Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Motorcyclist killed in Centralia collision with pole

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Chehalis man died after his motorcycle slammed into a metal sign pole in Centralia last night.

Police say the 45-year-old was traveling on First Street near G Street when he lost control and hit the no parking sign ripping it out of the ground. It happened near a curve in the road and appears to have been related to excessive speed, according to Sgt. Carl Buster.

The man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and firefighters ordered an airlift for him but he was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to responders.

His name has not been released pending notification of his next-of-kin.

News brief: Hitchhiker robbed, beaten in Tenino

Monday, August 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Tenino police say they are looking for a pair of men considered to be armed and dangerous following an incident last week in which a hitchhiker was robbed and beaten by someone who picked him up in Tenino.


Andrew B. Miller

Police responded to the 700 block of Huston Street in Tenino about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday after citizens reported hearing someone yelling for help, according to the Tenino Police Department.

The victim, a 25-year-old Tenino man, said he was hitchhiking and picked up by a red Jeep with two males and a female inside, according to a news release from police.

“At one point the driver pointed what appeared to be a Glock .40 caliber handgun at the victim ordering him to empty his pockets or get shot. ,” Police Chief John Hutchings stated in the news release.

Then, outside the Jeep, the driver punched the 25-year-old in the mouth and again ordered him at gunpoint to empty his pockets, according to Hutchings. The victim fled on foot yelling for help, Hutchings wrote.


Tony L. League

Police suspect Andrew B. Miller, 20, of Yelm and Tony L. League, 23, of Olympia, but have not been able to find them, according to the news release.

The chief is asking anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact Tenino Officer Chris Davis at 360-489-8466, Thurston County dispatch at 360-704-2740 or Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222.

News brief: Possible insanity plea in trooper assault case

Friday, August 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia man accused of assaulting a trooper alongside the freeway last month was finally arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Don K. Gonzales, 23, was suffering from some type of mental issue when the events occurred but has gotten stabilized during his time in jail, according to his attorney.

“He’s made a remarkable recovery,” Defense attorney Ken Johnson said yesterday afternoon.

Gonzales was walking along the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Main Street in Chehalis on July 3 when Trooper Rob Moore contacted him. After Moore told him to drop a knife, Gonzales allegedly threw a semi truck lug nut at the trooper’s face, breaking his nose and his glasses.

He is charged second-degree assault, plus three counts of third-degree assault regarding the wrestling match in which three passersby jumped in to help the trooper detain him.

Gonzales has been locked up on a no-bail hold, but yesterday Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $250,000. A trial date was scheduled for the week of October 8.

Johnson says there is the potential of an insanity plea.

“There’s nothing that went on that was at all logical,” Johnson said of the events of July 3.

For background, read:

• “View from the ground: Helping trooper take down fighting suspect” from Sunday July 15, 2012, here

• “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup” from Thursday July 5, 2012, here

Read about husband in Ronda Reynolds’ case resigns school principal job …

Friday, August 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports Ron Reynolds will resign his job as  principal of Toledo Elementary School at the end of the month under a settlement agreement approved last night.

Reynolds was put on 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.

News reporter Natalie St John writes the district said the community was not  interested in him being principal anymore; it will pay him $3,880 a month for three years in exchange for his resignation.

Read more here

News brief: Five Rochester teens injured when car hits boulders, rolls

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A car full of teenagers from Rochester were hurt when its speeding driver skidded off a road and rolled west of Little Rock this morning.

Two including the 17-year-old driver were transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, two were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and one sustained only a minor injury, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver, whose identity and home town were not released, suffered a head injury, according to the state patrol. Possible charges are pending.

Troopers were called about 5:30 a.m. to the scene at Bordeaux Road near Marksman road, according to the state patrol.

The 1985 Nissan 300 was heading northwest at a high rate and approaching a right hand curve when the driver hit the brakes, left the roadway to the left and hit a ditch and large boulders before rolling over, according to the investigating trooper. The car came to rest on its driver’s side.

Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be involved.

The four passengers and their injuries are identified as:

• Caleb Samuel Capo, 17, leg injuries
• Coy Forrest Belanger, 16, internal injuries
• Miranda R. Leaming, 15, back injuries
• Ryan Eugene Carter, 17, minor unspecified injury

News brief: Out of control driver exits Interstate 5 into Centralia pasture

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Longview motorist got a laceration on his head and a DUI after he wrecked on Interstate 5 in Centralia today and launched off the right shoulder, through a ditch, over a side road and drove approximately 500 feet into a field.

It happened about 2:30 p.m. beginning in the southbound lanes near milepost 80, according to the Washington State Patrol.

His 1996 Ford pickup truck was totaled.

According to the state patrol, Tony R. Wyatt, 52, struck the inside concrete barrier and continued along it for about 100 feet before swerving right and hitting a semi truck. His pickup became broadside and accelerated sharply to the west crossing AIrport Way, the patrol reported.

Drugs or alcohol were involved, the investigating trooper noted.

The big rig left the scene before a trooper arrived.

Wyatt was taken by aid to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment, according to the state patrol.

