Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Coroner McLeod, staff reaching out to save babies lives

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Corner’s Office has gone ahead and entered into a partnership with an organization dedicated to preventing infant deaths due to unsafe sleeping environments.

Coroner Warren McLeod wants to spread the word that the safest way for a baby to sleep is alone, on their backs, in a bare, safety-approved crib.

Thousands of such deaths occur each year across the country, the vast majority are accidental and nearly three-quarters are attributed to bed sharing, according to McLeod.

McLeod said while he saw this type of death many times when he worked in Nevada, he encountered it for the first time in Lewis County this spring, when a 3-month-old girl suffocated sleeping with her mother. It can happen as easily as something as light as a kleenex falling over the mouth and nose, he said.

The coroner’s office is now partnered with Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative, headquartered in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

The coroner’s endeavor will include teaching new parents and caregivers about safe sleep practices as well as working to get cribs into the hands of new parents who cannot afford them.

McLeod is making representatives from his office available to speak to civic groups about the initiative and how they can make donations.

Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been reducing the rate of infant sleep-related deaths by educating parents and by providing portable cribs to families who otherwise cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. All education is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for infant sleep safety.

The cost of a crib, including shipping, is $60.

McLeod’s goal is to raise money to have enough of the portable cribs on hand so that local law enforcement and fire departments can reach out to his office when they come across a parent who can’t afford a safe sleeping environment.

Babies should never sleep on a couch, armchair or soft surface, according to  the American Academy of Pediatrics. And bed sharing remains the greatest risk factor for sleep related infant deaths, the AAP states.

The 2016 updated recommendations on infant sleep safety from AAP draw on new research and include:

• Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.

• Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.

• Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns one but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

• Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
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For background, read “Centralia infant exposed to meth smoke died of something different” from Friday July 7, 2017, here

Police: Impaired motorist drove onto sidewalk, injuring pedestrian near fairgrounds

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 58-year-old Chehalis man is listed in serious condition after getting hit by a car that drove up onto the sidewalk outside the Southwest Washington Fair grounds yesterday; its driver suspected to be under the influence of drugs.

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Wednesday August 16, 2017

Mike Summer was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following the approximately 12:25 p.m. incident. A hospital spokesperson this morning said Summer’s condition is serious but improving.

Police and firefighters responding to the 1900 block of South Gold Street in Centralia found the pedestrian unconscious but he regained consciousness once medical care began.

The Centralia Police Department says 30-year-old Christian D. Brown was behind the wheel of a 2000 Acura TL and when he was searched, they found heroin.

Brown was arrested for driving under the influence, vehicular assault and possession of heroin, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

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CORRECTION: This has been updated to correctly reflect the age of Mike Summer. His is 58 years old, not 48, but Centralia police initially released the incorrect age.

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For background, read “News brief: Man hit by vehicle near SWW fairgrounds” from Wednesday August 16, 2017, here

Teen dies in Grand Mound wreck

Thursday, August 17th, 2017
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Old Highway 99 is shut down for investigation of fatal wreck. / Courtesy photo by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Rochester teenager was killed yesterday when she pulled onto Old Highway 99 and collided with a semi truck in Grand Mound.

It happened about 2:45 p.m. at Sargent Road Southwest, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Kaitlin Darnell, 18, of Rochester, was driving a 2007 Toyota passenger car, according to authorities.

The driver of the red semi tractor is from Rochester as well, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Carla Carter.

The semi had been traveling southbound on Old Highway 99.

Carter said a passenger from the semi was transported to a local hospital with a minor injury.

News brief: Gun, alcohol, plus child leads to arrest in Chehalis

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 40-year-old man was arrested after allegedly firing a gun in a case yesterday evening in which police were asked to check on the well-being of a 4-year-old child at a Chehalis residence.

Nobody was injured by gunfire but officers found the man and a woman were too intoxicated from alcohol to care for the child, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The 33-year-old Chehalis woman was transported to the hospital for reasons the police department would not disclose. Brian Fink, 40, was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Officers called at 6:54 p.m. to the home on the 300 block of Southwest 15th Street learned Fink had discharged a firearm while at the residence, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey.

