Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Rochester home catches fire

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Six fire departments converged on a house fire in Rochester yesterday on the 8500 block of James Road Southwest.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott said the single-story wood frame home was occupied at the time, but nobody was injured.

“The fire began in the basement area and extended into the overhead attic space,” Scott said.

Crews called at 10:46 a.m. were still on the scene after lunch.

“It has a metal roof and that’s part of the problem, that’s holding in the heat,” Scott said.

An adult male and his son live there, according to Scott.

Sheriff’s Office: Deputy had to arrest woman who asked for help

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says they would not have arrested the woman who told a deputy she wanted to get clean and get into rehab if she had not reached into her purse and handed over a small baggie of heroin.

Forty-year-old Elizabeth A. Fiedler was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged the next day with possession of a controlled substance following a 911 call to her home in Onalaska on Feb. 28.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen initially reported Fiedler called Lewis County dispatch and asked for help, bringing law enforcement to her residence that night. However, a copy of the police incident report indicates it was her boyfriend who called 911.

Fiedler was passed out on the bed with a needle in her arm and he said he called because he did not know what to do, according to the report and charging documents.

The responding deputy wrote she was extremely upset and crying, and said she had relapsed and shot up with heroin. She told him she really wanted his help to get treatment, he wrote.

A second deputy noted in his report that Fiedler told them she knew she had a problem and repeatedly said she needed to go to rehab and needed help.

As she was reaching in to her purse, Deputy Andrew Scrivner told her she did not have to give him anything, according to the report.

Fielder stated, “I know, but its the right thing to do,” Scrivner wrote.

They had no choice at that point but to arrest her, according to Breen.

“Really, for law enforcement if someone presents us with, if they are in possession of an illegal substance, we don’t have another avenue,” Breen said.

The deputies also took in to evidence a silver spoon with brown resin in it they had seen laying on the bed next to her purse, according to the report. A possible charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was referred to prosecutors, according to Breen.

The second deputy wrote that Fiedler was cooperative and compliant during the entire contact.

While the arresting deputy told Fiedler they’d do the best they could to get her into a treatment program so she could continue on have a successful career, and “we’re here for ya,” Breen said the sheriff’s office doesn’t have authority to get someone into drug treatment.

“We don’t have a lot of avenues where we can go with that,” Breen said.

Breen said the only time they can take a person into custody other than a law violation, would be if they were gravely disabled or in danger to themselves, in which case they could be taken to the hospital to talk with a mental health professional.

“Obviously the best thing to do would not be to produce the controlled substance,” he said.

When Fiedler went before a judge the following day, she was allowed release on a $5,000 signature bond. The prosecutor noted to the judge she has no criminal history and was cooperative.

She pleaded not guilty on March 9. Her trial is scheduled for the week of May 22.

Breen said the erroneous information he initially provided to the news media was based on a synopsis of the incident from the deputy that did not contain the same information as the actual incident report.

For background, read “News brief: Onalaskan asks law for help with drug issue” from Wednesday March 1, 2017, here

News brief: Twenty-four pounds of meth seized in Centralia

Monday, March 20th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The local drug detective team announced today they found 24 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside the gas tank of a car and arrested two people.

The traffic stop of a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta took place on northbound Interstate 5 at milepost 81 on Friday, according to the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The stop followed an investigation by the team, according to a news release.

The drugs were located individually wrapped inside the Jetta’s fuel tank, JNET stated.

Arrested were the driver, 26-year-old Martin Alejandro Vega-Vega and passenger, 25-year-old Marco Antonio Lopez-Vega, both from Kent, according to the news release.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Lewis County Jail roster does not show the two men as detained there.

The news release states no further details will be provided. Centralia Police Department detective Patty Finch who forwarded the information to the news media said she did not know the answer as to where the arrestees are being held.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is staffed by law enforcement officers from the Centralia Police Department, the Chehalis Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Last month, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen advised the Lewis County Board of Commissioners that during January, JNET assisted federal agents in two separate incidents, one which turned up 13.7 pounds of meth and the other 15 pounds.

News brief: Crime Stoppers lives

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The board of Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers voted this morning to approve a name change to coincide with its expanded mission which includes Lewis County.

Crime Stoppers of Lewis County shut down last summer after more than two decades of operation.

While the program to the north has sort of taken this area under its wing, the new name will reflect that, according to Lewis County Undersheriff Wes Rethwill.

They will call themselves Crime Stoppers of South Sound, he said.

