Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Food on stove ignites Centralia home

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A family on the 500 block of Hemlock Street in Centralia is displaced after a house fire yesterday evening that started on a stove top.

Firefighters called about 6:15 p.m. found heavy smoke coming from the eves of the two-story house, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The occupants had stepped out briefly while preparing dinner, according to Assistant Fire Chief Rick Mack.

Mack estimated the damage at about $50,000.

“The structural damage was limited,” Mack said. “Mostly it’s all the kitchen cabinets and counter tops.”

However, most of the contents of the home were damaged or destroyed by heavy smoke and heat, Mack said.

News brief: Centralia toddler homicide by abuse trial to last a week

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – James M. Reeder, now 26, appeared briefly in court today when lawyers apprised the judge of their progress in preparation for a trial in the death of 2-year-old Koralynn Fister.

Prosecutors allege Reeder tortured and raped his live-in girlfriend’s youngest daughter in their Centralia home. Reeder was arrested May 24 after he claimed he found her face down in the bathtub.

Defense attorney David Arcuri and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge they thought the trial would last seven days. It is set for the week of January 28.

Reeder is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with homicide by abuse, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree child rape and possession of methamphetamine.

He has pleaded not guilty.

For background, read “Defendant in Centralia toddler death by abuse case pleads not guilty” from Thursday July 12, 2012, here

Search continues for missing mushroom picker near Randle

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A second night fell with no sign of a 79-year-old Tacoma man who vanished while gathering mushrooms in the forests south of Randle.


Dapeng Yang

Dapeng Yang is an experienced hiker and isn’t believed to have any medical issues which would have contributed to him getting lost, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Searchers combed the area until dark last night and more than 30 individuals are looking for Yang again today, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

He and two female family members were in the area off Forest Road 26 near Strawberry Mountain picking mushrooms on Sunday.

They last saw him about 10:30 a.m. and called for help when he did not reappear by 3 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

It’s a heavily wooded area about 10 miles south of Randle, according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office says he was not prepared for an overnight stay, although he did have a backpack with water.

Multiple search and rescue teams from around Western Washington are assisting.

For background, read: “Tacoma man missing from mushroom gathering outing south of Randle” from Monday October 8, 2012 at 8:40 a.m., here

News brief: Winds expand forest fire south of Packwood

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Forest Service was ramping up efforts yesterday after aggressively fighting a forest fire about 10 miles south of Packwood over the weekend, using helicopters to drop water on the flames.

The so-called South Point Fire has grown to more than 250 acres, as east winds contributed to higher fire behavior over the past couple of days, according to a news release Monday from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

“Most of the fire spread has been to the southeast, away from town, so it still seems unlikely this fire will move off forest or threaten the community of Packwood,”  District Ranger Garr Abbas said in the news release.

Conditions including rough terrain has kept personnel from fighting the fire on the ground, according to Abbas.

On the east side, the fire is reaching toward the bottom of the Johnson Creek drainage near Forest Road 3115, according to the Forest Service.

Forest Road 21 is closed temporarily to facilitate their suppression efforts.

Abbas noted they are working with the Packwood Fire Department to schedule another community meeting at their station at 7 p.m. on Wednesday to help keep the public informed.

Officials have said they believe the fire was sparked in early September by lightening.

A new fire began over the weekend in the Mineral block of the National Forest that was measured yesterday afternoon at about five acres, but is roughly 65 percent contained and was expected to be fully contained by today, according to Abbas. The new fire presents no known threat to the public or adjacent landowners currently, he stated.

Hoped for shifting winds may help by bringing moister air and cooler temperatures, he noted.


CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to correctly reflect the numbered name of the road near the Johnson Creek drainage.

Tacoma man missing from mushroom gathering outing south of Randle

Monday, October 8th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Volunteers on horseback are looking for a 79-year-old Tacoma man who got separated and lost from his family yesterday while picking mushrooms near Randle.

He was with two family members off Forest Road 26 near Strawberry Mountain about 10 miles south of Randle at 10:30 a.m. yesterday; the family called for assistance about 3 p.m. after looking for him, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

“When they could not find him they returned to their car and waited,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown stated in a news release. “When he didn’t return to the car they began searching for him but were still unable to find him.”

Temperatures reached 32 degrees in the area last night, according to Brown.

The missing man had a backpack with water but was not prepared for an overnight stay, she said. The family said he is an experienced hiker.

Packwood Search and Rescue along with Cascade Dogs searched for him until about midnight, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lewis County Posse’s horse team and citizen ham radio operators are at the scene this morning searching, Brown said.

Volunteer search and rescue groups from Thurston and Cowlitz counties are en route to assist, according to Brown. identifies the missing man as Dapeng Yang.

