Archive for November, 2011

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011


• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night for allegedly threatening to kill his wife, according to the Centralia Police Department. Wayne H. White was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment following the approximately 9:20 p.m. report connected with a location on the 3500 block of Rodcin Avenue, according to police. Further details were not readily available.


• Centralia police arrested a man yesterday afternoon for first-degree theft in connection with a location on the 100 block of Jalyn Street. Scott W. Haubrick, 43, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft and also for fourth-degree domestic assault.

• A deputy was called yesterday morning to a burglary at the 2200 block of Seminary Hill Road in Centralia where someone had rummaged through various areas of a home. The victim said he wasn’t sure yet what had been stolen, however, a door was damaged, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police are investigating a computer “thumb drive” containing pornographic pictures of females believed to be juveniles. It was found at the 800 block of Eshom Road, according to police.  Further details were not readily available.


• A deputy took a report on Monday of a hit and run to a building at the 100 block of McBride Court in the Industrial Park in Chehalis. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the plant manager advised that sometime since Thursday a vehicle ran into a pile of pallets stacked against a building and then slid into the building.


• The Washington State Patrol is investigating an incident from last night in which three young men, including one from Winlock, were walking along the roadside near Long Beach and the side mirror from a passing pickup truck struck one of them in the elbow. It happened around 9:15 p.m. about a half mile south of Ocean Park on state Route 103, according to the state patrol. A 22–year-old from La center was transported to Ocean Beach Hospital and his 18-year-old acquaintances were uninjured, according to the investigating trooper. However, the pedestrians threw a garbage can in the roadway to stop traffic and it struck and damaged a van, according to the patrol.

Fires burn Centralia house, Mossyrock garage

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Fire broke out in a Centralia home last night on North Tower Avenue causing extensive damage.

Firefighters called about 7:45 p.m. said it appeared the fire was burning toward the front of the house but then discovered it had may have begun in an attic near the rear, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Terry Ternan said.

A resident who was sleeping was awakened by a smoke detector and escaped out the front door, Ternan said.

His wife and children were not home at the time, and they will all stay with relatives, Ternan said.

The one-story wood frame house is on the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue.

The man was evaluated by paramedics, Ternan said he assumed for smoke inhalation.

The cause is under investigation.

A Mossyrock family was a little more fortunate yesterday when an RV inside their carport caught fire.

Lewis County Fire District 3 was called about 1:20 p.m. to the 300 block of Mossyrock Road West.

“It extended to the garage area but the house virtually had no damage at all,” Fire Chief Doug Fosburg said.

Nobody was home at the time, Fosburg said.

More than a dozen firefighters battled the blaze that appeared to have originated with an electrical issue in the motor home, according to Fosburg.

“We got the fire knocked down pretty good, but we spent a lot of time overhauling to make sure there weren’t any hot spots,” he said.


A garage, storage area, carport and motor home burn on the 300 block of Mossyrock Road West. / Courtesy photo by Taryn Houghtelling

Former Pe Ell coach faces charge of third-degree rape of teenage student

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Todd D. Phelps, left, passes defense attorney Bob Schroeter as he leaves the courtroom in Chehalis.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A now-former softball coach at Pe Ell High School went before a judge this afternoon to face an additional charge in connection with alleged sexual contacts with a 16-year-old player on the girls’ team.

Todd D. Phelps, 52, of Pe Ell, is charged with third-degree rape now as well as second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.

The new count followed further investigation of an incident that allegedly occurred in July in which the girl said Phelps asked her to meet him at his brother’s Pe Ell residence to discuss cuts to her legs and asked her to lower her pants, according to charging documents.

Charging documents allege he kissed her, touched her and suggested more, and she said told him, “No, please don’t.” They engaged in sex and she said “she was very scared and just wanted it to be over,” charging documents allege.

Phelps resigned at the end of April after two years as an assistant coach. His resignation was because of a violation of school policy regarding social contact with students, according to the school district superintendent.

He was summoned into Lewis County Superior Court today where Judge Richard Brosey said he could remain free if he signed a $25,000 unsecured appearance bond.

Phelps was scheduled to return to court Dec. 8 to make his plea.

Phelps was arrested last month following the report about two incidents made in September to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

At the time, he was charged only with second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor in connection with an April 2 encounter with the girl. On that day, according to charging documents, he had asked her to stop by his house and asked her to take off her pants so he could see some cuts on her legs.

She told a deputy Phelps began hugging her, pulled her into his lap and kissed her.

She described her relationship to him as that of a student and coach, and as part of a “second family,” charging documents state.

Third-degree rape carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail.

If convicted, Phelps would be required to register as a sex offender.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


• Police were called just before 1 p.m. yesterday to a home on the 900 block of West Chestnut Street in Centralia where someone had gone inside and stolen a .9 mm pistol, a .22 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver and jewelry. It happened sometime after 12 p.m., police were told by the residents. It appeared somebody got in through a back door, police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said they took a report on Friday of a Chehalis-area break-in in which a .40 caliber Beretta pistol and a 9 mm Glock pistol were stolen. A deputy called to the 100 block of Becky Lane was told someone had entered a recreational vehicle parked on the property sometime in the previous week. The loss is estimated at $850, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Someone broke into a home on the 1800 block of little Hanaford Road outside Centralia and stole a 50-inch Sony flat screen television, a queen-sized comforter and a dozen bottles of Gatorade, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The burglary was reported Sunday afternoon.


• A 16-year-old boy escaped injury when he crashed his 1999 Pontiac Firebird into a ditch and a tree yesterday afternoon at North Schueber Road and Borst Avenue in Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called about 2:45 p.m. was told the Centralia teenager was making a left turn after a stop sign, and tried to brake but accidentally hit the gas pedal, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy was called just before 3 p.m. yesterday to Chilvers and Brockway roads outside Chehalis where an 18-year-old driver making a left turn wrecked his vehicle. The teenager said his tires hit the sand at the edge of the road causing his vehicle to spin out and go over an embankment on the south side of Chilvers Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was reportedly uninjured. The damage was about $4,000 to the vehicle’s front end, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

News brief: Intoxicated inmate either fell or jumped to his death

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The inmate who died Friday night at the Thurston County Jail has been identified as 41-year-old Blake C. Matthews.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Matthews was standing on a top bunk, leaning forward, when he appeared to a corrections officer to jump head first onto the floor.

It happened shortly before 11:20 p.m. in a holding cell where Matthews was alone and waiting to be booked, according to sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin.

Matthews had been arrested less than two hours earlier by the Lacey Police Department for assaulting a bus driver, and on a warrant for a fourth-degree domestic violence assault, Elwin said.

There was no suicide note, no indication ahead of time, Elwin said. Matthews was intoxicated however, he said.

“So, we don’t know what happened; we don’t know if it was an intentional act or he lost his balance,” he said. “We can’t tell for sure.”

An autopsy yesterday concluded Matthews cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock. Whether was an accident or suicide is not yet known, Warnock said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, November 28th, 2011


• A 19-year-old Chehalis man hospitalized with a stab wound told a deputy it was someone who was “supposed to be a good friend” who did it but refused to give a name because he didn’t want anything more to happen to him and didn’t want to be labeled a snitch. It happened early Thursday morning outside Centralia, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said today. The victim said his friends had driven him out to the end of Wigley Road where they beat him up and stabbed him, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The victim was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be treated for a large wound on his right thigh, Brown said.


• Four teenagers were arrested when deputies broke up a party of some 50 individuals in which half were estimated to be under 21. Deputies were out on an underage “party patrol” Friday night when they learned of a gathering at the end of Lepisto Road in Rochester, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning. Three 19-year-olds from Centralia and one from Castle Rock, all males, were arrested and booked for being a minors either in possession of, or having consumed, alcohol, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. One was also arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, Brown said.


• Chehalis police found  a small amount of suspected black tar heroin in a vehicle when they made a traffic stop this early morning at North Market and Cascade Avenue. Rosa M. Sanchez-Anderson, 20, of Napavine, was arrested and booked for driving with a suspended license, but nobody has yet been arrested in connection with the drugs as there were multiple people in the car, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A Taurus .357 revolver and 32-inch flat screen television were among the items stolen in a burglary on the 100 block of Highline Drive outside Chehalis on Wednesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was told someone broke a window to get inside sometime between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.