Bailey said she did not know what if anything was struck, or if it happened indoors or outdoors but said police recovered a casing.

The weapon is believed to be a .45 caliber possibly a Glock, but is currently locked in a safe for which police are seeking a search warrant to open, Bailey said.

The child was released to family members, she said.

Fink was arrested for reckless endangerment and for unlawfully discharging a firearm, Bailey said.

News brief: Man hit by vehicle near SWW fairgrounds

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
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Transfer at Providence Centralia Hospital. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An elderly pedestrian struck by a vehicle on the 1900 block of South Gold Street in Centralia today was airlifted with several traumatic injuries, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Firefighters responding about 12:25 p.m. said it happened in the area of Security State Bank and the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

When they arrived, the man was unconscious on the east sidewalk but regained consciousness a short time after emergency medical care was begun, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

The victim was stabilized then transported to the helipad at Providence Centralia Hospital, where he was picked up by Life Flight to be flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Weinert.

Weinert described the man’s condition as serious but stable.

News brief: Helicopter rescues injured woman from Pacific Crest Trail

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A hiker who suffered a leg injury on the Pacific Crest Trail southeast of Packwood was rescued last night, with coordination between the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One rescue helicopter.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said it happened around 5:50 p.m. about three miles from the Walupt Lake Campground and deputies were dispatched after the activation of an emergency beacon on the trail.

Deputies established a landing zone at the campground, worked to direct the aircraft and contacted the female victim’s hiking companion, according to Breen.

Her hiking partner, a 29-year-old man from Klickitat, said the woman was not mobile but they encountered other hikers who had an emergency beacon they could use, according to Breen.

Breen said the helicopter ended up retrieving the 27-year-old Goldendale woman from the trail and flew her into the Packwood airport. She was transported by ambulance to Morton General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, he said.

The sheriff’s office transported the male hiker to be reunited with the victim and helped arrange transportation for the pair, he said.

Meet EMTs, firefighters, police, deputies and the people behind the sirens

Monday, August 14th, 2017
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First Responder’s Day 2016. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – If you plan to attend opening day tomorrow at the Southwest Washington Fair, you’ll find an opportunity to meet many different first responders who serve the public in Lewis County, all in one place.

You’ll find them around the Old Town Firehouse at the northeast corner of the grounds. It’s the area just north of the lawn for the Saloon Stage. Gates open at 10 a.m.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with local emergency responders, will be hosting a First Responder’s Day.

Lewis County Fire District 5 Lt. Laura Hanson said her department is bringing their photo booth.

“The kids love it, they absolutely love it,” Hanson said.

The firehouse has been updated with new things for children, she said.

There will be response vehicles, booths, displays and interactive demonstrations throughout the event, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza says he hopes community members come out, see them and have fun.

“They will be able to see the equipment, ask questions, and interact with the people and agencies that make Lewis County a safer place to live,” Snaza stated in a press release.

The following agencies plan to be present during the event:

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Centralia, Chehalis, Napavine, Toledo, Morton, and Pe Ell Police Departments, Washington State Patrol, Lewis County Dispatch, American Red Cross – Lewis County Chapter, Search and Rescue with Cascade Dogs, multiple fire districts, Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office and the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

News brief: Freight train victim identified

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man struck and killed by a freight train in Tenino last Friday was actually 29 years old, not 30 as originally reported by authorities.

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The death of Dylan B. James, 29, of Tacoma, was determined to be an accident, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said it happened approximately 5 p.m. on Aug. 4 near the 16800 block of Old Highway 99, about a half mile south of Tenino.

