Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Identity of fiery Glenoma crash victim confirmed

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has positively identified the victim of Tuesday’s early morning wreck of a pickup truck in Glenoma.

He is 27-year-old Richard G. Green, a Glenoma resident, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

Passersby came upon the burning wreckage on the Champion 200 Line. Investigators estimated the 1996 Ford F150 had been traveling as fast as 70 mph on a long straight stretch before striking a tree and catching fire.

The collision wasn’t witnessed, but the sheriff’s office believes it occurred  sometime around 5:30 a.m. or 6 o’clock.

McLeod won’t make a final determination on the cause and manner of death until after he gets the results of toxicology tests and further studies.

For background, read “NewsNews brief: Details on Glenoma crash, fatality still under investigation” from Thursday September 29, 2016, here

JNET talks about seizure of guns, drugs in south Chehalis

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County law enforcement’s drug fighting team released details yesterday about their Monday night arrest of an alleged drug dealer at his south Chehalis home, including how he’s spent some of the proceeds.

Drannon B. Smythe, 23, is accused of being a large-scale seller of controlled substances, and of trading firearms during his transactions.

He allegedly admitted to buying three sport-type cars with the proceeds.

Smythe was charged Tuesday in Lewis County Superior Court with  possession of heroin with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. His arraignment was scheduled for today.

Lewis County prosecutors wrote in charging documents that on Monday after his arrest, Smythe said he came to the door with a loaded AK-47, but put it down when law enforcement outside verified who they were.

Prosecutors wrote of the search turning up about an ounce of heroin, some methamphetamine, about $3,000 cash and thirteen firearms, several of which were loaded.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team wrote in a news release that actually 18 guns were seized, several of which were determined to have been stolen in Lewis County.

During the search, they also reportedly found hundreds of prescription pills and made mention that one of the counts they arrested him for was possession of LSD. He was not charged with that.

The arrest highlights the partnership between agencies, according to JNET Sergeant Brian Warren

“Working together will help us be more effective and focus on drug issues in rural Lewis County,” Warren stated. “The Joint Narcotics Task Force will continue to aggressively go after people who choose to be involved in illegal drugs in our communities.”

Warren indicates the search warrant was served at Smythe’s home on the 200 block of Newaukum Golf Drive. Court documents state Smythe lived on the the 200 block of Newaukum Valley Golf Course Drive.

JNET spells his name as Smyth, while prosecutors charged him as Smythe. His street name is given as “Dragon.”

According to Warren, JNET was accompanied by the U.S. Marshals Service as well as members of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Enforcement Team. Smythe’s roommate Sean Anthony Penn, 30, was arrested for an unrelated warrant from Thurston County.

Court documents state that Smythe told them, if law enforcement had served the warrant the previous day, he’d have had pounds of methamphetamine, but he was robbed.

In response to an inquiry, Warren said Smythe claimed someone broke into his house the night before and stole the drugs, but police are not investigating that since it was illegal for him to have them anyhow.

JNET also is asking if anyone has information regarding Smythe’s activities, to please phone them at 360-330-7680 or 360-748-9286.

For background, read “Drugs, guns and an arrest in Chehalis” from Tuesday September 27, 2016 at 8:31 p.m., here

News brief: Inappropriate touching case from Sunbird ends with plea deal

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 33-year-old man charged with indecent liberties for allegedly grabbing the hand of a 20-year-old special needs student and placing it in his crotch area while the two were working at Sun Bird Shopping Center in Chehalis was sentenced yesterday to 90 days in jail.

Rodney R. Cook, from Olympia, was arrested last month.

The young woman was participating in a  program in which students go to local businesses to learn job skills.

Cook entered into a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and the indecent liberties charge was dropped, according to his lawyer Kevin Nelson.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt yesterday accepted the agreed recommendation in which Cook would be given 364 days in jail with all but 90 of them suspended for two years. He’s already served 43 days.

For background, read “Sunbird employee accused of inappropriately touching  developmentally disabled worker” from Thursday August 18, 2016, here

News brief: Details on Glenoma crash, fatality still under investigation

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The identity of the victim of the early morning fiery crash near Glenoma may not be confirmed until the end of next week, the Lewis County Coroner’s Office indicated this morning.

Passersby came upon the burning wreckage of a pickup truck on the Champion 200 Line just before 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The occupant was trapped in the vehicle and died, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

At the time, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said they believed, based in part on who the truck was registered to, the driver was a 27-year-old Glenoma resident.

