Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Insurance on $322 million highway project will pay for $18.5 million collision settlement for Rochester man

Friday, August 26th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Washington State Department of Transportation issued a formal statement yesterday, the day after a settlement of $18.5 million was approved for a Rochester motorcyclist severely injured last year when he collided with a dump truck working on the Interstate 5 construction project in Centralia.

“This was a tragic and serious incident for Mr. Bliss and our thoughts remain with him, ” the state agency wrote. “Safety is a top priority for WSDOT and we work diligently with our contractors to reduce the risk of roadway incidents.”

Scott R. Bliss was 44 years old when the early morning wreck occurred on April 17, 2015 at the northbound Harrison Avenue entrance to Interstate 5. A Mac truck was turning on to the ramp from an adjacent area and Bliss was entering the freeway when Bliss’s motorcycle struck its trailer, leaving him with a brain injury.

Bliss just finally returned home about a month ago from a rehabilitation center.

The settlement is the largest amount paid to a single person in a Lewis County Superior Court case, as far as Bliss’s attorneys could find.

The lawsuit filed on his behalf named Washington state, the state Department of Transportation’s contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. and the driver, Wesley G. Snelson, from Galvin.

The judge’s approval came on the same day local and state officials met for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the nine year highway construction project coming to a close.

The $322 million project encompassed an 18-mile stretch, adding and modifying interchanges, adding lanes and building new connections that parallel the freeway to carry local traffic, among other improvements.

The $18.5 million in settlement money will be put in a trust for Bliss.

Most of it, $13.5 million, is being paid through Scarsella’s private insurance, according to a WSDOT spokesperson.

The other $5 million comes from a liability insurance policy required under the construction contract paid for by Scarsella but taken out in WSDOT’s name, according to Lars Erickson, communications director for the state agency.

The Interstate 5 work, which began in 2007, was done between Maytown and Napavine.

“This work will help drive down collisions and improve travel times on this portion of the West Coast’s busiest highway,” WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator Bart Gernhart stated in a news release. “By partnering with local community members, we incorporated their vision of a safer and more efficient I-5 corridor that will have lasting benefits for all travelers.”

The most visible difference are the connectors between the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges, meant to improve safety by reducing merge weaving and preventing backups onto the interstate.

Drivers should expect occasional nighttime single-lane closures during the next few weeks as WSDOT’s contractor, Scarsella Brothers, Inc., finishes guardrail installation and striping work, according to WSDOT spokesperson Bart Treece.

Additional roadside landscaping and erosion control work will be completed during the fall and winter months.
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For background, read “Multi-million settlement reached for motorcyclist’s injuries at I-5 onramp during construction” from Wednesday August 24, 2016, here

Defendant admits to texting while driving before Winlock crash

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
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Robert Hicks, represented by Centralia lawyer David Arcuri, is sentenced to 17 months in prison.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two weeks after his arrest for walking away from the scene of an early morning wreck he caused which left a Winlock woman with serious injuries, 28-year-old Robert A. Hicks pleaded guilty and apologized.

“I’m truly sorry,” Hicks said. “If I could trade places, I would.”

Hicks was sentenced yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court for vehicular assault, hit and run and tampering with a witness.

He admitted to the judge when asked, he was texting and driving as his car crossed over the center line.

Given he had no prior felony criminal history, the top of the standard sentencing range was 17 months in prison. And that’s what he got.

“I have to tell you, if it were legally possible for me to impose a greater sentence, I would definitely do it,” Judge Nelson Hunt said.

The head-on collision occurred on the 200 block of North Military Road in Winlock on July 24. A passing citizen found the two wrecked vehicles and called 911 at about 5:26 a.m.

Mechelle Crosse, 50, had multiple broken bones including in her face and back.

“She’s laying in bed crying because she’s helpless,” her daughter Nicole Ettner said as she asked the judge to hand down the maximum sentence. “My mom has never hurt a fly.”

The mother of 10 and grandmother of 12 needs 24-hour care because her mouth is wired shut, her sister-in-law Carla Ladino added.