Authorities said the southbound locomotive had been blowing its horn and went into emergency braking but the pedestrian was slow to respond, and was unable to clear the tracks.
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For background, read “News brief: Train hits man on tracks in Tenino” from Saturday August 5, 2017, here

Tenino: One dead, one jailed after two-vehicle crash

Thursday, August 10th, 2017
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McDuff Road is shut down yesterday evening while collision is investigated. / Courtesy photo by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 12:12 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 66-year-old man is dead after a two-vehicle crash yesterday along the 15000 block of McDuff Road just north of Tenino and the other driver has been arrested.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office reports a pickup truck with an impaired driver behind the wheel was headed northbound and crossed the centerline, striking an oncoming sedan.

The driver of the sedan, a 66-year-old man from Tenino, died as a result of the collision, according to the sheriff’s office. He is identified as Eldon G. McLean, by the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.

Responders called just after 5 p.m. closed the road for the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office. There were no other occupants of the vehicles, according to sheriff’s Sg. Carla Carter.

Following a preliminary investigation, the pickup driver, Keith Milligan, 57, from Tenino, was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail for vehicular homicide, according to Carter.

Chehalis: Two females seriously hurt in head-on crash

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Updated at 3:53 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 68-year-old woman and a teenage girl from Winlock were airlifted after a head-on collision last night in Chehalis.

Police and firefighters called about 9:08 p.m. to the scene on Northwest Louisiana Avenue just south of West Street found the driver of the other vehicle had fled, according to authorities.

Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey describes the victims’ injuries as serious. The Chehalis Fire Department says they were flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The passenger is 15 years old, according to Bailey.

The Washington State Patrol is assisting with the investigation.

As of about 2:30 p.m. today, the older woman’s condition was stable and the girl had already been released from the hospital, according to Bailey.

Their names were not released, but they had been traveling in a white 1994 Geo Metro. The suspect was driving a red 2005 Saturn Ion, according to Bailey.

The fire department said he had airbags, the women did not.

Police are looking for information about the suspect. He is described as heavy set, about 30 years old and about 5-feet 10-inches tall. Bailey said he wore a tight-fade type of haircut.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Chehalis Police Department at 360-748-8605.

News brief: Chehalis prohibits campfires too

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The city of Chehalis has joined in banning all types of outdoor burning due to risk of rapid fire development from dry seasonal conditions and the absence of rain in the long-range weather forecasts.

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No recreational campfires are allowed until further notice from authorities.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale indicates the restrictions went into place at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

Residents may still cook outdoors only if they use a propane or liquid gas barbecuer or camp stove that has an on-off switch, according to the chief. No charcoal briquettes.

The city of Centralia and Lewis County officials announced similar measures last Friday, that also went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
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For background, read “News brief: Total burn ban starts at the end of the weekend” from Friday August 4, 2017, here

News brief: Police launch drone to aid Winlock urban rescue

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Firefighters and police spent as much as three hours last night retrieving a man who got caught by darkness walking Olequa Creek in Winlock.

Firefighters were called about 11:20 p.m. to assist law enforcement in locating a person who was unable to get out of the woods and had made a small signal fire, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

He had been on Tennessee Road and was walking the creek and it got dark, Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said. The man, in his 40s, didn’t have a flashlight with him.

The area was northwest of the bridge near the 1400 block of Kerron Street, according to Jacobson.

Four fire department personnel and two police officers took part in the effort.

“We went into the woods just north of the bridge, hiked up and around and came back down to him,” Jacobson said. “We were able to walk him out the way he came in.”

The terrain was such, the rescuers couldn’t always see the small fire the man had lit, so Toledo Police Department Sgt. Sam Patrick launched a drone and hovered it above the man’s location, Jacobson said.

“We were able to see the drone, and use that for a visual reference,” he said.

News brief: Window broken, man gravely hurt in downtown Centralia

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia resident in his mid- to late- 20s suffered a life-threatening laceration when he reportedly punched a plate glass window downtown last night.

Centralia police had been breaking up a dispute involving dozens of people behind the two bars on South Tower Avenue when they heard the sound of glass breaking just to the north, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said he understood the man cut an artery, an officer put a tourniquet on his arm and medics came.

It happened on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue at Nyholm’s appliance store, just before 1:30 a.m., Reichert said.

