Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Fire danger: High

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The National Weather Service says strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures in the mountains including the Central Cascades create the potential today for any fire to spread quickly.

The forecast for today and tomorrow is in the low to mid-90s from Chehalis through Packwood.

A so-called red flag warning issued on Sunday for much of the Washington and Oregon Cascades was renewed yesterday and could be extended another day, according to the weather service.

“Expect wild fires to ignite easily, spread rapidly and burn with great intensity,” fire analysts with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland stated in a news release.

Burn bans are in effect.

News brief: Highway collision west of Chehalis injures several

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Several people were hospitalized after a two-vehicle wreck on Highway 6 near Adna yesterday afternoon.

A trooper called just before 12:30 p.m. to the scene at Bunker Creek Road reported a 16-year-old driver trying to turn left off the highway was cited for failing to yield.

Both the car he was driving and a van were described as totaled.

Trevor D. Moon, 16, of Chehalis, was eastbound and attempted to turn when his 1999 Nissan Altima collided with a westbound Dodge Caravan, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Three people from the van were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol. They are the driver Eileen M. Bauman, 66, of Chehalis, with a head injury; and two passengers from Norwalk, Ohio with cuts on their faces, according to the patrol. They are listed as Renee M. Keller, 59, and Barbara Wightman, 65.

The teenage boy suffered bruises and was taken to the hospital by his mother who arrived on the scene, according to responders.

Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter Mike Goodwillie said a teenage girl and a father in the car were also taken to Providence by the mother.

Goodwillie said the family’s injuries at first seemed minor but he later learned the father was transferred to Harborview with possible internal injuries.

Providence Centralia Hospital said Bauman and Keller were treated and have been released, although Wightman was transferred to an another hospital.

Everyone was wearing seat belts and airbags deployed in both vehicles, according to Goodwillie.

“If not for the seat belts it could have been worse,” Goodwillie said. “So I think we avoided a tragedy.”

The collision remains under investigation, according to the state patrol.

News brief: Troopers, aid, kept busy with Lewis County collisions on Saturday

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Eight people were hospitalized following three different wrecks yesterday afternoon and evening on Lewis County highways including an intoxicated motorcyclist who was airlifted after he ran into the back of a car on Interstate 5 south of Napavine, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers called about 3:40 p.m. to milepost 67 reported that James Brady, 40, of Oak Harbor, was southbound and following too closely when traffic on the freeway slowed and his 2004 Yamaha struck the rear of a Honda Accord

Brady was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with cuts to his face and arms and chipped teeth, according to the state patrol.

Less than an hour later near Packwood, two people were tossed from a motorcycle when a pickup truck turned in front of them on U.S. Highway 12, according to the patrol.

Both were taken to Morton General Hospital, as was a 13-year-old male passenger from the Dodge Ram, Trooper Jason Hicks reported.

The 2005 Honda motorcycle was totaled and the 2004 Dodge Ram sustained an estimated $5,000 damage, according to Hicks.

The 27-year-old driver of the motorcycle, Christopher A. Shipp, of Ridgefield, suffered injuries to his chest and abdomen; his passenger, 21-year-old Samantha J. Cullinan of Vancouver had leg injuries, according to the trooper.

Timothy Cook, 13, of Benson City, reportedly sustained injuries to his head, neck and spine.

Finally, a four-car chain reaction rear-end collision on state Route 505 a mile north of Toledo drew troopers and aid about 6:20 p.m. yesterday.

Four people were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with neck and back injuries or scrapes and bruises, according to the investigating trooper.

They are listed as Dylan Hoiseck, 12, and Mark Hoiseck, 46, both of Toledo; Amanda Cox, 21, of Toutle; and Sandra Bartley, 66, of Ethel.

Bartley was ticketed for second-degree negligent driving, according to Trooper Doug Pardue.

Bonus link: ‘My knee hurts now’

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

“You want to know what most nights are like for us?” a local firefighter asked this morning. “Google ‘My knee hurts now’.”

Watch “My knee hurts now” on YouTube

News brief: Centralia woman discovered unclothed, hypothermic along Interstate 5

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A young woman wearing only her underclothes was taken into the care of a truck driver who found her this morning when she crawled over a guard rail onto Interstate 5 where he was preparing to repair a flat tire, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The 23-year-old Centralia woman was hypothermic and taken to a hospital, according to Trooper Guy Gill. It’s not clear how she ended up alongside the freeway.

Gill said it happened near the Nisqually River Bridge at the Thurston-Pierce county line about 8:30 a.m.

