Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Teacher, daughter, two teenagers “dead” in mock crash at Ony High School

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
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Responders "answer" a 911 call on the football field in Onalaska during a presentation to students. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 1

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Eighth through twelfth grade students in Onalaska yesterday got to watch the aftermath of two-car drunken driving wreck on the football field, a simulated collision that left four “dead”.

The scenario – created by the Onalaska Students Against Drunk Drivers group – began when an after-prom party broke up and eight teenagers piled into one car; the driver had been drinking.

Airlift Northwest touched down briefly to pretend to haul off one of the injured during the afternoon event.

Some 30 individuals role played, including volunteer firefighters from three districts, law enforcement and the coroner’s office. Four impersonated corpses.

“Killed” in the second car, was a teacher from the school and her 13-year-old daughter.

Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner said it was the first time the department has taken part in such an exercise in the seven years since he’s been a member.

It was hard to know the impact on the student body, as they had to quick get on busses when it was over, he said.

“We’re trying to show, you know, this is what happens when you come on a scene,” Conner said.

•••

Correction: This news items was updated on Wednesday April 27, 2011 to reflect the correct spelling of Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner’s name.

Winlock grocery lottery ticket theft trial postponed once more

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The trial has again been postponed for the Winlock grocery store manager accused of stealing lottery tickets.

Benjamin C. Macy, 52, was charged in May of last year with two counts of second-degree theft after a video surveillance camera allegedly showed him scratching off dozens of $20 tickets at 4:30 in the morning at the Cedar Village IGA. He had reportedly worked at the store for 30 years.

Macy has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail.

He is represented by Centralia attorney Don McConnell who said today he’s hired a certified public accountant to pore through two boxes of binders to try to figure out how much money is being alleged was involved.

“We’re nowhere near to figuring that out,” McConnell said.

The trial was scheduled for next week, but a judge today granted the change.

Macy was previously represented by McConnell’s partner, Jonathan Meyer, who is now the elected Lewis County prosecutor.

Attorneys will return to court on June 30 to set a date for trial.
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Read about the case here

Read about legislature passes marijuana dispensary bill …

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the state legislature passed a marijuana dispensary bill today, although the governor has threatened to veto it.

News reporter Katie Schmidt writes the change is meant to clear up a gray area in the voter-approved measure that previously legalized medical marijuana but left it unclear how patients can get the drug.

Read Schmidt’s news story here

News brief: Suspect in 1980s Centralia homicide pleads not guilty

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man captured in California last month and brought to Lewis County to face an almost 25-year-old murder charge pleaded not guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court.

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Carlos Vidal Guiterrez

Carlos Vidal Guiterrez, 54, is accused in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Efren J. Triana in downtown Centralia in October 1986.

Guiterrez was arrested by the U.S. Marshals’ Service in San Benito County in central California.

He is represented by Centralia defense attorney David Arcuri.

A trial date was set for the week of August 15.

Prosecutors allege Guiterrez shot the Rochester resident when the two stepped outside La Adalitas tavern to fight on Oct. 25, 1986.

Guiterrez is charged with second-degree murder. His bail remains at $3 million.

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Read background in “Accused slayer of Rochester man in 1986 faces a judge today” from Wednesday April 6, 2011, here

News brief: Find out more about possible four fire department combo

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Members of the public curious about the possible creation of a super fire department along the I-5 corridor in the northern half of Lewis County are encouraged to sit in a meeting set for tomorrow evening in Chehalis.

Representatives from the cities of Chehalis and Centralia, as well as from fire departments in Centralia, Chehalis, rural Chehalis and the Napavine area have been gathering monthly to talk about the idea.

The group has named itself the Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee.

Lewis County Fire District 5′s Lt. Laura Hanson says the public and the news media are invited and encouraged to attend the monthly meetings.

On the agenda tomorrow night are presentations about operations, facilities and fleets.

The committee has selected Dennis Dawes – Chehalis city council member – as its chair and Greg Pulver – AMR, American Medical Response and Fire District 6 commissioner- as its vice chair, as well as adopted rules and procedures for operating the group.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Lewis County Fire District 6′s main station at 2123 Jackson Highway, Chehalis.