“We’re not a rich family, and it’s hard on everybody,” Ladino said.

Hicks hung his head during most parts of the court hearing.

The electrician who had recently relocated to Winlock admitted to leaving the scene, and to calling his ex-girlfriend and telling her to report the car stolen.

Hicks wasn’t arrested until Aug. 10, in Olympia shortly after the case gained region wide attention, through the television show Washington’s Most Wanted.

His lawyer David Arcuri said his client earlier in the day was talking about writing a letter of apology.

Restitution, which will be substantial according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, will be determined at a later date.
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For background, read “Using cell phone while driving suspected in Winlock wreck” from Thursday August 11, 2016, here

Multi-million settlement reached for motorcyclist’s injuries at I-5 onramp during construction

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
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By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Rochester man who just recently has been able to return home after his motorcycle collided with a dump truck 16 months ago near a construction zone on a freeway onramp in Centralia is the beneficiary of an $18.5 million dollar settlement, approved by a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Scott R. Bliss was 44 years old and a welder when the early morning wreck occurred on April 17, 2015 at the  northbound Harrison Avenue entrance to Interstate 5.

He spent about a month at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, time in other medical facilities and was just released in July from a rehabilitation center for serious brain injuries.

A lawsuit filed on his behalf named Washington state, the state Department of Transportation’s contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. and the driver, Wesley G. Snelson, from Galvin.

Judge James Lawler this morning looked over the agreement between the parties, which sets up a trust fund to provide for his medical care for the rest of his life.

“It seems an extraordinary amount of money,” Lawler said. “Of course there were extraordinary injuries, and that makes sense.”

Bliss and his longtime partner Cheryl Aton were present for the hearing. He rolled into the courtroom in a motorized chair, but didn’t address the court.

His lawyers answered Lawler’s questions. Viivi M. Vanderslice said both defendants denied any responsibility.

Chehalis attorney Joe Mano, there to look out for Bliss’s interests, said he was in agreement, remarking on his belief a Lewis County jury would have found a significant portion of negligence.

The attorney representing the state said he had nothing to add. No lawyer from Scarsella was present.

Vanderslice said it appears from their research, it’s the largest outcome for a civil matter in Lewis County Superior Court paid out to a single person.

According to the Washington State Patrol, a dump truck was turning onto the ramp from a construction site when the motorcycle entering the freeway struck its trailer. Bliss was ejected from his Harley Davidson. It happened shortly before 5:30 a.m.

The Mac truck driver was cited by the state patrol for entering the roadway the way he did, the plaintiff’s other lawyer, Kirk Bernard, said.

“They were allowing big trucks to make a U-turn at the end of an open freeway onramp, without flaggers, with no warning signs,” Bernard said. “We learned they’d been doing this for months.”

Bernard and Vanderslice are with the Bernard Law Group in Seattle.

There was no evidence Bliss was speeding, his headlight was on and he was wearing a helmet, Bernard said.

The defendants took the position Bliss was a rogue motorcyclist and ought to have been watching out for the construction vehicles, he said.

“The issue is protection of the public, and adequate and clear warning,” Bernard said. “This was preventable.”

Today Bliss can take as many as 40 steps.

“He’s been tinkering in his garage, playing with his dogs,” Bernard said. “And he’s hopeful about the future.”
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For background, read “News brief: I-5 construction area crash sends one to Harborview” from Friday April 17, 2015, here

Napavine resident going to prison for Centralia drug-related robbery

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One of four suspects pleaded guilty today to his part in an early morning Centralia incident which authorities alleged involved a ruse to obtain heroin that resulted in a struggle inside a car with bear spray and a box cutter.

Robert Plasencia, 29, of Napavine admitted he took keys and a cell phone during the events of July 30 at the 1600 block of North Scheuber Road.

Plasencia pleaded guilty as charged, to second-degree robbery, before Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler this morning.

Charging documents in the case say the two victims told police of a request to get heroin for one of the four suspects who claimed to be drug sick. One of the assailants allegedly used bear spray and one of the victim’s pulled out a box cutter.