According to Gill, she was soaking wet and covered from head to toe with cuts and scratches from sticker bushes. She emerged from a swampy area next to the freeway, according to Gill.

Gill said the truck driver’s actions may have saved her life.

Troopers later located an abandoned Jeep Cherokee at the end of a dirt road about 200 yards from the freeway, and believe she and a Centralia man had been in it, Gill said.

He thinks she could have been out in the elements at least eight hours.

The state patrol had gotten a report about 12:30 a.m. of a shirtless male walking on the freeway near that area, but never located him, even after using aircraft with a device that looks for heat signatures.

Troopers continue to look for the man, not because they think any crime was committed, Gill said. They suspect he was picked up by a passing motorist.

“More than anything, we’re checking on his well-being,” he said.

They don’t know if the vehicle broke down or maybe ran out of gas, and the female was not coherent enough to give much information, Gill said.

“She said the male left her at the vehicle, and the reason she was only in her underclothes is in the water, her clothes got heavy so she took them off,” he said.

The truck driver, John C. Davis of Portland, helped the girl into his truck, and drove to the state patrol “scale house” in Dupont, where he called the state patrol, according to Gill.

She was in very poor condition this morning, he said.

“She’s very lucky he came by ’cause she was not doing good,” Gill said. “This could have been much worse.”

In her condition, she could have easily walked right out onto the freeway, he said.

The woman was taken to St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood and the last Gill heard today, she was in good condition, he said.

News brief: Locals travel to Eastern Wash. to battle wild land fires

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Local firefighters have gone to assist in fighting wildfires in Eastern Washington.

Two members of Lewis County Fire District 5 were asked early Monday morning to take their brush truck and join a strike team in the southeast corner of the state where lightening started a large fire on Sunday evening.

They are Raymond Smerek and Kevin Van Egdom, according to District 5.

As of last night, the fire near Pomeroy in Garfield County had spread over almost 6,000 acres but is expected to be contained by the end of today, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

On Monday evening, District 5′s Brad Bozarth was assigned to a water tender as part of a team headed to Wishram in Klickitat County, according to Megan Van Egdom of District 5.

That fire as of yesterday evening had consumed more than 1,000 acres of grass and sage and firefighters there are expected to be in “mop up” mode today, according to the Coordination Center.

Firefighters from the Rochester area’s West Thurston Regional Fire Authority left on Monday as well to assist. Four members of the Toledo area fire department have also gone.

The center reports about 300 firefighters are working the two wild land fires.

Read about Grays Harbor County deputy accused of sexual extortion …

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter reports the operator of a now-closed Oakville medical marijuana dispensary has filed suit, claiming a Grays Harbor County sheriff’s deputy threatened to arrest him if he didn’t provide the deputy sexual favors.

News reporter Drew Mikkelsen reports the lawsuit was filed Monday in Grays Harbor County and outside agency – Lewis County – is investigating the claims.

Read about it here has a story as well, here

News brief: Bucoda man captured after shooting at vehicle occupied by wife, toddler

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 31-year-old man was arrested in north Centralia last night after he allegedly shot at a truck occupied by his wife and young son in Bucoda during an argument.

Deputies called to the Bucoda home were told that Michael J. Thorson then grabbed two hand guns and fled, saying he knew the cops were coming and he planned to get in a shootout with them and die, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy caught up with Thorson’s vehicle when it pulled into a convenience store parking lot at North Pearl Street and Zenkner Valley Road, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said this morning. The deputy, who was alone, asserted himself “pretty strongly,” Elwin said.

“The bad guy just essentially gives up right there,” Elwin said.

Thorson said he was upset because his wife was taking his child and he was afraid he would never see him again, according to Elwin. He said he knew he screwed up and he was sorry, Elwin said.

It began with a call to 911 about 7:50 p.m. to the couple’s home on the 100 block of Perkins Street in Bucoda.

The wife said her husband pointed a shotgun at her, Elwin said.

She told a deputy she had put their toddler in a truck and was leaving, when Thorson allegedly fired the shotgun at two of its tires. Thorson then left, and the first arriving deputy went after him, Elwin said.

Two loaded handguns were recovered from Thorson’s vehicle, according to Elwin. He said he decided at the last second not to draw his weapons, Elwin said.

Thorson was booked into the Thurston County Jail for second-degree assault, domestic violence, and for unlawful possession of a firearm. He is prohibited from having guns because of his criminal history, according to the sheriff’s office.

News brief: Head-on collision near Oakville sends two to hospital

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Four people, including two small children, escaped serious injury after a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 12 near Oakville last night.

