Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Read about why Centralia has a mine-resistant military vehicle …

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police Chief Bob Berg explains why the Centralia Police Department is one of 17 agencies in the state which have acquired mine-resistant MRAP vehicles, under the military’s surplus program, in a Seattle Times news story.

News reporter Mike Carter writes that agencies from Aberdeen to Yakima have taken advantage of the Defense Department’s so-called “1033” program, authorized by Congress in 1991 to allow surplus and outdated military items to make their way to police agencies.

In Washington, police have received more than $21 million worth of military hardware, according to Carter; nationwide it amounts to more than $5 billion.

Read more about about here

News brief: Three hurt in Centralia freeway pileup

Friday, December 19th, 2014

A Dodge Neon was rear ended, shoved into a truck and then hit from behind again on Interstate 5 in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Department of Transportation

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two teenagers from Winlock were injured in a five vehicle chain reaction collision on Interstate 5 in Centralia this afternoon.

The Dodge Neon they were traveling in was struck from behind by a box truck and pushed into a pickup truck, according to Washington State Patrol.

Troopers and aid were called about 12:45 p.m. to the northbound lanes in between the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges.

Taylor J. White, 18, and Arizona R. Meyer, 17, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to responders.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be discharged tonight,” Riverside Fire Authority Firefighter Tera Green said. “They were very lucky.”

The 2001 Isuzu box truck driven by Grady J. Bowman, 23, of Napavine, came to rest on the right shoulder and a Jeep Wrangler which was following too closely was unable to stop before colliding with the Neon and pickup, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The Neon was totaled.

The driver of the Jeep, Susan M. Creighton, 38, of Randle, was injured as well but not hospitalized, according to the state patrol.

The wrecks were blamed on inattention.

Citations were to be issued to Bowman for second-degree negligent driving and to Creighton for following too closely, according to the patrol.

Able to be driven from the scene were a Crown Victoria and the Ford pickup, the investigating trooper reports.

Back side of the Dodge Neon. / Courtesy photo by Aaron Towman


News brief: Laura Hickey gets slight modification to sentencing order

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Laura Lynn Hickey waits for the judge to arrive in Lewis County Superior Court today.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The actual hearing took less than two minutes, but seven friends and family of the former Centralia woman who cut off her premature newborn’s head in 2011 showed up to see her in court today.

Laura Lynn Hickey was back in Lewis County Superior Court from the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy, to go before the same judge who sent her away for 30 years.

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently affirmed her sentence, but ordered a passage stricken from the findings of fact and conclusions of law document which was incorrectly recorded following her conviction.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer asked Judge Nelson Hunt today to enter an amended order. Hunt did.

The issue was related to language indicating her exceptional sentence was in part because the child suffered from methamphetamine intoxication. In the plea deal, Hickey stipulated to an aggravating factor that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of its age only.

Hickey, who was about halfway through her pregnancy, told authorities she unexpectedly delivered into a toilet and ended the baby’s life with a serrated kitchen knife as he was trying to take a breath. Her lawyer said she viewed it as a mercy killing.

For background, read: “Centralia mother who decapitated premature newborn back in court for technical issue” from Tuesday December 9, 2014, here

News brief: Defendants finally arraigned in Vader toddler death

Friday, December 12th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Vader couple accused in the death of a 3-year-old boy they were caring for pleaded not guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Danny and Brenda Wing were charged in early November with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter; each are charged as either the principal or accomplice.


Jasper Henderling-Warner

The toddler, Jasper Henderling-Warner, died from what the coroner called chronic battered child syndrome.

Jasper died on Oct. 5, an evening when Brenda Wing called 911 to their home and said he wasn’t breathing. His 21-year-old mother had allowed the couple to care for her son for a period of time described by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office as several months while she was homeless, traveling and looking for work.

The Wings gave conflicting accounts to detectives of the child’s final weekend.

Their trials were scheduled for the week of Jan. 26, before separate judges.

Danny A. Wing, 26, is represented by Todd Pascoe, a defense lawyer from Vancouver, Wash. Brenda A. Wing, 27, is represented by Seattle-based attorney John Crowley.

Ordinarily, a person has a right to be arraigned within 14 days, but they waived that right while they worked out hiring their lawyers.

