matched that description and who officers are familiar with. He was holding a cup of coffee and indicated he was leaving in an idling Jeep parked just outside the lobby doors.

“Croy asked Waggener if he was at the hotel with a girl, at which time Waggener started talking in circles and not making sense,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in the affidavit of probable cause.

Waggener talked about random things and at one point said he was just trying to get some sex and was going to pay $40 to get it.

The alleged victim, who is not named in charging documents, spoke with a different officer.

Officer Josh Mercer learned from the woman that she and her boyfriend had gotten into an argument and the boyfriend left the motel room.

She said she went to bed but left the door open so he could get back in when he returned.

She told Officer Mercer she was awakened by someone she thought was her boyfriend, but at some point realized it was not.

The charging papers continue on to state that Waggener left the room and the woman attempted to call police but couldn’t because the phone didn’t work, so she went to the lobby.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sheila Weirth told the judge yesterday afternoon the high bail was needed given the nature of the charges and Waggener’s previous convictions twice of third-degree assault, felonies, and also for trespass, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke suggested $10,000 bail, unsecured was suitable, given Waggener’s strong ties to the community.

“He moved to Centralia three years ago to play basketball for Centralia College, and did very well,” O’Rourke said.

She noted he received his associates degree there and had no warrant history.

Judge Brosey set bail at $25,000.

Waggener is charged with residential burglary with sexual motivation, for allegedly entering the dwelling of the woman. The documents don’t indicate whether she lives at the motel. The crime is a class B felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

He is also charged with custodial assault, for allegedly spitting on a corrections officer’s face as he was being served dinner Sunday evening in the jail. That offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Waggener is employed, but brings home only about $600 each month, O’Rourke told the judge, asking for a court appointed lawyer to represent him.

Centralia attorney Don Blair was appointed.

Before the short hearing ended, O’Rourke told the judge the defendant wanted her to request he be furloughed from Thursday until Monday, to allow him to go to work.

The judge suggested Waggener could talk with Blair about that.

Waggener’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday morning.
•••

For background, read “Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – POLICE: WOMAN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AT CENTRALIA MOTEL” from Saturday July 11, 2015, here

Two dead, at least three injured in head on crash in Onalaska

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
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State Route 508 near Hyak Road was closed much of the night while troopers investigated a collision, involving a 2002 Land Rover and a van. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol.

Updated at 3:18 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two teenagers are dead and a third hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a head on collision in Onalaska last night.

The wreck just before 10 p.m. occurred on state Route 508 approximately one mile west of the central Lewis County community, and involved a vehicle carrying eight teens and a second vehicle occupied by one man and a woman, according to the Washington State Patrol.

It’s unclear what caused the wreck, according to state patrol spokesperson Trooper Will Finn.

“At this time, the (man) is under arrest for DUI, but if the investigation reveals his driving is the cause of the collision, those charges could be elevated,” Finn wrote in a news release early this morning.

The highway was still shut down at 12:30 a.m. with a detour in place, while troopers investigated at the scene near Hyak Road. it wasn’t reopened until shortly before 5 a.m.

Responders found the 2002 Land Rover Discovery upside on the road and residents from a nearby home pulling people out of the vehicle, according to Lewis County Fire District 1. They had to cut off a door to extricate others, Fire Chief Andrew Martin said.

It was carrying four 13-year-old girls and four 18-year-old boys, most of whom are or have been students at Onalaska, according to authorities.

“My understanding is on Mondays and Wednesdays, a group of our volleyball kids go to Napavine for practice, and they were coming home from that,” Onalaska School District Superintendent Jeff Davis said.

According to Finn, one teenage boy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and two other individuals were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

However, Martin said the five remaining from the Land Rover were all taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital.

“They had minor to moderate injuries, but mostly as a precaution,” Martin said.

Thirty-one firefighters, EMTs and paramedics responded, with treatment and transports handled by personnel from Onalaska, Salkum, Napavine, Toledo, Fire District 6 and AMR.

It appears only two of the eight teens were wearing seat belts, according to Finn.

He called it a very tragic situation.

“A lot of them were local kids from a very small community,” Finn said. “They’re going to need a lot of support.”

The 2004 Ford Freestyle minivan also came to rest on the roadway, and its driver was taken to Providence as well, as a precaution, according to the fire chief. His female passenger was not transported by ambulance, Martin said.

