Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

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.


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.


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

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

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.


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

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

News brief: District 6 fire chief steps down

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Bud Goodwillie today said he resigned two weeks ago from the rural Chehalis fire district he became chief of three and a half years ago.

Goodwillie offered no details on the reason for his departure.

Lewis County Fire District 6 operates with one full time employee, the chief. He was paid $72,000 a year.

The district has a volunteer assistant chief, 35 to 40 other volunteers and several part-time paramedics, firefighters and EMTs, according to Goodwillie.

He said his understanding was longtime volunteer Steve Lux is acting as interim chief.

“I wish the best for that fire department, it has good potential,” Goodwillie said this afternoon.

Goodwillie, 55, left his position as a captain with Centralia’s Lewis County Fire District 12 to take the chief job in August 2007. He said he’s looking at “different areas to venture into.”

District 6 is one of four local fire agencies exploring the idea of creating a “super” fire department along the I-5 corridor in the northern half of Lewis County.

Calls to two of the district’s three fire commissioners to ask about the change weren’t immediately returned today.

Update Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.: Greg Pulver, chair of the board of fire commissioners, sent a news release about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night saying Goodwillie resigned and Lux will serve as interim chief while the district seeks a replacement.

Breaking news: Low-speed crash should not have killed Randle man on Highway 12, patrol says

Monday, February 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Randle man who died when his car  hit a rock wall along U.S. Highway 12 near Packwood on Saturday has been identified as 62-year-old Donald G. Diemert.

The Washington State Patrol initially reported his age was 63.

Troopers called just before 11 p.m. Saturday reported Diemert was heading westbound when his car struck a guard rail along the right shoulder and then traveled back across three lanes to run head-on into the rock wall on the opposite side of the highway.

It happened about six miles east of Packwood near the state Route 123 cutoff.

A black Labrador dog in the car with Diemert survived the wreck, according to the Washington State Patrol.

State Patrol Sgt. Jason Ashley said it was not a high speed collision and they’ve order an autopsy as they investigate the cause.

“The dynamics didn’t really show he should have succumbed,” Ashley said. “We’re not really sure what happened.”

The passenger compartment wasn’t compromised, although there was some front end damage to the 1994 Pontiac Grand Am, according to Ashley.

It may have been a medical issue, he said. It’s unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved, according to the state patrol.

Diemert was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt.

Read about skiers rescued after spending night at White Pass …

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports a pair of Seattle men were found in good condition following an overnight search at the White Pass ski area.

News reporter Phil Ferolito writes a search helicopter from King County spotted a fire the skiers built a fire to stay warm.

Read Ferolito’s story here

News brief: Randle resident killed in Highway 12 wreck

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 63-year-old Randle man died last night when his car hit a rock wall head-on along U.S. Highway 12 east of Packwood.

Troopers called just before 11 p.m. report the man was heading westbound when his car struck a guard rail along the right shoulder and then traveled back across the lanes to run into the rock wall on the opposite side of the highway.

The 1994 Pontiac Grand Am was described as totaled. It happened near milepost 139, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver’s name has not been released, pending notification of his family. He was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt.

The cause remains under investigation, according to the state patrol.

News brief: Trial date set for April in Frost Road Trailer Park homicide

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Winlock man accused of fatally shooting a trailer park neighbor has been found competent to stand trial, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.


Richard J. F. Roth

Richard Joseph Frank Roth, 65, is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 4 death of 64-year-old Jackie Marie Lawyer.

Roth’s attorney Mike Underwood had sent his client to the state mental hospital to be evaluated.

Attorneys went before Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey today to share the findings and schedule a date for his trial.

It is set for the week of April 18, the same week as Ryan J. McCarthy, one of two men charged in August’s triple homicide in Onalaska.

Meyer said he understands from Brosey that if both those cases actually go to trial, it would be the first time ever two murder trials were being held simultaneously in Lewis County.

Meyer, the newly elected prosecutor, will be handling Roth’s prosecution.

Read background on the November shooting here

Registered sex offender notice: Man moves to Centralia

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday a 47-year-old man just released from prison is registered as a level three sex offender and living on the 200 block of Reinke Road east of Centralia.

Jeffery W. Hanson 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.

Hanson was convicted in 2006 in Lewis County Superior Court for having child pornography on his personal computer, specifically, for five counts of dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the sheriff’s office. He has a 2000 Cowlitz County conviction for the same offense, as well as for voyeurism, according to the bulletin.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level three sex offender, meaning they believe he has a high risk to reoffend.

Hanson is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty notes Hanson served his full sentence and therefore will be not be supervised by the state Department of Corrections.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of Hanson, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site’s level three sex offender page, here

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

Correction: This news items was updated Wednesday Feb. 16, 2011 at 7:15 p.m. to reflect that Reinke Road is east of Centralia.

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

Breaking news: One male dead in rural Chehalis crash this morning

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

This was updated at 9:25 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

Troopers and Lewis County sheriff’s deputies are “working” a fatality accident on Centralia-Alpha Road this morning.