The remain held in the Lewis County Jail, on bails set at $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.

For background, read:

• “Defendants in Vader toddler death case postpone arraignments again” from Thursday December 4, 2014, here

• RCW 9A.32.055: Homicide by abuse, here

• RCW 9A.32.060: Manslaughter in the first degree, here

News brief: Police chief in Centralia stepping down

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg is retiring this spring, and a search for his replacement is already underway.

Berg, 63, whose law enforcement career began in Centralia in 1972, moved on to other jobs and then returned as chief in early 2004.

He is retiring in May, according to the city’s human resources director, Candice Rydalch.

The pay for the head of the department with 31 commissioned officers in Lewis County’s most populated city is being advertised as between about $100,000 and $122,000.

Rydalch said yesterday they have already begun a nationwide search.

Applications are being accepted through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs  through Jan. 8.

News brief: Speed possibly contributed to fatality on Centralia-Alpha Road

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The wreck that killed 25-year-old Dustin N. Meyer on Centralia-Alpha Road southwest of Chehalis on Saturday night remains under investigation, but the sheriff’s office believes speed may have been among the factors involved.

Meyer was northbound at a righthand curve when his car left the roadway and hit a tree, spun around and then struck a second tree, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened near Senn Road just before 9 p.m.

The Centralia man was wearing a seatbelt but died at the scene of multiple blunt force injuries, according to authorities. He was driving a Hyundai Sonata.

The Washington State Patrol assisted deputies in investigating the collision, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

CORRECTION: This has been updated to correctly reflect the middle initial of Meyer’s name. Erroneous information was initially provided by the Lewis County coroner.


For background, read “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – FATAL WRECK” from Sunday December 7, 2014, here

Read about a reunion more than 50 years in the making …

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Courtesy photo Lesa Buchanan Givens

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

From the hills west of Centralia to the east coast, a wedding ring lost after a 1959 small plane crash and discovered years later by a local logger has made its way onto the hand of its owner’s daughter just this week.

Q13 Fox News in Seattle reports Nick Buchanan found the piece of jewelry while hiking in 1997 and kept it safe for nearly 20 years.

Reporter Jamie Tompkins wrote that with the help of his nephew’s research, Buchanan connected with Joyce Wharton in New Jersey, who received her mother’s five-diamond ring in the mail on Wednesday.

ABC News reporter Gillian Mohney via Good Morning America wrote yesterday that Wharton’s parents Hazel and Hugh Armstrong, from San Antonio, Texas, had been on their way to see family when the plane crashed; Wharton was just 23 at the time and newly married.

New York Daily News writer Lee Moran yesterday described Wharton’s reaction: “‘It’s such a precious memento and this logger found it when he was out in the woods poking around at the base of a tree with a stick. This ring just popped out and he’s been looking for me ever since.’ ”

The tale first surfaced on Lewis County Sirens companion  Facebook page last Monday when Buchanan’s daughter, Lesa Buchanan Givens, shared what she called a Christmas miracle.

“This is a wonderful ending to a story that has been part of our family for many years and I thought it was worth sharing.” Givens wrote.

Read about former POW, lawyer, from Winlock dies on Veterans Day …

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A hero to every boy from Winlock, whose longing for Christmas during his years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam prompted the small town to decorate itself as such for his July 1973 homecoming has died.

Edward W. Leonard, a highly decorated veteran who grew up in Winlock, was shot down on Memorial Day and passed away last month on Veterans Day, two of those “boys” related as they recalled a childhood idol.

He became a lawyer and lived in Astoria and then was was mayor of Ilwaco, Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said.

Another of those who went in the practice of law, Dana Williams, spoke of Leonard being honored with a medal rarely given.

“Eddie was a hero to every kid from Winlock, including me,” Williams said.

The Chinook Observer writes that Leonard spent five years as a POW, three and a half of those years in solitary confinement.

Brosey said Leonard and now Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were in adjacent cells at the so-called Hanoi Hilton.

His obituary says the former Air Force pilot was 76 years old when he died in Portland, Ore. on Nov. 11. Internment and military services will be in the spring at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, according to the obituary published Nov. 25, in the Chinook Observer.

