Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Identity of Camas High School student confirmed

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office confirmed last night the body of a young man found inside a Honda Accord in the Twin City Town Center parking lot on Friday is the missing 16-year-old boy from Camas.


Cole Burbank

Cole Burbank was reported missing by his parents on April 13; he was last seen at Camas High School about 7:45 am. that day.

While the coroner has not made a conclusion about how he died, it’s not being ruled a suspicious death, according to Camas Police Department Public Information Officer Debrah Riedl.

Riedl said the urgency to find him as quickly as possible that launched a search immediately was because he was considered an endangered youth, based on his state of mind.

It was a friend of the family that located his car on Friday afternoon in the Chehalis shopping center, because they were searching everywhere for the vehicle, Riedl said.

Police determined from store video and witnesses that the car had been there since the same day he went missing, she said today.

Lewis County Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris has indicated the determination of the cause and manner of his death won’t be done until the receipt of the results of toxicology tests.

A Facebook page titled Remembering Cole Burbank states that a memorial service for the teen will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Camas High School.

For background, read “Police awaiting autopsy for confirmation about body found inside parked Honda Accord” from Monday April 24, 2017, here

News brief: Cell phone charger ignites inside Ethel home

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

The area in, around and above the electrical outlet burned. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 8.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Firefighters were called to a house on the 200 block of Classe Road south of Ethel early this morning where a living room wall had caught fire.

It was caused by an overheating cell phone charger, according to Lewis County Fire District 8.

Chief Duran McDaniel said it melted the plug, ignited the wallboard and had been “cooking” for awhile but burned itself out.

“It’s not the first charger I’ve heard of catching walls on fire,” McDaniel said. “It’s something the public needs to think about.”

A crew pulled the wall apart to make sure nothing more was burning, he said.

McDaniel suggested that folks need to be cautious with chargers, as all electronics have a chance of overheating.

“If your phone charger is really hot, it’s a potential problem,” he said.

News brief: Rural Chehalis rollover crash claimed life of 64-year-old

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The driver who was killed when his pickup truck wrecked along the 1400 block of Centralia-Alpha Road on Monday afternoon is being identified as 64-year-old John Halvorsen of Chehalis.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it appeared his truck had drifted off the road, struck a culvert and rolled multiple times.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office says Halvorsen died from blunt force injuries to his head and neck.

Deputies and the Washington State Patrol investigated the accident that occurred between Logan Hill and North Fork roads east of Chehalis.

For background, read “News brief: One person dead in rollover crash” from Tuesday April 25, 2017, here

News brief: One person dead in rollover crash

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 64-year-old Centralia man was found deceased at the scene when his pickup truck wrecked yesterday afternoon along Centralia-Alpha Road east of Chehalis.

Deputies and firefighters were called at 3:24 p.m. and found the 2004 GMC Sierra was totaled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It appeared the truck had drifted off the road, struck a culvert and rolled multiple times, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said. The vehicle came to rest wheels down, on the roadway, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

The driver was the sole occupant, according to Breen.

The Washington State Patrol is assisting with the investigation, he said.

News brief: I-5 freeway fatality under investigation

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Northbound Interstate 5 traffic in Chehalis is diverted off freeway at exit 79. / Courtesy image WSDOT

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A motorcyclist was killed this morning on northbound Interstate 5 in between Chehalis and Centralia.

Troopers and firefighters were called at 5:09 a.m. to milepost 80 for what was initially described as a multiple vehicle accident and they found semi trucks and cars pulled over with one motorcycle down, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Trooper Will Finn said about 9 a.m. detectives were still sorting out what occurred but he said the collision involved at least one semi truck.

“It’s a pretty dynamic situation,” Finn said.

All northbound traffic was being diverted off the freeway at the Chamber of Commerce Way exit, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The state patrol has a person of interest not at the scene they want to interview who may have been involved or may be just a witness, Finn said.

A tow truck had been called by about 9:10 a.m. but Finn had no estimate as to when the lanes would reopen.

Read about bail set at $2 million for Tenino area murder suspect …

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the 23-year-old Tenino man accused of choking his mother into unconsciousness and then cutting her throat with a kitchen knife is being held on $2 million bail.

News reporter Amelia Dickson writes a public defender told the judge he had substance abuse and mental health concerns regarding Roan Littlemoon when he appeared in Thurston County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Littlemoon was picked up in Longview on Tuesday morning, the day after deputies found 60-year-old Robin L. Tingle dead inside her residence on the 2800 block of 184th Avenue Southeast.

Dickson writes that Tingle was granted a protection order against her son last summer.

Read more here, “Bail set at $2 million for Thurston County man accused of killing his mother” from The Olympian on Wednesday April 5, 2017

Registered sex offender notices: Ethel and Chehalis

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Authorities recently announced two sex offenders have moved to Lewis County and registered their addresses with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

One moved to Chehalis and the other to Ethel and both are designated level three, meaning they present a clear risk to the community, according to the sheriff’s office.

Neither is wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.


