Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Train strikes vehicle stuck on tracks in Napavine

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Updated at 12:56 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pickup truck pulling a trailer that stalled on the railroad tracks in Napavine last night met up with the lead locomotive of a freight train.

Nobody was hurt, and the husband, wife and their dogs were out the vehicle before the train arrived, according to Napavine Police Chief Chris Salyers.

Responders said the truck was knocked to one side of the tracks and trailer loaded with a small tractor was thrown upside down into  ditch on the other side. It happened on Washington Avenue near the fire station.

Firefighters responded around 5:30 p.m., when they saw what was happening, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

“We heard the vehicle spinning their wheels, we ran toward that, we could hear the train coming,” fire department spokesperson Lt. Laura Hanson said.

Hanson said there was a handful of people trying to get the rig unstuck, and firefighters got them to move back out of the way. She could already see the headlights of the train coming down the tracks, Hanson said. They asked dispatch to notify personnel on the train to try to stop, she said.

“It all happened rather quickly,” Hanson said.

BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas indicated there was some damage to the locomotive. Salyers said he is continuing his investigation this morning.

What caused the Napavine area couple to be stopped on the tracks he did not know yet, Salyers said.

The tracks and road were closed for awhile, Salyers said. Firefighters remained on the scene helping clear debris until nearly 10:30 p.m., according to Hanson.

Firefighters were relieved nobody got hurt, Hanson said.

It’s something she hopes doesn’t happen again, but offers this advice for anyone whose vehicle gets stuck on train tracks:

The first call should be to 911, Hanson said.

“The quicker that call goes out, the quicker the railroad is called,” she said. “And they can attempt to get the train stopped.”

Former Yard Birds manager gets year in jail, says he’s sorry for stealing

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

David Briscoe, right, and his lawyer David Brown listen to the judge during Briscoe’s sentencing hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The now-former manager at Yard Birds who admitted to police he pocketed thousands of dollars on the job saying he’d gone bankrupt and was behind in his medical bills offered his regret in open court yesterday for stealing.

“I know I made a big mistake, I’d like to apologize to Darris and his family,” David E. Briscoe told the judge. “I know there’s nothing I can do to take it back.”

Darris McDaniel, owner of the expansive Chehalis business on North National Avenue that holds a grocery store, a swap meet area and numerous vendors, wasn’t present. But McDaniel outlined in a letter to the judge the effects the ongoing theft had on employees and himself.

“Mr. McDaniel in his letter talks about the people having to forego the possibility of bonuses,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said. “He had to put money of his own into Yardbirds to keep it going.”

Briscoe was arrested this past spring and charged with first-degree theft. He’s been for the past six months or so saving up money to begin to repay the debt, according to his lawyer. He pleaded guilty as charged in August, in a deal that gave him time to come up with cash.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain told the court yesterday the amount stolen is nearly $42,000.

Briscoe’s lawyer David Brown said his client had $10,000 to hand over before his sentence was decided. Brown has indicated Briscoe and his father either sold or were working on selling property.

The Centralia man worked at Yard Birds-Shop ‘n Kart for several years, and was responsible for managing the swap meet area, vendors, storage units and recreational vehicle spaces, according to police.

He admitted to the court previously that he  collected rent payments and kept them, and that it went on for three years.

McClain told the court that a check for $5,000 now and another for $5,000 next week wasn’t all that persuasive.

“My recommendation throughout is Mr. Briscoe should serve a year and a day (in prison),” McClain said.

Defense attorney David Brown told the judge his client still has other property for sale, and has been working in a trailer park in exchange for free rent and a couple hundred dollars each month.

“The people were very good to him, and he betrayed that trust,” Brown said. “He really wants and hopes the court will issue a standard sentence.”

The standard range under the law for Briscoe would be zero to 90 days in jail. The crime, with the major economic offense enhancement, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Judge Brosey said the crime didn’t call for a sentence within the standard range.

When someone violates a position of trust within a small business, it often results in irreparable harm, the judge said.

“Frankly, this goes on way too much,” Brosey said.

Brosey ordered Briscoe to serve 12 months, in the county jail. He didn’t say explicitly, but alluded to the fact he couldn’t earn as much good time there toward a possible early release as he might in state prison.