An autopsy was scheduled for today, but a final determination won’t be made until after they get the results of toxicology tests and further studies, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

For background, read “News brief: Lewis County sheriff’s office investigating logging road crash, death” from Tuesday September 27, 2016, here

News brief: Centralia teens hurt when truck leaves roadway

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Pickup truck rests on its top. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two young men were extricated from a small pickup truck that was nearly split in half from the force of its collision into a tree in Centralia last night.

Firefighters called about 9:20 p.m. to the area off North Gold Street at Ham Hill Road found the truck at the bottom of an embankment on its top. The occupants had been wearing seat belts, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews used hydraulic tools to remove the 18-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger, according to authorities.

Fire Capt. Scott Weinert said because of suspected internal injuries, the pair were airlifted to Harborview Medial Center in Seattle.

Centralia police report this morning it appears that speed and inexperience were factors in the collision. The police department describes their injuries as non-life threatening.

News brief: One seriously hurt in Adna wreck

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Updated at 6:35 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One person in critical condition was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after a collision between a dirt bike and another vehicle yesterday in Adna.

Firefighters and medics called about 3 p.m. to the 100 block of Spooner Road arrived to find bystanders performing CPR on a man on the roadway, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

Medics stopped CPR when the patient regained consciousness, according to fire department spokesperson DJ Hammer.

The man, in his early 70s, was transported to the Adna High School stadium where he was picked up by a helicopter, according to Hammer.

It appeared the 72-year-old Chehalis resident pulled out of his driveway on his motorcycle and failed to yield, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was hit by a GMC2500 pickup truck, which sustained major damage, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

The 40-year-old Chehalis man driving the pickup was reportedly unhurt.

Breen said the victim had been wearing a helmet, but it was ripped off from the wreck, leaving him with head trauma.

His 1986 Dual Sport Honda XL250 motorcycle was licensed for the road, but was a total loss, according to Breen.

News brief: Lewis County sheriff’s office investigating logging road crash, death

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputies and firefighters were called out early this morning when passersby came across a truck that was wrecked and burning on a remote road south of Glenoma. The occupant was deceased.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said the state patrol estimated the Ford F150 was traveling as much as 70 mph on a long straight stretch before striking a tree and catching fire.

The impact was so great it severed the tree, part of which fell back on to the vehicle, according to Breen.

It happened on the Champion 200 Line, a gravel road off of Champion Haul Road, he said.

The sheriff’s office was dispatched at 6:23 a.m. Members of Lewis County Fire District 18 were joined by personnel from Lewis County Fire DIstrict 14 and extinguished the fire.

Breen said they believe it occurred sometime around 5:30 a.m. or 6 o’clock.

The victim’s identity is being definitively established by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office, but the sheriff’s office suspects he is a 27-year-old Glenoma resident.

Chief Breen said as of this afternoon, they didn’t really know how or why it happened.

Senior citizen inadvertently discharges firearm inside Chehalis store

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A customer at the checkout counter of a Chehalis pet supply store accidentally fired his 38 revolver, injuring himself yesterday.

Police called at 12:42 p.m. yesterday to the Twin City Town Center found the victim and his wife had already headed to the hospital, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The 79-year-old Onalaska resident shot himself in the foot, according to police.

He and his wife were at the counter at Petsense when he placed his hands in his pockets, and then witnesses heard a loud bang, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. The man, who was not named, then stated he shot himself, Bailey said.

An officer made contact with him, and he confirmed what happened, according to Bailey.

The victim was treated at Providence Centralia Hospital for the non-life threatening injury and has been released, according to Bailey.

Bailey said nobody else was injured. She didn’t know how many people were inside the business at the time.

The strip mall is just west of Interstate 5 on the 1400 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue.

The case will be forwarded to Chehalis Municipal Court prosecutors for a review of possible charges, according to police.

Three years ago, after a 40-year-old man holstering his firearm in the parking lot at Sunbird Shopping Center accidentally fired a round through his hand and into his wife’s thigh, he was charged with reckless endangerment.

News brief: Lewis County ends summertime outdoor burning restrictions

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Board of Commissioners announced yesterday they would end their restrictions on outdoor burning as of 12:01 a.m. today.

