Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Rochester man critical after weekend crash near Castle Rock

Monday, March 28th, 2011
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Photo shared by Kari Johnson

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Rochester man was listed in critical condition yesterday after a Saturday afternoon collision on Interstate 5 north of Castle Rock.

Michael T. Burleson, 27, of Rochester was a passenger in a northbound car about 2:15 p.m. on Saturday which lost control and ran into the rear of a disabled vehicle on the right shoulder near milepost 53, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Burleson suffered a cracked skull, a broken neck and five broken ribs, according to the state patrol. He was flown to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, the patrol reported.

The driver of the 1996 Nissan 2SX he was traveling in, Guy B. Rostan, 26, also of Rochester, was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with head and chest injuries. A  hospital spokesperson said yesterday Rostan was treated and released.

The state patrol blamed the hydroplaning on driving too fast.

A 50-year-old Portland woman in the 2005 Mitsubishi Montero that they hit – Maria O’Brien – was admitted to St. John Medical Center and in stable condition yesterday.

Read about guilty plea entered in August slaying on the Tenino bicycle trail …

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the Tenino man found with a dead woman wrapped in a sleeping bag in the passenger compartment of his truck in August has pleaded guilty.

Bernard K. Howell III

Bernard K. Howell III, now 27, was charged in Thurston County Superior Court in the death of Vanda Skau Boone, a woman prosecutors believe met her fate on the bicycle path known as the Yelm to Tenino Trail.

Investigators said the 60-year-old woman’s throat was cut. Boone was a massage therapist who worked in Olympia and lived in Yelm.

Olympian news reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes a sentencing date has not yet been set for the self-employed door-to-door meat salesman.

Read The Olympian’s story here

Read background on the case here

CORRECTION: This headline referring to a news story in The Olympian was corrected to reflect that, despite what The Olympian reported, there was no plea agreement in Howell’s case.

Breaking news: Victims of Winlock suspected murder-suicide named

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has released the names of the family who were found dead in their Winlock-area home Tuesday night.

They are Rodney Walter, 57, Cathy Lee Walter, 65 and their 18-year-old son Devon Walter.

The Walter’s, their three dogs and a cat were found dead of apparent gunshots in what the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office believes was a double murder and suicide.

•••

Read “Winlock family and pets shot dead in suspected murder-suicide” from Wednesday March 16, 2011, here

News brief: Detectives called out to Winlock area

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating “a scene” in South Lewis County.

Aid and deputies were called about 9 p.m. to a report of someone unconscious in the Winlock area.

Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber said just before midnight they are investigating a scene and that’s all he would say.

More later

Registered sex offender notice: Man registers as homeless in Lewis County

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced last week a 50-year-old local level two sex offender is now registered as living homeless in Lewis County.

Sheldon M. Moren is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

Moren is not new to the area. He has previously lived in Chehalis. He was just released from jail on unrelated charges, according to detective Jamey McGinty

He was convicted in 1989 for indecent liberties related to two different 9-year-old children, according to the sheriff’s office. Each involved contact of a sexual nature.

One victim was a boy he is related to and the other a girl who was known to him, according to McGinty.

Moren is designated as a level two sex offender, meaning the sheriff’s office believes he is a clear risk to the community. Those at the highest risk to reoffend are labeled level three.

Moren is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Because Moren has no permanent address, he is required to check in with Detective McGinty weekly.

To see more details and a photo of Moren, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective Brad Borden or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.
•••

To search for registered sex offenders living within a specified radius from your home, work or school, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here.  There, you can also find safety tips and other information, as well as register to receive email alerts if a new offender registers with an address near you. The same link can always be found on the sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.

News brief: Two locals join Washington State Patrol

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two local people are among 45 new troopers who will receive their commission and oath of office during a ceremony tomorrow in Olympia.

The graduation for the 98th Washington State Patrol basic training class will take place in the Capitol Rotunda.

Among the graduates are Tara L. Hicks of Silver Creek who will be assigned duties in Hoquiam and Nicholas B. Macomber of Napavine who is assigned to Naselle, according to a news release from the state patrol.