Joseph W. Rogerson, 36, from Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail early this morning for driving under the influence.

The initial investigation shows Rogerson was traveling westbound and the Land Rover was headed east.

“Both vehicles were actually over the centerline when they hit, so it’s not clear,” Finn said of who caused the accident.

“It’s kind of a sticky case, that’s why it’s still under investigation,” he said.

Dead at the scene was the driver of the Land Rover, Arnold W. Mullinax, 18, of Onalaska. Davis said he used to go to Onalaska schools, but transferred to Mossyrock. He had been wearing a seatbelt, according to the state patrol.

Also deceased, is a 13-year-old girl from Onalaska, whose name has not been released.

Flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, was Dakota L. Dunivin, 18, from Chehalis. A hospital spokesperson said he was listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit at 12:25 p.m. today.

Fire crews were on the scene about four hours. They were joined by a chaplain to assist with numerous people who began to arrive.

Also from the Land Rover were Chris S. Woods, 18, of Onalaska, who was wearing a seatbelt; Jonathan T. Griffis, 18, of Onalaska, who is listed as uninjured.

The other girls from the Land Rover are un-named by the state patrol, all 13 years old. One from Onalaska was injured, one from Chehalis was injured and another from Onalaska was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.

Davis said they opened up a room at the front of Onalaska High School from noon until 4 p.m. today, for students, parents and staff to come, meet, grieve, talk, visit or whatever the need to do.

“Our staff was hit hard with this, because they’ve had these students,” he said.

Update 3:19 p.m.: Dakota L. Dunivin died at 1:08 p.m. today, according to a spokesperson at Harborview.

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The 2004 Ford Freestyle minivan. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

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State Route 508 near Hyak Road. / Courtesy photo by Damion Robbins‎

National Guardsman, former Navy sailor in court for separate sex crimes

Monday, July 13th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 36-year-old member of the National Guard will be in court this week to make his plea to one count of second-degree rape, in connection with allegations made by a teenage member of his household.

Matthew W. Farson was charged in Lewis County Superior Court following an investigation that began when an officer responded to Providence Centralia Hospital to speak with a 17-year-old girl on July 1 about an alleged sexual assault.

According to charging papers, the girl said the night before, Farson had come into her room, and drank beer and vodka with her on her balcony until she got sick. The girl said he helped her into bed where she passed out, but she awoke to his hand inside her shorts, the documents state.

When interviewed by police, Farson reportedly said he’d gotten the teen drunk to teach her not to get to that point, and also because she wasn’t sleeping well, gave her part of one of his old prescription pills, Seroquel. He denied touching her inappropriately.

When he appeared before a judge for a bail hearing last Monday, defense attorney Joely O’Rourke indicated Farson’s only employment is the National Guard, something she thinks he only does one weekend a month.

He was released on an unsecured appearance bond, co-signed by his father, O’Rourke said.

Court papers show Farson with an address in Curtis, but O’Rourke said he lives in Centralia.

Farson has no criminal history, other than two misdemeanors from almost 20 years ago, O’Rourke said. He qualified for a court-appointed lawyer. His arraignment is Thursday.

Meanwhile, a Centralia father of six was sentenced last week to a minimum of six and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree child molestation

Jeffrey A. Bedsole Jr., 32, was arrested in February following an investigation that began when an 11-year-old girl’s mother contacted Centralia police. He admitted sexually abusing a young relative and wanted to plead guilty from the start, according to authorities.

Defense attorney David Arcuri proposed, and prosecutors also recommended, Bedsole be given a sentencing alternative in which he would be locked up for a period of time, undergo intensive treatment for a period of time with the remainder of his sentence deferred as long as he abided by strict conditions.

Bedsole read a letter of apology to the victim when he appeared before Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey on Wednesday morning.

The girl’s mother told the judge she wasn’t opposed to the type of sentence and that the girl didn’t want to see him be locked up.

Judge Brosey noted that even though a pre-sentence evaluation indicated Bedsole was amenable to treatment, he didn’t believe the defendant could abide by some of the other conditions.

Among them, he would have to hold down a full-time job and provide for his family, the judge said.

“The U.S. Navy for four years was the longest he’s ever held a job,” Brosey said. “The long and the short of it is, I just don’t see this working.”