The initial information was a purse and backpack were stolen from the pair.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello told the judge Plasencia was quick in accepting responsibility. Defense attorney Michael Underwood said the plea agreement included both attorneys recommending his client spend 22 months in prison.

The standard sentencing range for the offense, given his criminal history, is 22 to 29 months.

Judge Lawler agreed with the deal.

Plasencia has been held in the Lewis County Jail since his arrest on July 31. He declined to make a statement on his own behalf.

Cases are still pending for the other three, charged similarly. They are Andrea Parker, 34, of Chehalis; Jon Parker, 32, transient; and Kiana J. DeLaRosa, 18, of Chehalis.
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For background, read “Bear spray, box cutter and heroin” from Friday August 12, 2016, here

Camp trash dispute turns violent near Dog Mountain

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Updated at 2:21 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An argument over leaving garbage at a Glenoma campsite is what reportedly sparked a stabbing that sent a 40-year-old man to Harborview Medical Center yesterday.

Deputies called just after 5 p.m. to the Dog Patch campground at the base of Dog Mountain found the victim with a stab wound to his abdomen, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the weapon was a large Rambo-style knife.

The suspect and two companions fled in a white van and were ultimately located on a logging road across from Kosmos Road, Brown said.

Brown said the victim and witnesses said an argument broke out between the occupants of a Ohio license-plated car and the Florida-plated van about the subjects in the two cars leaving the trash behind.

The victim, a 40-year-old from Los Angeles, California, was immediately transported to Morton General Hospital and then airlifted to Seattle, according to Brown. His condition this morning is unknown, as the sheriff’s office last information is from 11 o’clock last night, when he was still in surgery.

The victim said the suspect came at him and stabbed him, Brown said. The suspect said it was self defense, she said.

Theodore D Pojman, 21, from Ocoee, Florida, was arrested for first-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail. Prosecutors are not filing criminal charges today, pending further investigation.

Ideas to cool off, be safe with 100 degree-plus day ahead

Friday, August 19th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Officials are urging citizens to take care of themselves and their surroundings as temperatures today reach for 100 degrees.

Centralia City Hall will be open to the public from noon until 5 p.m., for any who need a place to stay cool. Water will be provided.

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Knowing folks will be drawn to the water for recreation, the Lewis County Drowning Prevention Coalition is reminding the public that most rivers and lakes can still be very cold below the surface. They urge people to wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets when in, on or around the water.

“Time is also critical so call 911 as soon as you see someone struggling in the water even if people are swimming out to them,” the group stated in a news release. “Victims submerged for more than 10 minutes have a very low rate of survival.”

The city of Chehalis has joined Centralia and Lewis County leaders in banning outdoor recreational fires, because of the fire danger.

Chehalis Fire Chief Ken Cardinale asks residents to please follow the restrictions and use good judgement based on the extreme risk.

In Chehalis as in other locales, outdoor cooking is allowed only using camp stoves with lids, on/off switches and which are fueled by  liquid gas or propane.

Chehalis also continues to allow the use of outdoor fireplaces, as long as they are equipped with an approved spark arrestor on the flue.

“As the Chehalis fire chief, I cannot stress enough the seriousness of the fire danger that presently exists,” Cardinal stated. “The continued dry conditions, very low fuel moistures and dry weather pattern we have been experiencing are contributing to the high fire danger.”

All of Western Washington except the immediate coast is under a red flag warning for fire danger.

The current forecast in Chehalis today is 102 degrees. Those in Toledo can expect 101 degrees; and in Centralia, 100 degrees. Communities in East Lewis County are projected to see temps in the mid-90s.

The National Weather Service expects temperatures to peak today and level off or drop slightly tomorrow, with significant cooling on Sunday.

Centralia Police Department detective Patty Finch and the Lewis County Public Health and Social Services Department suggest the following advice to prevent heat-related illness or injuries.

• Stay in an air-conditioned, indoor location as much as possible.
• Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty; water is best.
• Schedule outdoor activities carefully, and wear lightweight clothing and sunscreen.
• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
• Never leave children or pets in cars.
• Avoid dressing babies in heavy clothing or wrapping them in warm blankets.
• Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill or may need help. If you might need help, arrange to have family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather period.
• Make sure pets have plenty of water.
• At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.