Brosey ordered Briscoe to deliver a $5,000 check by noon, and the second $5,000 before he checks into the jail on Tuesday.

He said if he qualified for work release, he could do that. He declined to impose jail costs, saying any money Briscoe has should go to restitution.

The judge also ordered ongoing restitution payments of no less than $100 each month.

For background, read “Former Yard Bird manager pleads guilty as charged in theft from business” from Wednesday Aug. 27, 2014, here

Authorities: ‘Dumb’ bomb threat brings class B felony charge

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Twenty-four-year-old Marcus T. Dantinne got to go home from jail yesterday evening, but he still faces a felony charge for allegedly threatening to blow up a Morton lumber mill.

Alta Forest Products was evacuated on Monday morning after an anonymous phone call that warned a bomb there would go off in 10 minutes. Within hours, police traced the call to Dantinne who reportedly took the phone apart so he wouldn’t be discovered.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher didn’t request very high bail for Dantinne, suggesting he’s not a terrorist, just somebody doing dumb and stupid stuff.

“It looks like he was helping somebody skip work,” Meagher said after a short bail hearing yesterday afternoon.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey allowed Dantinne to be released from jail, on an unsecured $10,000 bond, co-signed by his mother, pending trial.

Dantinne lives with his mother in Morton.

According to charging documents, Dantinne told Police Chief Dan Mortensen at first that he’d lost the phone the previous night at the gym. But then he allegedly confessed: He wanted to get his friend Jordan Gillispie out of work, so they could hang out together.

The two had talked very early that morning, according to Dantinne’s mother who told the chief she overheard the call, charging documents state.

Some 60 workers were cleared out of the mill into its parking lot, following the approximately 7:45 a.m. call on Monday.

A bomb squad with the Washington State Patrol checked the property and found no explosive. Authorities evacuated Alta’s Shelton mill as well.

Employees were sent home for the day, although the swing shift was scheduled to start as usual, since a suspect was located by about noon.

Dantinne was charged with threat to bomb property, an offense with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and/or a $20,000 fine.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke was in favor of the bail arrangement.

“He’s young, he’s 24 and has absolutely no criminal history,” O’Rourke said.

Dantinne has a stable residence, with his mother, and has been receiving supplemental social security income since he was young, she said. She understood from him it was related to mental health issues, she said.

“He’s clearly very inexperienced with the system,” O’Rourke said,.

Dantinne was appointed a lawyer, Shane O’Rourke, and is expected to return to court for his arraignment next Wednesday.

For background, read “Police: Morton man tried to get friends out of work with bomb threat” from Tuesday November 18, 2014, here

Police: Morton man tried to get friends out of work with bomb threat

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 24-year-old Morton resident arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up a lumber mill yesterday may have been trying to get his buddies a day off from work, according to police.

Police were called to Alta Forest Products at the north end of town about 8 a.m. following a phone call that prompted authorities to evacuate the premises and send employees home for the day.

Alta’s mill in Shelton was also vacated because they didn’t know if the threat was site specific, Morton Police Chief Dan Mortensen said this morning.

A bomb squad with the Washington State Patrol checked the property and found no explosive, Mortensen said.

Meanwhile, the chief traced the call back to a cell phone belonging to Marcus T. Dantinne, 24, of Morton. He was contacted at his residence on Collar Avenue at about noon, Mortensen said.

Dantinne doesn’t work at the lumber mill, nor was he a dissatisfied customer, according to Mortensen.

“It appeared he might have made the call because he wanted to hang out with some of his friends, and they had to work,” Mortensen said.

Dantinne was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for making a bomb threat, a felony.

Alta, located on the 300 block of state Route 7, manufactures Western Red Cedar fence boards.


For background, read “News brief: Threat of bomb clears Morton lumber mill” from Monday November 17, 2014, here

Two-plus buildings affected by Vader fire; cause unknown

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The house where the fire in Vader started is still standing, but is just a shell.

The former community center building to the north had to be torn apart with an excavator to extinguish its burning contents.

And the Masonic Hall to the south suffered only superficial damage on an exterior wall.


822 A St., Vader

The cause of Sunday morning’s blaze is under investigation; he doesn’t know what started it, Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 Chief Richard Underdahl said yesterday.