“It will be better for all for Mr. Bedsole to deal with his issues in a secure setting,” Brosey said.

Two arrested, two sought in February Centralia home invasion

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
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Seventeen-year-old Brian A. Carreon, looks over court documents as his bail hearing comes to a close in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 17-year-old Centralia boy who took a video of himself trimming someone else’s medical marijuana plants told police he was pressured by two guys to take them to get some marijuana, and ended up part of a home invasion earlier this year in which a dog was shot.

The teen was arrested yesterday and charged today as an adult in Lewis County Superior Court.

Centralia police were called to a residence on the 1200 block of Marion Street on the night of Feb. 19, where the victim and his girlfriend said they’d just settled into bed when about three males barged through the door demanding money and weed, and fired numerous shots killing their pit bull.

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Marion Street, Feb. 19, 2015

Dustin Palermo said he had no idea who they were or why they came to his house, and speculated at the time it could have been related to him winning money at the casino the night before. The former Navy corpsman had a legal amount of medical marijuana plants growing inside, for himself and another patient.

Charging documents in the case don’t relate if anything was actually stolen, but state the intruders were inside for only about 45 seconds and that security video seemed to show one of them firing frantically at the dog as they were leaving.

When police arrived, the pit bull, Misty, lay dead on the sidewalk of a gunshot wound to her abdomen.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher asked a judge this afternoon to hold Brian A. Carreon, 17, on $75,000 bail.

“The defendant has no criminal history, but was with two other individuals, one who was armed with a firearm,” Meagher said.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke suggested her client’s bail could be lower, as he has stable employment and community ties.

He’s a cook at the Rollerdrome, and teaches young kids to skate, O’Rourke told the judge, noting it’s a job he’s held for the past year and a half. He attends Calvary Chapel every Sunday and one of his roommates works at Green Hill School, she said.

Judge Richard Brosey left it at $75,000, as it was in the arrest warrant.

Meagher said the other two suspects have not been arrested, but after the court hearing, requested a $500,000 warrant for the person he says was the shooter. The judge signed the warrant.

Outside the courtroom, Meagher said Carreon’s sister was charged on Monday for rendering criminal assistance, as the Portland woman was believed to have been driving the car that night.

The deputy prosecutor had high praise for Centralia police, for having “really bird dogged this,” and following all kinds of dead end leads.

The 10-page affidavit of probable cause states that officers found nine shell casings and two bullet jacket fragments at the scene.

It also tells how Palermo posted a clip from his home security video onto Facebook – filmed with infrared cameras – asking for anyone who could identify the three figures to contact him.

Three different individuals told police they recognized Carreon and a pair of brothers who live locally, and the girlfriend Tina Bell picked one of the brothers from a montage, but said she wasn’t 100 percent sure, according to charging documents.

Meagher told the judge today the brothers were named in the documents, but he wasn’t sure they would be a part of the case.

“In all fairness, I don’t anticipate them being named as defendants,” Meagher clarified.

Charging documents offer some of the following details:

Carreon initially told police he was home the night it happened, and with his sister for a time, until 9 p.m.

A detective investigated the sister, and went to Portland to get a picture of her 1999 Honda, which Palermo felt certain was the same car that drove away from his home after the robbery.

Taina Duncan was arrested in Portland last week.

Duncan described a night in which she came to visit her brother, that he wanted to get some weed and that she didn’t know his two friends who went with them. Her daughter was in the car as well.

Carreon subsequently told detectives he’d taken a video of himself once when he went with an acquaintance to trim Palermos’ plants, and he’d shown it to someone else.

He said he was phoned by that person who said he knew he had a connection to get weed, and was headed up. He was pretty sure the two males drove up from Portland with his sister.

Carreon qualified for a court appointed lawyer. He is charged with one count of first-degree robbery.

His arraignment is scheduled for July 16.
•••

For background, read “Dog killed in Centralia home invasion” from Friday February 20, 2015, here

Rescue at Riffe Lake

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A man who fell some 20 feet off an old bridge onto large rocks in a remote area along the south shore of Riffe Lake last night was rescued and taken to Morton General Hospital.

Firefighters were called about 9 p.m. by an individual who boated across the lake, and got into a car to drive to get cell phone service, according to Lewis County Fire District 18.