News brief: Arrest made in connection with stolen search and rescue equipment

Monday, April 18th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Search and Rescue got back its stolen Honda generator but is still looking for 18 portable radios and other equipment taken when its mobile command trailer was broken into out in Packwood.

A 19-year-old Packwood resident was arrested and charged last week for trafficking in stolen property after he allegedly offered to sell the generator to one individual and then did sell it to another person.

Jesse James Aalmo pleaded not guilty on Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Search and rescue volunteers were preparing to train two weeks ago  when they discovered somebody had forced their way inside the trailer  parked at the former Hampton Mill in Packwood, and tried to break in to three cargo trailers where their equipment is stored.

Deputies arrested Aalmo on April 11 after talking with a man who said he bought the $550 generator from Aalmo for $100, according to charging documents.

Another man told deputies Aalmo offered to sell him a portable radio for $50, charges documents allege.

Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber said Aalmo didn’t admit to the theft and the sheriff’s office is still hopeful the radios will turn up.

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Read “News brief: Lewis County search and rescue vehicles plundered” from Monday April 4, 2011, here

News brief: Four hospitalized following Sunday crashes north of Castle Rock

Monday, April 18th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a five-car wreck yesterday afternoon on Interstate 5 north of Castle Rock sent four people to the hospital.

The Washington State Patrol blamed hail for the approximately 5 p.m. collisions.

Read The Daily News’ story here

News brief: Skeletal remains from near Morton are not Tenino woman or McCleary girl

Friday, April 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said his office has not yet learned the identity of the skeletal remains found last week near Morton, but a forensic pathologist has ruled out two missing people.

Specialists have confirmed the remains are not those of Nancy Moyer from Tenino or Lindsey Baum of McCleary, Mansfield said today.

A motorist who pulled off U.S. Highway 12 near Morton to take a break spotted the remains off the side of a logging road about 5:30 p.m. on April 7, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office at the time said they were hopeful it wouldn’t take long to figure out who the deceased was, based on dental work.

The remains were to be sent to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for examination.

Both females vanished in 2009.

Moyer, 36, was last seen by a co-worker on March 6, 2009. The 5-foot tall mother of two was reported missing when her husband returned their children to her Tenino home two days later.

She was not there, but her purse and vehicle were.

Eleven-year-old Lindsey was last seen June 26, 2009, when she left a friend’s house in McCleary to walk home.

The walk should have taken 10 minutes, but she never arrived home.

The sheriff’s office released little information about last week’s find, but said it was doubtful the remains had been in the place they were found for very long, because it was a well-used logging road.

Sheriff Mansfield said they are also trying to determine the identity of the remains through DNA.

Dental work was used to find the identity of a skull found March 26 near Mineral.

It belonged to Michael Lloyd Riemer, a 36-year-old Pierce County man who went missing in December 1985.

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Read “Breaking news: Skeleton found near Morton” from Friday April 8, 2011, here

News brief: Vacant Centralia nursing home will be site of fire training

Friday, April 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Neighbors and passing motorists on Interstate 5 can expect to see smoke and fire engines tomorrow when a shuttered nursing home on Long Road in Centralia is burned down.

Riverside Fire Authority will conduct live fire training exercises at the structure on the 1000 block of Long Road, the former home of Evergreen Centralia Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Traffic will be detoured from Long Road onto South Street during the training, according to Fire Chief Jim Walkowski.

Evergreen was home to some 40 individuals when the December 2007 flood forced their evacuation. It’s owners donated the one-story structure to the city, which in turn offered it to the fire department. It will be demolished afterward, according to Walkowski.

The chief said in a news release he is especially appreciative of getting a commercial building to practice with, as firefighters can gain the kind of experiences they cannot with a residential structure.

Some 30 personnel are expected to take part.

The exercises will take place from between approximately 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

News brief: Austin King; case could end with plea agreement

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS -  The suspect in last summer’s death of 16-year-old Austin King in Morton appeared briefly in court today as his trial date nears, however, attorneys are moving toward a plea agreement instead.

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Jack A. Silverthorne

“We’re working towards settlement,” defense lawyer J.P. Enbody said outside the courtroom.

An acquaintance, Jack Arnold Silverthorne, of Renton, is charged with first-degree murder and remains held on $2 million bail.