Rodney M. Matlock

Rodney M. Matlock, 59, just got out of prison, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for a February 2000 conviction in Lewis County Superior Court for first-degree rape of a child in which the victim was a 9-year-old boy he knew, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty.

Before that, he served a five-year sentence for a 1991 conviction of first-degree sexual abuse of a 6-year-old female relative in Clatsop County, Oregon, according to McGinty.

Matlock resides on the 600 block of Northeast Franklin Avenue in Chehalis.

He is described as 5-feet 9-inches feet tall and weighing 200 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes.

Matlock will be supervised by the state Department of Corrections for three years, according to McGinty.


James M. Keith

A 68-year-old man who has been out of prison since 2010 notified the sheriff’s office at the end of March he would be living on the 100 block of Best Drive in Ethel.

James M. Keith is described as 5-feet 6-inches tall and weighing 190 pounds has gray hair and blue eyes.

Keith was convicted in King County in 1986 of first-degree statutory rape for ongoing forced sexual contact with two girls to whom he was related, ages 6 and 3, according to McGinty.

He was sentenced to not more than 20 years, transferred to work release in 1988 and escaped the day after arrival, McGinty stated.

The following year while on the lam, he stayed with friends and one day followed their 11-year-old daughter to her room where he struck her twice in the head with a large rubber mallet, according to McGinty. Keith began to put tape over her mouth, began to choke her but when he saw she was bleeding called 911 and her mother, according to the sheriff’s office.

He told the girl he was going to choke her, rape her and then kill her, according to McGinty. Keith was charged in 1990 in King County with first-degree assault, convicted and then given a 20-year sentence which ran concurrent to the first case, according to McGinty.

Keith has other convictions including theft, motor vehicle theft, driving under the influence and AWOL.

He is no longer on probation.

Anyone with questions may contact McGinty or Field Operations Chief Bruce Kimsey at 360-748-9286. Visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site to look up registered sex offenders, here

News brief: Centralia apartment arson suspect enters guilty plea

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The former Centralia apartment manager accused of setting a fire at a building where she lived and worked pleaded guilty today to one count of first-degree arson.


Kathrin L. Turner

Kathrin L. Turner went before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court with her attorney, David Arcuri.

Turner’s eyes stayed on the judge as she replied, “guilty”.

Centralia police investigated after two small fires were set on two consecutive mornings at the the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road. Turner told responders she used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames that damaged an approximately 15 square foot area of exterior siding on Nov. 3.

Three days later, Turner was found in the bathroom of a common area of the complex with life-threatening lacerations and taken to Tacoma General Hospital where she spent 45 days, according to authorities.

Centralia police concluded she’d cut her own throat and wrists.

Judge Andrew Toynbee accepted her plea and scheduled her sentencing for 11 a.m. on May 10.

She faces a standard sentencing range of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Arcuri said the reasoning behind his client’s and the prosecutor’s thinking will likely be made more clear at that hearing.

For background, read “Centralia apartment arson suspect held on $10,000 bail” from Tuesday January 24, 2017, here

News brief: Morton residence claimed by morning blaze

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fire investigator is looking into the cause of a fire that destroyed a Morton area home today.

Nobody was home and nobody was injured, according to Lewis County Fire District 4.

Firefighters were called about 7:30 a.m. to the mobile home park on Chapman Road, off state Route 508 just west of town, according to Fire Chief Dan Powell.

“There were actually mobile homes on both sides, but no damage to them,” Powell said.

They were assisted by members of Lewis County Fire District 3.

Powell said a small camp trailer was lost as well.

The person who resides there was away this morning, the chief said.

News brief: Oxygen machine, bed catch fire in Centralia residence

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Firefighters held house fire to bedroom. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

Updated at 6:03 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An elderly woman escaped safely when an oxygen machine and bed caught fire during the night at a home near Providence Centralia Hospital.

Firefighters called about 2 o’clock this morning to the 600 block of Nick Road found flames in the bedroom of the mobile home, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

They were joined by the Chehalis Fire Department and extinguished the fire, which was confined to the bedroom, according to Capt. Scott Weinert.

The mattress was almost completely consumed and damage was mainly the bed and adjacent furniture however there was smoke damage throughout the residence, according to Weinert.

The woman got out before the first crew arrived and suffered a minor burn injuries to her torso, according to the fire department. She was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for evaluation, Weinert said. He described her condition as stable.

The fire is believed to have started when the occupant fell asleep with a lit cigarette, Capt. Tim Adolphsen stated in a memo this afternoon.

Though smoke alarms were present, they were not working.

News brief: This is a test

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Tacoma Power and the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management will conduct a coordinated test of their emergency notification systems at 11 a.m. today.

Tacoma Power’s emergency sirens at Ike Kinswa State Park, Mayfield Lake Park and the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery will sound and include an announcement of the test.

Mossyrock Dam

The sirens and loudspeaker are part of a system that would be used to alert the public in the event of any imminent catastrophic-type failure of either of the two dams which could cause uncontrolled release of water downstream, such as an earthquake, according to Tacoma Power’s Jason Lellie, the emergency action plan coordinator at the utility’s power generation division.