• Sometime between last Tuesday and Wednesday morning, someone stole some $2,500 of valuables from a shop on the 100 block of Johnson Road in Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was told someone used a cutting tool to get through a large door and took off with items including a marine radio, fish tackle and 200 feet of copper wire, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A 27-year-old Chehalis area man was arrested on Thursday for sexual assault of his young step-daughter, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Christopher L. McCullough was booked into the Lewis County Jail following a report first made two weeks ago, according to the sheriff’ office. McCullough was booked for second-degree child assault and two counts of first-degree rape of a child, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A family of five somehow escaped serious injury when their Jeep slipped over an embankment and rolled into three to four feet of swift-moving water off Skate Creek Road near Packwood on Friday. Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said she believed a passerby took the Spanaway family to the Packwood Fire Hall, where they were then transported to Morton General Hospital. They were treated for pains in various parts of their bodies, including a 6-year-old boy with scrapes on his throat from a seatbelt, according to Brown. It happened near milepost 17 when the driver lost control on compact snow and ice, Brown said. The vehicle was totaled, according to Brown.


• Police were called yesterday to the 200 block of West Center Street in Centralia where someone had spray painted graffiti on the side of a building, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone broke out two windows in the front of the Packwood fire station between last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It didn’t appear anyone got inside, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, November 27th, 2011


• Three people were injured when an SUV wrecked and caught fire south of Ethel yesterday afternoon. Firefighters and aid called around 4 p.m. to Spencer Road near Classe Road found passersby had stopped to help the occupants from the vehicle which had rolled, Lewis County Fire District 8 Assistant Chief Don Taylor said. Someone used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames, he said. Taylor said he believed the patients were all men and said there were some serious injuries, but not critical. “They were banged up pretty good,” he said.


• Firefighters were called just before 5 p.m. yesterday to a rollover accident on the 3700 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. The car had gone off the road into some trees, according to Riverside Fire Authority. One occupant was able to get himself out and had no complaints of injuries but the other man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, Fire Capt. Greg Schwartz said.


• A 26-year-old man is in serious condition this morning after a single-vehicle collision near Tenino yesterday. Troopers called just before 7 a.m. to McDuff Road at 143rd Avenue Southeast found the Ford Bronco had left the road and hit a tree, landing on its top, according to the Washington State Patrol. The vehicle was described as totaled. The driver, Josef C. Kutcha, 26, of Tenino, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the state patrol. The cause is under investigation.


• Two vehicles were totaled and two people hospitalized after a four-vehicle rear-end collision on Interstate 5 near Vader on Wednesday afternoon. Troopers were called at 2 p.m. to the southbound lanes near milepost 59 where a car driven by a 19-year-old Salem, Ore. woman had been following too closely and struck a Dodge Dakota, which ran into a Ford Escort, according to the state patrol. A Plymouth Neon driven by an 18-year-old Centralia woman ran into the rear of the Oregon woman’s car; both of those were destroyed, the patrol reported. Abby M. Gordon, 18, of Centralia, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with an ankle injury and a 19-year-old California woman who was a passenger in the Oregon woman’s car sustained a back injury and was transported to St. John Medical Center in Longview, according to the patrol.


• A 29-year-old Olympia woman was arrested for a warrant and reckless driving  after she reportedly drove through a yard and wrecked her vehicle as an officer was trying to stop her on Friday afternoon near the 1800 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Lori A. Romero continued to circle a city block after an officer signaled her to stop around 2:30 p.m and then wrecked as she tried to make a right turn, according to police.


• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested for allegedly “tagging”
a vehicle and several buildings with graffiti on Thursday night in Centralia, according to police. Genaro M. Rivas was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief and booked into jail after the incidents observed by an officer near the 500 block of Hillkress Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Crews were called Friday night to a structure fire at the home on a volunteer firefighter in Ryderwood. The fire was confined to a mattress and there was some water damage; it was caused by a faulty heating pad, according to Assistant Fire Chief Ruth Crear of Lewis-Cowlitz 20 – formerly Lewis County Fire District 7 in Vader and Cowlitz County Fire District 4 in Ryderwood which have combined. Crear said nobody was in the bed at the time of the 8:40 p.m. call to Allinder Road. About 15 volunteers responded and did an “excellent job”, Crear said. “The house is still standing and he can still live there,” she said.

