Archive for November, 2012

Train plows Olympia family’s SUV driven onto Chehalis tracks; nobody injured

Friday, November 30th, 2012
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A family of seven bailed out of their white Dodge Durango as a freight train approached from behind them in Chehalis.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An out-of-town family that took a wrong turn in the dark tonight in Chehalis found their SUV traveling on railroad tracks as a freight train approached, bailed out and watched the train shove their vehicle more than a block.

Nobody was hurt.

Chehalis Police Department Office Steve Nikander said it was dark, it was rainy and they briefly lost their way.

“Thankfully they all got out,” Nikander said.

It happened about 7:30 p.m. near West Street by the Lewis County Historical Museum.

The mother, father and five children, ages 3 to 23, from Olympia, were westbound on West Street; on their way to ride the Chehalis steam train.

It’s the Polar Express, a holiday ride, said Nickolas Howzeshell, one of the grown sons.

Howzeshell, his wife and their baby were in a second vehicle behind his mother’s Dodge Durango and made the same wrong right-hand turn behind her, he said. He was able to pull his vehicle off the tracks.

“My dad’s like, get ’em out, get ’em out,” Howzeshell said. “I saw the light about a quarter mile away. We saw it happen.”

The northbound freight train was still stopped and blocking several crossings after 8 p.m. while authorities waited for a tow truck to arrive.

Instead of cocoa, singing and riding a steam train with Santa Claus, they stepped into the Ocean Sky restaurant for Chinese food while they waited for officers to collect their information.

“We were running late. We didn’t want to miss the train,” Howzeshell, said. “Instead, we … caught the train.”

•••

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to correct the name of the city police department for which Officer Nikander works.

Dryad woman files suit to get some of her foxhounds back, pleads not guilty to animal cruelty

Friday, November 30th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Nancy Punches pleaded not guilty today to keeping too many dogs in too poor of conditions on her property west of Chehalis and is working with a lawyer to get four of her foxhounds returned to her.

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Nancy Punches

The 79-year-old Dryad woman was in Lewis County District Court this morning where she faces 65 counts of second-degree animal cruelty and one count of violating a state law regarding dog breeding.

Her 65 dogs were confiscated by county officials last month; animals which were living in an area overrun with feces, according to authorities. One puppy was dead when the sheriff’s office served their search warrant and at least three puppies have since been euthanized because of positive tests for Parvo Virus. Others were sick with a parasite, according to charging documents.

Punches has said in an interview she didn’t intend for the foxhounds to multiply, but their fencing had deteriorated. She has also said she knew the situation got away from her.

Three of the foxhounds are survivors of the December 2007 flood when Punches lost her home and 16 champion show dogs to the Chehalis River.

Punches has agreed to give up ownership of all but those three dogs plus one other, a 9-year-old male named Rythem, according to court documents.

Her lawyer Bart Ricks of Chehalis noted in a petition to the court that Lewis County Animal Shelter Amy Hanson had offered to return three of the dogs – spayed and neutered – if Punches relinquished the rest.

The civil action filed on Nov. 2 says Punches wants the four foxhounds returned to her immediately, subject to certain conditions which aren’t specified.

Court hearings are set for Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. when the lawyers and judge can begin addressing the issues involved.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Nelson asked the judge the consolidate the civil and criminal cases.

In a court document filed today, Nelson asks for answers from Punches about how she will prove her property is free of the diseases, how she will provide kennels fit for habitation and how she will not neglect or abuse the dogs if she gets them back.

Nelson said he didn’t ask Judge Michael Roewe to set bail for Punches, as he doesn’t consider her a flight risk or a danger to the community.

The crimes she’s accused of are misdemeanors, all with a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine or both.

One of the conditions set today however allows her to keep only two pets, which Judge Roewe said were a cat and a bird.

When county code enforcement employees, animal shelter workers and volunteers descended upon the River Road property on Oct. 19, a deputy said he could not see the floor of some kennels because the water, mud and feces was so deep.

Two of the 65 seized animals are fox terriers – the rest foxhounds.

Some were taken to the Lewis County Animal Shelter, some to other municipal shelters and some to Pasado’s Safe Haven in Snohomish County.