Troopers called about 7:45 p.m. to the scene two miles north of town found both vehicles totaled, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A 2-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy in a Dodge Caravan were reportedly uninjured.

According to the state patrol, Joseph H. Bannwarth, 59, of Rochester, was traveling westbound near milepost 34 when his car ran into the guard rail, then struck a part of the bridge on the opposite side of the highway before colliding with the eastbound van.

Bannwarth was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia where this morning he is listed in good condition.

The driver of the van, Davette R. Lahaie, 46, of Elma, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol. She was treated and has been released.

Bannwarth’s 2006 Chrysler Sebring was impounded.

The cause of the wreck remains under investigation.


Correction: This news story has been updated to reflect the correct time troopers were called to the collision. The Washington State Patrol incorrectly reported to the news media it was 11:15 p.m., but it was actually 7:46 p.m.

Read about defense says Steven Moulton is unfit to stand trial …

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports that a psychologist’s report on 22-year-old Steven Moulton of Morton says he mentally retarded and unfit to stand trial.

Moulton is being held in the Cowlitz County Jail, charged with attacking an  8-year-old boy in a ballpark restroom in Castle Rock in July.

He also has a pending case in Lewis County from last summer when he was found inside a park bathroom stall in Morton with an 8-year-old boy.

A judge won’t decide until next month if he is competent for trial in Cowlitz County.

Read Lystra’s news story from The (Longview) Daily News from Monday Aug. 29, 2011 at 8:30 p.m., here

Child arrested for setting fire during church in Pe Ell

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Updated 1:13 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Pe Ell church was evacuated during Sunday morning services yesterday when a fire broke out in a classroom area used for storage.

Nobody was injured but the blaze did an estimated $10,000 damage at the New Harvest Assembly of God Church on the 100 block of Mauermann Road, according to authorities.

An 11-year-old boy believed to have started the fire was arrested.

Three members of the fire department were at church when it happened about 10:30 a.m., according to Lewis County Fire District 11 Chief Michael Krafczyk.

One left and got the ambulance, another retrieved the fire engine and Assistant Chief Michael Davis used a fire extinguisher and then a garden hose through a window to knock down the flames, Krafczyk said.

The chief estimated 150 individuals were inside when it occurred. The pastor is a firefighter from a nearby district as well, he said.

“Everybody stayed real calm, got everybody out in an orderly fashion,” Krafczyk said. “Nobody got hurt, that was the important thing.”

The room that burned was across from the nursery, Krafczyk said.

A plastic tree caught fire, light fixtures melted and flames spread up the wall, according to Fire Investigator Jay Birley. The person who discovered it saw smoke all the way down to about three feet above the floor level, he said.

Firefighters got out their big hose, but didn’t need to use it, according to the chief. They borrowed a thermal imaging camera from District 16 and tore out some of the ceiling to make sure nothing more was smoldering, he said.

The storage room will likely need new sheetrock, and some of the rest of the building will probably need repainting because of smoke damage, according to Krafczyk.

A sheriff’s deputy was called as it was suspected to have been intentionally set and the deputy interviewed the 11-year-old boy, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning.

The child admitted he started the fire with matches he found in one of the rooms, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

He was arrested for second-degree arson and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, Brown said.

Brown said the boy did not say why he did it, but he has had some problems with starting fires at home previously.

Read about Steven Moulton’s competency for trial still a question …

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a judge won’t decide until next month if 22-year-old Steven Moulton of Morton is mentally competent to stand trial for his alleged July attack on an  8-year-old boy in a ballpark restroom in Castle Rock.

News reporter Tony Lystra writes the evaluation from Western State Hospital has been completed.

A hearing was set for Thursday, but was put over until Sept. 22 in Cowlitz County Superior Court, according to Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur.

Moulton has a pending case in Lewis County from last summer when he was found inside a park bathroom stall in Morton with an 8-year-old boy.

He is also accused of a June 27 incident at the Maytown rest area north of Centralia in which authorities say he groped and kissed a 9-year-old boy.

Moulton has previously been found not competent due to a developmental disability.

Read Lystra’s news story from The (Longview) Daily News on Sunday August 28, 2011 at 8:30 p.m., here


• “Breaking news: Morton’s Steve Moulton a suspect in a third bathroom assault” from Friday July 15, 2011, here
• “Castle Rock public bathroom attack suspect charged with kidnap, assault, molestation” from Thursday July 14, 2011, here
• ” ‘Developmental delays’ may put alleged attack in Morton park restroom case on hold” from Friday Nov. 26, 2010, here

News brief: Chehalis gunshot still death still under investigation

Friday, August 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 59-year-old woman found dead in her Chehalis apartment last Friday died from a gunshot wound through her mouth, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Chehalis police are continuing to investigate the death, but at this time aren’t looking for a suspect, detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said today. It appears preliminarily to be suicide, he said.