News brief: “Korrupt Thugs” arrested for tagging

Monday, March 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A trio of teenagers told police they belong to a gang called Korrupt Thugs after getting caught tagging with red spray paint last night in Centralia.

Police were called around 10 p.m. to the 600 block of West Main Street where a man saw a boy spray painting his building and tried to grab him, but the youth fled, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Not too long after, an officer observed three males walking in the area and found paint on two of them, according to police.

The teenagers, 17, 16 and 14, all Centralia residents, admitted to tagging the building as well as locations on the 400 block of South Rock Street, South Iron Street and South Pearl Street, according to police. They also led officers to a can of spray paint hidden in some bushes.

It’s not a gang local authorities know anything about, Officer Chris Fitzgerald said today.

The youth said “KT” stand for Korrupt Thugs and “23″ stands for west side, police reported.

“These kids are not as far as we know, gang members,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re taggers.”

The teens were arrested and then released to their parents. The damage is estimated at $2,000.

“It’s getting to be a huge problem,” Fitzgerald said. “I just took another report today.

The Food Mart on the 100 block of Harrison Avenue had just painted their building and today reported tagging covering the majority of an exterior wall on the building, she said.

The police department is asking anyone with information about persons involved in tagging to call police of Lewis County Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers accepts anonymous tips and offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of persons involved in vandalism.

News brief: Thurston County deputy carries wheelchair-bound Yelm man to safety

Monday, March 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Thurston County sheriff’s deputy on patrol last night spotted a burning garage and helped rescue a wheel-chair bound resident in his 70s, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Mike Ware at about 5:15 p.m. saw smoke coming from the eves coming from the garage north of Yelm and alerted two residents of the detached but adjacent house, according to a news release. The wheelchair access to the house was blocked by fire and Ware and the man’s 40-year-old son carried the man out another door, according to Lt. Greg Elwin.

The fire damage was limited to the garage at the home in the Nisqually Pines development, according to Elwin.  The man’s handicap-equipped van, however, was destroyed.

News brief: If coast evacuated for tsunami, residents will be sent here

Friday, March 11th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Emergency Management is monitoring the tsunami alert for the Washington and Oregon coast following last night’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan.

If a tsunami occurs, Lewis County would serve as a shelter point for coast evacuees, according to emergency management.

Staff will distribute pertinent information as it becomes available, according to a news release from emergency management.

News brief: Rain has rivers running high

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the Chehalis River in the Centralia area following heavy rain overnight with continued showers expected over the next 24 hours.

Lewis County Emergency Management reminds the public weather systems are unpredictable, and encourages folks to monitor the news media for updates.

Weather watches and warnings from the weather service’s Seattle forecast office can be found here; river level information can be found here. (Also on sidebar of Lewis County Sirens)

The watch issued about 10:20 a.m. today for Lewis, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties reports the waterways most at risk of exceeding flood stage are the Chehalis at Centralia, Grand Mound and Porter; and the Skookumchuck near Bucoda.

Any flooding that does occur is expected to be minor, the forecasters note.

The Newaukum River is expected to crest below flood stage.

The watch is in effect from 4 p.m. today through late Friday night.

A high wind advisory remains in effect until early evening in much of Western Washington with expected winds of up to 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph.

The intensity of the rain produced some small stream and urban flooding overnight, as well as a few landslides elsewhere, according to the weather service.

A flood watch means conditions are favorable, but flooding is not imminent.

News brief: Crab feed Saturday in Tenino

Friday, March 4th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The fire department in Tenino is holding its annual fundraiser tomorrow, a crab feed.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the station at 187 Hodgden St. in Tenino.

Also on the menu is spaghetti and more. They will hold a raffle as well.

Doors open tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the station and they will begin serving about 4 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Thurston County 12 Firefighters Association, is held to raise money for equipment that isn’t covered in their budget.

Breaking news: Not guilty verdict for Jesse Karr

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jesse Karr, the 31-year-old National Guardsman charged in the gunshot death of his girlfriend, has been found not guilty.

A Lewis County jury returned a not guilty verdict just before noon on both charges of  first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter.

Karr, now 31, said he was unloading 28-year-old Sara M. Whitson’s handgun when it accidentally discharged in their Chehalis apartment. She died during emergency surgery.

The jury of eight women and four men began deliberations at noon yesterday, went home for the night and returned a verdict at 11:45 a.m. today.

Judge Nelson Hunt presided over the trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

•••

Read about the opening day of the trial here

Manslaughter trial: Jury deliberating in 2009 Chehalis gunshot death

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County jury is expected to resume deliberations this morning in the September 2009 gunshot death of 28-year-old Sara M. Whitson of Chehalis.

Whitson’s then-live-in boyfriend Jesse P. Karr is charged with manslaughter in the case.

The National Guardsman had just returned home from Iraq about a month earlier when aid and police were called to their apartment to a report of an accidental gunshot.

Karr said he was unloading Whitson’s .22 caliber pistol when it went off in his hand, shooting him in his finger and Whitson in the abdomen. She died during emergency surgery.

Centralia defense attorney Don McConnell contends it was a tragic accident; Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes told jurors it was a reckless act.

A jury of eight women and four men began deliberating at noon yesterday and went home at 5:30 p.m. They were set to return at 9 o’clock this morning to the courthouse in Chehalis.

The jury is contemplating first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter.

Karr, now 31, remains free on bail.

•••

Read background on the case, here

News brief: Two airlifted after rural Chehalis crash

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

This news item was updated at 9:50 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pair of Chehalis residents were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after a single-vehicle wreck last night on Centralia-Alpha Road.

Riley R. Jones and Ashley R. Dour, both 23 years old, suffered head and chest trauma, according to the Washington State Patrol.

They are both listed in serious condition this morning, and in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

Troopers and aid called just after 11:30 p.m. to the 1100 block of Centralia-Alpha Road – near Logan Hill Road, east of Chehalis – found a 1996 Dodge Intrepid totaled and two patients.

The car had been heading eastbound when it crossed the centerline and traveled approximately 200 feet along a ditch striking two driveways and going airborne, according to the state patrol. The car hit several trees before coming on rest on its side about 20 feet off the road, the state patrol reported.

The driver, Jones, was wearing a seatbelt but Dour was not, according to the investigating trooper.

The state patrol reports drugs or alcohol were believed to be involved.

News brief: “Remains” found under sink after apparent miscarriage to be examined by coroner

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police detectives are investigating if any criminal circumstances are involved in an overnight incident in which a young woman was hospitalized after suffering an apparent miscarriage.

The 25-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, and staff there asked police to check the welfare of a possible fetus she said had expired and was at her home, according to police.

Neighbors had called 911 after hearing calls for help coming from her residence, according to police.

Officers responded about 2:15 a.m. to the home where they found “the remains” in a container under a sink.

Centralia Police Department spokesperson John Panco indicated that was the primary unusual circumstance that prompted detectives to investigate.

He declined to comment if the size of the “remains” were of a size to be expected.

“Anytime we go to a residence and find remains in a container under a sink in a residence, we have to keep it open for the possibility of a crime,” Panco said.

The woman said she was about 21-weeks along, police reported. She said she spontaneously aborted the fetus during the night, Panco said.

Panco said he wasn’t aware if anyone had been with the woman at her home.

The police department did not reveal the woman’s identity, or even the location of her home except to say it was in the city of Centralia.

The remains have been turned over the the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Detectives are still in the early stages of their investigation, working in conjunction with the prosecutor’s office,  according to police.

Read about emergency ban on fake marijuana goes into effect …

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports an expected temporary measure to ban synthetic marijuana products like those which sent teenagers to emergency rooms last summer in Longview was put into place yesterday by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Over the past two years or so, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high have become increasingly popular especially among teens and young adults and the DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding the products, according to a news release from the federal agency.

The active ingredients in brands such as “Spice”, “K2″, “Blaze” and “Red X Dawn” will be controlled for at least a year with the possibility of a six month extension, according to the DEA.

Read The (Longview) Daily News story here

Four-year-old found unharmed with father in Bonney Lake

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

This news story was updated at 6:40 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Amber Alert for 4-year-old Jacek Reed who was taken this morning from Chehalis by his father has been cancelled.

Chehalis police say Dustin Reed was taken into custody about 2:30 p.m. by the Bonney Lake Police Department.

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Dustin Reed

The child was with him and is unharmed, according to Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer.

Chehalis detectives located the pair by tracing Reed’s cell phone.

Police began looking for the 34-year-old Army soldier home on leave after he took the child out of his mother’s arms by force on the sidewalk outside a family counseling center about 9:15 a.m. today, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Police were told Reed put the boy in his car in such a way the child bumped his head and then Reed’s vehicle struck the mother’s friend who stood behind the car as it backed out.

The mother had gone to the Human Response Network on the 100 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue this morning to get a protection order in place against the father following an incident overnight in Napavine, according to Schaffer.

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Jacek Reed

Napavine police were called about 1:30 a.m. to the mother’ home in Napavine, where she was with her boyfriend and the child, according to Schaffer. Reed arrived and pushed his way in, insisting on seeing his son, Schaffer said.

Reed, who lives in Fort Knox, Kentucky, is believed to have other family who live in Centralia.

Police today said Reed is on antidepressants and has access to weapons, although no weapon was seen at the time of the abduction.

Schaffer said officers “pinged” Reed’s cell phone and then fed the results to the  Bonney Lake Police Department. He was taken into custody by Bonney Lake police without incident this afternoon.

Police don’t know where Reed was headed with the child.

“We don’t know what his plans were,” Schaffer said. “When they interviewed him, he was not very forthcoming.”

The chief said Reed was to be booked for the assault with the car. The friend sustained what Schaffer thought was a minor injury to his leg.

Further potential charges will be evaluated by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, according to police.

•••

See this morning’s news story about the Amber Alert by scrolling down, or here

Breaking news: Man on military leave flees with his 4-year-old

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

This news item was updated at 11:45 a.m

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police are looking for a black 1995 Infinity after a 4-year-old boy was apparently taken by force this morning from a family counseling center in Chehalis by his father, who is home on military leave.

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Dustin Reed

Officers are looking for Dustin Reed, 34, of Fort Knox, Kentucky, according to a news release.

Early information suggests about 9:15 a.m. Reed assaulted a friend of the mother’s as he was leaving and the child may have sustained some injury as he was put in the car, police reported.

Chehalis police say they think Reed has family in the Centralia area.

His car was last seen heading toward Interstate 5.

The four-door vehicle bears a license plate reading 617 TQP, according to police.

An Amber alert describes the child as wearing blue jeans, blue boots, a blue flannel jacket and a bluish-gray Mario T-shirt.

2011.0301.jacek.reed

Jacek Reed

The blue-eyed, brown-haired boy has a buzz cut and a red mark under his left eye, according to the alert.

The father is described as a 5-foot 9-inch tall white male weighing 160 pounds, also with blue eyes and brown hair.

It began at a shelter or counseling center on Northwest Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis, according to authorities.

Reed is on antidepressants and has access to weapons, but no weapon was seen at the time of the abduction, according to the alert.

Chehalis police noted the mother’s friend was assaulted by means of a vehicle as Reed was leaving, but did not describe the seriousness or provide details.

Chehalis police believe the car belongs to Reed’s brother.

The alert asks anyone with information to call 360-748-8605

••

Follow Amber alert at http://www.amberalert.com/en/alerts/state/?type=washington/

Read about fires in “no man’s land” …

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Yakima Herald-Republic writes about a bill to protect firefighters who battle blazes in “no man’s land”, properties outside fire protection districts.

Reporter Mike Faulk reports proposed legislation would include allowing property owners in unprotected areas to choose to receive fire suppression services and also provide a measure of protection for departments which extinguish fires outside their jurisdictions.

Read Faulk’s news story here

See a map of fire district boundaries in Lewis County here

Family wakes up to fire this morning in Toledo home

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A father and his two teenage sons escaped an overnight house fire in Toledo which virtually destroyed a two-story home.

Volunteers from five departments answered the 4:11 a.m. call to Blakeley Lane, about three miles east of town, according to Lewis County Fire District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank.

The two boys were sleeping downstairs where the fire is suspected to have begun, Wiltbank said.

“From what I understand, one of them smelled smoke and raised the alarm,” he said.

The father had to get out through a second-story sliding window, he said.

No injuries were reported.

The house was probably about 75 percent involved when crews arrived and even though it was knocked down rather quickly, it took until almost 9 o’clock this morning to chase down and root out fire in various spots above the wood ceiling, Wiltbank said.

Wiltbank, who was at his regular job out of town until this morning, was quick to offer high praise for Assistant Chief Mike Dorothy, who was incident commander, and the 25 personnel who responded.

He said he just couldn’t be more impressed with the caliber of people – volunteers – who answer these calls.

“Everybody did an extraordinarily good job, particularly working in sub-freezing conditions for several hours …” he said. “My hat goes off to all of them.”

The last of the District 2 firefighters didn’t finish up and leave the station until 11:30 a.m., he said.

The cause is being investigated, but appears to be accidental, appearing to have originated in an area on the ground floor near the stairway, several feet from a wood stove, Wiltbank said.

News brief: Man crawls away from overnight wreck in ravine near Mossyrock

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 22-year-old Silver Creek man survived an overnight crash in which his pickup truck traveled down an embankment striking several trees and came to rest in a creek bed, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Daniel R. McKechnie crawled out of the vehicle and walked to a friend’s house to get help, responders said.

Lewis County Fire District 3 Chief Matt Hadaller estimated the truck landed about 50 yards off state Route 122.

McKechnie was taken to Morton General Hospital with cuts to his hands and head, the state patrol reported.

“Yeah, he was a lucky guy,” Hadaller said this morning.

Troopers were called about 2:35 a.m. to the scene west of Mossyrock near Lake Road.

The 1995 Ford pickup was described as totaled. Hadaller said he didn’t notice any water in the creek, calling it a ravine where the vehicle landed.

The investigating trooper blamed driving too fast on a curve and indicated McKechnie was to be cited for driving under the influence. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and said he was ejected from the truck, according to responders.

Read about road rage shooting ends in conviction …

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a 22-year-old Olympia man was found guilty yesterday in an October road rage incident in which multiple shots were fired at a pickup truck driven by a 58-year-old man from Ethel.

Donald Palmer of Ethel, and his passenger, Margaret Eldridge of Elma, reported the incident happened about 9 p.m. on Oct. 31.

It began on state Route 101 in Mason County and ended near the Black Lake Boulevard exit in west Thurston County, according to the Washington State Patrol.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski notes that Reed C. Boysen, 22, was convicted yesterday in Thurston County Superior Court of two counts of second-degree assault and one count of drive by shooting.

Read Pawloski’s news story here

News brief: Randle man pleads not guilty to murder

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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Erik R. Massa waits after his court appearance to talk with his attorney.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Randle taxidermist Erik R. Massa pleaded not guilty today to second-degree murder in the apparent beating death of a 58-year-old welder from Federal Way.

Massa, 43, was in Lewis County Superior Court this morning for the brief hearing. He remains free on $25,000 bail.

Massa was charged two and a half weeks ago in the March 14 death of Guy W. LaFontaine.

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Guy LaFontaine

LaFontaine died with two broken eye sockets and other blunt force injuries to his torso and extremities. Detectives found a broken shotgun with blood on it in an empty silo next to Massa’s shop, according to charging documents.