“When we got to him, him and his wife were against the bank, but in the water,” Chief Ed Lowe said. “She wasn’t strong enough to get him out.”

The injured man, who Lowe said was in his 60s, was conscious, but he’d landed on rocks, hit his head, injured his shoulder and had a lot of cuts and bruises, Lowe said.

It happened at what’s called the old Landers Creek Bridge, at about the midpoint of the 13-mile long lake, actually a reservoir created by the Mossyrock Dam.

Morton resident Shaun Olinger said he, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter were camping in the area.

Olinger didn’t see it happen, but heard a “smack” like somebody bellyflopped, he said. Then he saw the man’s teenage son coming over the rocks in a panic, so distraught he was speechless.

“He dove in and swam the last 25 feet, and got his shoulder rolled to get his face out of the water, but that’s the best he could do,” Olinger said.

Olinger described the father as “big guy” who’d come to rest with his head down a slope, submerged to his hips.

“None of us was strong enough to get him out,” he said.

They managed to turn him around and get his head and shoulders upslope, he said.

The landscape there is a nightmare he said, with no real beach, very deep water and large pointed rocks covered in slime.

Olinger and the 17-year-old motored back to the Kosmos Boat Launch to call for help. Meanwhile, the victim’s wife, and Olinger’s wife Billie did what they could with a rope and a cushion to move him toward shallower water.

Seven firefighters from the Glenoma department responded, as well as three from Randle, according to Lowe.

“District 14 brought their boat, they have a marine boat now we can call on,” Lowe said.

The patient, who Olinger knows as a Mossyrock resident through mutual friends, was transported to Morton General Hospital.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
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•••

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

DRIVING ARGUMENT TURNS ASSAULTIVE

• A 43-year-old Centralia man was hospitalized after a dispute in a parking lot at the 2600 block of Kresky Avenue just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, and a suspect is being sought, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Arriving officers found the victim bleeding from the head with cuts to his face, according to police. The disagreement was over the way someone was driving in the parking lot, police said.

DOMESTIC INCIDENT

• A 39-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree robbery after he reportedly tried to take a purse from a family member while an officer was present. Police who had had responded to a dispute at the 1400 block of Johnson Road about 2:15 p.m. on Sunday booked Willard Scott into the Lewis County Jail. He was not charged and he was released.

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• A 57-year-old Chehalis man reported yesterday the theft of a Zippo lighter collection valued at more than $1,000. An officer responding to the incident associated with the 900 block of Southwest 20th Street was told the man had an idea of who may have taken the items, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Someone reached through an unlocked window at a home on the 1700 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia and stole a metal lockbox-style safe and a purse, according to a report made to police about 8:30 a.m. on Friday

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday that someone burglarized a home on the 100 block of Linda Vista Drive south of Chehalis, taking a 40-inch flat screen television, an HP laptop computer and a paper mache piggy bank containing approximately $100. It happened between last Wednesday and Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $600, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday they are investigating a residential burglary from the 500 block of River Road outside Centralia in which 10 $100 bills were stolen as well as a metal box containing important documents. It happened on June 25 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and was reported last Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday about a ladder missing from a yard on the 1900 block of Van Wormer Street.

FRAUD

• An officer was called to the 2600 block of Eureka Avenue on Friday regarding a caregiver allegedly taking an individual’s access device to withdraw money from a bank account, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An individual contacted Chehalis police to report $437 worth of fraudulent activity on his bank account on Friday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 3:45 a.m. today to the 800 block of Rainier Avenue where someone prowled through a log truck. Documents were taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A check was stolen from a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about noon yesterday.

• Chehalis police responded about 6:15 a.m. on Sunday to the 1700 block of South Market Boulevard for a possible vehicle prowl. The door was found open but cash was observed on the dashboard, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A wallet and a subwoofer were among the valuables stolen when someone prowled four vehicles in the 100 block of Sandy Boulevard in Centralia at about 2 o’clock in the morning on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police took reports of six vehicle prowls on Friday morning in which someone rummaged around but took nothing, according to the Centralia Police Department. The incidents occurred at the 600 block of Nick Road, the 1600 block of West Mellen Street, and the 800 block of Wayne Drive, according to police.