News brief: Centralia woman jailed for alleged rape of girl

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 37-year-old Centralia woman was arrested on Thursday on a $100,000 warrant for rape of a child.

Chrystal G. Munoz-Rosales was booked into the Lewis County Jail, following an investigation that began in mid-September when the Centralia Police Department was given information from Child Protective Services regarding a 16-year-old girl.

Charging documents describe allegations of ongoing sexual abuse in a household Munoz-Rosales shared with her live-in boyfriend and his children.

Lewis County prosecutors allege in the documents Munoz-Rosales coerced the girl into giving her oral sex once when the girl was 9 years old and another time when she was 15.

A Centralia police detective interviewed the girl and her siblings, one of which said Munoz-Rosales would let the girl “work off being grounded” by performing chores and giving foot massages and back rubs, which occurred in the older woman’s room, according to the documents.

No physical violence is alleged.

The charge for the earlier instance, first-degree child rape, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The charge for the more recent instance, third-degree child rape, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Munoz-Rosales has no prior felony convictions, according to the documents filed by Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh.

Munoz-Rosales remains held on $50,000 bail.

News brief: Two trucks tangle in Pacific County

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The driver of the log truck escaped with minor injuries. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A truck driver from Mineral was uninjured when a log truck struck the concrete bridge beam he was hauling in Raymond this morning.

Steven J. Douglas, 61, of Mineral, was driving a Kenworth, with an oversized load – a 100-foot-long beam – south on state Route 101 and turned east onto state Route 6 just before 7:30 a.m., according to the Washington State Patrol.

Douglas hadn’t yet cleared the intersection when a northbound loaded log truck collided with him, according to the state patrol.

The driver of the 2007 Western log truck, 37-year-old Scott J. Leopard of Montesano, escaped with minor injuries, according to the state patrol.

The intersection was fully blocked for more than three hours. The collision is under investigation.

News brief: Morton police officer on life support

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Morton Police Officer Perry Royle suffered a life-threatening medical event while on duty Tuesday night and is on life support.

The police department issued a news release today, saying the 54-year-old officer was able to summon help for himself, but lost consciousness shortly after reaching the hospital.

He was first taken to Morton General Hospital and then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Police Clerk Michelle Matchett.

Chief Dan Mortensen spent yesterday with Royle and his family at the hospital, awaiting news on his longtime friend and comrade, according to Matchett.

Royle has been with the department since 2002, and is Mortensen’s only officer.

The chief is headed back to Harborview this afternoon.

“He’s a very good family man, loves to hunt and fish,” Mortensen said. “He’s a good member of the community and always willing to step up when needed.”

News brief: Centralia resident arrested after stabbing in Lacey

Monday, December 1st, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Lacey resident trying to break up a fight between two individuals at his home during a party was stabbed, and a Centralia man is in custody.

Police responding about 12:40 a.m. yesterday to the residence contacted the suspect as he was leaving in a vehicle, according to the Lacey Police Department.

Twenty-year-old Stuart A. Acosta of Centralia was arrested for second-degree assault, detective Sgt. Terence Brimmer said.

The incident is still under investigation, Brimmer said, but it seemed as though a group of people showed up the homeowner was unfamiliar with and two of them got into a fight. One of the two was Acosta, he said.

The homeowner, also in his early 20s, stepped in between them and was stabbed in his lower abdomen, Brimmer said.

He said he wasn’t sure how seriously the victim was injured.

“As far as his medical status, I don’t know,” Brimmer said. “He was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital.”

Acosta was booked into the Thurston County Jail, he said.

Sheriff’s Office: Randle man attacked by teen with taser

Monday, December 1st, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Randle teenager is locked up after a dispute with his neighbor last night in which he reportedly went to the door with a stun gun and zapped the neighbor in the face when he answered.

Deputies called to the 100 block of Morris Road just before 7 p.m. were told the two had been arguing earlier and the 17-year-old threatened the 50-year-old man with the stun gun, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man chased the boy away with an axe, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said it wasn’t yet clear to her what the disagreement was about.

Brown said she understood the 17-year-old later went to the neighbor’s door and when the 50-year-old opened the door, he was shocked in the face. The boy pushed the man into the residence, continuing to shock him and began to stab him with what was described as a blunt metallic object.

