Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

No serious injuries in multiple wrecks on I-5 near Centralia

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pair of Rochester teenagers were hospitalized after multiple collisions on southbound Interstate 5 near Centralia this afternoon that backed up traffic for at least five miles.

Troopers and aid were called just before 2 p.m. when possibly more than a dozen vehicles were involved in several separate wrecks, according to authorities.

Washington State Patrol spokesperson Ryan Tanner said nobody was seriously injured and preliminary information suggested five different collisions around the area just south of the Lewis-Thurston county line.

Riverside Fire Authority Mike Kytta said besides the two who were transported, a handful of motorists which were looked at by medics had very minor or no injuries and declined further assistance.

Kytta thought he counted 16 vehicles which had all pulled over to the inside shoulder along about a half mile stretch.

He called it a very fortunate and very surprising outcome with so many vehicles on a high speed road.

A memo from the state patrol described one portion of the incident as four vehicles that were damaged when a 1999 Chevrolet Prizm tried to go around others which were slowing for traffic. It was totaled.

It’s driver, Lacy M. Wood, 17, suffered an injury to her right knee, according to the state patrol. Her passenger, William Short, 19, hurt his left knee and right arm, the investigating trooper reported.

Both were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The other three vehicles involved in that collision sustained damage varying from about $500 to $5,000 but were able to be driven from the scene.

The Washington state Department of Transportation indicated the roadway was all cleared by about 3:45 p.m.

Trooper assaulted on Interstate 5 at Chehalis

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An off-duty police officer and another passerby intervened when a state trooper and a pedestrian scuffled on the side of Interstate 5 at Chehalis this evening.

Aid, and perhaps as many as a half dozen police officers, responded about 6:25 p.m. to the southbound off ramp at Main Street.

Neither were seriously injured, according to responders.

Washington State Patrol spokesperson Trooper Ryan Tanner said he didn’t yet know many details.

“Don’t know why the contact, or why the scuffle,” Tanner said.

The trooper’s glasses were broken when he was hit just below his eye with some kind of metallic object, like a lug nut, Tanner said.

The trooper, whose identity was not released, declined to go to the hospital, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. It wasn’t the kind of injury that required stitches, Fire Capt. Rob Gebhart said.

The other individual had only scrapes, he said.

The passersby took the individual into custody, Tanner said.

Read about DOL says Lewis County deputy’s license ‘suspended’ ….

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Lewis County Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown tells when she recently went to renew her driver’s license she was told she was suspended.

KIRO 7’s Amy Clancy writes Brown was told she needed to contact authorities in Arizona to sort it out, but it turns her license was flagged under a system that checks about 400 licenses each month in Washington state.

Only about a quarter of those lead to actual suspensions, according to Clancy; Brown’s was cleared.

Read it here

News brief: Child brings unstable explosives home

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Some of the old, and volatile, items found behind Winlock home. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff's Office

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The sheriff’s office said a bomb squad was at a Winlock area residence this morning to detonate two bucketfuls of explosive items found by a child playing in the woods behind his house.

A deputy was called last night to the 1000 block of North Military Road after the boy picked up the items, took them to his house and told his parents, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The buckets contained commercial blasting caps and approximately 100 feet of detonation cord, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

“They were very old and in poor condition making them extremely unsafe and volatile,” Brown wrote a news release.

Apparently the previous owner of the property died without telling anyone about the explosives stored on his property, Brown said.

Brown stated the sheriff’s office secured the items and requested the Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad.

Brown said the bomb squad responded to the property about 9 a.m. today to detonate the items on the property.

Fireman’s tips for a happy Fourth of July

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Dr. W. William Benton, left and Ron Grant, staff the fireworks stand on South Market Boulevard in the parking lot of Ace Hardware. The Kiwanas Club of Chehalis stand will be open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, or until their stock runs out.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

While the big day isn’t until Wednesday, fireworks are already on sale and being put to good use.

Riverside Fire Authority’s Assistant Chief Richard Mack wants the public to celebrate safely.

Just last week, a 34-year-old former Toledo man lost part of his hand when a mortar-type firework exploded as he was setting it off in Centralia.

Mack offers the following advice to prevent injuries and fires:

• First, set family boundaries – only adults should light fireworks. Supervision is paramount in keeping children safe.

• Second, fireworks should not be readily available to tempt the curiosity of young children and should be stored in a secured location to prohibit their access.

• Most importantly, talk about safety. Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire. The snow and ice storms that occurred in January left a tremendous amount of tree debris on forest floors, which is tinder dry today. Use care in selecting the area where you will be discharging fireworks.

Read “Mortar-type firework explodes in man’s hand” from Friday June 22, 2012, here

Read about coming limits on public defender caseloads …

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports on the expected financial impact on local governments of new case limits for public defenders – attorneys appointed to represent poor defendants – imposed by the state Supreme Court.