A prohibition on outdoor burning was put in place in unincorporated areas of Lewis County on Aug. 2 when weather conditions created substantial fire danger. Even recreational campfires were prohibited for a period but were allowed again beginning Labor Day weekend.

Now, the board and the county fire marshal say conditions have improved.

Outdoor burning is restricted to natural vegetation from the burn site and is subject to an open burning application and permit.

Burning garbage, paper or other refuse is never allowable.

To obtain an Open Burning Application and Permit, apply on-line at or in person at the Lewis County Fire Marshal’s office.

For further information, contact Doyle Sanford, Building Official/Fire Marshal, at 360-740-1146.  The fire marshal’s office is in the Lewis County Public Services building, located at 2025 NE Kresky Avenue, Chehalis.

Logging accident claims life of Centralia man

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office reported today that a 50-year-old man from Centralia was killed in an accident at a logging site yesterday.

William J. Leonard was deceased at the scene, inside the cab of a piece of heavy equipment that tumbled several hundred yards down a steep embankment of the Fossil Creek area of Pacific County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Deputy Pat Matlock wrote in a news release this afternoon that they were called about the incident about 12:25 p.m. yesterday.

It happened about 16 miles from the paved roadway, on Rayonier Forestry land, according to Matlock.

“Witness statements and evidence observed at the scene indicate that the victim was ‘shovel logging’ a steep side hill,” Matlock wrote. “It appeared that the shovel had been moving decks of trees up the hill when it tipped over and rolled to the bottom.”

Leonard was working for EDB Logging, according to sheriff’s office.

News brief: Phone fraud involving sheriff’s office

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Someone is impersonating a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office employee, making phone calls and trying to scam people out of money.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen says several individuals have advised the sheriff’s office they’ve been contacted by a person purporting to be with the warrants division.

They’ve been told the call is about missing federal jury duty and the only way to avoid arrest is to come to the sheriff’s office after completing an initial procedure, according to Breen.

The “initial procedure” involves obtaining a “Green Dot” pre-paid card and providing the caller with security information so the caller can get the funds, according to Breen.

The sheriff’s office is actively investigating the source of the calls as originating from an Internet based application, according to Breen.

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant to the ever increasing amount of scams via telephone and internet,” Breen states in a news release. “If you are contacted by someone from a government agency and believe it seems suspicious, it is recommended you find independent contact information for the agency and contact them directly.”

The sheriff’s office also recommends the public not share any personal identifying information with anyone if they are not certain of their identity.

News brief: Motorcyclist hospitalized after crash in Tumwater

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia man was injured when his motorcycle struck the rear of a car and he was ejected last night in Tumwater.

Jeffrey E. Westley, 51, was westbound at a high rate of speed on Tumwater Boulevard Southwest approaching Littlerock Road when he ran into the back of a Volkswagen Passat, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers called just before 9 p.m. report Westley landed in the entrance to the traffic circle and the roadway was blocked for three and a half hours.

His 2002 Honda VTR100 was described as totaled.

Westley was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, according to the state patrol. Investigators suspect he was under the influence and drugs may have been involved, the patrol indicated in a brief summary of the incident.

The driver of the Passat was reportedly unhurt and her car was damaged but still drivable.

News brief: DNR eases outdoor burning restrictions

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Continued fall weather conditions have led the state Department of Natural Resources to lift its outdoor burning ban on the forest lands it’s responsible for protecting from wildfires in Western Washington, as of 12:01 a.m. today.

A prohibition on outdoor burning put in place in unincorporated areas of Lewis County on Aug. 2 has yet to be rescinded, but in the past the county has followed the lead of the state agency, often within a day or two.

Recreational campfires were prohibited for a period but were allowed again beginning Labor Day weekend.

““The fall weather pattern shows us it’s time to lift western Washington’s burn ban,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark stated in a news release. “It will also permit us to ease the burn ban east of the Cascades by allowing campfires in some locations.”

County burn bans may still be in effect in various locations throughout Washington, and residents should check with local fire districts for information.

DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forest lands in Washington.

News brief: Robbery victim struck with piece of concrete

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are investigating a report of an incident last night in which a man in his mid-20s said he was jumped on a Centralia street by a group of five people.

The victim reported he was approached and they demanded a cigarette from him and when he didn’t have one, he was beat and hit in the face with a piece of concrete.

The attackers then stole his cell phone, his iPod and a Bluetooth speaker, according to the Centralia Police Department.