News brief: Authorities seek help finding elderly Centralia pair

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Florence L. Fisher and James O’Neal. / Courtesy photo Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Update: The sheriff’s office said about 7:15 p.m. the pair were found in Ballard and are safe.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police are asking for the public’s help finding a missing elderly Centralia couple.

James L. O’Neal, 85, and Florence L. Fisher, 92, were last seen about 11:30 p.m. on Friday in the Everett area and were reported missing yesterday afternoon, according to the Centralia Police Department.

He was driving a dark blue Pontiac Vibe hatchback.

“Apparently both have forms of dementia, hers being more prominent,” Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Pat Smith said.

Smith said he understood they were in an accident and a family member was on their way up to meet them.

“I don’t know any details; it must have been minor,” Smith said. “The car was still drivable and nobody went to the hospital.”

However, the couple drove off, Smith said. They had been at a Dennys restaurant in Everett.

“They’re concerned he could get disoriented,” Smith said, noting O’Neal apparently thought he was in Centralia

The public is asked to call police if they see them or their car.

Read about suspect in Rochester armed robbery captured in Idaho …

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports police in Pocatello, Idaho arrested a man this afternoon wanted for a Rochester home invasion robbery in May in which two women were bound with zip ties at a home on the 10,900 block of U.S. Highway 12.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes Timothy Dopp, 38, likely knew the victims because of their mutual involvement in the drug culture.

A 3-year-old girl who was in the house slept through the armed robbery.

Read more here

Read about prison for Centralia mom who admits deadly assault of baby …

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports attorneys agreed to recommend a prison sentence of just over 18 years for a woman whose 4-month-old baby died after she assaulted it in a Grand Mound trailer home in September of last year.

Rachel Bryan, 21, pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder in Thurston County Superior Court, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

The Centralia woman was arrested after medics were called about an infant in distress and found the child with acute head injuries. The baby died four days later at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

Read more here

Sheriff’s Office: Adna-area husband attacked by wife with knife

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 56-year-old man who arrived home to find numerous stab marks in the wall of his home escaped serious injury when his wife allegedly pulled a knife from the wall during an ensuing argument, stabbed him in the stomach and held the knife to his neck yesterday evening west of Adna.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said he wrestled the knife away and hid outside until deputies arrived.

Peggy Lee McCoy, 52, was arrested without incident, according to the sheriff’ office. She had armed herself with another knife, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Deputies called at 5:24 p.m. to the home on the 800 block of Ceres Hill Road were told the husband got home and found items in disarray, and noticed the knife sticking out of the wall and the other marks.

Brown did not yet know details of the cause of the dispute or what the woman was upset about. McCoy refused to give a statement, she said.

Brown said the husband declined aid for a puncture wound in the left side of his stomach.

McCoy was booked in to the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, Brown said.

She is expected to go before a judge this afternoon.

News brief: Car, semi wreck on U.S. Highway 12 near Mayfield Lake

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Updated at 10:12 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two people were hospitalized after a car and big rig tangled on U.S. Highway 12 just east of Mayfield Lake yesterday afternoon leaving the roadway blocked for several hours.

Troopers called at 4 p.m. to the scene reported both vehicles were eastbound and when the car slowed for a left hand turn, a 2004 Peterbilt hauling two trailer tried to swerve around it.

The truck struck the right rear corner of the car, went into the ditch and rolled onto its side spilling the lumber it was hauling, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Both vehicles were totaled.

The driver of a 1996 Mercury Mystique, Kenneth Rittgarn, 69, of Randle, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, as was one of his two passengers, Jessica M. Parker, 59, of Glenoma, according to the state patrol.

The truck driver, Johnny L. Persinger, 46, of Prosser, was reportedly uninjured.

The highway was closed with a detour in place until about 7 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

A second passenger in the car declined treatment. The collision was blamed on the truck driver’s inattention.

CORRECTION: This news items has been updated to correctly reflect which man was driving which vehicle. The state patrol initially incorrectly identified Rittgarn as the the truck driver and reported Persinger was behind the wheel of the car.

News brief: Centralia College criminal justice professor to speak on international police training experiences

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Longtime Centralia College Criminal Justice Program instructor Greg Gilbertson is scheduled to share a synopsis of his experiences during 25 months as an international police trainer in Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow as part of the college’s Lyceum Series.

Professor Gilbertson worked writing curriculum for the Baghdad Police College and served as deputy director of the United Kingdom’s Basrah Training College in 2005 and 2006 then later served as a senior mentor and NATO liaison to the Afghan National Police Academy, according to Centralia College.

The lecture is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. at Centralia College.