• Someone entered an open detached garage at the 3000 block of Ives Road outside Centralia and rummaged through an unlocked vehicle but nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Four other vehicles were prowled at the same location on the same night, – last Wednesday – and taken were a Clarion stereo, an amplifier, two DVD players and a driver’s license, according to the sheriff’s office.

FINDERS KEEPERS

• Chehalis police were contacted about 12:15 p.m. yesterday about a purse that disappeared after it was accidentally left in a shopping cart at Safeway on the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis. It contained a lot of cash, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BROKEN GLASS

• A 29-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief yesterday after he allegedly threw a rock or brick through the window of a shed behind a building on West Main Street in Centralia. Derek J. Smith was then released pending a court date, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was reportedly unhappy about someone in the area, police said.

DRUGS

• Dylon L. Favro, a 22-year-old Chehalis man is arrested for possession with intent to deliver after roughly 350 grams of suspected hash oil were located by police in a residence on the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis, Chehalis police reported today. Favro was already booked into the jail on Wednesday on another matter.

• A 30-year-old Onalaska resident was arrested for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act after a glass smoking device came out of his pocket during a struggle with a security person following a possible theft at Wal-Mart on Saturday evening. Residue field-tested positive for heroin and a pill was found during a search, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Nicholas E. Novion was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for a warrant, according to police.

ON THE ROAD

• Troopers responded about 4:30 p.m. yesterday when a horse trailer disconnected from a pickup truck along U.S. Highway 12 in Salkum. The trailer containing four horses slid into a ditch near Salkum Heights Road, according to responders. No people were injured and the animals were fine, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mike Cournyer said.

• A 21-year-old Randle resident was injured when his Honda Civic rear-ended a Ford Mustang that slowed to make a right turn off U.S. Highway 12 about five miles west of Morton yesterday afternoon. Dustin H. Gardner was transported to Morton General Hospital, according to the  Washington State Patrol. Jack L. Dimmit, 48, of Morton, was reportedly uninjured but his car was totaled, as was Gardner’s, the state patrol reports. Troopers called just after 4 p.m. blamed the crash on inattention and speed. Gardner was to be issued a citation for reckless driving, according to the state patrol.

• Chehalis police responded to the 1500 block of North National Avenue about 4 p.m. on Sunday after a juvenile female jumped from a moving vehicle. The girl was upset she didn’t get to do something she wanted to, according to police. She was taken for a medical exam, police said.

• Inattention and following too closely on the part of a 17-year-old driver were blamed for a three-vehicle freeway collision that sent a 28-year-old Seattle woman to Providence Centralia Hospital on Sunday morning. Troopers called about 10:45 a.m. to the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Mellen Street determined the teen ran into a sport utility vehicle which was slowing for traffic, then swerved and hit a semi truck, according to the Washington State Patrol. Less than two hours later, a 20-year-old Edmonds man was hurt when another sport utility vehicle was shoved into the rear of the Honda Accord in which he was a passenger, after getting struck from behind by another driver following too closely near the exit 76 interchange in Chehalis, according to the state patrol. The vehicles were slowing for traffic in the northbound lanes when a 46-year-old motorist in a Chevrolet Suburban caused the collision, according to the state patrol.

• A 22-year-old Mineral resident was transported to Morton General Hospital with a knee injury after he took a corner too fast and slid sideways off Mineral Hill Road striking a gate at about 6:20 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. His 1989 Honda Prelude sustained major damage, according to the sheriff’s office. Corey D. Baca was cited for wheels off the roadway, third-degree driving with a suspended licensee, no insurance and an expired registration, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A Rochester family was among those involved in a four-vehicle serious collision on Saturday morning on Interstate 5 near Tumwater, in which an 8-year-old boy from Reno, Nevada subsequently died, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers had stopped northbound traffic to take roadway measurements from an earlier fatality wreck when the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe who was unable to stop in time collided with the rear of a Toyota van from Reno occupied by six people, including the child who passed away Sunday night at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the state patrol. The van was pushed into a car which was shoved into another car, according to Trooper Guy Gill. The driver of the Tahoe, Matthew L. Wiss, 39, of Rochester, was reportedly unhurt, and neither was 10-year-old Emma Wiss. But his other passenger Lisa R. Wiss, 35, was injured and transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, the state patrol reports. An 18-year-old in the Toyota van was also taken to Providence. The pileup closed all lanes for about six hours. Patrol spokesperson Gill yesterday indicated yesterday detectives are examining all aspects that led to the collision and seeking additional witnesses to the actual event or anything leading up to or after the crash. The initial information released by the state patrol on Saturday stated Wiss was slowing to a stop when his Tahoe was hit from behind by the Toyota van. The state patrol asks anyone with information to please call detective Ed Collins or detective Ben McBride at 360-805-1153.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, reckless driving, misdemeanor assault, drugs, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, being in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, hit and run, misdemeanor theft, numerous fireworks complaints, suspicious circumstances, getting shoved by a roommate, loud neighbor music, out-of-control teenager, whining dog alone in parked vehicle, infant alone in  car in a parking lot, collisions on city streets … and more.