Besides Rythem, Punches wants back Hawk, a 7-year-old male; along with 6-year-olds Spirit, a female, and Noah, a male who were pups that shared a 36-hour ordeal trapped in Punches’ mobile home as flood waters rose to within inches of her ceiling.

Punches floated upon a tipped-over antique bookcase after placing her five-week-old dogs inside a styrofoam shipping container.
•••

For background, read:

• “Lewis County owner of seized foxhounds charged with 66 misdemeanors” from Monday November 12, 2012, here

• “Aged flood survivor loses her stock of prize-winning canines for the second time” from Sunday October 21, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, November 30th, 2012

POLICE: PRESCRIPTION FRAUD UNCOVERED

• A Centralia couple was arrested last night in Chehalis after allegedly attempting to trick a pharmacist into filling a prescription for 60 hydrocodone pills.  Police were called about  4 p.m. by an employee at Rite Aid who had checked with the supposed prescribing clinic and learned no prescription had been written in the name they were given, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Officers were told the woman’s son was going to pick up the pills and waited outside the South Market Boulevard store, Sgt. Brian Hickey said. The couple was stopped after leaving and the officer recognized the driver, Carrie J. Powell, as someone who had been in trouble before for similar activity, Hickey said. Powell, 27, and Mitchell T. Kimbrel, 28, were booked into the Lewis County Jail for a violation of the legend drug act, according to police.

60-INCH TV STOLEN FROM HOME

• Centralia police were called to an apartment on the 500 block of Woodland Avenue about 1:20 p.m. yesterday when a resident returned home from lunch to discover his 60-inch television was missing. A neighbor had seen a blond woman carrying a TV in the area about an hour earlier, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CALL ABOUT SUSPICIOUS CHARACTER IN PARKING LOT LEADS TO ARREST

• Chehalis police were called to the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue about 3:30 p.m. yesterday regarding someone wandering around and looking in windows of cars in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. Officers contacted the suspect sitting in a car and discovered the 1985 Saab 900 was stolen out of Seattle, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Shane R. Ferkovich, 31, of Missoula, Montana, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of a stolen vehicle, Sgt. brian Hickey said.

ALLEGED DEATH THREAT

• Centralia police contacted a 31-year-old man yesterday evening for allegedly making death threats to an individual. The suspect, a Centralia man, was not arrested but the case is being referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of felony harassment, according to the Centralia Police Department. The case involved a phone call in which he told the victim he would kill them, although he didn’t say how or why, Sgt. Brian Warren said. Further details were not readily available.

News brief: Lawyers agree Centralia B Street murder suspect is now competent for trial

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Finally Weston G. Miller will be arraigned next week, following his March arrest and filing of charges in the shooting death of a house guest in his Centralia home on B Street.

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David Wayne Carson

Miller, 30, has been held in the Lewis County Jail on $1 million bail, unable to make his pleas to first-degree murder because of a question whether he was competent.

Prosecutors say it was unprovoked attack when he shot 43-year-old David Wayne Carson twice in the chest area. Miller told police he acted in self-defense.

One expert said previously Miller was competent but another said he was not. However, today, lawyers on both sides signed an order agreeing Miller is now competent to stand trial.

The former welder is also charged with several counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, as when police searched the home they found five guns, a silencer, a laser site for a gun and a bullet-proof vest.

Miller is scheduled to return to Lewis County Superior Court next Thursday to make his pleas and get a trial date scheduled.

His attorney J.P. Enbody said the issue of insanity – at the time of the incident – could still come up.

Carson, a Centralia resident, died on March 13.
•••

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

News brief: Centralia toddler death case still moving slowly through court system

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – James M. Reeder, 26, appeared briefly in court today for a review of the progress of the case in the death of 2-year-old Koralynn Fister.

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Koralynn Fister

The Centralia man is charged with homicide by abuse and other related offenses regarding the May death of his live-in girlfriend’s toddler. Prosecutors allege Reeder tortured and raped the child.

Attorneys in the case told a judge they were postponing the review until Dec. 13. The trial in Lewis County Superior Court is still on the schedule for the end of January.