It happened on First Street near Euclid Way around 10 p.m., according to police.

Officer Doug Lowrey said the victim was seen at Providence Centralia and his injuries were minor. He’s from Olympia, according to Lowrey.

News brief: Cigarette started fire in Randle man’s home

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 68-year-old man who escaped when his Randle home caught fire yesterday suffered first-, -second, and third-degree burns, according to Fire Investigator Derrick Paul.

“The doctors said it was about 10 percent of his body,” Paul said.

Firefighters were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to the trailer home on the 300 block of Cline Road and the resident was transported to Morton General Hospital.

Paul said he learned the man, who uses a motorized chair to get around, is a smoker.

“He dropped the cigarette, he told me, in the blanket on the bed and couldn’t find it,” Paul said. “Several minutes later, the place was on fire.”

The man managed to get himself out, but suffered burns to his legs, side of his face, shoulder, arm and hands, he said.

The trailer is a total loss, according to Paul.

“He had a dog, the sheriff’s department took into custody and took somewhere,” Paul said.

News brief: Pedestrian injured on I-5 at Maytown

Friday, September 16th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Tenino man is hospitalized with two broken arms after for unknown reasons he bolted from an approaching trooper making it partway across the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 at Maytown before running into the side of a Jeep Wrangler this evening.

Troopers began getting multiple 911 calls about a pedestrian in the roadway, on the southbound side near milepost 95, according to the Washington State Patrol.

An arriving trooper made contact with the man, noticing he had a knife in his hand and blood on his shirt, according to the state patrol.

The trooper told him to drop it and he did, but as the trooper walked toward him, the man turned and ran, Trooper Todd Bartolac said.

Jeffery D. Lantrip, 50, from Tenino, was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital and may have some internal injuries as well, according to the state patrol.

The roadway was blocked for more than three hours as the incident was investigated.

Bartolac said they don’t know why he was carrying a knife or where the blood came from, but detectives are continuing their investigation.

“There were no threats or anything like that,” he said.

The Chehalis man driving the 2014 Jeep Wrangler, Scott D. White, and his passenger were uninjured but there was some damage to the vehicle, according to the patrol.

News brief: Gasoline sparks fire inside repair shop

Friday, September 16th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia firefighters were joined by crews from two neighboring departments when flames broke out in a mechanic’s shop off North Tower Avenue on East Hanson Street yesterday evening.

Damage is described as moderate, but a sport utility vehicle caught fire and it spread also causing damage to a portion of the building, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

It began when the business owner was transferring gasoline out of a GMC Yukon that was in for repairs and the fuel ignited, according to Fire Capt. Terry Ternan. Nobody was hurt.

Sixteen firefighters responded to the approximately 7 p.m. call and were on scene for about two hours, according to Ternan.

Robber with black and white Scream-type mask hits Winlock store

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Multiple law enforcement officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Handi store in Winlock last night, but they suspect the thief got away in a car before they arrived.

Toledo Police Department Sgt. Sam Patrick said they arrived to the convenience store on Kerron Avenue following the approximately 10:30 p.m. call and brought a K-9 in to conduct a track.

“The dog got a pretty good scent, and then all the sudden it disappeared,” Patrick said.

The female clerk who was working alone was not injured, he said.

The robber walked inside, displayed a handgun, apparently demanded money from the till and she handed it over, he said.

The robber was wearing gloves and dark clothing and a disguise, consisting of a black and white mask which was a cross between a Scream mask and skeleton mask, Patrick said.

Four units with the Toledo department arrived, according to Patrick. They serve the city of Winlock.

They were assisted by officers with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol.

No suspect had been located as of this afternoon.

Benefit, memorial set for Toledo man

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Brian Marshall Jones
Sept. 23, 1968 – Aug. 12, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It wasn’t even one of the more difficult hikes they’d done.

Brian Marshall Jones, his wife Brenda Cyrus and their 9-year-old granddaughter Athena were on their way out of a five-day trek on part of the Pacific Crest Trail when his 47 years on this earth came to an end.

They’d taken the East Crater Trail to Lake Sahalee Tyee in Skamania County, Cyrus said.

“It was very sudden, very unexpected,” she said.

Jones, a Toledo native who relocated to Battle Ground, had coronary disease, he wife said.

It happened on Aug. 12 and she recalls with warmth the “wonderful souls” on the trail who stayed with them until search and rescue could reach them.

A celebration of life is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Woodland Grange. The address is 404 Davidson Ave.

The information technology specialist is known to many as the bass player with the Winlock-based band, Two Minute Miracle.

The group is coordinating a memorial poker run on Sept. 24, which begins at 10 a.m. at The Club tavern in Winlock. All are welcome. The proceeds will assist Jones’ family.

• See Brian Marshall Jones’ obituary here
• Find details for memorial poker run, here

Randle: Motorcycle passenger falls onto road, hit by another rider

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four people were injured when a passenger fell off the back of a motorcycle onto U.S. Highway 12 near Randle, amongst a group of motorcycles heading eastbound today.

Sebastian S. Miller, 25, from Tacoma, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Miller was struck by another Kawasaki, which was then hit from behind by a third one. The driver of the second motorcycle, Donald W. Braddock, 25, of Lakewood, was flown to St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma, according to the state patrol.

Braddock’s passenger was transported to Morton General Hospital. The third motorcycle operator was hurt but not hospitalized, the investigating trooper reports.

Troopers called just before 1 p.m. to the scene near Peter’s Creek Road indicate all were wearing helmets.

Approaching twilight

Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Photo by Katherine Gulmert

Photo by Katherine Gulmert

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Not a crime. Just approaching twilight in rural Chehalis as summer begins to make room for autumn.

News brief: Some jurisdictions lift campfire restrictions

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Updated at 1:50 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – While the ban on outdoor burning continues, those who live in unincorporated Lewis County may once again light up campfires beginning at 5 p.m. today.

“After careful review, of the current and extended weather forecast for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, the Lewis County community development director and the fire marshal have determined that weather conditions within Lewis County have improved and will modify the burn restriction to allow recreational campfires in designated campgrounds and on private lands if built in the following manner,” Lewis County officials stated in a news release.

2015.0522.smorecampfire“The campfire shall be no greater than three-feet in diameter and have a ring constructed of metal, stone, or brick 8-inches above the surface with a 2-foot wide area cleared down to exposed soil surrounding the outside of the pit;

• The campfire shall have an area at least 10-feet around it cleared of all flammable material and at least 20-feet of clearance from overhead flammable materials or fuels;

• The campfire must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16-years old with the ability to extinguish the fire with a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water or with a connected and charged water hose;

• Completely extinguish campfires by pouring water or moist soil in them and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch. The use of self-contained camp stoves is encouraged as an alternative.”

In other words, be cautious.

The Lewis County fire marshal, in coordination with the chiefs of local fire districts strongly urge all county residents and visitors to be attentive to the conditions of their properties through proactive fire prevention measures, Lewis County Community Development Director Lee Napier stated.

The cities of Centralia and Chehalis today issued similar statements, saying recreational fires and outdoor cooking are okay now, in approved fire pits and/or if using devices with lids.

“The use of liquid gas camp stoves and propane barbecues with on/off controls and charcoal barbecues are also permitted in all city parks and campgrounds,” both cities noted.

They recommend keeping a fire extinguisher nearby.

“Please be safe and enjoy the remainder of the summer,” Chehalis Fire Department Ken Cardinale wrote.

The state Department of Natural Resources eased its burn ban in Western Washington as well.

“Recent rains and cooler temperatures across Western Washington are prompting DNR to reduce campfire restrictions west of the Cascade Mountains,” the state agency wrote.

Effective today, campfires will be allowed within approved fire pits in designated campgrounds in state parks, state forests and on other lands protected by DNR.

Individual jurisdictions may have their own continued campfire bans. Check local restrictions, campground signs or with campground hosts before starting a campfire.

News brief: Thurston Sheriff Snaza awake and out of ICU

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza’s condition has been upgraded from critical to serious and he continues to improve but remains hospitalized with injuries from a motorcycle accident last week.


Sheriff John Snaza

Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Rudloff released a statement yesterday, in cooperation with Snaza’s family, reporting he was moved from the intensive care unit to a room on the general recovery floor.

“This is wonderful news for this progression of full recovery,” Rudloff wrote.

The single-vehicle accident occurred while Snaza was off duty, the evening of Aug. 23 in Sanders County, Montana. He was airlifted to to a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with life-threatening injuries.

At mid-day on Monday, Rudloff reported that the sheriff woke up, his ventilator was removed and he was able to breathe on his own and speak. Rudloff said he seemed in good spirits and was able to communicate with his family.