News brief: Toledo man hurt in single vehicle wreck near Morton

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 75-year-old Toledo man was airlifted to a Portland-area hospital after his Jeep vaulted off U.S. Highway 12 near Morton this afternoon and came to rest at the bottom of a 30 to 40-foot embankment.

Troopers called about 12:20 p.m. to the scene, about a half mile east of town found Cledis W. McNew with what looked like a broken nose and a cut to his ear, according to the Washington  State Patrol. He was transported to Morton General Hospital for treatment and examination of head and internal injuries, according to the state patrol.

They decided to transfer him because of a possible hemorrhage on his brain, Sgt. Darin Foster said.

McNew was traveling eastbound when his 2002 Jeep Wrangler went off to the left and struck several trees before landing, according to the patrol.

The cause is under investigation. The Jeep is described as totaled.

Public invited to join coroner’s staff for burial of unclaimed persons

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A burial service for individuals who have died in Lewis County over the past 14 years with no relatives to claim them is set for 2 p.m. on Wednesday at Claquato Cemetery west of Chehalis.


Urns will be moving from storage to a cemetery.

The public is welcome to attend.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office underwent a renewed effort over the past several months to find family members of those whose cremated remains have long sat atop a file cabinet at their office.

Since publishing a list of names in late July, two of them have been reunited with relatives.

Coroner Warren McLeod said yesterday that 68-year-old Hiram Mahlon Coleman who died at his Pe Ell home in January of 2004 was recently returned to family.

The urn containing Harry Edwin Fields Jr., 58, of Chehalis, was released shortly after news stories appeared.

The fourteen urns will share a donated plot in a part of the cemetery known as the county section.

Claquato Cemetery is about two miles west of Chehalis at 142 Stearns Road.

For background including the list, read “The unclaimed dead of Lewis County” from Sunday July 29, 2012, here

Upper level of Chehalis home burns, cause unknown

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Neighbors watched as firefighters battled a house fire on Saturday afternoon in Chehalis. / Courtesy photo by Teresa Steffens

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The top floor of a Chehalis home was destroyed by fire on Saturday, but no one was hurt.

The cause remains under investigation.

Firefighters called just before 3 p.m. found fire coming out windows and the roof ridge vent of the house on the 700 block of Southwest Chehalis Avenue, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

“About an hour before, he was upstairs putting up dry wall and was taking a break on the front porch reading a book,” Firefighter-investigator Jay Birley said.

“The cause? I got no idea,” Birley said.

It wasn’t safe to go into the area where he thinks it might have began, Birley said, as he could fall through the floor.

Chehalis firefighters were assisted by crews from Centralia and Lewis County Fire District 6. Riverside Fire Authority Chief Jim Walkowski took over as incident commander as Chehalis’s fire chief as not in town, according to Birley.

While the upstairs was destroyed, a lot of the belongings of the the couple who lives there with a baby were saved, according to Birley.

“They got a lot of their stuff out, it was wet,” he said.


Firefighters put water and foam onto a burning Chehalis Avenue house. / Photo by Branden Willson

Read about Littlerock man shot by officers is identified as former corrections officer …

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the 70-year-old man who died after an exchange of gunfire with police at his Littlerock home yesterday is identified as David W. Mack, a retired corrections officers at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Dan Riordan is among the investigators looking into the shooting.

Read about it here.

News brief: Brush fires add to smoke in area

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

One acre in Rochester is scorched / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Crews from three fire departments were joined by wildland firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources at a 3:30 p.m. brush fire in Rochester yesterday.

Lt. Lanette Dyer of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority reports one acre burned on the unimproved property along 180th Way Southwest near Albany Place.

A nearby homeowner called 911 after seeing smoke and observing five young people fleeing the scene, Dyer said in a news release.

The wind-driven flames were quickly contained, according to Dyer. A small shed was saved, she said.

DNR brought in a 10-person crew from Cedar Creek Corrections Center near Littlerock to mop up, she stated.

The fire was suspicious and was turned over to DNR and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office to investigate its origins, according to Dyer.

The blaze came about the same time residents from Centralia to Napavine were reporting haze and smoke over the area that local fire officials attributed to the large wild fire burning in Cle Elum, east of the mountains.

Later in the evening, at least one Lewis County fire crew joined firefighters north of Castle Rock where a five-acre brush fire ignited, according to The (Longview) Daily News.

News brief: Winds carrying Cle Elum smoke west

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local fire authorities have searched by land and plane for the source of smoke over the area, from northern Centralia to parts farther south this afternoon.

Current weather conditions suggest it’s residual smoke carried by wind from the northeast wildfires in Cle Elum, according to Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Mike Kytta.

Kytta said they received numerous reports and one of the department’s volunteers finally took to the skies.

As of 6:30 p.m., there was no defined smoke column rising in the  area, according to Kytta.

Lewis County Fire District 5 spokesperson Lt. Laura Hanson noted personnel checked several areas in response to calls from residents. No ground fires were found, according to Hanson.