Reeder remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail.
•••

For background, read “Defendant in Centralia toddler death by abuse case pleads not guilty” from Thursday July 12, 2012, here

News brief: Father pleads not guilty to smacking baby boy in face

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia man arrested two weeks ago for allegedly giving his 6-month-old baby a cut lip when he struck him in the head for crying pleaded not guilty today.

Jon M. Parker, 28, is charged with second-degree assault of a child and remains held in the Lewis County Jail.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says Parker was upset and hit the child three times while holding him.

When he went before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court, a trial was scheduled for the week of Jan. 14, according to his attorney David Arcuri.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Sheriff’s Office: Centralia father gives baby boy cut lip, nose” from  Thursday November 15, 2012 at 10:03 a.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Updated at 2:41 p.m.

ONALASKA WOMAN INJURED IN HIT AND RUN CRASH

• A 65-year-old Chehalis man was arrested last night after a hit and run collision that left a 71-year-old Onalaska woman trapped in her wrecked truck. A deputy called about 6 p.m. to the intersection of Jackson Highway and Tucker Road south of Chehalis learned the woman was at a stop sign waiting to make a right turn when her Toyota truck was struck by another vehicle. Dennis C. Safford was subsequently tracked down at his home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. His Ford Explorer sustained extensive damage and he was booked into the Lewis County Jail for suspected driving under the influence as well as hit and run, according to the sheriff’s office. Firefighters had to cut at the driver’s door to extricate the woman from her truck; she was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with head and neck pain, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

INJURED PERSON FOUND LAYING ON RR TRACKS

• Aid was called by police about 3:30 a.m. today to the area just north of the Centralia train depot where a person was found laying on the railroad tracks. They said they were hit by a car and there were some injuries visible, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The patient was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital. A police spokesperson said it didn’t appear a vehicle had struck the individual.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY IN DOWNTOWN CENTRALIA

• Police were called just after 9 p.m. last night regarding an attempted burglary at the 400 block of South Tower Avenue in which a thin teenage male was seen breaking out the window of an espresso stand. However, he was then seen jumping into a newer white mini van which fled the scene, according to the Centralia Police Department. The suspect – about 18 years old – was wearing a dark hoodie with white stripes and the van’s driver was a “heavier” blond wearing a pink sweatshirt, according to police

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday to the 2700 block of Colonial Drive where someone reported the theft of cash.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from a home on the 400 block of South Cedar Street about the theft of unspecified medication. A person of interest has been identified,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A woman called Chehalis police from Oakville yesterday morning to tell them someone stole her oxycodone from her unlocked vehicle the day before while she was parked at K-Mart between 12:230 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about 6:50 p.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue where a car prowl had occurred about 10 minutes earlier. An MP3 player was missing,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A television and a GPS device were reported stolen yesterday in a car prowl on the 100 block of South Silver Street in Centralia.

• A vehicle that had been reported stolen in Toledo was found yesterday afternoon at the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Read about death of person found in burning vehicle in Capitol Forest likely unnatural …

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Updated at 4:24 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports it appears accelerants were used to start the fire in a Ford Bronco found burning with a body inside of it in the Capitol Forest west of Littlerock on Tuesday morning.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office can’t find the vehicle’s registered owner, a man in his 50s.

The Olympian indicated this afternoon the dead man has been identified as 53-year-old Scott J. Madison of Olympia.

Read more here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

VICTIM TAKES ON CAR PROWLER

• An 18-year-old Centralia man exchanged punches with a stranger he found prowling his car early this morning on the 700 block of Field Avenue. Police called about 4:35 a.m. learned the owner of the car pushed the subject to the ground as he tried to flee and “the fight was on,” Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. But the 18-year-old was struck and left dazed, so the prowler got away, according to police. The would-be thief was described as a scruffy, thin-faced male, Reichert said.

SHERIFF: MAN THROWS GIRLFRIEND ONTO FLOOR

• A 46-year-old Chehalis man was arrested last night after he allegedly threw his girlfriend on a concrete floor and tried to choke her during a fight. A deputy called about 11:40 p.m. to the 600 block of Centralia-Alpha Road east of Chehalis found the 26-year-old woman had bumps on the back and front of her head but she declined aid, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Gerald R. Ebner was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

LOCKED UP INSTEAD OF RUN OVER

• Centralia police responded about 11:15 p.m. yesterday to the 2300 block of North Pearl Street where a drunk man was laying in the middle of the road and trying to pick fights with motorists as they passed by him, according to the Centralia Police Department. Jacob L. Hyde, 25, of Centralia, was arrested and booked in to the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct, according to police.

COFFEE STAND BREAK-IN

• An employee arriving to a coffee stand on the 1500 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis about 4:30 a.m. today discovered someone had broken in and stole the cash drawer containing about $200, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

TOLEDO-AREA THEFTS

• A deputy took a report yesterday afternoon about a 2400-watt Yamaha generator stolen from a pump house on the 1500 block of state Route 505 in Toledo. The victim, a Seattle man, said it must have happened sometime since the beginning of September, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is $1,100.

• A Toledo resident called the sheriff’s office yesterday when she discovered someone went into her unsecured barn on the 400 block of Tucker Road sometime during the previous two weeks and left with numerous motorcycle engine pieces, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FRAUD REPORT

• A Centralia officer took a report yesterday from a man regarding his stolen debit card being used around town.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report from a bank on the 1200 block of South Gold Street in Centralia around noon yesterday after pry marks were found on its ATM machine. A repair person found the damage after the ATM stopped working, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CHEHALIS CAR PROWLS CONTINUE

• Chehalis police took another vehicle prowl report just after 4 a.m. today, this one at the 1000 block of Southwest 20th Street. Missing were documents with account information for the truck, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Yesterday, police were called about three vehicle prowls that occurred overnight in the area of the 400 blocks of Southwest 15th and 16th Avenues in Chehalis.

ELDERLY DRIVER SERIOUSLY HURT IN CRASH

• An 81-year-old Mossyrock woman was flown to Harborview Medical Center in  Seattle after a two-vehicle collision at Jackson Highway and Avery Road East yesterday morning. A deputy arriving after the 10:40 a.m. accident south of Chehalis found both vans were totaled after the woman ran a stop sign onto Jackson Highway, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver of the other vehicle who was traveling north on Jackson Highway was unhurt, as was his 5-year-old passenger, but his 6-year-old passenger sustained facial abrasions, according to the sheriff’s office. The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with serious injuries before being airlifted to the Seattle hospital, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

CENTRALIA KITCHEN FIRE

• A forgotten fry pan of tater tots and cooking oil led to a kitchen fire yesterday west of Centralia that filled a home with smoke and scorched a wall and cabinets. Firefighters called about 3:30 p.m. to the 2500 block of Kristine Court learned the resident was alerted by a smoke detector. He took his young daughter next door, tried to get a fire extinguisher and returned to pour salt on the stove, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Terry Ternan said. Ternan said smoke was coming from the eves of the home when they arrived, but the flames were out. He wasn’t sure if the man used a fire extinguisher, but said firefighters recommend people keep one in their kitchens. Salt might work, but baking soda is better, Ternan said. Another strategy is to put a lid on the pan if that’s possible, he said.

Maurin murders: Trial moved to next May

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The trial in the 1985 Maurin kidnap and murder case has been postponed once again, from this coming February until May, with what the judge calls a “drop dead” date to begin.

The elderly Ethel couple died in December 1985, but the longtime suspect Ricky A. Riffe was only arrested this summer.

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Ricky A. Riffe

Lawyers on both sides met with a judge two weeks ago to address a number of issues, including defense attorney John Crowley’s concerns the prosecution had still not handed over copies of all its information in the case.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer repeatedly said he’s turned over everything they have, but by the end of the hour, Judge Richard Brosey ordered Meyer to get the other side copies of some 30 taped interviews, copies of photographs, a copy of a computer hard drive, and to do more to track down a witness statement that Crowley asked about.

“I only want to do this once,” Brosey said, alluding to the fact that if the prosecution gets a conviction, but errors are made along the way, a re-trial could be ordered by the appeals court.

