Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Read about homicide investigation in Elbe …

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Elbe-area man was arrested overnight after he reportedly walked into a fire station and said he fatally shot another man on his property and hid the body, according to The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

Reporter Stacey Mulick writes detectives believe the victim is the suspect’s daughter’s boyfriend.

Read Mulick’s news item, here

Read about murder charge for Centralia mother of baby boy …

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the Centralia mother of the 4-month-old  who died on Saturday has been charged with second-degree murder, with aggravating circumstances.

Rachel Bryan, 20, was arrested last week and her baby taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with head injuries.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that four days before the infant was hurt, Child Protective Services began investigating if she was a fit mother.

Read Pawloski’s story here

Read about Centralia mom of injured baby held on $500,000 bail …

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the infant whose Centralia mother was arrested on Wednesday has a skull fracture and isn’t expected to survive.

Rachel Bryan, 20, appeared in Thurston County Superior Court yesterday where a judge set bail at $500,000 and ordered her held on suspicion of second-degree assault of a child, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Bryan was arrested after medics were called Tuesday to a Grand Mound home and her 4-month-old boy was taken by ambulance to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with head injuries.

Pawloski writes that court papers state Bryan told a detective when she gets mad, her “bi-polar comes out”.

Read Pawloski’s story here

Read about bookkeeper stole from judges association …

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the bookkeeper for the Washington State Superior Judges Association for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $450,000 from the organization.

Barbara Jo Ericsson, also known as Barbara Jo Fulton, of Olympia, has also been ordered to pay back the money, news reporter Jeremy Pawloski wrote.

Read Pawloski’s story here

Read about “chippy” defendant took offense at judge’s words …

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes the judge who found herself the potential target of a hit allegedly solicited by a defendant had scolded him in court for having a “chippy” attitude.

James R. Burnett, 27, was arrested Friday for solicitation to commit first-degree murder, in connection with a note he allegedly asked a fellow inmate to deliver asking someone to kill District Court Judge Kalo Wilcox, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Greg Elwin said the Lacey-area man offered an “eight-ball” of methamphetamine for the hit.

Olympian news reporter Jeremy Pawloski reported this evening that Burnett is now being held without bail.

Read more here

News brief: Elderly man dead after small Centralia house fire

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Updated on Monday Sept. 19, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 94-year-old Centralia man is dead after fire broke out inside his home and then apparently self-extinguished before it was discovered this morning.

A family member who went to check on the man at the 1400 block of Johnson Road found the occupant dead inside and called 911 about 8:45 a.m. today, according to Riverside Fire Authority Chief Jim Walkowski.

The chief said they determined the fire had occurred sometime in the previous 24 hours, based on when the man was last seen.

The man is identified as Robert R. Zorn.

The cause is undetermined, but it’s not suspicious, Walkowski said.

He described it as a slow burning fire in the front portion of the single-story house, in the living room and dining room area.

From the outside, the only evidence there had been a fire was the windows were sooted over, he said.

It just ran out of fuel and went out, Walkowski said.

“It’s not very common, but we do see it every once in awhile,” Walkowski said.

Members of Riverside Fire Authority and the Centralia Police Department are investigating.

Walkowski said there was high heat and smoke damage to probably about 90 percent of the interior, and estimated the material loss at $15,000.

The death is apparently due to the fire, but an autopsy is expected, according to the chief.

There were smoke detectors in the house, but Walkowski took the opportunity to note the department strongly encourages detectors in each living area, including inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of a home.

News brief: Sheriff: Lacey man offers drugs in exchange for death of judge

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Lacey man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly solicited to kill a judge, offering an “eight-ball” of methamphetamine for the hit.

James R. Burnett, 27, was booked into the Thurston County Jail for  solicitation to commit first-degree murder, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

His target was District Court Judge Kalo Wilcox who had sentenced him to jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Burnett was in the Nisqually Jail and  the investigation revealed he asked an inmate who was getting out to deliver a note with the offer “to my homies, or anybody who would do it.”

“He basically put a bounty on the judge’s head,” Elwin said.

An eight-ball is worth about $300, according to Elwin.

Law enforcement officers had not yet found the man who took the note as of yesterday afternoon. There’s no indication anyone at this point has tried to harm the judge, the sheriff’s office said in a news release yesterday.

Barnett was also arrested for other suspected crimes yesterday; felony harassment and two counts of making a bomb threat, in connection with calls to a bail bond business and a hotel, Elwin said.

News brief: Mossyrock truck driver hurt in log truck crash

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 63-year-old Mossyrock man was hospitalized after he wrecked his log truck this morning in Kelso and then another log truck collided with his trailer.

Teddy D. Nelson, 63, was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with lacerations to his head, arm and a leg, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were called about 9:35 .m. to the scene near Interstate 5′ exit 36, according to the state patrol.

According to the state patrol, Nelson was southbound and exiting on westbound state Route 432 when his truck failed to negotiate the curve, crossed both lanes and ran into a concrete barrier. His load of logs spilled and his 1984 Kenworth came to rest on its side, according to the patrol.

A 2001 Kenworth log truck swerved to avoid the logs and hit Nelson’s trailer, the state patrol reported. That driver was reportedly unhurt and the damage to his truck was minor.

The investigating trooper reported Nelson was traveling too fast and had defective brakes. Nelson was cited for second-degree negligent driving and for not having insurance.

News brief: Three small residential fires doused yesterday afternoon

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A three-story apartment building in Centralia was evacuated after a cooking fire there late yesterday afternoon.

Riverside Fire Authority was called just before 5 p.m. to the building on the 500 block of North Iron Street.

“I think they were cooking french fries and got the oil extremely hot,” Firefighter-paramedic Jennifer Ternan said. “When they tossed the potatoes in, (the splatter) caught the cupboards and stove on fire.”

Nobody was injured, but the pair who live in the unit will have to stay somewhere else for a bit because of the smoke and water damage, Ternan said.

The Chehalis Fire Department was called less than two hours later to a kitchen fire on the 200 block of William Street.

Nobody was hurt there either, but the floor was scorched by a pan of burning grease, according to Capt. Ted McCarty.

And, a small electrical fire in a bathroom fan chased a little girl and her mother out of their home at Reese Lane west of Chehalis around 6:30 p.m.

Lewis County Fire Districts 6 and 5 were called to the duplex and extinguished that. Damage was minimal, District 6 Firefighter Mike Goodwillie said.

News brief: Two injured in two motorcycle wrecks Tuesday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock fire commissioner who works as a Toledo police officer is in fair condition this morning at Providence Centralia Hospital after a motorcycle accident yesterday.

Randy S. Pennington, 59, of Winlock, laid his motorcycle down when a pickup truck pulled out in front of him at Walnut and Front streets in Winlock yesterday morning, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Pennington suffered cuts and bruised hip, according to the state patrol. It happened about 8 a.m.

He was on his way to the Toledo Police Department on its 2001 Kawasaki KZ1000, according to Sgt. Ted DeHart. It sustained an estimated $1,000 damage, according to the state patrol.

A 23-year-old Winlock woman began to turn onto Walnut when she noticed the motorcycle and stopped in the roadway, forcing Pennington to swerve, the patrol reported.

No citations have been issued yet.

Also yesterday, a motorcycle wreck on state Route 6 near Chehalis sent another man to Providence.

Aid and troopers were called about 6:30 p.m. to the scene near Donahoe Road. The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, DeHart said.

The motorcyclist was a 55-year-old Olympia resident, Byron K. Roberts. Other details were not readily available.

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
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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
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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