Silverthorne spent his 21st birthday on Saturday in the Lewis County Jail.

He is charged with first-degree murder and remains held on $2 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty.

The judge signed an order today allowing a crime lab test which will “consume some trace evidence”. Neither attorney described in court what the evidence was or what article it was found on.

Austin King

Austin King

The 16-year-old vanished from his family’s home in the Tilton River Mobile Home Park early on June 23 and was the subject of a month-long search headed up by volunteers. His body was found some 10 miles away off a logging road outside Morton. His skull was cracked.

Authorities believe Silverthorne – who was staying in the trailer park with his grandmother at the time – took Austin up into the woods, and his motive was related to an attraction to a girl, the mother of Austin’s child, according to charging documents.

His trial remains scheduled for the week of June 6.
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Read more about the case in “Morton homicide: Suspect had broken hand, victim had cracked skull” from Wednesday Nov. 10, 2010, here

News brief: School pranks lead to arrests

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 12-year-old student was arrested for making a bomb threat yesterday at Onalaska Elementary-Middle School.

Students were evacuated to the high school and deputies called about 9:40 a.m. searched the cafeteria and found nothing suspicious, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The seventh-grader allegedly had told friends he put a bomb in the cafeteria and it would go off in seven minutes. He told authorities he was just joking.

The student, whose name was not released, was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for making a bomb threat.

The arrest follows a similar incident at Adna Middle-High School on April Fools Day in which deputies were called to search a classroom after a student reportedly made comments on his Facebook page related to having a gun at school, according to sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust.

That student also said it was just a prank, Aust said.

News brief: Interview with confessed killer about missing Tenino woman turns up nothing

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

As expected, authorities questioned the 27-year-old man convicted of the August slaying of a woman on the Yelm to Tenino Trail looking for information about 36-year-old Nancy Moyer’s disappearance from her Tenino home in March 2009.

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Bernard K. Howell III

Moyer, a mother of two, was reported missing on March 8, 2009 by her ex-husband who went to her house and discovered she wasn’t there.

Nothing significant came out of the interview with Bernard K. Howell III, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

“He gave us nothing, denied any involvement,” Lt. Greg Elwin said.

Moyer’s home is less than a mile from where Howell lived with his father when he was arrested last summer with a dead woman inside his pickup truck.

Detectives were prevented from talking with him about other cases until the case involving the death of Vanda Boone was finished.

Howell confessed to killing Boone and was sentenced last Thursday to more than 26 years in prison. He was interviewed about Moyer late last week.

Moyer was last seen by co-workers two days before she was reported missing. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

The sheriff’s office has contacted the FBI to see if they can glean anything about the type of individual who might have been involved in Moyer’s disappearance, Elwin said.
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Read about Bernard K. Howell III, here

News brief: School bus collides with car near Castle Rock

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock resident was hospitalized after his car was hit by a school bus east of Castle Rock this afternoon.

Jacob D. Berry, 18, was stopped at a stop sign on Hall Road at state Route 504 when the 1998 Bluebird school bus turning onto Hall Road struck his driver’s side door, according to the Washington Sate Patrol.

Berry’s 1998 Honda Accord was totaled, the state patrol reported.

Berry was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with neck pain, according to the investigating trooper.

There were children on board, but none were injured, Trooper Steve Schatzel said.

The bus driver, Janyce I. Phillips, 55, of Toutle, was cited for making an improper turn, the patrol reported. The bus sustained an estimated $500 damage.

News brief: Man pleads guilty in Frost Road Trailer Park murder

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Winlock man accused of fatally shooting a trailer park neighbor pleaded guilty and was sentenced today to 16 years in prison.

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Richard J. F. Roth

Richard Joseph Frank Roth, 65, was charged in the Nov. 4 death of 64-year-old Jackie Marie Lawyer in the Frost Road Trailer Park.

Prosecutors said in charging documents Roth retrieved a handgun from his property and confronted Lawyer near the trailer park mailboxes after an argument between the two about him “snitching” on her for her dumping wood stove ashes in the woods. Lawyer died from a gunshot wound to her chin and neck.

Roth was arrested that day and charged with first-degree murder. His trial had been scheduled for June.