Already, anyone here in Lewis County who wants to turn in an anonymous tip – and potentially be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward, can call them, according to Rethwill.

Rethwill said the group has also taken Mason County “under its wing.” They will also be adding one new board position, he said.

“For us, it’s exciting, because we still have access to the crime stoppers,” he said.

The number is 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Change clocks, change batteries

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

For more information about smoke alarm safety, check the National Fire Protection Organization

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Napavine area Fire Lt. Laura Hanson wants everyone to be reminded this week is change your clock, change your battery.

Daylight saving time begins tomorrow, so setting your clocks forward by one hour before you go to bed will put you on the right schedule.

Replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm at the same time can put you and your family in the company of those whose lives have been saved by being timely alerted to a house fire.

It’s a simple preventative step that can prevent a tragedy.

Chehalis Fire Investigator Derrick Paul says that in his 20-year career, he has never come across a fire fatality when there was a working smoke detector.

“Warnings from smoke alarms can provide those critical extra seconds people need to get out of their homes safely,” State Fire Marshal Charles Duffy stated in a press release.

The state fire marshal’s office recommends making a habit of inspecting smoke alarms when we change our clocks.

“Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries so maintaining your alarms is a simple, effective way to protect you and your family,” Duffy stated.

Lt. Hanson urges anyone with questions to contact their local fire agency.

Duffy’s advice:

• Follow the manufacturers instructions when changing batteries.
• Test your smoke alarms monthly.
• Replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older.

News brief: Chats with cops begin tonight

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Who wants to learn more from or share feedback to Centralia police about particular issues in various areas around town?

2017.0309.cpdpatchThe Centralia Police Department has scheduled four community meetings in an attempt to better police neighborhoods and work towards building relationships with community members.

The first one will be held at 6 o’clock this evening at Fort Borst Park in Kitchen No. 1.

Members of the department will hear from residents on specific problems they are seeing in their neighborhoods and have a two-way discussion on what they can do for the community, according to a press release from Centralia Police Department.

They plan to hold these types of gatherings every six months, according to detective Patty Finch.

If you can’t make it tonight, put one of these other dates on your calendar:

• March 23 at Oakview School
• April 9 at Centralia’s city council chambers
• April 20 at Edison Elementary School

All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

Read about Salkum hunter prevails in elk shooting case …

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The (Ellensburg) Daily Record reports a Kittitas County judge yesterday dismissed a case against Salkum resident Tod Reichert and his guide in connection with the shooting death of a well-known elk named Bullwinkle because of vague language in the state hunting regulations.

Reichert had been charged last year with second-degree unlawful hunting of big game in a field not permitted for hunting.

The Yakima-Herald Republic last year wrote the animal who lounged in people’s yards was thought to be the biggest bull elk in the Kittitas Valley.

News reporter Brian Myrick writes Reichert’s attorney Steve Hormel said he and his client were happy with the outcome and believed it was the correct decision but prosecutors will decide whether to appeal the ruling within the next 30 days.

Read more about it here: “Judge dismisses case against Bullwinkle hunters” from The (Ellensburg) Daily Record on Thursday March 2, 2017

News brief: Onalaskan asks law for help with drug issue

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 40-year-old Onalaska woman handed over a baggie of suspected heroin to a deputy last night after calling Lewis County dispatch and telling them she wanted to get clean and get into rehab, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy responding to the 100 block of Third Street in Onalaska following the approximately 11:20 p.m. call field tested the brown powdery substance, arrested Elizabeth A. Fiedler for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and booked her into the Lewis County Jail, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said this morning.

A possible charge of possession of drug paraphernalia is being referred to prosecutors.

News brief: SUV crashes and burns at Ritchie Brothers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Winlock man was hospitalized with a head injury after his vehicle collided with a 500-gallon propane tank and burst into flames on private property south of Chehalis yesterday.

The 56-year-old motorist thought he was traveling along North Military Road but instead was at Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers just west of Interstate 5, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Stephen G. Kamhout was operating a 2003 Ford Expedition which was destroyed, according to authorities.

He was able to flee the vehicle and when contacted by law enforcement appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

Lewis County Fire District 5 was joined by personnel from Districts 15, 7 and 2 and put water on the tank until someone was able to get close enough to shut off the valve, Firefighter Sam Heldreth said. Nobody else was injured.

Two nearby propane tanks were not affected, Breen said.

Ritchie Brothers is a heavy equipment auction business.

Kamhout was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be medically cleared for booking but they kept him to treat a head injury, Breen said.