Despite worries, fire departments around Lewis County report fairly mellow Fourth of July

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
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Firefighters on Friday kept a house fire on Oxford Avenue from spreading to a neighboring residence. The cause has not yet been released.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Independence Day celebrations in the Centralia area passed with no significant fireworks-related property damage, despite the tinder dry conditions outdoors, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

RFA, the largest department in Lewis County, spoke through a news release this morning, applauding those citizens who made the effort to try to reduce the risks of the fire season during their displays.

“It was my observation that folks were taking extra care this year to be sure that they had water available to them during fireworks use,” Riverside’s Public Information Officer Capt. Scott Weinert said in a written statement.

In the 24-hour hour period that included July 4, firefighters from the department responded to eight fireworks related incidents, according to Weinert.

They primarily consisted of small bush or grass fires that were extinguished or no longer burning on arrival of RFA units, he stated.

They also answered 10 other emergency medical calls.

Firefighters in the city of Chehalis made it through the holiday without any serious fireworks-related incidents, but did go out to a small brush fire today on 15th Street near William Avenue, Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said.

McCarty said he wasn’t sure what ignited it, but the individual who called it in located an unlit sparkler bomb in the area which was turned over to police.

At the other end of the county, Fourth of July could almost have been called relaxing for one fire department.

The one call Vader firefighters responded to was for a report of an illegal burn that turned out to actually be a legal campfire in a fire pit, Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 Chief Richard Underdahl said.

“We were ready, but nothing happened,” Underdahl said.

They were asked to join the Toledo Fire Department last night for a tree on fire and again today for a brush fire along Toledo-Salmon Creek Road, but in both cases were told they were no longer needed before they arrived, he said.

Under current conditions, Toledo, Vader and Winlock are automatically responding jointly to any brush or other fires, he said.

At the far west end of the county, all was well in Pe Ell, according to Lewis County Fire District 11 Chief Michael Krafczyk.

In Randle, Fire Chief Jeff Jaques reports no fireworks-related fires.

And in Onalaska, there were zero fire calls for Lewis County Fire District 1.

“The public really seemed to listen to the urges from the fire world not to set off fireworks,” District 1 Chief Andrew Martin said.

Information isn’t yet available yet for other fire departments in the county.

Also, the cause of a fire that virtually gutted a two-story house at the north end of Centralia the evening before the holiday has not been released. Four fire departments battled the blaze on the 1500 block of Oxford Avenue that displaced its owner, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Nobody was hurt, but three cats were missing, Fire Chief Mike Kytta indicated.

Separately, at the far east end of the county, residents may be seeing smoke from a fire on the west flank of Mount Adams, at the approximately 5,300 foot elevation.

The fire in the wilderness area was discovered on Friday and was believed to cover about 250 acres yesterday. It is burning in areas of open stands and meadows, as well as heavy timber, according to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It’s burning near a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail.

It’s been named the Horseshoe Fire.

During initial attack on Friday, a helicopter worked to check the fire’s spread with bucket drops while a ground crew sized up the fire and evaluated containment line location. Firefighters and district recreation personnel walked the affected trails and escorted forest visitors out of the area.

It’s within the Mt. Adams Wilderness south of Riley Camp Trail #64, in the northeast portion of Skamania County. Closure information is being posted at trailheads and in affected communities.

Although Weinert with Riverside was able to offer a positive report on the holiday, he asks that everyone continue to have a heightened state of awareness of fire safety as the summer season continues.

More to come tomorrow.