Police are sending the gun off for testing, according to McNamara. They are also still waiting for a report from the coroner following Monday’s autopsy.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said the cause is the gunshot and the determination of the manner of death is pending the results of the police investigation.

Police were called after the woman was found by her husband in the apartment on the 400 block in between Market Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. A handgun was found at the scene, according to McNamara.

News brief: 911 remembrance to be held at fairgrounds

Friday, August 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 is set to be held at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

The 1 p.m. program is being organized by the Lewis County Fallen Heroes Committee and United Way.

Expect a speaker who was present at “ground zero”, pipes and drums and a reading of first responder’s names.

Commemorative T-shirts will be sold to benefit the Fallen Heroes fund, a fund that assists the families of fallen heros in Lewis County and throughout the state, according to United Way Director Debbie Campbell. Donations will be accepted.

The event, and parking, is free.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and activities will continue after the program, to include live music.

News brief: Downtown Toledo business burns overnight

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An overnight fire in Toledo destroyed a commercial structure owned by one of it’s own volunteer firefighters, according to Chief Grant Wiltbank.

Firefighters were called around 12:30 a.m. to the building on Ramsey Way, next door to the historic buildings that burned on Christmas Day, Wiltbank said.

The chief wasn’t on the scene, but said it was his understanding the building was fully involved in flames when crews arrived. They fought it defensively, meaning they worked simply to keep adjacent structures from catching fire, he said.

One engine remained on the scene this morning, he said.

The business was like a liquidator, he said, and among the items the building contained were like 200 doors, he said.

There’s not word yet as to the cause, he said. has video footage of the blaze. See it here

News brief: Burn ban begins today

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An outdoor burn ban went into effect in Lewis County at 12:01 a.m. today.

Dry conditions have created what the Lewis County fire marshall calls substantial fire danger throughout the county.

Still allowed are recreational fires in approved campfire sites or approved receptacles, according to the fire marshal. Those with questions can call Fire Marshal Fred Chapman at 360-740-1146.

News brief: Semi versus car on I-5 at Chehalis

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock man escaped with a bruise on the arm but his car was totaled when a semi truck changing lanes on Interstate 5 hit him overnight.

Harry B. Allen, 61, was southbound near Chehalis’s Main Street interchange as was a 2005 Peterbilt tractor-trailer, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Allen’s 2006 Ford Fusion rotated off the front of the truck and hit the median facing backward, according to the state patrol.

A trooper called to the scene at 2:35 a.m. cited the Twin Falls, Idaho truck driver for an unsafe lane change, the state patrol reported.

News brief: Police investigating gunshot death in Chehalis

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police are investigating the apparent gunshot death of a 59-year-old woman in Chehalis on Friday.

Police were called about 3 p.m. to her apartment on the 400 block in between Market Boulevard and Pacific Avenue, according to detective Sgt. Rick McNamara.

She was found by her husband and as far as he knows, there were no witnesses, McNamara said. A handgun was found as well, he said.

An autopsy is being conducted today, he said.

News brief: Truck with four children crashes near Mossyrock

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Onalaska man was jailed after his vehicle carrying four children wrecked near Riffe Lake yesterday evening, ejecting one of the youngsters.

Troopers and aid were called just before 6 p.m. to the single-vehicle collision on Swofford Road about a mile east of Mossyrock, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver, Fano P. Tofaeono, 30, of Onalaska, a 25-year-old female passenger and her three children sustained little or no injury, but a 10-year-old boy was taken to Morton General Hospital, according to responders.

The boy had multiple lacerations to his lower legs, requiring stitches, according to the state patrol.

Tofaeono was traveling northbound on Swofford Road when his vehicle left the roadway to the right and came to rest nose-down in the ditch, according to the investigating trooper.

Two of the children were not seat belted – the one who fell out was riding in the rear cargo area of the Toyota Forerunner, according to the state patrol. The vehicle was described as totaled.

Passenger Antonia R. Leal, 25, and her girls – ages 6, 3, and 1 – are also from Onalaska, according to the state patrol.

The 10-year-old boy, also from Onalaska, is a relative of Leal’s, according to Lewis County Fire District 3.

The state patrol concluded that drugs or alcohol were involved., but did not elaborate.

Tofaeono was arrested for vehicular assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail.