Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Body of fall victim recovered near Paradise

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 59-year-old Florida man taking pictures with his son in Mount Rainier National Park fell from a cliff above Christine Falls; his body was recovered yesterday, according to authorities from the park.

Roger A. Wagner fell about 40 feet around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, but it was too dark to get to him at that time, park spokesperson Kevin Bacher said.

The Ocala, Florida man’s body was recovered yesterday morning from where it had been swept about 100 yards downstream, Bacher said.

Christine Falls is off the Comet Falls trail near Paradise in the south central portion of the park.

News brief: Cigarette suspected in Grand Mound wrecking yard fire

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Brush, vehicles and a mobile home burned today in Grand Mound / Courtesy photo by Lanette Dyer

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire at a Grand Mound wrecking yard today spread to five acres and destroyed three vehicles as well as an unoccupied mobile home.

The cause is under investigation, but it ignited soon after a customer smoking a cigarette left the area, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

Firefighters called about 2:15 p.m. to the scene at 183rd Avenue Southwest and Case Road were joined by three neighboring departments as the wind kicked up, Fire Lt. Lanette Dyer said.

Some 20 firefighters were assisted by others from the Department of Natural Resources who brought a 10-person hand crew from Cedar Creek Corrections Center, Dyer said.

The flames were stopped right at a fence line where nine horses were pastured, she said. One southbound lane of Interstate 5 near milepost 90 was shut down for about an hour as some fire apparatus had to access it from the freeway.

They got it under control just after 3:30 p.m.

Dyer repeated what others in the fire service have been saying for the past week:

“The ground is real dry, we have real low humidity, and at this point, it’s the perfect conditions for huge fires,” she said.

Today’s fire at Newton’s Wrecking Yard burned a mobile home used for storage of items including family heirlooms and three of the business’s vehicles before creeping under the fence and consuming about two and a half acres of brush and trees, according to Dyer.

Nobody was injured.

It was just last Wednesday on the opposite side of Interstate 5 where nearly five acres of scotch broom were ignited by a spark from a lawn mower.

News brief: 9-11 anniversary events in Littlerock, Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority prepares for Sunday morning remembrance of 9-11 / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three hundred forty-three American flags will provide a back drop for a ceremony tomorrow morning in Littlerock honoring the firefighters and law enforcement officers who lost their lives 10 years ago responding to terrorist attacks.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority is hosting the event in remembrance of all who died that day.

The time is 8:30 a.m. The place is the Littlerock fire station at 10828 Littlerock Road SW, Olympia.

Also tomorrow a remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 will be held at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. The 1 p.m. program is being organized by the Lewis County Fallen Heroes Committee and United Way.

The event at the fairgrounds is a benefit for the Fallen Heroes fund, a fund that assists the families of fallen heroes in Lewis County and throughout the state.

News brief: Fire season kicks in big time

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three firefighters from the Rochester-area fire department have joined others from around the state in battling a wildfire that has reportedly destroyed nine homes near Goldendale.

Chief Robert Scott of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority said this morning his department sent a wildland engine and crew.

It’s the third large wild fire they’ve assisted with recently, he said.

While some wild fires in Eastern Washington have prompted large mobilizations over the past two weeks, Scott says conditions right here are ripe as well for any fire to grow fast and far.

Over the next several days folks need to be very, very careful, Scott said.

“All it takes is a little spark, and if you get wind behind it, it can be bad,” Scott said.

Members of his department joined Thurston County Fire District 12 yesterday evening when nearly five acres caught fire north of 183rd Avenue Southwest near Leitner Road.

A field of burning scotch broom threatened three homes, which were protected by the first arriving engines, according to District 12 Battalion Chief Jim Fowler.

Some 40 people from four departments and from the Department of Natural Resources sprayed water and dug a fire trail, Fowler said.

It was caused by a spark from a lawn mower, according to Fowler.

Scott said the flames moved so fast, even the field mice couldn’t outrun them.

Update Friday Sept. 9, 2011 at 8:15 a.m.: Fire Districts from Mossyrock and Napavine each sent a pair of firefighters with a brush truck to Goldendale on Thursday afternoon.

Read about jail for one-time Chehalis police chief candidate …

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Aberdeen) Daily World reports that now-former Montesano Police Chief Ray Sowers was sentenced to six months in jail for unauthorized use of a department credit card.

Sowers was one of the four finalists for the chief position with the Chehalis Police Department in November of 2006.

Read The Daily World news story here, if you are a subscriber. Otherwise, you may have to pay first to read it. Or read a short version in The Olympian here.

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