“The back part of the house was really where the intensity was,” Underdahl said. “It was collapsed.”

Firefighters called about 8:50 a.m. arrived to find the single story home on the 800 block of A Street fully involved, with flames coming out the roof and the walls, the chief said.

There was talk about explosions, but Underdahl said he never heard any as he battled the blaze beside his crews.

No occupants were located, but Lewis County Fire District 5 Chief Gregg Peterson who conducted incident command with District 20′s Assistant Chief Ruth Crear said he learned three people got out of the house, including a boy and also a man who went to the hospital with a laceration to his hand.

Peterson said he heard the injury was related to a window, and trying to put out the fire.

Some nearby residents were asked to evacuate the neighborhood as a precautionary measure because of the large amount of smoke, Underdahl said.

“It was bad,” he said. “The smoke was thick, and was really, really bad.”

Some 40 firefighters responded from five other departments to assist, with many on the scene until almost 5 p.m., according to Underdahl.

The chief said the radiant heat from the house fire ignited the contents of the adjacent metal-sided quonset hut style structure. Once a community center, and later in its life a youth center, the building is now owned by an individual who used it for storage, he said.

“They noticed that thing was smoking and realized there must be fire inside,” he said.

Firefighters began to attack it from both ends, but the intense heat forced them back out, and they fought it defensively, he said.

Among the items inside and something that may have contributed, he said he learned later, were as many as 60 five-gallon buckets of hydraulic oil.

An excavator was brought up from Castle Rock.

“We unfortunately had to pull the quonset hut apart,” Underdahl said. “It had to be completely torn apart.”

One firefighter, Assistant Chief Crear, ended up with some type of leg injury, but she stuck around and then went to Providence Centralia Hospital later, Underdahl said.

“We were able to save two little kittens,” he said.

The pair, quite possibly strays, came running out from the brush next to the building, according to Underdahl.

“We grabbed them, got them” he said. “They were just scared.”


For background, read “Fire burning in Vader” from Sunday November 9, 2014, here

Defendants in Vader toddler death case want out of jail until trial

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Danny Wing, right, and his wife Brenda Wing listen to lawyers and a judge decide their bail in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lawyers for the Vader couple accused in the battered child death of a 3-year-old boy both told a judge today nothing in the charging allegations indicate their client did it.

“Nothing in there suggests she was the agent in this death,” Vancouver-based attorney Mark Muenster said.

Brenda A. Wing, 27, and her 26-year-old husband both clad in green striped jail garb sat handcuffed at the defense table during the discussion of their bail pending trial.

“(It) does not contain any evidence Danny Wing abused this child, ever,” Steve Thayer, also from Vancouver, said.

The couple was arrested and charged on Friday in connection with the Oct. 5 death of Jasper Henderling-Warner.

His 21-year-old mother who lives in Vancouver had allowed the Wings to care for her son for a period of time described by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office as several months. Jasper died at Providence Centralia Hospital where he was rushed after Brenda Wing called 911 and said he was not breathing.

The coroner concluded from healing fractures, numerous bruises and an autopsy Jasper died of chronic battered child syndrome, meaning ongoing physical abuse.

Charging documents describe a timeline and the child’s injuries, but offer no details of what happened to the boy. The Wings gave conflicting accounts of his final weekend.

Nikki Warner wanted to be present at this afternoon’s hearing in Lewis County Superior Court, but said she was stuck in Vancouver, where she’s been mostly homeless and struggling to earn money for food, for gas.

She said she wants answers about her son’s death.

“I’m pretty much numb on the case,” Warner said this afternoon by telephone. “I feel like a deer in the headlights.

“I have to totally shut out my grieving so I can work; I’m pushing myself to sidetrack myself to work.”

Charging documents describe a note signed by Warner and the Wings making them Jasper’s guardians from July 31, 2014 until July 31, 2015. The sheriff’s office has said they are distantly related.

The couple has three children of their own, between infancy and age 6, but they were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services after the Oct. 5 death.

The Wings were arrested when they went to CPS office in Centralia for a visit with their children, on a $500,000 arrest warrant.