The two fought and the older man was able to gain control of the situation, Brown said. The 17-year-old was later located and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, she said.

The injuries are not severe, according to Brown. The victim is missing a tooth and sustained several scrapes from the metallic object, she said.

The teen had a bloody nose and a cut on his forehead, she said.

News brief: No arrests in weekend drive-by shooting

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The family whose house and vehicle were hit by gunfire over the weekend in Centralia tell police they don’t know why they would have been targeted.

They have no idea, Centralia Police Department detective Pat Beall said this morning.

It happened early on Sunday morning at the the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue but wasn’t discovered until that afternoon.

“We know somewhere around 5 o’clock a vehicle, we think a vehicle, drove by and fired four shots,” Beall said.

Nobody was hurt.

One round struck the rain gutter and lodged into the wood portion of the home, a second ricocheted off the windshield of their truck and hit the gutter, according to Beall. Two others struck the truck, he said.

It’s a family who lives there, with children, according to Beall.

Officers responded about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and detectives are investigating the case.

Beall said they also know one person was in the area on foot, but didn’t elaborate.

Police are not releasing what type of bullets they found, or what kind of gun they would have come from.


For background, read “News brief: House, vehicle fired upon in north Centralia” from Monday November 24, 2014, here

News brief: House, vehicle fired upon in north Centralia

Monday, November 24th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police are investigating a drive-by shooting at the north end of town.

Initial information from police indicates it happened early yesterday morning, but was not discovered until yesterday afternoon. There is no report of anyone being hit or injured.

Officers were called about 3:30 p.m. to the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue when the resident discovered his truck and home had been shot, according to the Centralia Police Department.

The victim told police he had heard four or five shots in the early morning hours, Sgt. Brian Warren stated in a brief summary released to the news media.

The investigation is ongoing. Further details were not readily available.

More to come when available.

News brief: Wedding rings whisked out door by “customer”

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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Security images of suspect from jewelry theft

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The owners of a Chehalis business are hoping for the public’s help, after their store in Lacey was hit by a jewelry thief earlier this week.

Tom Taylor and his wife Chris would like someday to retire and become RVer’s, but a chunk of their profits walking out the door of Tony’s Master Jewelers in Lacey on Wednesday could delay that dream.

A supposed customer was looking at a $10,000 wedding ring set a little after 2 p.m. that day, Taylor said.

“As soon as he got the merchandise in his hand, he ran to the door,” Taylor said.

Taylor said a getaway car, with a driver, was ready and waiting, and off they went.

The Taylors have had the store on Sleater-Kinny Road Southeast for several years.

He operates their Goin Postal business in the Fairway Shopping Center on South Gold Street. His wife has worked at the jewelry store since she was 16 years old, and is shook up, he said.

The Lacey Police Department dusted for fingerprints and took witness statements. Taylor thinks maybe someone may recognize the security images of the man who stole their items.

“We’re just trying to find every avenue we can find right now,” he said.

Employees estimate the thief is about 5-feet 6-inches tall. They only could say his partner, the driver of the late 1990s model blue Oldsmobile, was a white male, he said.

Taylor asks that anyone who has information to please contact the Lacey Police Department, or Tony’s Master Jewelers.

News brief: Threat of bomb clears Morton lumber mill

Monday, November 17th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Morton lumber mill was shut down this morning by a bomb threat.

“The caller said we had messed with the wrong person,” Alta Forest Products President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Pedersen said.

Alta is on the 300 block of state Route 7, at the north end of town.

Pedersen said the plant was evacuated and a bomb squad swept the premises.

He said he believed a suspect has been arrested, but didn’t have details.

Morton Police Department Chief Dan Mortensen said he didn’t have time to talk about the incident; he expected to be busy into this evening.

Pedersen said there would have been about 60 employees on the job, but he himself was out of town.

The phone call came at about 7:45 a.m., and the caller indicated a bomb would got off in 10 minutes, he said. They immediately evacuated everyone, he said.

He said he didn’t know the specifics.

“The big thing is, everybody is safe,” Pedersen said.

The afternoon shift is scheduled to begin as usual, he said.

The mill, formerly TMI Forest Products Inc. and before that the Tubafor Mill, manufactures Western Red Cedar fence boards.