Other cooling stations open around the county include:

Lewis County Fire District 6, at 2123 Jackson Highway, Chehalis
Open today from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Open Saturday, August 20 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Twin Cities Senior Center, at 2545 N. National Ave., Chehalis
Open today until 7 p.m.
Open Saturday, August 20 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Morton Senior Center, at 103 Westlake Ave., Morton
Open today until 6 pm

Packwood Senior Center, at 12931 U.S. Highway 12, Packwood
Open today until 6 p.m.
Open Saturday, August 20 from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Sunbird employee accused of inappropriately touching developmentally disabled worker

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police arrested a 33-year-old man following an investigation that began when a special needs student told a school district employee that he grabbed her hand and put it in his crotch area during a program in which students go to local businesses to learn job skills.

The 20-year-old student allegedly said he’d done it several times before and she was afraid to tell him to stop, according to court documents.

Rodney R. Cook, the shipping manager at Sun Bird Shopping Center in Chehalis, was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of indecent liberties, according to temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Police were contacted on June 1 and spoke with a Chehalis School District employee who said the alleged victim told her what happened that day after she returned from Sunbirds, according to court documents.

Police Sgt. Rick McNamara was told the two were working on one side of a table pricing items while her job coach and other students were on the other side, court documents relate.

The documents don’t include any information indicating police interviewed the alleged victim or the suspect.

The school district’s program called Visions works with special needs children. The alleged victim has “a specific” learning disability” and an IQ of 71 or 72, according to court documents.

Cook, who lives in Olympia, was arrested yesterday and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

A judge this afternoon set his bail at $50,000.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said Cook has a March 2009 conviction in Wyoming for second-degree sexual assault, victim under 12.

His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 25.

Bear spray, box cutter and heroin

Friday, August 12th, 2016
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By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Trial is set for September for four individuals charged with second-degree robbery for a Centralia incident authorities alleged involved a ruse to obtain heroin that resulted in a struggle inside a car with bear spray and a box cutter.

The suspects are: Andrea Parker, 34, of Chehalis; Jon Parker, 32, transient; Robert Plasencia, 29, Napavine; and Kiana J. DeLaRosa, 18, of Chehalis.

“The allegation is the set up of a drug deal,” Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge when their bail was addressed. “We’ve had people get really hurt in this county on drug deals.”

The bail hearing was held last week. Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $50,000 for three of the defendants. He made it $25,000 for DeLaRosa, who has no criminal history.

Police got involved when they were called to the 1600 block of North Scheuber Road in Centralia at about 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, July 30

Early information was a purse and backpack were stolen after a threat with a knife.

The two victims, a male and a female, told of a request to get some heroin for DeLaRosa who claimed to be “drug sick.”

Charging documents go on to describe when they arrived, DeLaRosa got into the backseat of the car, reached forward and took the keys from the ignition.

The three other suspects allegedly came out of the residence and DeLaRosa told them the victims had stolen $100 from her.

Another one got into the back seat and began fighting with the male victim who was sprayed, and the victim later admitted taking a box cutter to a suspect.

The two victims both called 911 and the Parkers allegedly admitted to finding a small amount of heroin in the bags and using it.

They all were given court appointed attorneys. Their arraignments were all scheduled for last week. The trial is set for the week of Sept. 19.
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For background, read “News brief: Centralia robbery suspects apprehended” from Monday August 1, 2016, here

Using cell phone while driving suspected in Winlock wreck

Thursday, August 11th, 2016
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Robert Hicks is shown his seat in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man arrested yesterday for hit and run in connection with a head-on crash in Winlock that left another driver seriously injured allegedly showed up at a Winlock woman’s home that morning looking a little beat up with blood on him, asking for a ride to Kent.

The woman told detectives Robert A. Hicks told her not to tell anyone, and also left blood on her passenger seat, according to court documents.