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Large wildfires burning in Washington state as of today include the Horseshoe fire on the west flank of Mount Adams. / Image from Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

Fire tears through Centralia house

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
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Smoke billows from home on Oxford Avenue in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Mandy Wilson

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Arriving firefighters this evening found a north Centralia home fully engulfed in flames and a house next door beginning to burn.

Four fire departments responded to the 6:18 p.m. call to the blaze on the 1500 block of Oxford Avenue, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

They conducted a defensive – exterior – attack, according to Fire Lt. Mark Stahl.

Nobody was injured, but the two-story house is a total loss, along with two sheds and a travel trailer, according to Riverside.

A department spokesperson indicated an elderly woman and some grown grandchildren were there at the time, but everyone got out.  Fire Chief Mike Kytta said three cats were missing.

The cause is under investigation. The resident is being assisted by the American Red Cross, according to the chief.

Although a Go-Fund-Me account set up by an individual identifying herself as a granddaughter states the 86-year-old owner lost everything due to someone letting off fireworks, the process is still underway to rule in and rule out potential causes, according to Kytta.

“Interviews and physical evidence is being processed by our team and that will take some time to complete,” Kytta stated.

 

Fourth of July: Local fire danger remains high

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – For those who were worried a week ago about the prospect of Fourth of July fireworks danger in light of the unusually parched state of grasses, shrubs, trees and other plant life, the outlook has not gotten any better.

The mercury hit 95 degrees in Chehalis today, and temperatures will continue to be well above normal through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The combination of heat, low humidity levels and dry vegetation with its risk for potential wildfires prompted even the Gifford Pinchot National Forest at mid-week to issue restrictions on campfires.

The lowlands have already seen outdoor burn bans put into place, as well as bans on campfires in state parks.

Early this week, as the governor and the commissioner of public lands strongly urged people not to use fireworks this year, the Lewis County Fire Chiefs Association had not taken a position on the matter.

However, the group’s president Gregg Peterson, who is chief of Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, said he was very concerned going into the Fourth of July weekend.

“Have a garden hose, shovel and water handy for extinguishing any fire,” Peterson said. “We’re probably going to be very busy, so, any fire that starts, we may no get there right away.”

Also on Wednesday, the Lewis County Board of Commissioners and the county Fire Marshal’s Office issued a statement asking citizens to refrain from personal discharge of all fireworks this year, and to celebrate in other ways, including partaking in professional public fireworks displays instead.

They indicated in a news release they heard the request from some members of the public to ban them, but wouldn’t have been able to do so for this holiday, even if they’d have taken immediate action.

“The current state law leaves this office with only the option to ask for assistance from the citizens to prevent fireworks related tragedy,” they wrote in the joint news release.

Fireworks are never allowed in the national forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Gifford Pinchot and Mount Hood National Forests’ Fire Management Staff Officer Deb Roy gave the details for campers and visitors.

Open campfires, including charcoal briquettes, cooking fires and warming fires are prohibited until further notice, according to Roy. Wood or charcoal fires are only allowed in developed campgrounds, picnic areas and group campgrounds that have established metal fire pits or rings, Roy stated in a news release.

Even smoking in the Gifford Pinchot is allowed only within enclosed vehicles, buildings and developed recreation sites. Violators can be fined up to $5,000 and/ or imprisoned up to six months in jail.

The state fire marshal’s office has been issuing news releases almost daily for more than a week, advising on various safety concerns involving the use of fireworks.

Yesterday, they focused on the lingering risk after the sparklers, cones and whatever else have sputtered out.

State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy reminds residents that used fireworks can leave behind a great deal of debris.

Some extra attention during the disposal of what’s left behind can help reduce the likelihood of unwanted fire or injury.

Here’s what Duffy says:

• Clean up all fireworks debris.

• Submerge used fireworks in a bucket of water for fifteen minutes to ensure they are cooled down and there are no smoldering embers that can start a fire.

• Double wrap the soaked fireworks in plastic bags for disposal in your household trash.

• It is best to dump the remaining water on the ground, selecting an area where it will not produce surface runoff into the municipal water system.

• Do not put used fireworks that have not been soaked into a paper or plastic bag, as this could lead to a fire starting within the bag.

• Return to your fireworks discharge area the next morning to clean up any remaining firework debris – things can be easily overlooked in the dark.