News brief: Chehalis house burns

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Updated 7 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A two-story house destroyed by fire in Chehalis today may have ignited from a burning candle.

Firefighters were called out just before 1 p.m. to Northeast North Street in between Market and Washington.

Smoke and flames were coming from a window of the wood-frame home; the resident had been outside about 20 minutes when it started, Acting Capt. Pat Gilligan said.

The woman who lived there suffered smoke inhalation, and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be checked out.

“I think that’s why she went back in, to get her pets out,” Gilligan said. “I saw a couple of dogs.”

Gilligan estimated 25 to 30 firefighters were on the scene, coming from Chehalis, Centralia, Lewis County Fire District 6 and Rochester.

It took some time to chase the flames around inside the walls and attic, according to Gilligan.

“The way it was built, it had a bunch of nooks and crannies and false ceilings,” he said.

Gilligan said the home and contents are probably a total loss.

The cause is under investigation, Gilligan said, but it was possibly related to a candle.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, November 24th, 2011


• Centralia police arrested seven people last night for driving with either a suspended or no license, one for negligent driving, one with a warrant and two for possession of marijuana.

• A 43-year-old Puyallup man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine overnight in Centralia. Stephen D. Sturdevant was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer on the 400 block of South Gold Street just after midnight, in connection with a warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Firefighters were called yesterday evening to a residential structure fire on 9600 block of James Road in Rochester. West Regional Fire Authority Acting Lt. Joel Swecker said he was not there but understood the occupants were not at home and their double-wide mobile home sustained significant damage, he said. Approximately 25 firefighters from five departments responded to the 8 p.m. call, according to Lt. Lanette Dyer. The cause is under investigation.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


• Centralia police this morning reported they searched a home in Thurston County following the arrest yesterday of two people in connection with trying to pass a forged prescription on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Police said “more evidence was seized” although did not describe what it was. The investigation continues and further arrests are expected, according to the Centralia Police Department. Brian C. James, 34, and Krista M. Hughes, 32, both of Olympia, were arrested, according to police. Late last night, Bilal H. Willis, 27, of Lacey, was arrested for possession of prescription pills in connection with a search warrant served in Thurston County, although police did not specify it was related to the same case. Further details were not immediately available.


• A school bus with several grade school-aged children on board rear-ended a pickup truck in Chehalis yesterday morning, but no injuries were reported, according to the Chehalis Police Department. It happened just after 8 a.m. on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue. A 2000  Dodge Dakota pickup had stopped to turn into a parking lot and the bus behind it failed to stop, Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. Kaut said it appeared to involve very minor damage. The bus driver has not been cited, he said.

• A 19-year-old Mossyrock resident was issued several citations yesterday after his Mitsubishi Eclipse ran off Cinebar Road and struck two trees, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime before 8:19 a.m. near milepost 2.5. according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The driver was not around when a deputy arrived, she said. The car sustained major damage. The driver was cited for no license, no insurance and going too fast, according to Brown.


• A duffel bag of clothing and a military “rucksack frame” were reported stolen from a residence on the 300 block of Doty-Dryad Road. The 31-year-old victim told a deputy yesterday his home is for sale and has “lock box” on it; there was no indication of forced entry, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. It went missing between Saturday and Tuesday, Brown said.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office took a report yesterday of a DeWalt chop saw taken from the back of a truck at the 1500 block of state Route 505 in Toledo. The loss is estimated at $400.

• Centralia police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday about a car prowl on the 200 block of South Diamond Street. A CD player and CDs were among the items taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Several surveillance cameras were stolen over night from the 300 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department yesterday morning.

News brief: Sandbag distribution cancelled as rainfall slows

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Sandbag distribution in Centralia is cancelled as the revised forecast indicates the Chehalis River isn’t expected to reach flood stage tonight after all.

The flood warning continues on the Newaukum River in Chehalis however through tomorrow afternoon, with moderate flooding still predicted.

The heaviest precipitation shifted north overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

An advisory for urban and small stream flooding was issued overnight for parts of Western Washington, including Thurston County, western Lewis County and southeastern Grays Harbor County, according to the weather service. Another one to one and a half inches of rain is expected this morning, the weather service says.