Also at issue is a timing conflict with a trial for another of Crowley’s clients.

Meyer expressed his previous concern that witnesses could die before they get a chance to testify.

“The fact is, we have 150 witnesses in this case, and they’re not getting any younger,” Meyer told the judge.

The trial could take as long as four weeks.

Riffe, 54, a former Lewis County resident, was arrested in July at his home in Alaska.

Prosecutors believe Riffe and his since-deceased brother abducted Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin and forced them to withdraw money from their bank in Chehalis before shooting them and dumping their bodies near Adna.

Riffe has pleaded not guilty, but remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail.

A review hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19, the anniversary of the day 27 years ago the couple was reported missing.
•••

For background, read “Maurin homicide: Riffe pleads not guilty, his attorney hints at proof” from Thursday August 23, 2012, here

Vader man released from jail as prosecutor ponders charges in father’s death

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
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Travis M. Myers looks over paperwork allowing him to be released from jail after seeing a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It was like a shoving match, but ended very badly.

The couple had been drinking. The mother shoved the father. The father shoved the mother knocking her to the ground.

The grown son shoved the father in the chest, who fell backwards, hitting his head on the sidewalk and losing consciousness.

It all happened late last Tuesday night in front of a Morton motel, where a trooper had dropped off 48-year-old Cathy Myers, after contacting her on the side of U.S. Highway 12 in her vehicle and intoxicated.

According to Morton Police Department Chief Dan Mortensen, the father and son had traveled from the family home in Vader to pick up the mother.

The couple argued; she didn’t want to go home because she’d spent money on a motel room, according to court documents from the police report.

When the shoving was over, Cathy Myers told her son to just leave, that she and her husband would spend the night in the motel and come home in the morning, court documents recount.

Travis M. Myers, 27, said he left not knowing his father was seriously injured.

Michael K. Myers, 52, died on Thursday at Haborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Travis Myers was arrested and now the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office is considering charging him with second-degree manslaughter.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher asked a judge yesterday to release the younger Myers, as he awaits the results of the autopsy.

Chief Mortensen said the older Myers had a serious head injury, but whether he died from that is an unanswered question, according to Meagher.

“At first glance it seems so, but we have to wait for the report,” Meagher said after yesterday’s court hearing.

Travis Myers’ appearance before a judge yesterday afternoon was brief. Meagher asked Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler to release him on a $25,000 unsecured bond, co-signed by his sister. She and her mother were in the courtroom. Lawler agreed.

The 27-year-old has no criminal history, the judge was told.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Seattle said today the cause and manner of death are pending the results of some tests.

Second-degree manslaughter is a class B felony. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when, with criminal negligence, he or she causes the death of another person, according to state law.

Meagher’s declaration of probable cause filed in court offers information from interviews with the mother and the son; nothing from the father:

When Reserve Officer Ron Myer responded to an aid call from Cathy to the Seasons Motel on 200 block of Westlake Avenue that night – at 10:27 p.m., according to the police chief, or just after midnight according to Meagher – he found an adult male laying on the sidewalk.

Officer Myer performed CPR until an aid crew arrived. Michael was taken to Morton General Hospital and then airlifted to Harborview.

According to Travis’s statement to police, his parents had gone to a friends house somewhere on U.S. Highway 12. His mother left his father there, but then was arrested – he thought for a DUI but court documents say for so-called physical control under the influence – and her car was impounded.

Cathy called home in Vader and asked her daughter Shannon to come pick her up. Shannon asked her brother to do it. Before Travis left, his father arrived, having gotten a ride home from the friend.

Travis described his father as stumbling down drunk.

Travis told the police chief that when they arrived to the motel, his parents began to argue and then the three shoves occurred.

Cathy told the police chief she was intoxicated that night, that both she and her husband had been drinking.

She said she remembered being either hit or pushed by her husband and falling backwards. She said her son stepped up and pushed his father who then fell down. When interviewed earlier at the hospital by Trooper Jason Hicks, Cathy said her son either hit or pushed her husband.

She said she didn’t realize her husband was hurt when she told he son to go home. But then, she said, she realized Michael was not responding so she called 911.