“Beginning in September 2013, public defenders should not handle more than 300 to 400 misdemeanor cases or 150 felony cases a year, limits designed to make sure the lawyers have enough time to devote to their clients and ensure those defendants are getting their constitutional right to an attorney, Gene Johnson of The Associated Press writes in the Seattle Times.

Read more here

Recovery underway for climbing ranger killed on Mount Rainier

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A recovery effort is underway to retrieve the body of a Mount Rainier National Park climbing ranger who yesterday fell more than 3,000 feet to his death.


Nick Hall / Courtesy photo by Mount Rainier National Park

Nick Hall, 34, died during a rescue attempt on the mountain’s northeast side of a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, according to park spokesperson Kevin Bacher.

Hall, a native of Patten, Maine, is unmarried and has no children, according to Bacher. He is a four-year veteran of the park’s climbing program.

A ground team is enroute to Hall’s location, but currently at Camp Schurman at 9,500 feet encountering heavy precipitation and thickening clouds, park spokesperson Patti Wold said today just before 2 p.m.

Air operations are grounded and it’s not known if they can complete their mission today, according to Wold.

Yesterday the group from Texas were on Emmons Glacier at the 13,700 foot level when two climbers fell into a crevasse. They called for help by cell phone and during the rescue just before 5 p.m. as Hall was assisting the other climbers for extrication by helicopter, he fell to about the 10,000 foot level, according to the park service.

Three were flown out, but one of them overnighted on the mountain with climbing rangers.

Stacy Wren is walking down today with a team of climbing rangers. The others, Stuart Smith, Ross Vandyke and Noelle Smith are hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Wold.

Mount Rainier has had 117 climbing-related fatalities since 1897, according to Wold. In 1995, two climbing rangers fell 1,200 feet during a rescue on the same Emmons Glacier.

Mortar-type firework explodes in man’s hand

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A former Toledo man lost part of his hand last night when a mortar-type firework exploded as he was setting it off.

Aid called about 7:30 p.m. to the 1000 block of Grand Avenue in Centralia arranged for the 34-year-old to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Thomas Eric Strom underwent emergency surgery overnight, according to his older sister.

“The surgery, thank God, was successful,” Tanya Strom Gadsden said this morning. “He’s alive and we’re really lucky.”

Gadsden said her brother was in good spirits when she arrived at the hospital last night, but is expected to have a slow recovery.

“As soon as it was lit, it blew up,” she said. “We’re thankful it was his left hand, he’s right handed.”

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dusty Breen said Strom had purchased the firework earlier in the day at the Chehalis Reservation.

He was holding the tube so it wouldn’t tip over, Breen said.

“The projectile that fires up (into the air) for whatever reason didn’t leave the tube,” Breen said.

The trauma to his hand was substantial, according to responders.

Strom is from Toledo but lives in Idaho, where he works as a salesman, according to his sister. He was getting ready to leave on a business trip and was visiting friends, she said.

Fireworks are not legal to light off until this coming Thursday.

Under state law, fireworks are allowed to be set off between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. during the week around the Fourth of July, except they can go one hour later on July 4 and can’t start until noon on June 28, according to Breen. After July 5, they are prohibited until New Years.

Certain cities may have more restrictions on the hours.

News brief: Trio of elk crossing I-5 leads to collision

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A motorist escaped serious injury when she struck an elk on Interstate 5 in Chehalis early this morning.

Three elk were trying to cross the freeway near the 13th Street exit when a northbound passenger car hit one of them, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers and aid called about 4:30 a.m. found the Longview woman had just minor cuts to her head and hand. Kelly Reser, 36, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

“I guess those three elk have been hanging out in the area,” Chehalis Firefighter Derek Pedersen said. “Now there’s only two.”

The impact caved in the windshield of her car, which troopers described as totaled.

Trooper Jerry Kuzminsky said they commonly see elk farther south near exit 63, but recently a trooper spotted one near the Chehalis Wal-Mart interchange.

“It’s getting to be a bigger problem,” he said.

News brief: Emergency closure of state Route 508

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state Department of Transportation closed the state Route 508 South Fork Newaukum Bridge to all traffic this afternoon when a routine inspection found significant corrosion on the bridge girders.

The highway will be closed there for emergency repairs until further notice, according to DOT.

Drivers should use U.S. Highway 12 to get to their destinations, DOT spokesperson Abbi Russell said.

The bridge is five miles east of Onalaska, just east of Centralia-Alpha Road.

There is no estimated timeframe yet for the repairs, according to Russell.

Eastbound traffic can take Leonard Road to U.S. Highway 12. Westbound traffic can take Cinebar Road to Silver Creek Road (state Route 122) to U.S. Highway 12.