Today, in front to Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt, Roth pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which included a firearm enhancement that adds a mandatory five years to his sentence, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

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Jackie Marie Lawyer

The reason for the plea agreement: “Given his age, he will not, probably not live to be released,” Meyer said.

Roth was represented by court-appointed attorney Mike Underwood.
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Read background on the November shooting here

News brief: Man will return to court after bad advice from lawyer

Monday, April 11th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS  – A defendant in Lewis County Superior Court won his appeal of a denial of his attempt to withdraw a guilty plea because his lawyer wrongly told him the crime was not a strike offense.

A panel of three judges in the Washington State Court of Appeals on Friday agreed that Brad C. Brower ought to have been allowed to withdraw his May 2009 Alford plea to attempted indecent liberties.

Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor were mistaken about the classification of the crime, according to the opinion. Neither attorney was named in the opinion.

Brower was initially charged in March 2009 with two counts of attempted second-degree rape, or, in the alternative indecent liberties with forcible compulsion, according to the opinion.

Brower argued he would not have entered the plea had he known it was a strike offense.

The appeals court reversed the trial court’s denial of the motion to withdraw the plea and remanded for further proceedings.

News brief: Four-vehicle wreck on I-5 in Chehalis injures one

Friday, April 8th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 77-year-old woman from Shelton was injured on Interstate 5 in Chehalis today when she changed lanes and collided with another car and then rolled over the concrete center barrier and hit two vehicles coming the other direction.

Lorraine I. Lightbody suffered a broken leg and cuts to her face after the approximately 1:30 p.m. four-car wreck near the Chamber of Commerce interchange, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Her 2002 Ford Taurus and two other vehicles were totaled, the state patrol reported.

Lightbody was northbound and the northbound car she first struck was driven by Judith C. Oakes, 69, of Centralia, the state patrol reported. Oakes was reportedly uninjured, but her 2006 Pontiac Vibe also rolled over and came to rest on its top, according to the investigating trooper.

One of the southbound vehicles, driven by a Redmond man, went off the road to the right and came to rest in the grass. It sustained an estimated $2,000 damage. The other was a Dodge Ram pickup driven by a Lynnwood resident

Lightbody was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the parol reported.

News brief: Bail set at $3 million for suspect in 1980s Centralia shooting death

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Bail was set today at $3 million for the man charged in the October 1986 shooting death of 23-year-old Efren J. Triana outside a Centralia tavern.

Carlos Vidal Guiterrez, now 54, was brought to Lewis County earlier this week following his arrest by U.S. marshals in San Benito County in central California.

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Efren J. Triana

Triana was the youngest in a family of seven children. He lived in Rochester.

His three brothers – who reside in Rochester and Grand Mound – were among a contingent of family in the courtroom today, in Lewis County Superior Court.

Triana did carpentry work, had a girlfriend and lived with his parents, the family said.

“He was a nice person, he got along with a lot of people,” his older brother Roy Triana said.

Prosecutors allege Guiterrez shot Triana when the two stepped outside La Adalitas to fight on Oct. 25, 1986, before fleeing the area and avoiding capture for nearly 25 years.

Guiterrez is charged with second-degree murder, a class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

He is scheduled to make his plea on April 20.
•••

Read background in “Accused slayer of Rochester man in 1986 faces a judge today” from Wednesday April 6, 2011, here

News brief: Grand Mound among finalists for new prison

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Less than a week after saying a decision on where to build a new state prison facility was put on hold, officials announced they have narrowed their search to three sites, including Grand Mound.

Properties pitched by Winlock, Morton and Castle Rock didn’t make the cut.

The state Department of Corrections hopes to construct what they call a reception center in Western Washington – with some 1000 beds.

It’s the place offenders go first, to be evaluated for physical, mental health, security and other needs and to determine the particular prison where they will serve their time, according to DOC.

The other locations which will move forward in the selection process are in Mason County near Shelton and Kitsap County near Belfair, according to a news release this morning from DOC.

The next step is conducting Environmental Impact Statement assessments, which will include cost analysis’s.

The property in Grand Mound is where Maple Lane School is, a state juvenile detention center slated for closure.

The Department anticipates having a preferred site identified by December.

The state legislature has approved funding to find a location and for pre-design costs but have not yet approved funds to build the new facility, according to DOC.