This afternoon, Muenster argued Brenda Wing’s bail should be reduced to $50,000, indicating she would be highly motivated to stay in the area with ongoing shelter care proceedings regarding her children.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set her bail at $200,000 because of the potential flight risk and the seriousness of the charge.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead requested bail be raised to $750,000 for Danny Wing, because he has prior convictions including domestic violence offenses, and noted a September case in another county involving a drug violation and a third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer.

Attorney Thayer pointed out the Wings retained them after the death and knew a criminal filing could be made, suggesting Danny Wing didn’t flee during that time, so he wouldn’t be likely to flee now.

“Their parents are present,” Thayer told the judge.

Judge Brosey left Danny Wing’s bail at $500,000.

The lawyers asked for a delay before the Wings arraignment, as they need time to see if arrangements can be made about legal representation on the charges.

Ordinarily, a person has a right to be arraigned within 14 days, but they waived that right and a court date was set for Dec. 4, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

The Wings are charged each charged as either the principal or accomplice with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter.

Sheriff’s office spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown has described the mother as upset, angry and sad.

Warner this afternoon said there’s not a word for what she’s going through.

“This whole case with Danny and Brenda, it just blows me away,” Warner said. “I just want to know why they did it, and what my son did that was so wrong.”

For background, read “Coroner: Ongoing physical abuse led to Vader toddler’s death” from Friday November 7, 2014 at 9:18 p.m., here


Tina Murphy of Winlock and Penny Morosoff of Toledo hold posters in support of Jasper Henderling-Warner outside the courtroom this afternoon.

Fire burning in Vader

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Courtesy photo by Dustin Lampien


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities have asked at least two households to evacuate as firefighters battle a blaze including one home and a building that formerly housed a youth center in Vader.

Twenty-three-year-old Dustin Lampien said his house across the street is infiltrated with smoke.

“I’m actually getting all the kids clothes and getting out,” Lampien said in a brief phone conversation at about noon. “We’re getting evacuated, as are the neighbors, who have six kids.”

His wife has already taken their four children, ages five and younger, to his mother’s home, he said.

Lampien said it was around 9 a.m. or even 8:30 a.m. when he noticed the house across the street was on fire.

“I heard an explosion, like something blew up, and smoke started billowing out the front and left side of the house,” he said.

He said his understanding was the owner was away, but the owner’s son and two others are staying there. They’re all accounted for, Lampien said.

Lampien lives on A Street near Ninth Street in the tiny South Lewis County town.

He said 40 to 60 foot flames were still rising from the former youth center and fire crews were actively battling that fire.

“The roof just collapsed about five minutes ago,” Lampien said.

He described it as a very large building, with a metal roof, currently being used as storage of “a lot of antiques.”

Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 Chief Richard Underdahl said the quonset hut type structure had no windows and crews tried to fight the fire from inside but finally backed out.

His department was joined by personnel from fire departments from Castle Rock, Toledo, Winlock and Napavine.

The Masonic Hall building on the south side of the house sustained exterior fire damage as well, he said.


Courtesy photo by Dustin Lampien

Coroner: Ongoing physical abuse led to Vader toddler’s death

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Charging documents in the homicide case of 3-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner describe a variety of week’s old injuries and conflicting statements from the married couple who were caring for him about his final day or days on this earth.

The Vader pair were arrested today and are being held in the Lewis County Jail on $500,000 bail.


Jasper Henderling-Warner

Brenda A. Wing, 27, and Danny A. Wing, 26, are each charged as either the principal or accomplice in the Oct. 5 death.

No details are offered of exactly what happened, but the results are described in court papers as numerous abrasions including on the back of his head, trauma to his face and multiple bruises to his arms and legs.

X-rays revealed healing fractures, and Jasper was missing his two lower front teeth, according to the court documents.

The cause is labeled by the coroner as chronic battered child syndrome, meaning ongoing physical abuse, according to authorities.

“Basically, it gets to the point where the body just says, ‘I’ve had enough’,” Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office began investigating when it received a Sunday evening 911 call from Brenda Wing that the boy was unconscious and he was rushed to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Brenda Wing said they’d just picked the boy up from his mother in Woodland the night before. Danny Wing told detectives it was two nights before.