A flood watch remains in effect through late tonight for flood-prone rivers in that area.

Emergency management officials in Centralia and in Lewis County continue to monitor weather conditions and river levels.

The flood warnings on the Chehalis River at Doty, Centralia and Grand Mound have been cancelled.

Some surface streets are still covered with water, so motorists are encouraged to use caution, a spokesperson for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center advised this morning.

County residents are asked to report plugged culverts or roadway erosion by calling Lewis County Public Works at 360-740-1123.

Consider joining Lewis County Sirens Facebook group page for frequent and informal updates from readers during times like these.

Follow river levels and their forecasts here

Follow weather forecast, occurrences and warnings here (Click on your location, then click on the “flood warning” and read more)

Greenwood Cemetery: Who will bury Charles Sticklin?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Christina Kelley’s uncle died yesterday and she was asked by her aunt to handle his burial arrangements.

He owns a plot with six graves in Centralia, and wants to be put to rest there, where his grandson and mother-in-law already slumber beneath the ground.

However, the grave is inside Greenwood Cemetery, a memorial park caught in legal limbo.

Kelley, who lives in Monroe, said she couldn’t reach cemetery owner John Baker, who she’s been told is barred from his home, which doubles as a cemetery office.

Kelley spoke with Jennifer Duncan, the woman who served as temporary caretaker while Baker spent time in prison last year. Duncan told her that although she currently holds the license to make burials, she’s banned by court order from the property.

“The immediate problem, is we’ve got a family member who needs to be buried,” Kelley said on Monday. “If I could go dig the hole myself, I would.”

It’s a problem, Kelly said, as she made a round of phone calls looking for a solution.

Her uncle, Charles L. Sticklin, a 1959 graduate of Centralia High School, is a grandson of the cemetery’s founder, she said.

He’s been in and out of the hospital for the past month, and his heart finally gave out Monday morning, she said. He died in a veterans hospital in Meridian, Idaho, she said.

Kelley contacted the state cemetery board and was told they can’t help her, she said.

Joe Vincent, the administrator of the state Funeral and Cemetery Board, confirmed that Duncan as the licensee, is the only individual allowed to authorize burials, but the property rights of Baker somehow “carry more weight than burial rights.”

Duncan and Baker were in court in late August, when Lewis County Court Commissioner Tracy Mitchell gave Duncan 30 more days of an anti-harassment order keeping Baker out of the park in order for Duncan to wrap up obligations she’d made to cemetery clients.

The longtime friends were feuding and Baker said he wanted her to stop managing his cemetery.

Baker today when he learned of Sticklin’s death, said the cemetery will “doubly” bend over backwards to make sure he gets interred.

“I think I have the authority to open and close graves, as owner,” Baker said. It’s a different kind of authority than that the state licensing board conveys, he said.

While he is prohibited from living in his house, because, he claims, Duncan let his utility bills go in arrears and the electricity was shut off, he’s around there in the daytime and has a new phone number, he said.

If Duncan would “bow out” he’d get someone else to make burials, he said.

Baker obtained a temporary anti-harassment order on Oct. 31 prohibiting Duncan from coming within 500 feet of the cemetery, his home and office.

Meanwhile, Duncan is doing what she can, and hoping she can bury Kelley’s uncle.

Sticklin owns the grave and had previously paid for the burial expenses, according to Duncan.

Tomorrow, Baker will be sentenced for several violations of her anti-harassment order, as well as stalking and trespassing at the cemetery, and Duncan is going to ask that she be allowed to continue making burials until her license expires at the end of January, she said.

She expects part of Baker’s sentence will include him being prohibited from coming within 300 feet of her, as she is the stalking victim.

She’ll be in court tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

“I’ll bring it up, it’s the perfect time to bring it up,” Duncan said.

Also, Vincent of the cemetery board said yesterday, that last week he signed and delivered a statement of charges against Baker for past issues.

“He’s looking at multiple sanctions by the board,” Vincent said.


Read background here:

• “Conflict: Who will bury the dead in Greenwood Cemetery?” from Friday September 2, 2011, here

• “Cemeterian Baker charged with stalking caretaker Duncan” from Friday September 23,  2011, here