The two men are related by marriage.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher this morning told the judge Massa and his wife are going through a “bitter divorce” and asked the judge to remind him he’s prohibited from having contact with potential witnesses in the case.

Massa’s attorney, Chris Baum, asked Judge Richard Brosey if his client’s conditions of release could be changed, so he would be free to leave Lewis County to visit his children in Pierce County and for church in Longview. Brosey said yes.

The trial was scheduled for the week of Sept. 19

Both attorneys said they expected it would last five days.
•••

Read background on the case, here

Read Randle man who died over the weekend was witness in murder case” here

Morning snow and ice leads to minor spinouts

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
2011.0223.crash100Blk.505.001_2

Responders removed the windshield of a Chevrolet Aveo to extricate the driver after a wreck yesterday morning on state Route 505 in Winlock. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 15

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Troopers responded to a small flurry of minor spinouts on snow and ice yesterday morning in western Lewis County and two more this morning, but no serious collisions, according to the Washington State Patrol.

“(Drivers) seem to realize that you’re not going to get anywhere fast today,” State Patrol Sgt. Ted DeHart said.

One vehicle on state Route 505 in Winlock hit a large landscaping rock and rolled over about 8:30 a.m. yesterday, but didn’t result in serious injuries, according to responders.

In the east end, there is compact snow and ice on the roads, but very little traffic, State Patrol Sgt. Jason Ashley said this morning.

Snow showers are expected to continue this morning with localized accumulations of up to two inches possible, according to the National Weather Service. Up to six inches could fall in the Cascade Mountain, forecasters say.

The snow level is at sea level.

Ashley’s suggestion for today: “If people don’t have to go anywhere, they should just stay home.”

News brief: Afternoon fire damages rural Chehalis home

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a house fire this afternoon off state Route 508 south of Chehalis is not yet determined but appears to have started next to a fireplace.

Lewis County Fire District 5 was joined by firefighters from District 6, District 1 and the Chehalis Fire Department to answer a call about 3:30 p.m. near Guerrier Road, according to District 5 Lt. Laura Hanson.

Hanson said nobody was home at the time but a passerby saw smoke and called 911.

Three pet cats were found safe, she said.

Firefighter Brad Bozarth said the man who lives there arrived and let them know he had cats. After the fire was knocked down, firefighters searched the house and found them hiding under a bed in a back bedroom, Bozarth said.

“They seemed fine, healthy, but scared,” he said.

The home is on the 700 block of state Route 508, about three miles east on Interstate 5.

Hanson said the damage was limited to roughly 20 percent of the house. She said both floors of the one and a half story home were affected with heavy damage to one side but not the other.

District 5 Chief Eric Linn attributed the “save” to the call from the passerby as well as the quick response from available units.

News brief: Onalaskan to plead guilty in teen alcohol poisoning case

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 29-year-old man charged in the alcohol-poisoning death of Onalaska teenager Nickolas Barnes is scheduled to plead guilty tomorrow.

James W. Taylor was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 2009 death of the 15-year-old, but is expected to plead guilty to second-degree assault, as well as furnishing liquor to minors and failing to summon assistance, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Elected prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Taylor faces a possible sentence of somewhere between three and nine months in jail. The father of four could have been sent to prison for as long as 27 months if convicted on the original charges, prosecutors said when they first filed the case last October.

The Onalaska High School sophomore died on Sept. 21, 2009, after playing drinking games with vodka at an underage party in Taylor’s Onalaska home, according to charging documents.

Charging documents say after Nickolas and a 16-year-old boy downed more than 11 shots of vodka, Nickolas passed out in the front yard, where his friends removed his clothes and wrote on his body with a black marker.

Prosecutors alleged Taylor told the teenagers to “let him sleep it off.”

Newly elected Prosecutor Meyer said today he didn’t think, but wasn’t certain, any of the eight other teenagers at the party were charged with failing to summon assistance.

Taylor is set to appear before Judge Richard Brosey tomorrow morning in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis.

•••

Read background on the case “Remembering Nickolas Barnes” from Thursday Sept. 23, 2010 here