•••

The Olympian writes further about the potential sites, here

News brief: Suspect from 1986 Centralia fatal shooting to go before judge today

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The suspect arrested two weeks ago in connection with a 1986 shooting death in Centralia has been extradited from California and returned to Lewis County.

Carlos Vidal Gutierrez, 54, of Aromas, California, was picked up by U.S. Marshals on March 23.

He was wanted for murder in the case of 23-year-old Efren J. Triana of Rochester who was shot several times outside a tavern at the 100 block of West Main Street in Centralia early on Oct. 25, 1986, according to police.

Gutierrez was booked yesterday into the Lewis County Jail.

He is scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Aromas is in San Benito County in central California not far from the coast.
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Read “Breaking news: Suspect arrested in 1986 Centralia cold case murder” from Wednesday March 23, 2011, here

News brief: Two dead following police chase down I-5 in Thurston County

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Update 2:25 p.m.: The Olympian and The (Tacoma) News Tribune are reporting a child has been found dead inside a Spanaway-area home connected with this couple.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A high-speed pursuit ended on southbound Interstate 5 in Tumwater this morning with the driver shooting himself in the head and a dead female passenger who didn’t appear to have died from the low-speed crash or any gunshot, according to the Washington State Patrol.

It’s possible the 38-year-old man was traveling with a deceased woman in his car, according to Trooper Guy Gill. But the investigation is still in its preliminary stages, according to Gill.

“There are a lot of what ifs here, and it will take time to look at the big picture,” he said.

Both the 38-year-old male and the 38-year-old female were pronounced dead at the scene, near milepost 101 and Tumwater Boulevard, according to the state patrol.

Their identities have not been released and investigators are not certain yet where they are from. The pair were inside a silver Ford Focus.

It began just before 6 a.m. near the Thurston-Pierce county line when a trooper was passed by a speeding car, traveling about 85 mph, according to the state patrol. The chase continued south, even after spike strips near milepost 109 flattened two of the tires, Trooper Gill reported.

The car slowed to about 30 mph and then it collided with an inside concrete barrier near milepost 101, he said.

The trooper saw the male driver raise his hand by his head, heard a gunshot and saw the driver slump down.

Troopers then found the woman in the front passenger seat.

Gill said he expected to share more details as they are learned.

News brief: Lewis County search and rescue vehicles plundered

Monday, April 4th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Portable radios, a generator and other items used for search and rescue operations are missing after a break-in to the sheriff’s office command post trailer where they were stored in Packwood.

The theft, discovered yesterday morning, amounts to an estimated $9,000 loss, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Search and rescue volunteers were preparing to train yesterday when they found somebody had forced their way inside two search and rescue vehicles parked at the former Hampton Mill in Packwood, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.

Taken were outdoor lights, a GPS unit, a Honda generator and 18 Motorola portable radios. The radios are models CP200 and HT440, according to the Seiber.

“That’s the county supply we issue (for missions),” Seiber said of the radios. He thought he might have six remaining.

Seiber said the radios cost $600 to $1,000 each.

Those responsible tried to force their way into several other vehicles but weren’t successful, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield is hoping the equipment can be found.

“This is a great loss for our search and rescue program, and I can only imagine the type of person(s) who would steal something that is so essential to saving lives,” Mansfield stated in a news release. “I feel confident that someone who knows something about this will step forward and provide information that will lead to the recovery of the stolen items.”

Lewis County Crime Stoppers is offering g a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible and the recovery of the stolen items. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-748-6422.

Anyone with information can also contact Seiber at 360-740-1341.

News brief: Three struck by vehicle at outdoor party

Monday, April 4th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three young women were hit by a vehicle leaving a party off a logging road in the Winlock area  overnight.

Aid, deputies and troopers responded about 3 a.m. to the incident at the very end of a logging road off Raubuck Road west of Napavine, according to authorities.

The females, ages 19 through 20, were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

There were as many as 25 individuals at the outdoor party; all contacted were over 18 years old, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies made several arrests for minors in possession of alcohol, the sheriff’s office reported.

The driver of the vehicle was detained and questioned. Deputies and troopers are investigating what led to the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.

No names were released.