Eighteen-year-old Zachary Kidder who resided with the couple at their home on the 400 block of Main Street in Vader said the child had been there for the entire week to week and half he’d been staying there.

The mother, un-named in court documents, told detectives she and the couple agreed they would be his guardians for a year, beginning on July 31, court documents state.

The mother explained she was homeless and could not care for her son and described trips to both Chico, Calif. and Oregon City to look for work. She lives in the Vancouver, Wash. area.

The sheriff’s office has said the parties were distantly related.

Prosecutor Meyer’s documents say they met in July and had several play dates with the boy and the Wing’s children.

Meyer charged the Wings today with homicide by abuse, causing the death by engaging in a pattern or practice of assault or torture; or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter, recklessly causing the death.

“They’re both plausible charges, based upon the facts that we’ve got,” Meyer said late this afternoon.

He said he believes both Wings had a role in the death. Meyer alleges further they used a position of trust on a particularly vulnerable victim.

The little boy was suffering from skin infections that were secondary to his cause of death, according to the court documents.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said the doctor who performed the autopsy is not finished with all the forensic studies and could add more contributing factors to the death certificate.

Detectives were told by Kidder that the boy would simply fall over, stiffen and writhe in pain for up to 30 minute several times each day, charging documents state. He also told the detectives at first the Wings picked the boy up two days earlier, but then admitted he was instructed by Danny Wing to say that.

Charging documents offer the following from Brenda and Danny Wing about his condition that weekend:

Brenda Wing said the child was sleeping when they picked him up and when they got home, she put him to bed on the couch in the living room, where her own infant slept in a bassinet.

The following morning she awoke to him moaning, repeating “hungry” while turning his head back and forth with his eyes closed. He had a small bit of toast and Gatorade and she went back to sleep until about noon, and then went to the store.

When she tried to wake him around 4 p.m, he was totally limp so she gave him a bath to revive him and noticed a lot of bruises all over him, she said.

“Brenda initially told detectives once she put the cold water on the child, he stopped breathing,” charging documents state. “She and her husband Danny called 911 and began CPR on the child.”

Danny Wing’s statement was they had brought the boy back to their home on Friday night Oct. 3, not Saturday as his wife had said. On Saturday, the child was coherent, walking around and seemed okay, he said.

That was the day he and his wife noticed the bruises, not right before they called 911, according to Danny Wing.

Brenda Wing told detectives the boy’s mother was a drug user and she believed he had been abused while in the mother’s care.

The mother told detectives after she returned from Oregon City, the Wings brought Jasper to her for a visit in mid-September.

“The mother indicated that she made several attempts to reach the Wing family via cell phone, but they would not take her calls,” Meyer wrote. “When they did, they would make excuses not to meet with her for visitations.”

She provided a note signed by her, Danny and Brenda Wing, making them the guardians from July 31, 2014 until July 31, 2015.

Detectives found a Facebook posting they believe the mother made in September, indicating the Wings had temporary custody of her son, and that she missed him.

Meyer said the evidence they have does not point to the mother being involved.

While the final report has not been issued from the autopsy, the injuries discovered were “weeks, not months” old, during the time the boy was in the care of the Wings, according to the doctor, charging documents state.

The couple is expected to go before a judge on Monday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

For background, read “Two arrested in death of toddler from Vader residence” from Friday November 7, 2014 at 1:07 p.m., here

Two arrested in death of toddler from Vader residence

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Jasper Henderling-Warner / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 1:32 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Vader couple taking care of the 3-year-old boy who died under suspicious circumstances early last month have been arrested for homicide by abuse.

Brenda Wing, 27, and Danny Wing, 26, were taken into custody just before 11 a.m. today at the Child Protective Services office in Centralia.

Firefighters and deputies responded the evening of Oct. 5 to a 911 call  from the Wing’s home, in which Brenda Wing said the boy was unconscious and not breathing. Responders continued CPR and conducted other life-saving measures but the toddler was pronounced dead at Providence Centralia Hospital.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at the time said only that it was suspicious, but now reveals the child had severe and obvious bruises and injuries to his entire body.

“The Wing’s explanation for the injuries were inconsistent with the investigation and autopsy findings,” Chief Civil Deputy Brown  states in a news release. “The Wing’s stories have varied from each other as well.”