Aid was called about 7:30 a.m. to a three-vehicle collision near Beck Road north of Onalaska, according to Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter Mike Goodwillie.

Two cars were on their tops with extensive damage, Goodwillie said.

One person was deceased, one person was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital and two other individuals declined aid, Lewis County Fire District 5 Chief Eric Linn said.

Trooper Steve Schatzel said it was a male who died.

It was extremely icy out, Linn said, the road so slick responders had to walk in the ditch instead of the pavement.

Linn said it was his understanding a motorist stopped to help out a driver who had gone into a ditch and a car coming the other way lost control and hit the parked car.

The male who was killed was outside his vehicle, according to the state patrol.

Schatzel said his early information suggested there were three cars but one was not involved in the collision. More information is expected later this morning, Schatzel said.

Frost Road Trailer Park homicide: Lawyers still waiting for defendant’s mental health evaluation

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Attorneys continue to wait for a report from Western State Hospital to find if 65-year-old Richard Joseph Frank Roth is competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the November fatal shooting of his trailer park neighbor.

Jackie Marie Lawyer

Roth was arrested and subsequently charged in the Nov. 4 death of 64-year-old Jackie Marie Lawyer in Winlock.

Prosecutor’s alleged Roth retrieved a handgun from his property and confronted Lawyer near the trailer park mailboxes after an argument between the two about him “snitching” on her for her dumping wood stove ashes in the woods.

A trial date has not been set because, at the request of his attorney Mike Underwood, Roth was sent first to the state mental hospital to be evaluated. Underwood said at the time it was his standard protocol for a case of this seriousness.

Roth is back in the Lewis County Jail, but was not brought to the courtroom today for a scheduled review hearing.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge the report was being typed up as he spoke and asked that they reconvene next Thursday on the matter.

Benefit concert will help Lewis County Chaplaincy Services

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The volunteer chaplains who respond to assist in traumatic events around Lewis County need new pagers and jackets.

Kevin Curfman, president of Lewis County Chaplaincy Services, said they secured those items years ago through a grant and since, have basically been funded by donations from churches and businesses.

2011.0205.chaplain.benefitA benefit concert for the group featuring the Voetberg Family of stringed instrument musicians is set for the evening of Saturday Feb. 19.

The chaplaincy services started in 1989 to respond with police, firefighters and the coroner’s office to support family members and emergency workers, according to Curfman.

The 16 men and women are trained to, for example, be with the family of a cardiac arrest victim or at a house fire and explain what’s going on. They help put those in need in touch with the Red Cross.

“If a spouse needs a ride to the hospital, they can do that,” Curfman said. “Basically, they’re just there to support the family.”

They do the majority of death notifications with the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

The fundraising event will be held at 6 p.m. at Bethel Church of the Assemblies of God, just east of Interstate 5 at exit 72 in Napavine. There’s no admission fee, but donations will be accepted.

Proceeds will benefit the group with needed equipment and ongoing expenses.

Curfman says more information can be found on the organization’s web site or their Facebook page.

Read about Castle Rock examined as potential prison facility site …

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a site selection team for a new 1000-bed prison facility visited Castle Rock yesterday as they consider various locations.

News reporter Barbara LaBoe writes state prison officials hope to narrow 16 sites down to three finalist next month.

Other properties under consideration are in Winlock, Morton and Grand Mound, according to LaBoe.

The team visited also visited Winlock yesterday, looking at what amounts to three sites, according to Mayor Glen Cook.

The team visited Morton on Tuesday and toured two sites.

Read LaBoe’s story here

Read what Chehalis bail bondsman said about cop killer Maurice Clemmons’ GPS ankle bracelet …

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports recently released documents provide new details about missed opportunities, including how Maurice Clemmons managed to get away with cutting off his GPS tracking bracelet – used by Jail Sucks Bail Bonds of Chehalis – days before he opened fire in a Lakewood coffee shop killing four police officers.

Read the Seattle Times news story here

Napavine home consumed by training fire

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

A backhoe operator moves around the remains of a house donated for a practice burn in Napavine. / Photo by Sharyn Decker

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

NAPAVINE – A two-story house on Rush Road in Napavine served as a training site today for firefighters from Lewis County Fire Districts 5 and 6.

Some 30 members of the two departments practiced various aspects of dealing with structure fires, according to Fire  Lt. Laura Hanson.

“We got watch some live fire behavior, do some hose work, it was great,” Hanson said.

Members of the rural fire districts out of Napavine and Chehalis pause for a group picture during training at a Rush Road house. / Courtesy photos by District 5 Chief Eric Linn

Read about 35 years of sheriff’s office stories to tell …

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes about the retirement of the longest serving deputy in the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office history, Undersheriff James Chamberlain.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski notes highlights of Chamberlain’s career which began in 1975 when squad cars still had wind up sirens.

Read about it here