News brief: Sheriff: Tenino husband threatens to kill family, sets house on fire

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 50-year-old Tenino-area man is jailed after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and daughter and then set the family home afire last night.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said the couple were at their residence on the 18500 block of Johnson Creek Road arguing about their relationship and when the dispute escalated, the woman and her 22-year-old daughter left, heading into Tenino to call 911.

Deputies went to the house and found it burning, but the husband had left, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said.

Firefighters called about 11:25 p.m. extinguished the blaze, but not before it had done an estimated $120,000 damage to the wood frame home, according to authorities.

Nobody was injured.

The sheriff’s office thinks he dumped gasoline on the place and lit it, Elwin said.

The suspect, Donald A. Puckett, was subsequently pulled over in the Nisqually area east of Lacey and arrested for first-degree arson, Elwin said. He was booked into the Thurston County Jail.

News brief: Two injured by rock crusher in Winlock

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two men were hospitalized after they were injured by a plate on a rock crushing unit at the new Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers site in Winlock this afternoon.

The piece of heavy equipment was just purchased by a private company at auction, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

Firefighters were called around 1 p.m. to the 200 block of Ritchie Lane, north of Avery Road.

Fire Lt. Laura Hanson said in a news release the full extent of their injuries is unknown; the men were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

Hanson said only they were working on the unit when they were injured by a large metal plate which fell. She said it was 400 pounds of three-quarter-inch steel.

Members of Lewis County Fire Districts 15, 6 and Lewis County Medic One assisted with the call. District 6 Chief Tim Kinder said the piece of equipment was on a trailer and the pair were disassembling it.

One of the men fell about 15 feet from atop the rock crusher and the other man was struck by the plate, Kinder said.

The injured, whose names were not released, are both in their mid-50’s, according to Hanson.

They are employed by South Bay Excavating of Olympia, according to a spokesperson for Labor and Industries. L and I is investigating the incident, spokesperson Elaine Fischer said.

Read about raids yield liquid methamphetamine in Grays Harbor County …

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police and Lewis County sheriff’s deputies are among numerous law enforcement agencies that contributed during a lengthy investigation that yesterday resulted in several arrests and federal search warrants executed in Grays Harbor County in a methamphetamine trafficking case, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

The alleged leader of a smuggling ring, Jose Naur Sanchez, 34, of Amanda Park sought to disguise his activities in a shingle mill, according to a news release from the office.

Federal agents have so far arrested 17 individuals with ties to this drug cartel, according to the news release.


Fore more read “Arrests made in DEA drug sweep” from The (Aberdeen) Daily World, here

Or, read “Seven arrested in DEA raids in Grays Harbor County” from The News Tribune, here

News brief: Rochester man jailed for attempted murder

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Updated at 1 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Rochester man was arrested for attempted second-degree murder as well as second-degree assault on Saturday night after he allegedly tried to strangle a 28-year-old woman and then slammed another woman’s head into a wall, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Fred Carpenter, 32, was booked into the Thurston County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

It began as an argument at Carpenter’s home on the 18500 block of Vylan Lane Southwest and escalated into Carpenter threatening to kill the 28-year-old visitor and then attacking his 34-year-old female roommate when she tried to intervene, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Clark.

Carpenter allegedly grabbed her by the throat and pushed her head into the wall.

Deputies called about 9:20 p.m. ended up using a Taser and pepper spray on the suspect before taking him into custody, according to Clark.

The sergeant said he didn’t know what the argument was about.

The 28-year-old, whose name was not released, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment of her injuries, Clark said.

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to reflect the two women were not mother and grown daughter as initially erroneously reported by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

News brief: Centralia police looking for person of interest after trailer burns

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are investigating a suspected arson that occurred in north Centralia last night.

Firefighters called at 9:55 p.m. to the 300 block of Kearney Street found a 30-foot travel trailer fully involved in flames at the back of the fenced property, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The fire was threatening adjacent houses and another trailer, but they managed to put it out before it spread, according to Fire Chief Jim Walkowski.

Nobody was hurt and nobody was inside it when it happened, but police are looking for the individual who used to live in the trailer, according to authorities.

He is a person of interest, Centralia Police Department Sgt. Brian Warren said this morning.

Walkowski described the damage as significant.

The cause is under investigation by the police and fire department Joint Fire Investigation Team, according to the chief.

Read about Ron Reynolds seeks five years pay to resign school principal job …

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports Ron Reynolds is asking district officials to pay him more than $400,000 to resign his position as principal of Toledo Elementary School.

Reynolds was placed on paid leave after an October coroner’s inquest jury ruled unanimously his then-wife Ronda Reynolds’ 1998 death was homicide and named him and his son Jonathan as responsible. No charges were brought for lack of evidence.

Read news reporter Natalie St John’s story here

News brief: Wood dust sparks fire at Centralia sawmill

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Firefighters use a ladder truck to survey the hopper for fire damage. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An explosion and fire in a wood dust hopper prompted an evacuation at a Centralia sawmill today, but damage was minimal, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews were called just before 2 p.m. to Northwest Hardwoods on the 1000 block of Galvin Road, according to Fire Chief Jim Walkowski.

The fire was contained to the dust collection system, without extension to nearby or surrounding structures, Walkowski said in a news release.

Firefighters remained on the scene for an extended period, extinguishing the burning wood dust as it was unloaded from the hopper and loaded into trucks for disposal, according to the chief.

No injuries were reported.

They were assisted by the Chehalis Fire Department and West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

News brief: Napavine home burns

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

While the double-wide mobile home looks good from the outside after a fire, the interior does not, according to fire Lt. Laura Hanson. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Nobody was injured, but some pets are unaccounted for and a family of three is displaced after a residential fire in Napavine today.

Crews called about 1 p.m. to the 100 block of Woodard Road found heavy smoke coming from a double-wide mobile home, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

No one was home at the time, according to department spokesperson Lt. Laura Hanson.

Hanson said the home and its contents are believed to be a total loss. Three adults who live there were offered assistance from the Red Cross, according to Hanson.

She said she understood a cat and a dog were missing.

District 5 was joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 6 and 15.

The cause is unknown, according to Hanson.

Fire breaks out in unoccupied Centralia home

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire that did extensive damage to a north Centralia home overnight appeared to have started on or around a couch on the first floor, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews called about 1 a.m. to the 1200 block of Delaware Avenue found heavy flames coming from the front of the one and a half story house and already extending into the eves and attic, Assistant Chief Rick Mack said.

A Chehalis firefighter suffered some smoke inhalation and was taken to the hospital as a precaution but was released this morning.

Nobody was living in the home as, Mack said, it was his understanding the owner passed away early this year. The family had an estate sale over the weekend, he said.

The early 1900s wood structure sits just east of the railroad tracks near the viaduct, according to Mack. He estimated the damage at about $50,000.

Investigators were on the scene until after 5 a.m., according to Mack.

“We have interviews to conduct to find out who was there most recently,” he said.

Burglary suspect sought near Napavine

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Updated at 10:55 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are looking for a burglary suspect who ran off into the woods near the 800 block of Pleasant Valley Road west of Napavine yesterday afternoon when his wife was arrested.

Todd E. Fears, 39, of Kelso, is described as 6-feet tall, weighing about 250 pounds with a shaved head wearing khaki cargo shorts and a black T-shirt, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


Todd E. Fears

The sheriff’s office suspect the couple in an interrupted burglary yesterday morning just south of Winlock in which more than $6,000 worth of jewelry was stolen, as well as other break-ins in the area during the past week, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

Their vehicle, a light blue 1980s pickup, was found hidden off Lenz Road on private timberland, according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who sees Fears not to contact him but to immediately call 911. He has an outstanding warrant for a probation or parole violation, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies at about 10:15 a.m. yesterday responded to the 1300 block of Hining Road in Winlock where a resident said he arrived home to find a light blue truck in his driveway and a woman who said she was looking at his house which is for sale, according to Brown. He then saw a male run from the back of his house, who was picked up by the woman after she jumped in her truck and drove off, according to Brown.

When the owner went inside, he discovered he had been burglarized of the jewelry, Brown reported.

Later, just before 4 p.m., a couple who matched their description stopped by a home on the 800 block of Pleasant Valley Road asking to use the phone because their vehicle was broke down, according to Brown.

The resident was suspicious because of break-ins in the area and called 911, Brown said. Arriving deputies detained Alicia J. Fears, 42, but her husband fled, Brown said. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary.

Their truck was found about two miles to the south, according to Brown.

Just last week, after deputies investigated a residential burglary on the 400 block of Berry Road, west of Napavine, they said there had been a suspicious male and two females walking up and down Berry Road during the previous two weeks. In one case, a woman went to someone’s door and asked to use the bathroom, but then ran away.

A similarly described truck was implicated in a residential burglary in early May on the 500 block Cedar Creek Road near Toledo.

Assault suspect barricades self inside Centralia home

Monday, June 4th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia’s SWAT team was called out to the 3100 block of Galvin Road last night after a suspect in a domestic assault locked himself inside his home and refused to come out.

Police said Kyle W. Elliott, 35, had a previous weapons violation, several felony convictions and neighbors indicated he had been seen recently in possession of firearms.

It began about 7:50 p.m.

Police negotiators tried to contact Elliott by telephone and with a loudspeaker for an hour and a half before “flash devices” and pepper spray were introduced into the home, according to a news release from the Centralia Police Department.

He immediately answered the phone, according to police.

Elliott was taken into custody without further incident and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for fourth-degree assault, but he likely faces additional charges, according to police.

Officers found body armor in his room and planned to further search the home for guns, according to the news release.