A case for driving under the influence will be referred to prosecutors for charging, Breen said.

News brief: South Gold auto shop catches fire

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Four fire departments responded to commercial structure fire on South Gold Street. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fire that broke out this morning at Burkett Auto Sales in Centralia was extinguished before it could spread to an adjacent office and large shop building.

The fire on the 1100 block of South Gold Street however did an estimated $30,000 damage to the shop area of the building, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Firefighters called at 8:35 a.m. were responding to multiple 911 calls reporting heavy black smoke coming from the building, according to Fire Capt. Casey McCarthy.

They were joined by crews from the Chehalis Fire Department, Lewis County Fire District 6 and West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Nobody was injured, according to McCarthy.

Burkett Auto repairs and sells used automobiles. The cause is under investigation.

News brief: Security images showing theft of Centralia utility payments leads to suspect

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police reported this morning they’ve arrested a suspect in the break-in to the Centralia city utilities payment drop box over the weekend and recovered several checks. The owners will be notified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Erick D. Teichman-Lehrer, 31, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to detective John Panco.

Police said the box on the  500 block of North Pearl Street was burgled at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday and discovered on Monday morning.

The box had last been emptied by the city at about noon Sunday, according to police.

Anyone who dropped a payment into the box between noon and 11 p.m. on Sunday is advised to contact their bank and put a stop payment on their checks, police say.

Anyone who thinks their payment may have been stolen is asked to contact Officer Mike Lowrey at 360-740-1105 and reference case number 17A1928.

The city of Centralia recommends anyone who put a payment in the box any time between noon on Sunday and 8:30 a.m. on Monday contact the customer service center at 360-330-7657 to assure the payment was applied to their account.

Anyone who notices anything unusual related to payment processing of their utility account should also contact the customer service center.

Detective Panco today said images caught on camera led to a vehicle that matched the vehicle leaving the scene and their suspect and also showed the theft. Teichman-Lehrer allegedly admitted to breaking into the box and stealing envelopes containing checks made out to the utility department, according to Panco.

The red drop box was to be removed by the city and won’t be available until further notice.

News brief: Nighttime fire chases eight occupants out of house

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The scene on South King Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four adults and four children are displaced after a house fire during the night in Centralia, which started as a clothes dryer fire.

Firefighters called at 12:43 a.m. to the home on the 500 block of South King Street found all the occupants had gotten out and were uninjured, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Two cats perished, according to Fire Chief Mike Kytta.

“Firefighters quickly attacked the main body of fire which was located in the utility room and kitchen,” Kytta stated in a brief summary of the incident.

Firefighting efforts were challenged for short period of time by a live electric power line that was in the vicinity of the utility room, according to Kytta.

The fire department Tweeted it began in the laundry room where the dryer was in use at the time and heavily damaged the rear of the home. It left smoke and heat damage throughout, according to Riverside.

Riverside was assisted by the Chehalis Fire Department. The residents are they are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

News brief: Attempted robbery of delivery man

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police were called at 2:10 a.m. today after an individual said he was confronted by two masked males who tried to rob him as he was making a delivery to an auto parts store on the 1100 block of West Main Street in Centralia.

The males were armed with knives, demanded his money and he refused, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim ran to get help, police said.

“Upon returning to the scene it was discovered that the suspects entered the victim’s vehicle and stole his backpack,” the police department stated in a brief summary of the incident.

This case is under investigation.

News brief: Centralia utility payment box burgled

Monday, February 20th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police got a call about 6:25 a.m. today from a citizen who reported the Centralia City Light payment drop box had been broken into and everything taken.

An officer responding to the 500 block of North Pearl Street found it was opened and empty, according to the Centralia Police Department.

A representative of the utility was contacted and advised items from inside the box had been collected on Friday, according to police. They will be checking with other employees tomorrow to determine if anything was taken, according to police.

The case is currently under investigation.

News brief: Short gunshot investigation

Friday, February 17th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police this morning began investigating after they were advised a hospital in Thurston County had a victim of a gunshot, who claimed he was shot in the Centralia area, but couldn’t provide an exact location.

Officers were notified about 5:35 a.m. but by the time they arrived to the hospital, the patient had already left, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said it’s starting to look as though the incident actually occurred in the Seattle area, and they are reaching out to police there.

The male is associated to an address up north and local officers learned an incident did occur up north, according to Reichert.

Hospitals are required to notify police of gunshot wound patients, and sometimes such victims intentionally provide misinformation, Reichert said.