The early morning wreck on July 24 left 50-year-old Mechelle Crosse with broken bones in her face and elsewhere. Her sister-in-law said she was just released from the hospital on Tuesday.

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“She’s still in a lot of pain,” Carla Ladino said. “She’s got no teeth, she just got off a feeding tube, she has a broken back and broken feet

“It’s going to take some time for her to heal, and I hate seeing her in so much pain.”

Hicks, 28, was arrested hours after the story and his photo gained region wide attention, through Washington’s Most Wanted.

When he was brought before a judge yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, his temporary defense attorney said it was his understanding all the media attention prompted Hicks to contact police.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher asked bail be kept at the $500,000 amount listed on the arrest warrant.

“We’re very concerned he’d be a flight risk and take off,” Meagher said.

Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke said it appeared Hicks’ income did not qualify him for a court appointed lawyer, as he earns about $4,000 a month as an electrician. But if he’s held  in jail and can’t work, he has no other source of income so he probably could not afford an attorney, O’Rourke indicated.

Judge Nelson Hunt set bail at $250,000.

Hicks, who recently moved to Winlock, was charged with vehicular assault plus hit and run.

Charging documents in the case state that detectives concluded the 2007 Acura four-door Hicks was driving was traveling south along the 200 block of North Military Road when it crossed the centerline and hit Crosse’s pickup truck.

Detectives suspect he was texting or talking on his phone.

Crosse told deputies that after the collision, a male asked her if she could move, tried once to open her door, and told her he was going to call for help.

He left walking south, and five to 10 minutes later, a motorist came across her and called 911.

The investigation led to his ex-girlfriend in Kent, the owner of the car, who Hicks reportedly told the car was stolen, but also told her he was texting, according to charging documents.

Lewis County sheriff’s detectives have obtained cell phone records for Hicks’ phone, which reportedly show texts and phone calls to two Winlock women between 5:11 a.m. and 5:52 a.m. that day.

Crosse, who resides in Winlock, was on her way to work at Safeway in Chehalis that morning, and the 911 call from the passerby came in at about 5:26 a.m.

Ladino attended the court hearing, and left feeling empathy for the man accused of leaving her injured sister-in-law alone on the road.

She said she suspects the reason he ran off is because he was scared.

“At first I was pissed, but today I’m feeling sorry for the guy, cause he’s so young,” she said.
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For background, read “Update: Wanted driver who allegedly fled Winlock accident scene arrested” from Wednesday August 10, 2016, here

Theft of police chief’s car could mean adult court for teen

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 17-year-old boy accused of stealing the Chehalis police chief’s patrol car, knocking down a trooper who tried to stop him and leaving two damaged vehicles in his wake as he fled onto Interstate 5 could be tried as an adult.

The un-named juvenile from Lacey was arrested yesterday afternoon, captured by a police dog after a nearly hour-long track in the tree line just north of Chehalis, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The chief’s unmarked Chevrolet Impala had been abandoned along the freeway near milepost 81, with a damaged front tire, according to a department spokesperson.

A detention hearing was scheduled this afternoon in Lewis County Juvenile Court and a “decline hearing” will be held in the next couple of weeks, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said if a person is 17, and commits this type of crime, the court has the discretion to move the case to adult court.

The suspect’s name was not released by police because he is a juvenile.

According to Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey, the string of events began with troopers attempting to make a traffic stop of a vehicle speeding on Interstate 5.

Law enforcement caught up with the car in the parking lot of Riverside Golf Course, on the 1000 block of Airport Road in Chehalis, but it’s driver fled, according to Bailey.

The passenger, a 15-year-old girl, was taken into custody and booked for a probation violation, according to Bailey.

As officers searched for the driver, the suspect driver got into the unmarked police car, Bailey said.

As officers approached the car, the suspect put it in reverse, striking a trooper with the open door, Bailey said.

“From what I understand, the trooper was knocked down, knocked down to the ground,” Baileys said.

The trooper was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Then the suspect sped away, headed over the Chamber Way overpass to enter northbound I-5,  and struck two civilian vehicles along the way.

Bailey said an occupant of one of those vehicles complained of back pain and went to the hospital as well.