News brief: Two Oakville drivers collide on U.S. Highway 12

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two passenger vehicles were totaled and a 54-year-old woman hospitalized after a 16-year-old driver pulled into traffic on U.S. Highway 12 at Anderson Road this morning.

Aid and troopers were called at 8 a.m. to the scene near the Thurston-Grays Harbor County line.

Jung A. Blake was eastbound on the highway in her SUV before it was struck by a Dylan Gleason-Wheeler, 16, according to the Washington State Patrol. Both are from Oakville.

Gleason-Wheeler was leaving a stop sign to turn west and pulled in front of her, according to the state patrol.

Blake was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital with unspecified injuries. She was treated and has been released. The teen was reportedly unhurt.

News brief: Man survives vehicle plunge off Brooklyn Road

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 41-year-old Chehalis man was uninjured after he drove his car off an 800-foot embankment overnight off Brooklyn Road several miles west of Oakville.

It wasn’t clear to responders if the man was out of the vehicle before it landed at the bottom of the canyon.

Aid and deputies were called about 5:40 a.m. to the scene, on the 400 block of Brooklyn Road, including firefighters from Oakville and Centralia’s Riverside Fire Authority.

“There was a concern initially if his girlfriend was in the vehicle, he wasn’t quite sure,” Grays Harbor  County Sheriff’s Department Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate said this morning. It turned out she was elsewhere.

“It does appear alcohol was a factor,” he said.

The roadway runs between Garrard Creek Road and the town of Brooklyn in Pacific County.

Grays Harbor County Fire District 1 Chief Buck Graham said the man had walked about three miles to the nearest house to get help.

“The story we finally ended up getting, we think it occurred around midnight,” Graham said. “We think he got out before it went to the bottom, that he bailed. We’re not really sure.”

News brief: Three hurt when 14-year-old rolls vehicle off Interstate 5 south of Chehalis

Monday, October 1st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 14-year-old Portland girl who was allegedly driving drunk wrecked a van on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis early yesterday.

Aid and troopers called just after 3:30 a.m. to the scene near the U.S. Highway 12 and Avery Road interchange said three occupants of the vehicle were injured.

The registered owner, a 51-year-old Portland man, was a passenger in the 2006 Dodge Caravan, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The state patrol doesn’t know why an unlicensed teenager was driving with the adult in the van.

The vehicle was northbound, traveled off the roadway to the right and landed on it top, according to the state patrol.

The 14-year-old, Paris Roach, and a 16-year-old passenger, Kaliea Miller, both from Portland, were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with bumps, bruises and scrapes, state patrol spokesperson Trooper Will Finn said.

Miller is a runaway, according to Finn.

The owner of the van, Stephan Hardy, 51, of Portland, suffered a laceration to his forehead but declined aid, according to the state patrol.

Finn said Hardy was dropped off at a nearby exit at a service station or a restaurant where he could get services or call for a ride.

Finn  said they do know the girls and the man are not family to each other. The situation is still under investigation, Finn  said.

News brief: Details on death near Longmire still scarce

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has made a tentative identification of the woman whose body was found  below a lookout in the southern part of Mount Rainier National Park and is in touch with that woman’s family.

Coroner Warren McLeod said he’s determined the cause and manner of death but won’t reveal it until he knows for sure who the woman is.

“The extensive injuries are making it difficult,” McLeod said today.

Park officials located the body on Monday at the base of a cliff below Ricksecker Point, a dramatic lookout between Longmire and Paradise. Rangers had been investigating a vehicle parked for several days at the lookout and found identification which they linked to a missing person report.

The injuries are consistent with a fall from a great height, according to park spokesperson Patti Wold.

McLeod said he is hoping to use dental records or finger prints to make a positive identification by the end of the week.

The death is being investigated by park service law enforcement.


For background, read “News brief: Body found at base of cliff near Longmire” from Tuesday September 25, 2012 at 5:27 p.m., here


News brief: South Point timber fire in Gifford Pinchot holding to 90 acres

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Favorable weather has helped slow the forest fire south of Packwood which has remained at about 90 acres since Saturday, officials reported this morning.


Courtesy photo by Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Cowlitz Valley Ranger District fire personnel continue to monitor the situation, with reconnaissance flights as conditions allow, according to Gifford Pinchot National Forest spokesperson Ken Sandusky.

It’s been burning on a ridge called South Point about 10 miles south of U.S. Highway 12 for an unknown length of time, probably sparked by lightning earlier this month, officials have said.

Ranger and fire staff will be on hand tomorrow evening to answer questions from area residents about the fire. The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Packwood Fire Hall at 12953 U.S. Highway 12.


For For background, read “South Point timber fire in Gifford Pinchot growing” from Friday September 21, 2012 at 11:09 a.m., here