Tacoma Power owns and operates Mossyrock Dam and Mayfield Dam on the Cowlitz River.

Both organizations conduct annual system tests, but this year marks the first time they have synchronized their efforts.

“Public safety is our number one priority,” Tacoma Power Chief Dam Safety Engineer Toby Brewer stated. “While we have a robust emergency action plan in place, the success of these systems in helping to keep people safe depends on all of us working together.”

Lewis County DEM will send two test messages using its new alert notification system. The first will alert users that the siren test is about to begin; the second will announce that the siren test is over.

The test should last approximately 90 seconds.

Lewis County’s notification system has replaced the former Code Red system. Users must register to receive the alerts and may choose to be notified by cell phone, landline, text message and/or email.

“We encourage Lewis County residents and visitors to register as soon as possible so they can receive future notifications,” said Lewis County DEM Coordinator Jim Rich.

People can register by:
• Visiting then clicking the “Lewis County Alert” icon at the bottom of the page.
• Calling (360) 740-1157 to speak with a member of the Lewis County DEM staff.

News brief: DUI suspected in two-vehicle U.S. Highway 12 wreck

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Five people were injured when a car crossed crossed the centerline on U.S. Highway 12 in Grand Mound and hit an oncoming truck last night.

Troopers called just after 9:40 p.m. to the scene near Elderberry Street Southwest report a Mitsubishi Mirage was traveling eastbound when it collided with a Toyota Tacoma, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The Mirage was driven by 41-year-old Jeremy L. Brown, of Cathlamet, who was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as was one of his three passengers, 47-year-old Tori C. Clark of Enumclaw, according to the state patrol.

Both vehicles were totaled and impounded, the investigating trooper reports.

The driver of the 2006 Toyota Tacoma, Todd R. Phelps, 51, of Rochester, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The Mirage’s other passengers were reportedly also transported to local hospitals: Teresa L. Meyer, 45, of Vancouver, to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and Daniel I. Garr, 28, Cathlamet, to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The state patrol indicates it suspects drugs or alcohol were involved and charges are pending.

News brief: Onalaska resident named as victim in Thursday crash

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The driver who died in a rollover wreck along state Route 508 on Thursday night has been identified by the state patrol as Michael L. Wells, 53, of Onalaska.

Wells died at the scene of the approximately 9 p.m. incident near Tauscher Road, about three miles east of Interstate 5.

The Washington State Patrol said the pickup truck was eastbound when the driver lost control, the vehicle rolled and came to rest in a pasture.

The passenger, 45-year-old Stephanie R. Richards, of Onalaska, was injured and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.

For background, read “News brief: Rollover crash claims life on SR 508” from Friday March 31, 2017, here

News brief: Rollover crash claims life on SR 508

Friday, March 31st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One person is dead after a single-vehicle accident along state Route 508 south of Chehalis last night.

Firefighters called about 9:10 p.m. to the scene near Tauscher Road about three miles east of Interstate 5 found the driver was deceased.

The 1999 Ford F250 pickup had been heading eastbound when the driver lost control and rolled off the north side of the roadway, coming to rest on its passenger side in a pasture, according to responders.

The passenger, 45-year-old Stephanie R. Richards, of Onalaska, was conscious but injured and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol and Lewis County Fire District 5.

The driver is identified as a 53-year-old Onalaska man, but his name has not been released.

Both had been wearing their seat belts, but the truck was totaled, according to the state patrol.

District 5 Firefighter Brad Bozarth said some bystanders were taking care of a dog which had been traveling with the couple.

News brief: Pe Ell residence sustains major fire damage while occupants away

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Smoke alarm melts, but keeps operating through Pe Ell fire. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Pe Ell couple is without a home after a fire that appears to have been related to an electrical issue.

Fire investigator Derrick Paul said he won’t know the cause for sure until after the insurance company runs some tests.

The occupants pulled into the driveway at the 300 block of West Fourth Avenue late Monday night after two days at the beach, and noticed the fire, Paul said.

Crews from Lewis County Fire District 11 arrived and extinguished the flames beneath the double wide mobile home and then entered and put out fire in the living room, according to Paul.

It had apparently been burning for quite a long time, but because the house was closed up, didn’t have a lot of oxygen, Paul said. The interior temperature was about 700 degrees and there was major heat damage inside, he said.

“The light fixtures throughout the house were melted,” he said.

However, Paul said, there was one working smoke detector and despite having partially melted, it was still beeping and flashing when he go there.

News brief: Orting man dies following U.S. Highway 12 motorcycle accident

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 56-year-old motorcyclist died after a wreck last night on U.S. Highway 12 about two miles east of Mossyrock.

Darrell S. Holmquist, of Orting, was traveling westbound near milepost 89 when he failed to negotiate a sweeping corner, left the roadway and was ejected, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were called to the scene just after 9 p.m.

Holmquist was airlifted to Peacehealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver where he passed away, according to the state patrol.

He had been wearing a helmet, but it was described by the investigating trooper as non-USDOT compliant.

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