Kytta cautions however, the situation could certainly change very quickly, so he asks anyone who see flames or a defined column of smoke to call 911.

Please don’t assume a report has been made by someone else, Kytta asks.

News brief: Chill with city employees in Centralia

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

With temperatures forecast in Centralia for the mid to high 90s tomorrow and Thursday, the city is inviting folks without air conditioning to hang out in the city council chambers.

Individuals are welcome to spend time in a temperature controlled environment between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on those two days, according to Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg. Water will be available.

It could reach 98 degrees tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities advise heat illnesses are possible, so people should stay out of the sun, drink plenty of water, wear a hat and use sunscreen. The weather service suggests it’s a good idea to check up on relatives and neighbors.

Centralia City Hall is located at 118 W. Maple St.

Children younger than 12 must be accompanied and supervised.

Additionally, a red flag warning is in place for much of Western Washington including the Southwest Interior, because the combination of high heat, low humidity and strong winds will create the potential for explosive fire growth.

Breaking news: Fire breaks out in Centralia home

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Updated at 10:33 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A young woman and her mother safely escaped their Centralia home this morning when fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom.

Firefighters called just after 6 a.m. to the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue found smoke coming from a window and took their hose upstairs.

It started where multiple devices including an air conditioner were plugged into power strips and extension cords, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

“The air conditioning unit was a 110 model, I’m gonna guess that overloaded the circuit,” Fire Capt. Greg Schwartz said.

The young woman awoke to the sound of popping and cracking; there were not smoke detectors in the house, he said. She was checked at the scene for possible smoke inhalation.

“Luckily, she was a light sleeper,” he said.

The fire was confined to items on the floor, the floor itself and the corner of a bed, Schwartz said.

News brief: Local crews helping with huge Cle Elum wildfire

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Local firefighters from Napavine, Morton and Rochester have joined crews battling a wildfire near Cle Elum that has reportedly claimed 60 homes and more than 26,000 acres.

The wildfire that started about 1:20 p.m. yesterday is burning in sage and timber, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Lewis County District 5 spokesperson Megan Van Egdom reports three personnel from the Napavine area department took a brush truck and a water tender when they headed east last night.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority based in Rochester and Littlerock sent five people to assist, according to Chief Robert Scott.

A team from his department just returned after four days working a wildfire in Chelan County that ignited last weekend, Scott said.

The chief said he wants to assure local residents that even though he is sending people and apparatus out of the area, he still has resources in place here to protect the public.

The Seattle Times this morning reported some 600 firefighters are expected to be on the scene today of the fast moving fire that has prompted evacuations of more than 450 people.

It is located about six miles east of Cle Elum on state Route 10, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Borgatti said in a news release last night.

The fire is human caused, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Breaking news: Home made explosive found on Winlock roadway

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Updated at 10:13 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are in Winlock awaiting the arrival of a bomb squad after an improvised explosive device was found this morning laying on a roadway.

A motorcyclist called 911 about 7:15 a.m. after he spotted the cardboard tube with a burned fuse on the 100 block of Fisher Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It is laying in the southbound lane and not near any homes, only a cattle field, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said, so no evacuations were necessary.

She described it as six inches long and two inches in diameter with epoxy caps and screws through the cardboard.

Update: Washington State Patrol bomb technicians detonated the device about 9:30 a.m.

More to come

News brief: Burn ban begins because of fire danger

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Substantial fire danger due to hot, dry weather prompted a burn ban that went into effect today in Lewis County.

Outdoor burning is prohibited except for recreational fires in approved receptacles, according to Lewis County Fire Marshal Fred Chapman.

The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice, according to Chapman.

Open burning is restricted in Thurston County as well.

Restrictions increased today for lands of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

News brief: Teen hikes five miles to get help for grandfather

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 64-year-old Mineral man was rescued after he was injured when he was thrown from his mule and his 14-year-old grandson hiked out to get help on Saturday outside of Packwood.

The sheriff’s office said the man was hurt on Friday at the northwest corner of Jug Lake and was unable to stand stand or get back on his mule. He was with his grandsons ages 9 and 14, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The teenager hiked out about five miles the following morning to call for help, Brown said.

The man was airlifted to Tacoma General Hospital with potential injuries to his ribs and pelvis, according to Brown.

News brief: Bothell resident drowns in Ohanapecosh River

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Bothell man drowned in East Lewis County after getting pinned down in a river between large logs and rocks.

Michael Lloyd Barrett, 41, was rescued by a group of kayakers who assisted Barrett’s fellow campers, but was pronounced dead at Morton General Hospital.

It happened Saturday afternoon on the Ohanapecosh River just outside the southern border of Mount Rainier National Park.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said Barrett was sitting in a shallow area of the river cooling off and when he moved to a deeper area lost his balance.

It is believed he may have intended to ride over a waterfall into a lower pool, something he’d done during previous visits there, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

His fellow campers tried but couldn’t get him out of the water, according to Brown. A well-trained group of kayakers happened upon the scene and pulled him out, she said.

Barrett was transported to the hospital, but didn’t make it, according to Brown.