Chehalis Officer Warren Ayers and his partner Reign were summoned shortly before 1 p.m. and eventually found the suspect, according to police. The suspect was taken to the hospital for a dog bite, before booking at the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center.

Bailey said Chehalis police were looking at charges of first-degree assault and eluding as well as hit and run, but other agencies could have other offenses to add.

Former Jeremy’s restaurant manager gets six months for theft

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The last time Mindy D. Nogues was convicted of first-degree theft for stealing from her employer, she was given a sentence of 30 days.

This time, a judge gave the former manager at Jeremy’s Farm to Table six months.

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Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler said his inclination was to make her sit in jail, but he acquiesced to her attorney’s request she be allowed to serve her time on work release.

The judge said he didn’t want to deprive the victim of the chance for her to pay him back.

Nogues, 32, appeared in Lewis County Superior Court today to be sentenced, after pleading guilty last month to first-degree theft.

She worked at the Chehalis restaurant on West Main Street from May until October of last year, and was arrested in January following an investigation by the Chehalis Police Department.

She was also ordered today to repay former owner Jeremy Wildhaber $9,232.29.

Charging documents alleged she pocketed hundreds of dollars per shift, using various schemes to attempt to cover it up.

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office initially worked out a plea agreement with Nogues in which they would recommend she serve only four months in jail if she paid $2,500 of the restitution by the end of July, according to Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm.

Her lawyer, Jakob McGhie, told the judge this morning she didn’t willfully fail to meet that obligation, but she did fail.

His client hadn’t been working regularly until July, he said, when she took a job at National Frozen Foods.

“She was in a long term relationship, and in the past couple of weeks the relationship ended,” McGhie said. “Her partner completely drained their shared account and took off.”

Judge Lawler imposed the top of the standard sentencing range, which the two attorneys agreed upon in their recomendations.

“The fact that you’ve stolen from an employer, you’ve done this twice, now that’s shocking to me,” Lawler said. “I don’t know what’s going on with that business, I’m not sure if it’s going to make it; but I’m sure that didn’t help.”

The judge ordered Nogues to report to the Lewis County Jail by next Tuesday.

It was June 2013 when Nogues pleaded guilty to first-degree theft, in a case involving the Travel Lodge in Centralia where she had worked as a manager. She served her time on house arrest, also known as electronic home monitoring, according to court documents.

The judge in that case ordered her to pay restitution to the business in the amount of $52,187.05.
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For background, read “Manager at Jeremy’s restaurant charged with stealing thousands of dollars” from Tuesday March 15, 2016, here

Update: Wanted driver who allegedly fled Winlock accident scene arrested

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
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Ford pickup truck and 2007 Acura at scene of early morning wreck, July 24, 2016. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 8:08 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities yesterday sought a nationwide arrest warrant for the man believed to have walked away from a head-on collision that left a Winlock woman severely injured last month.

A passing citizen who came upon the two-vehicle wreck on the 200 block of North Military Road in Winlock called 911 about 5:30 the morning of July 24, a Sunday.

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Found: Robert A. Hicks

The victim told deputies that before the other driver left, he tried once to open her door, asked her if she could move and said he would call police or an ambulance. The 50-year-old Winlock woman was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital with broken bones in her face and back.

Her Ford pickup and the 2007 Acura four-door, with Utah license plates, were both totaled. The car was impounded.

“She’s got a long road to recovery,” Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza said yesterday. “We want this guy bad.”

The sheriff’s office was looking for 24-year-old Robert A. Hicks.

Snaza met with David Rose yesterday of Q13’s Washington’s Most Wanted television show to talk about the case.

Hicks was located overnight by Olympia police, based on tips from Washington’s Most Wanted. He was arrested for vehicular assault plus hit and run, sheriff’s Cmdr. Dusty Breen said this morning.

They had reason to think Hicks may have been staying with someone in the Winlock area. He’s lived in King County and before that, in Florida, according to Snaza.

•••

For background, read “News brief: Victim found injured, alone at scene of two-vehicle collision in Winlock” from Monday July 25, 2016, here