“Cathy said she believed her son’s actions were in defense of her,” Meagher wrote. “She didn’t believe Travis intended to hurt his father.”

Travis told the police chief he left not knowing his father seriously hurt. His car broke down as he got close to home, so he walked to his uncle’s home to stay the night, he said.

His sister phoned there about 3:30 a.m. looking for her brother, saying the police were looking for him.

Travis and his uncle went to the Lewis County Jail to talk with law enforcement, and was arrested.

Travis Myers is scheduled to be back in Lewis County Superior Court on Dec. 6.

Read about vehicle fire in Capitol Forest reveals body …

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KOMOnews.com reports a body was found in a burned out car this morning in the Capitol Forest.

KING5.com says the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office describes the location as a rural area off Bordeaux Road.

Kirotv.com shows a photo of a pickup truck it says was discovered on the E-Line Road about 9 a.m. today.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

HOME CATCHES FIRE NEAR GALVIN

• A house fire that broke out near Galvin yesterday afternoon seems to have begun in the chimney area of a wood stove, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Firefighters called at 4:15 p.m. to the 300 block of Mattson Road found residents had attempted to put it out with a garden hose, Capt. Terry Ternan said. Damaged were the kitchen, living room and a bedroom, Ternan said. Nobody was injured but the residents had to find another place to stay last night, he said.

ADNA HOME BURGLARIZED

• Someone broke into a residence on the 200 block of Bunker Creek Road west of Chehalis yesterday and made off with Xbox equipment and jewelry, including two sapphire rings, a diamond necklace and an antique pearl bracelet and necklace set, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also missing was $420 cash, according to the sheriff’s office. It occurred sometime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The loss is estimated at more than $2,000.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING TV

• Centralia police called around 11:30 a.m. yesterday about the theft of a 32-inch television from Rite Aid on Harrison Avenue tracked a suspect to his nearby home where they recovered the TV. Steve Ingle Jr., 32, was arrested for third-degree theft and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CENTRALIA COFFEE STAND BROKEN INTO

• A debit card machine and cash were taken in a coffee stand burglary on the 1800 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia discovered about 5:20 a.m. today.

DOMESTIC FIGHT LEADS TO ARREST

• Police called about 10 p.m. last night to a home on the 300 block of West Summa Street arrested a 26-year-old man who allegedly blocked his girlfriend’s way out of the bedroom during an argument. Angilo M. Saville wouldn’t let her leave and she immediately dialed 911, according to the Centralia Police Department. Saville was booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful imprisonment, according to police. However, he is to be released without charges pending further investigation.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old homeless man was arrested yesterday for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer about 12:15 p.m. at the 1800 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Ryan M. Strayer had a pipe with suspected meth residue, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

MORE CAR PROWLS IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police responded early yesterday morning to three vehicle prowls, beginning about 3:40 a.m. Hit were vehicles in the 1600 block of Southwest Gails Avenue, the 1800 block of Southwest Ruzicka Drive and the 1400 block of Grandview Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There appears to be an increase in prowls over the past few days, primarily all in the same part of town, Sgt. Brian Hickey said.

CAR FIRE AT SCHOOL

• Firefighters were called about 7:48 a.m. today when a car caught fire on H Street across from Edison Elementary School in Centralia. The driver who was dropping her child off at school noticed an electrical smell and then smoke began billowing from the hood of the car, according to Riverside Fire Authority. She got the little one out and firefighters extinguished the blaze, according to Capt. Terry Ternan. Nobody was hurt.

Read about alligators guard marijuana garden near Scott Lake …

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Thurston County sheriff’s deputies investigating a shooting last night found a marijuana grow operation with two guard alligators.

A dispute possibly regarding a failed drug transaction led to the shooting, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Arrested was Darren C. Shore, 41, from the Scott Lake area; his 30-year-old acquaintance was treated for two minor gunshot wounds and released from the hospital this morning, according to Lt. Greg Elwin.

The Olympian reports it occurred at the 12100 block of Champion Drive Southwest, near Scott Lake south of Olympia.

Shore said he fired in self defense, according to Elwin.