Jasper Henderling-Warner’s cause of death is labeled by the coroner as chronic battered child syndrome.

Brown indicated the boy’s mother had allowed the Wings to care for her child for several months. The mother resides in Vancouver, Wash.

Brown said the Wings are family of the mother, although it isn’t clear exactly how they are related.

A detective told the mother today by phone of the arrest, Brown said.

“She’s obviously very upset with it,” Brown said. “She’s angry and she’s sad.”

The child’s father was notified as well, according to Brown.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield states that Jasper died from severe abuse and neglect, calling his treatment appalling.

“To think this poor little boy went through months of pain and suffering is heart wrenching,” Mansfield said in a prepared statement. “This case is a solemn reminder of the sickening and tragic consequences surrounding a life of drugs, alcohol, and abuse.”

The Wing’s have been charged with homicide by abuse, and should be held accountable for their role in the boy’s death, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said in the news release.

“No child should be forced to endure the pain and agony that Jasper suffered,” Meyer stated.

Brown said she wasn’t prepared to go into detail about why the mother put her son into the care of relatives.

Brenda and Danny Wing have three children  of their own, between infancy and age 6, who are all currently in custody with CPS, according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office asks for anyone with any information on this incident to call Detective Engelbertson at (360) 748-9286 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422 to earn a reward or remain anonymous.


For background, read “Law investigating death of toddler from Vader residence” from Monday October 6, 2014, here


Armed robber strikes at Vader area gas station

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

South Lewis County / Google Maps

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are looking for a fairly small young man who wore a red bandana over his face when he robbed a gas station next to Interstate 5 at the Vader exit last night.

The armed individual got away with about $320, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement responding to the 8:30 p.m. call were told by the 26-year-old woman she was working when he walked into the store, displayed a pistol and demanded cash, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Cowlitz Shell station is on the 100 block of Mulford Road, Toledo.

He left on foot to the east, but it’s possible he got into a vehicle before deputies arrived, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The clerk, a Vader resident, was uninjured, Brown said.

Containment was set up around the area and a police dog deployed, but no suspect as located, according to Brown.

The robber was described as brown-haired and brown-eyed and about 20 years old. He was about 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing approximately 150 pounds, she said.

He wore all dark clothing.

Chief Brown asks anyone who may have information to please contact the sheriff’s office or Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

Two school bus accidents, no serious injuries

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Honda Accord wrecks into school bus in front of Burger Claim in Grand Mound. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 17-year-old boy was safely removed out the back window of his car by medics yesterday following a rear-end collision in Grand Mound that left the back bumper of a school bus on his steering wheel.

Firefighters called at 3:47 p.m. to Old Highway 99 near 203rd Avenue Southwest found the Honda Accord’s windshield smashed and its front end buried beneath the bus, according to responders.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Lt. Isaac Garza said it was the kind of ugly wreckage and entrapment that when they rolled up, they just knew was going to be serious. But it wasn’t.

Garza said he thought the bus was either carrying no students or they were all okay; he was focused on caring for the teen in the Honda, he said.

“The driver of the car was actually fine too, we took him to Centralia for precautionary measures,” Garza said. “He had a laceration to his face, but ended up walking away.”

Both were northbound in front of the Burger Claim restaurant, according to Thurston County Sheriff’s Office .

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said he didn’t have a written report yet on the incident, but preliminary information was the kids on the bus seemed to be fine.

At around the same time in Centralia, a Toyota pickup with no working brakes ran into the back of a school bus on West Reynolds Avenue near Blair Road.

The bus had stopped at a railroad crossing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy responding to the approximately 3:20 p.m. collision reported two children on the bus complained of headaches and aid was called to treat them, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The pickup truck’s driver, 52-year-old Mark Christensen, of Rochester, admitted he knew his brakes weren’t functional and was arrested and booked into jail for reckless driving, according to Brown.

Both vehicles were drivable, Brown said.

Riverside Fire Authority Firefighter-paramedic Jennifer Ternan said they were dispatched at 3:49 p.m. to the scene, but when they arrived, the bus had been moved to a parking lot off Lum Road and the school district told them they were handling it.