Snaza, 51, is the twin brother of Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza.

Rudloff yesterday indicated the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office would transition to brief social media comment updates once a week.

For background, read “Read about optimism for Thurston Sheriff Snaza’s long road to recovery … ” from Saturday August 27, here

News brief: Former Chehalis Tribal official sentenced for defrauding housing program

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The former head of the Chehalis Tribal Housing Authority was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in jail and two years of supervised release following his conviction for collecting downpayment assistance from the authority knowing he didn’t qualify because he already owned a home.

Hector Ray Canales, Sr., 55, had pleaded guilty to conversion of tribal funds in May, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton in Tacoma said Canales had betrayed the trust of his tribe, according to office spokesperson Emily Langlie.

According to records filed in the case, Canales engaged in a “sham” transaction to transfer his existing ownership to a relative, so that he could collect $37,400 from the program which he used to pay for a second home in the Chehalis area.

Langlie stated that Canales used his position in the tribe and his knowledge of the internal fiscal controls to illegally collect the down payment funds. The fraud meant that other eligible Chehalis Tribal members did not get down payment assistance, Langlie stated.

Canales was the chairman of the board of the  Chehalis Tribal Housing Authority.

The case was investigated by the Chehalis Tribal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The judge ordered him to pay $37,400 in restitution. Canales has since repaid just over $24,000 to the tribe.

News brief: Forest fire visible from Rochester, Tumwater contained

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Members of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority are assisting with water support this morning as firefighters with the state Department of Natural Resources mop up after a blaze in the Capitol Forest that grew to about three acres.

Crews were dispatched about 9:40 p.m. yesterday on reports a large fire could be seen from Rochester and Tumwater, according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

“Crews arrived to find the fire located off the 8200 Road north of Capitol Peak near the Noshka area,” Scott stated in a news release. “The fire was initially one and a half acres in heavy logging slash and grew to approximately three acres before containment.”

Local firefighters worked the scene until the early morning hours and turned it over to DNR, according to Scott.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no injuries reported.

Centralia resident booked for allegedly shooting at moving truck on Main Street

Monday, August 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police believe a 27-year-old man fired a shot from a gas station parking lot at a passing vehicle on Main Street, which missed but may have lodged in a building across the street early yesterday morning in Chehalis.

Officers were called to the report of a shooting about 3:20 a.m. yesterday, located the suspect truck and stopped it at the 400 block of North Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said the motive is unclear but police are interviewing the occupants of the targeted vehicle and have arrested the passenger of the suspect vehicle.

He is Matthew W. Harader, age 27, of Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault and for possession of methamphetamine.

The driver of the truck he was in, an adult male, was not arrested, Bailey said.

Officers believe Harder fired from the parking lot of the 76 gas station at the 600 block of Main Street, according to Bailey. No injuries were reported, according to Bailey.

The case is still under investigation, but Harder is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon to face criminal charges.

Read about optimism for Thurston Sheriff Snaza’s long road to recovery …

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza remains in critical condition following the motorcycle accident that left him with a punctured lung, a lacerated kidney, a severely broken left arm and a damaged right hand.

Snaza underwent surgery Wednesday to fuse a bone in his neck.


Sheriff John Snaza

Undersheriff Tim Braniff said at a press conference yesterday afternoon the 51-year-old is strong and “he’ll be back, according to Olympian news reporter Amelia Dickson.

The sheriff’s office informed the public on Wednesday morning they learned Snaza the evening before was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Sanders County, Montana, while off duty. The sheriff sustained life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

He is the twin brother of Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza.

By Thursday, there were positive responses to the doctor’s request of movement, according to sheriff’s Lt. Tim Rudloff.

Rudloff has been keeping the public informed throughout by posting news releases on the department’s Facebook page.

Braniff told the gathering Snaza has made significant improvements with breathing on his own, but was still being assisted by a ventilator because of the internal injuries.

“He has a long road to recovery, and that recovery will be aided by the outpouring of support shown thus far,” the undersheriff said.

Braniff is second-in command and running the office in the sheriff’s absence.

Snaza was first elected sheriff in 2010.

Read “Undersheriff on Sheriff Snaza: ‘He is strong, and he’ll be back’” from The Olympian on Friday August 26, 2016, here

For background, read “Breaking news: Thurston Sheriff Snaza seriously hurt in motorcycle wreck” from Wednesday August 24, 2016, here