The patient was transported to the hospital by ambulance, according to police. Further details weren’t readily available.

Reichert said nobody was arrested at the bar fight and he didn’t know what it or the laceration victim’s upset was about.

“I would hazard a guess, alcohol was involved,” he said.

News brief: Employee airlifted after tangling with large forklift

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A worker who just got off shift at National Frozen Foods in Chehalis was struck and seriously injured by a forklift overnight.

Both police and firefighters responded to the call about 3:15 a.m. to the plant at Northwest State Avenue and West Street, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

“Police got there first and applied a tourniquet to his leg,” Fire Capt. Ted McCarty said.

The man was conscious, but suffered a severe injury to his left leg, McCarty. He said it was one of the large forklifts and he believed the worker was hit by a rear wheel.

The 31-year-old Centralia man was transported to the Chehalis Airport and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, according to authorities.

National Frozen Foods processes corn, carrots and peas in Chehalis, according to information from the company’s website.

News brief: Train hits man on tracks in Tenino

Saturday, August 5th, 2017
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Law enforcement investigates railroad fatality. / Courtesy photos by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 1:32 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A pedestrian was struck and killed by a freight train about a half mile south of Tenino late yesterday afternoon.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said it happened approximately 5 p.m. near the 16800 block of Old Highway 99.

The southbound locomotive had been blowing its horn for one-eighth of a mile and went into emergency braking but the man was slow to respond, according to authorities.

He was unable to clear the tracks and was hit by the train, sheriff’s Sgt. Carla Carter stated in a press release.

Carter described him as a 30-year-old white male from Tacoma, but did not release his name.

The death is under investigation. The line was shut down for one and a half hours, delaying six trains, according to BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas.

Melonas said it was the 13th railroad trespasser fatality in Washington this year.

News brief: Total burn ban starts at the end of the weekend

Friday, August 4th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Recreational campfires are prohibited starting at 12:01 a.m. on  Monday in unincorporated Lewis County, and the city of Centralia, given the arrival of the most dangerous fire weather of the season.

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If you want to roast marshmallows or cook out of doors, you can still do that as long as it takes place inside a propane or liquid gas barbecuer or camp stove that has an on-off switch. No charcoal briquettes.

Wildfire danger is high in Lewis County and most of Western Washington and even higher in the majority of Eastern Washington.

Campfires are still okay at state parks in Lewis County as long as they are in approved pits in designated campgrounds. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest has not banned them.

Centralia and Lewis County both put out announcements today indicating they realize the prohibition could alter people’s recreational plans, but the decisions reflect a priority of public safety and the protection of property.

The city of Centralia says: “This decision is made in consideration of the already increased risk of rapid fire development from dry seasonal conditions and the absence of rain in the long-range weather forecasts.”

Both government entities state they will make public announcements when they decide to lift the prohibition.

Fire officials and others strongly urge all residents and property owners to be attentive to the conditions of their properties through proactive fire prevention measures.

The county earlier this month banned outdoor burning of brush piles.

News brief: Flames consume Pe Ell home, one transported

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
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Smoke rises in Pe Ell from house fire. / Courtesy photo by Daniel Sparks

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Doty-area firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion and dehydration from battling a house fire in Pe Ell yesterday, a blaze that destroyed a single-story home.

Firefighters responding to the 11:55 a.m. call on the 100 block of Alder Street found the structure fully involved and attacked it defensively, according to Lewis County Fire District 11.

“It was a great team of us, Districts 13, 16, 6, AMR and DNR as well,” Fire Chief Michael Krafczyk said.

The chief said he meant not him specifically as he was at work at the time, and didn’t arrive until later during the mop up phase.

He said he understood the person who resided there was working out of town.

Crews worked to keep the flames from the tall grass from igniting two houses next door, chasing fire that burned a U-shape around one of them, he said.

Firefighters didn’t completely clear the scene until 9:30 p.m., according to Krafczyk.  It was an approximately 1,500 square-foot home with a two-car garage.

The firefighter who was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital was treated then released and is doing well, the chief said.