Firefighters were told there were no injuries, she said.

Two Onalaska teens trapped when car strikes tree

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Plymouth Breeze rests against tree after two occupants are extricated. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 1

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pair of 14-year-old boys who took a parents car joy riding yesterday were hospitalized with serious injuries after they slammed into a tree northeast of Onalaska.

Authorities said they were going so fast, the impact left the tree against the dashboard.

Deputies and members of three fire departments responded to the 4:25 p.m. call to the 200 block of Griel Road; the Jaws of Life were used because they were trapped.

“It took a long time to get the car opened up to get them out, especially the passenger,” Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said a trooper estimated they were traveling at a very high rate, well above the posted 40 mph speed limit. The 1997 Plymouth Breeze left the roadway and traveled through a wooden bus shack before hitting the tree, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Both were airlifted from the field at Onalaska High School, according to Conner.

The passenger suffered several broken bones in his lower extremities, Brown said. Conner said he was flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, and also had cuts to his face.

The airbags deployed so they were fortunate with no obvious head injuries, Conner said, but both boys had suspected internal injuries.

The driver was delivered to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the fire chief said. He got an update this morning that the driver has liver, kidney and lung lacerations.

Brown said the boys had been home alone so the parents were unaware they took the car out. She said a neighbor reported seeing them pass her home twice at an extremely high rate.

The teens are from Onalaska, and Brown reported they took their parents car, but said she didn’t know specifically if they are brothers or just friends.

The collision remains under investigation.

Second suspicious Centralia fire consumes garage

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Fire erupts in the backyard of a West Walnut Street house. / Courtesy photo by Crystal Bowman

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Flames ravaged a detached garage behind a home last night, the second such incident in Centralia in less than a week.

Both fires are being investigated as arsons.

Centralia police arrived first after the approximately 8 p.m. call to the 1000 block of West Walnut Street, offering helpful early information, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

“We showed up, it was a fairly good-sized garage,” Firefighter-paramedic Jade Gross said. “We attacked it from the alleyway.”

Gross said the owner was alerted by older neighborhood children who spotted the fire and pounded on her door so she could call 911.

The crew was joined by firefighters from Chehalis and were on the scene until about midnight, Gross said.

Inside the structure and ruined were a small pickup truck, a motorcycle and a large amount of other personal property, he said.

“It was a complete loss,” Gross said.

Also burned was a travel trailer, some of a neighbor’s fence and outdoor children’s toys, he said.

A fire investigator was expecting to examine the scene today. Centralia police indicate there was no good explanation for the fire, and it is currently classified as an arson.

The garage’s doorless entry opened to the alley, according to Gross.

Early last Sunday morning, a large shed was destroyed by fire on the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia; it was in a backyard adjacent to the railroad tracks. The rear of the house in that 2:30 a.m. blaze sustained minor damage.

Nobody was hurt in either incident.

2014.1018.cent.garagefire.neighbor.Aaron Cogburn

Looking toward what remains inside the destroyed garage from next door neighbor’s backyard. / Courtesy photo by Aaron Cogburn

Investigation: Barbecuing ignited garage, house in Adna fire

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

It was an unfortunate series of events that led to the loss of a two-story farmhouse near Adna, according to fire officials.

Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said the cause of the blaze was accidental, originating with a barbecue.

Firefighters called about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the 300 block of Spooner Road found the garage in the back fully involved in flames. Lewis County Fire District 6 Chief Tim Kinder said when he arrived, he saw flames coming out the front of the first story.


Three hundred block Spooner Road

“Unfortunately, with the 100-plus-year-old house, once fire got inside the walls, it raced up into the attic area and through the roof,” Kinder said.

Kinder said he had to pull personnel out, and fight the fire defensively at that point, for safety reasons.

The couple who live there had relocated the home from another part of the valley and put it back together, Kinder said. “It was his grandfather’s place.”

Members of seven other fire departments joined them, working until about midnight, according to Kinder.

“Distance to water was the hard part,” he said.

Nine tenders shuttled water from a hydrant at Adna High School, he said.

“We used so many, because turnaround time was 20 minutes,” he said.

