Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Read about Centralia resident gets two-month sentence for trying to outrun deputy …

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a 27-year-old Centralia man was sentenced today to 60 days in jail for leading a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy on a chase that reached 100 mph while his two daughters were in the car.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that the Sept. 10 pursuit ended when Cymon Fultz-Valenta lost control of his vehicle and skidded into a dry retention pond on Old Highway 99 in Thurston County.

Read more here

News brief: Citizens hand over 26 unwanted guns in Thurston County

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza says he’s happy to help properly dispose of the guns folks considered hazardous items. / Courtesy photo by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office says 26 guns were turned in during their weekend event giving citizens the opportunity to dispose of firearms.

Sheriff John Snaza said in a news release that often times unwanted guns are not secured properly and can end up in the hands of those who don’t know how to use them or shouldn’t have them at all.

Last year, 174 firearms were stolen in burglaries around unincorporated Thurston County, according to Snaza. Those are weapons on the streets and unaccounted for, Snaza pointed out.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s office collected 10 handguns, 16 long guns and three five-gallon buckets of ammunition folks dropped off at the McLane Fire Department, according to the sheriff’s office.

Gun givers were able to choose if their donated weapon was sent to be destroyed or traded to a licensed dealer for ammunition for deputies to use in training.

The sheriff’s office plans to conduct another event this fall, but meanwhile, anyone who wants to get rid of firearms or ammunition can call 360-786-5500, according to Lt. Greg Elwin.

News brief: Two Winlock residents seriously injured in morning wreck

Friday, January 18th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 49-year-old father and his 16-year-old son were airlifted after a single-vehicle accident south of Winlock this morning.

A deputy was called about 11:20 a.m. to the 1100 block of Winlock-Vader Road found the driver of a truck somehow lost control, hit the ditch, rolled over and landed on its top, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The Winlock residents were both wearing seat belts but sustained serious head injuries, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

They were flown by helicopter to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Brown said. Their names were not released.

The 1996 Toyota 4by4 was totaled, she said.

Missing elderly Centralia man back home, safe

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An 80-year-old man with early stages of dementia who went missing early yesterday from his Centralia home ended up at a hospital in Everett, although police aren’t sure why.

“We think a little confusion on his part,” Centralia Police Department Sgt. Stacy Denham said this morning. “Everyone in his family lives south; no one knows why he went north.”

Raymond E. Wolford is okay and back home with his family, according to police.

Police were called to his home near Providence Centralia Hospital about 1:20 a.m. yesterday when his wife realized he and his car were gone. Wolford has late-stage cancer and requires medication daily, according to police.

Officer Mike Lowrey said last night around 8:30 p.m., officers were notified by the family Wolford was located in Everett, about 100 miles away.

Denham said he apparently drove himself there.

Read about questions raised following Thurston judge’s refusal to perform gay weddings …

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times writes the while the state’s newly amended marriage law exempts clergy from performing same-sex weddings, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor’s opting out from conducting gay ceremonies raises questions.

Read abut it here

Read about apparent firearm abandoned at Wal-Mart turns out to be replica …

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter writes that a customer-snapped photo of what appeared to be a firearm left within reach behind a sales counter at the Chehalis Wal-Mart on Tuesday turned out to be an Airsoft gun; only a replica of a real gun.

Read about it here

Read about Randle man takes suspended license case to state’s high court …

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times published a story in its newspaper yesterday about a Randle man whose case coming before the Washington State Supreme Court could – if he wins – have widespread impact on those whose driver’s licenses have been suspended due to unpaid traffic tickets.

Stephen C. Johnson’s attorney argues the suspension, along with  thousands of others, is unconstitutional because the state imposed a criminal penalty on an individual for failing to pay a fine without inquiring into the financial situation of the individual, news reporter Stephanie Schendel writes.

Read more here

News brief: Sheriff’s office rolls out new mobile command unit today

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is inviting the public to tour its new mobile office, a 40-foot-long semi truck set up to respond for search and rescue missions, crime scenes and any other major local incidents.


Courtesy photo

The 1995 Freightliner was obtained at no-cost through federal surplus and outfitted with funds from grants and seizures, according to the sheriff’s office. It replaces two aging vans, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

The big rig will be on display today from 10 a.m. until noon at the motor pool parking lot at the intersection of West Main Street and Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis.

News brief: Origin of Mayfield Lake house fire unknown

Monday, January 14th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire that ravaged a summer cabin at Lake Mayfield Village leaving only two walls standing on Friday evening is under investigation.

Nobody was injured but crews from Salkum and Mossyrock who spent hours battling the blaze were hampered by sparks from an exploding power box they couldn’t aim their fire hoses at, according to Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel.

They had to wait almost an hour and a half for workers from Lewis County PUD to shut off the electricity, McDaniel said. They surrounded the house and kept most of the siding wet while they waited, he said.

“It’s not one you’re gonna win, we contained it the area,” McDaniel said.

The approximately 1,500 square-foot, cedar-sided, metal-roofed  dwelling was nestled among fir trees, according to the chief.

It was just before 6:30 p.m. when a District 8 crew was returning from an aid call, crossing the bridge on Mayfield Lake and spotted a fully engulfed structure fire on the ridge, McDaniel said. They headed that way and were dispatched about a minute later to the 200 block of Lakeview Drive, he said.

“We probably were on the scene within four minutes,” he said.

McDaniel said the cabin had been remodeled about a year ago and was for sale. It’s owners live in Portland, he said.

“It’s under investigation with the fire marshal’s office as to the cause,” he said.

News brief: Car thieves making off with locked cars around Centralia

Monday, January 14th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police over the weekend dealt with numerous car thefts, in some cases informing the victims their vehicle had been found abandoned and stripped before they were reported missing.

Yesterday morning, a Honda Civic taken from the 200 block of East Carson Street turned up off Johnson Creek Road in South Thurston County. It had been torched, according to police.

It’s happening during the night and all the cars have been locked, according to the Centralia Police Department.

They’re not breaking the windows.

Police suspect that thieves might be using a “shaved” key to defeat the locks and ignitions since they are targeting similar cars, Sgt. Carl Buster said.

The years mostly range from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he said.

Buster recommends folks to be extra vigilant and if they see any vehicles or people out of place in their neighborhood to call 911.

“Someone’s going to have to catch them in the act,” Buster said. “Unless you put a club on your steering wheel or lock it in the garage, they’re gonna get it.”

According to Buster: Saturday began with a 1989 Toyota Camry found in an alley near the 1800 block of North Tower Avenue. It had been taken from the 1700 block of Military Road and It’s stereo was missing, according to police.

Around 11 a.m., a 2001 Honda CRV was discovered in the area of Fair Street that was stolen from the 300 block of East Pine Street. It was also partially stripped.

Soon after, an officer was called to the 1800 block of Shamrock Drive where someone had tampered with a 1993 Mazda, but didn’t take it. It had an alcohol ignition interlock in place that probably made it less attractive, according to Buster.

Five have been reported stolen in Centralia since Jan. 4

“So, they’re stealing them from all over town, dumping them all over town – and out of the county – and they’re progressively getting worse,” Buster said. “Now they’re burning them.”

News brief: Chimney may be to blame for Toledo house fire

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Crews work to put out a fire at a home on Lone Yew Road. / Courtesy photo by Clayton Skinner

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A couple who has lived in their Toledo area home some 50 years returned home today to find firefighters extinguishing a blaze that virtually destroyed their house.

Lewis County Fire District 2 was called just before noon to the residence on the 200 block of Lone Yew Road, about two miles southeast of town. A passing motorist called it in, according to Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank.

Wiltbank said the flames got into the attic and multiple “void spaces” making it difficult to put out. Responders came also from fire departments in Winlock, Napavine, Vader-Ryderwood and Lewis County Medic One.

Crews managed to save a lot of their personal belongings, including several large boxes with generations of family photos, according to Wiltbank.

The single-story wood frame house is still standing, but will probably have to be bull dozed, he said.

Nobody was injured.

The preliminary cause appears to be a chimney failure, according to the chief.

News brief: Dozens of impaired drivers removed from roadways during campaign

Friday, January 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported yesterday that 52 motorists in Lewis County were pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence during their recent special enforcement campaign.

The numbers come from their Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over emphasis that ran Nov. 21 through Tuesday.

How many of those occurred on New Years Eve and day was not immediately available.

Extra DUI patrols during the nearly six-week emphasis were funded by a grant from the traffic commission.

Statewide, police arrested 3,446 for impaired driving during that period, according to a news release from the WTSC.

During the same time span a year earlier, law enforcement officers on routine patrol around the county arrested 38 people for DUIs, according to the news release.

News brief: Van versus school bus in Chehalis

Friday, January 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police and aid were called just after 3 p.m. when a van ran into the back of a school bus in Chehalis, smashing the front of the van. Nobody was hurt.

It happened on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue.

The bus was southbound but stopped for traffic ahead, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

“The van sustained quite a bit of damage, I think it’s probably totaled,” Sgt. Brian Hickey said. “I don’t think there was much braking.”

An airbag deployed so the 18-year-old driver was unhurt, according to Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Kevin Curfman.

Curfman said the chief arrived first and let them know nobody was injured, but a medic also checked out each of the 12 grade school-aged children.

“I don’t think they even felt anything hardly,” Curfman said.

Hickey wasn’t finished with his investigation, but said it appeared the driver looked away and when she looked back, the bus was stopped in front of her.

News brief: Centralia attic fire blamed on proximity of chimney, trusses

Friday, January 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia home sustained an estimated $20,000 damage when a fire broke out in an attic next to a wood stove chimney yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters called about 3:45 p.m. to the single-story house on the 400 block of Bryden Avenue near Fort Borst Park found smoke coming from vents near the roof, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The occupants called 911 and got everyone safely, according to Fire Chief Jim Walkowski.

Crews removed portions of the ceiling and extinguished the fire, according to Walkowski.

It appears the chimney was too close to wooden roof trusses in the attic, which ignited, Walkowski said.

Elderly man loses Randle home to fiery blaze

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 95-year-old Randle man’s home was consumed by fire yesterday, but he got out safely.

Lewis County Fire District 14 was called about 4:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Kiona Road and joined by crews from Glenoma and an engine from  Packwood, according to Fire Chief Jeff Jaques.

The owner and his daughter-in-law were home when it started but escaped without injury. His son and daughter-in-law live there with him, Jaques said.

The single-wide mobile home which had been added on to was a total loss, according to the chief.

“It was fully involved when we go there,” Jaques said. “There was nothing in the house that wasn’t burning when we got on scene.”

The cause is under investigation.

The trio have family and friends in the area to stay with, although they were also put in touch with Red Cross, he said.

News brief: Judge to decide about B Street murder defendant’s claim of insanity

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia resident Weston G. Miller pleaded not guilty to murder three weeks ago and now he’d like to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Miller, 30, is being held in the March shooting death of his house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.


David Wayne Carson

A hearing has been scheduled so a judge can hear from experts on both sides about Miller’s mental state at the time of Carson’s death.

It is on the court calendar for Jan. 28.

The former welder told police he acted in self-defense, but prosecutors say it was unprovoked attack when Miller shot Carson twice in the chest area inside Miller’s house on B Street.

An early court filing by Miller’s attorney indicated he would be relying upon a defense of insanity / diminished capacity. His lawyer, J.P. Enbody, has not detailed what his client’s issues are.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said today he won’t discuss the issues, at least until the upcoming hearing.

Miller was only just arraigned last month because of a question whether he was competent to stand trial. A hearing was set for a judge to decide, but then lawyers suddenly agreed Miller was competent.

Meagher said the judge will hear from experts on both sides and can either find Miller not guilty by reason of insanity or decide it is a decision for a jury to make.

His trial is currently scheduled for next month.

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

Read about missing Morton man possibly spotted near White Pass …

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports missing Morton resident Lawrence W. Thorsteinson could be in the White Pass area.

The newspaper says a search and rescue dog tracked the 76-year-old east along U.S. Highway 12 and it appears he may have gotten into a vehicle.

Thorsteinson, who takes medication for dementia, was reported missing about 9:30 p.m. on Friday from the assisted living facility where he makes his home.

Morton Police Chief Dan Mortensen asks anyone who sees Thorsteinson to please call 911.

Read more here

News brief: On the lookout for drunken drivers

Monday, December 31st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Watch out for that rookie trooper.

He graduated from the Washington State Patrol Academy, got sworn in at the capitol building in Olympia and then headed to his new assignment in Chehalis where on his very first traffic stop, he arrested a man for driving under the influence.

The 37-year-old Lacey motorist said he was headed to the post office in Tumwater, but Trooper Evan Clark found him weaving southbound on Interstate 5 near the 13th Street interchange in Chehalis, according to Trooper Will Finn.

The arrestee said he drank a beer before leaving home, according to Finn.

Trooper Clark earned the praise of Lt. Ken Garrison for the Dec. 17 traffic stop who indicated getting drunken drivers off the roadways is the state patrol’s number one concern.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Trooper Clark,” Garrison said in a prepared statement. “Impaired driving is a leading factor in Washington traffic deaths.

Clark, who comes from Vancouver, is one of four newly commissioned troopers who began working in Chehalis earlier this month.

The graduation ceremony was actually on a Friday, and the DUI arrest came the following Monday after the new troopers met with their commanders in Vancouver and then headed out on patrol.

The four are among 37 cadets who were part of the 100th graduating trooper basic class.

Also new to the Chehalis detachment are:

• Jessica L. Dizon, from Olympia

• Aleksandr V. Ignatov,  from Vancouver

• Blake A. Willson, from Chehalis

News brief: Unwanted firearms disposal offered by Thurston County

Monday, December 31st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Got an old gun laying around you’d like to get rid of?

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office will take it off your hands, if you like.

Their first ever public event to give citizens the opportunity to dispose of unwanted firearms or ammunition is set for next month.

While they won’t pay you for it, they will have free gun locks to give away. And their SWAT and dive teams will put some of their equipment on display.

It happens on Jan. 19, a Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the McLane Fire Department at 125 Delphi Road NW, Olympia.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin says the gun givers can choose if their donated weapon gets traded for ammunition for deputies to use in training or gets destroyed.

“If you want it ground up, we’ll do that,” Elwin said.

If it’s traded, it will go to a vendor who will resell it, he said.

Also on hand the same day will be a collection bin for unwanted or old prescription drugs as well as a child identification program provided by Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers.

News brief: Auditor gives thumbs up to Fire District 16

Monday, December 31st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An audit issued today for the Doty area fire department reported their internal controls are adequate to safeguard public assets.

Lewis County Fire District 16 took in $17,434 in revenue during 2011, primarily through property taxes, to support its operations, according to the Washington State Auditors Office.

The report dated Dec. 20 covers the two years ending on Dec. 31, 2011.

The auditor also notes that in the areas it examined, the district complied with state laws and its own policies.

The volunteer department is governed by an elected three member board of commissioners.

News brief: Missing Thurston County mom turns up at mall

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 33-year-old Thurston County mother missing since last Saturday has been found, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Kyndra L. Nevils hadn’t been seen since she left her children with a roommate at home east of Tumwater and was believed to be headed for the Capitol Mall in west Olympia.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Alvin Griffin said today she turned up just after 8 p.m. last night. A deputy and her husband contacted her at the mall, he said.

Griffin didn’t have details about where Nevils had been. He said her husband was going to take her to a hospital, but it wasn’t clear for what.

For background, read “News brief: Thurston County mom missing almost a week” from Friday December 28, 2012, here