Kinder yesterday said he was grateful to Dave Martin at Tyler Rentals, who he was able to call that night and responded to a request for an excavator; and to Ron Sandrini operated it.

They used the machine to pull parts of the building down, so crews could attempt to finish putting out the fire, he said.

“There’s nothing left, it’s gone,” he said of the house.

Nobody was injured, but the house and its contents were destroyed.

Kinder said the owner had pulled his barbecue into the door-well of the garage, because it had started to rain.

He said he went in the house to get food for the barbecue and when he came back out, he noticed a patch on the floor on fire, he said.

He went to get a hose, and returned to find a wall on fire, Kinder said.

By the time he was spraying the wall, a second wall had caught fire, he said.

“It was very unfortunate,” Kinder said.

McCarty said they don’t know exactly what caused the barbecue to catch the floor on fire.

The chief said they started to get Red Cross to assist the couple, but neighbors responded.

“Half the families in Adna were out there already giving their help,” he said. “They were very well cared for.”

Feds are waiting for Centralia meth trafficking suspect

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge set bail at $500,000 yesterday for the Centralia man suspected of trafficking a large amount of methamphetamine.

About five pounds of meth, a scale, a ledger, 10 cell phones and cutting agent to be co-mingled with the drug were found when officers searched the home of Miguel Perez-Espinoza and during their followup investigation on Tuesday, according to court documents. More than $12,000 cash turned up as well.


Miguel Perez-Espinoza

Perez-Espinoza was a primary suspect from a case four years ago when local and federal law enforcement officers discovered more than 12 pounds of meth during a search warrant execution on 100 block of Elma Drive in Centralia, but he disappeared, according to the Centralia Police Department.

The U.S. Marshals Service has a no-bail hold on Perez-Espinoza because that case is pending in U.S. District Court, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said.

Masiello said even though Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set the bail high, he wasn’t certain if federal agents might not take custody of the defendant and consider folding the local case into their federal case.

Perez-Espinoza has no felony criminal history.

In court yesterday afternoon, he told the judge he spoke only a little English, so a Spanish language translator was used.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said her client was working before, but not currently, so he qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

Perez-Espinoza was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, an offense with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, but a standard sentencing range of 12 to 24 months under state law, according to O’Rourke.

Prosecutors added so-called enhancements to the charges that the alleged crime took place within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop, involved a substantial amount of drugs and with a firearm being present. However Masiello said after the brief hearing there was no gun in the current case.

He’d mistakenly added that language, he said, but the information was about a firearm involved in the 2010 case.

According to charging documents, police found approximately a half pound of meth and the other items at the home where Perez-Espinoza lives on 200 block of West Second Street.

Officers learned he was storing more meth at another Centralia residence, and after contacting the occupant there, discovered the other four and half pounds, charging documents state.

Police seized three passenger vehicles as well.

For background, read “Centralia’s drug team scores big; mass meth, cash” from Tuesday October 14, 2014, here

Chehalis police car hits man in crosswalk

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Updated at 11:38 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pedestrian in a crosswalk was struck by a Chehalis police car last night, sending the 56-year-old Chehalis man to the hospital.

It happened about 7 p.m. on Northwest West Street near Front Street, near the Lewis County Historical Museum, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Kenneth L. Jacaway, 56, of Chehalis, was walking north crossing West Street and the patrol vehicle was traveling westbound, according to the state patrol.

Jacaway sustained a broken leg and an arm injury, according to a patrol spokesperson. He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.

His condition is described by a hospital spokesperson as fair.

Police Officer Rick Silva, 60, was driving a 2012 Dodge Charger and uninjured, according to the investigating trooper.

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer said they asked the state patrol to conduct the investigation.

Silva was on routine patrol, not on his way to a call with lights or sirens, according to Schaffer.

Trooper Will Finn said it was his understanding that a vehicle coming the opposite direction stopped and motioned for the pedestrian to go.

“The pedestrian did not see the patrol car coming and I’m assuming neither did the other driver,” Finn said.

Jacaway was struck by the front driver’s side quarter panel, he said.

Chief Schaffer said he will wait until the investigation is finished, to then look to see if there are any internal matters to be looked into, regarding policy and procedure.

There was no reason to place Officer Silva on leave during the investigation, Schaffer said.