The sheriff’s office will work with animal services to determine the fate of the five-foot long alligators.

Read more here

Read about Cowlitz deputy coroner pleads guilty to stealing from dead man …

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a deputy coroner in Cowlitz County who admitted stealing from a dead man while on the job has been sentenced to 45 days in jail.

News reporter Leslie Slape writes that Jeffrey W. Hart, 44, of Castle Rock, was fired from his part-time position when he was arrested this summer and the coroner’s office found no other discrepancies in cases Hart was involved in.

Read about it here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Updated at 6:19 p.m.

BURGLARIES IN MINERAL

• An estimated $1,100 worth of power tools were stolen from a home and garage on the 700 block of Mineral Creek Road in Mineral sometime between last Monday and Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 86-year-old victim, a Gig Harbor resident, reported the break in on Friday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A deputy took a report on Thanksgiving day of a burglary to a boathouse in Mineral in which a variety of items were missing, including a large amount of wood working tools, six wooden oars, two electric trolling motors, a fishing pole, a 1950s fishing reel and a large yellow water trampoline, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim said it had occurred sometime since Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

CENTRALIA BREAK-IN

• Centralia police were called about 4:15 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at the 1100 block of Long Road in which someone entered through an unlocked door. Missing were several car titles and some movies, according to the Centralia Police Department,

CHEHALIS BURGLARIES

• A car dolly was missing after the discovery a lock was removed and a gate left open on Northwest State Avenue and California Street in Chehalis on Saturday afternoon, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A safe was stolen in a residential burglary on the 1700 block of Centralia-Alpha Road outside Chehalis sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. There was nothing of value inside, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Police were called yesterday morning to the 1500 block of Southwest Kelly Avenue in Chehalis about a garage burglary. Missing was a Stihl chainsaw with a 24-inch bar, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

KNOCK KNOCK, BAM

• Police were called about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday to a home on the 600 block of Northeast Franklin Avenue in Chehalis where a male said he answered the door and an unknown male punched him in the neck. The suspect, who was with a person the resident knew, left and no arrest was made, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine yesterday after contact with an officer at South Pearl and West Chestnut streets in Centralia. Steven D. Couch was a passenger in a vehicle during a traffic stop, and while talking with an officer, pulled his ID out of his wallet and a “scraper baggie” fell out, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. Couch was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 27-year-old Napavine woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and driving with a suspended license following a traffic stop in Chehalis on Wednesday night. Natalie J. Soto was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 11:30 p.m. at Southwest Chehalis Avenue and Third Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

LOTS O’ DRUGS

• A 36-year-old man arrested by Centralia police on Friday morning for possession of methamphetamine had more than two pounds of suspected meth in a shopping bag, according to prosecutors. Enrique Orozco-Caberra, of Seattle, was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession with intent to deliver. The case involved a confidential informant and a set up, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office. His bail was set at $200,000. An arraignment was scheduled for Thursday.

• A 33-year-old Winlock man was arrested early Saturday morning in Toledo after police dog Misha sniffed out 150 grams (one-third of a pound) of suspected methamphetamine in his vehicle following a traffic stop, according to the Winlock Police Department. The drugs were seized and Justin S. Ingalsbe was booked in to the Lewis County Jail, according to Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams. Ingalsbe bailed out but was back in court this afternoon where he was charged with possession of meth and with intent to deliver. He is scheduled to return to Lewis County Superior Court with an attorney on Dec. 6 for his arraignment.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone stole a tool box, a sleeping bag, boots, two blankets and a vehicle owner’s manual from a truck parked at the 100 block of Summerside Drive in Centralia, according to a report made to the sheriff’s office on Wednesday morning.

• A vehicle prowl that occurred overnight was reported on Sunday from the 1400 block of of Southwest Snively Avenue in Chehalis, according to police.

• A Chehalis officer was called to the 1000 block of Southwest Snively Avenue around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday about car prowls.

• A vehicle prowl was reported Thursday afternoon from the 200 block of Southeast Washington in Chehalis.

• An officer took a report about 11 a.m. on Thursday of a vehicle prowl on the 500 block of Southwest Chehalis Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called at 5 a.m. on Thursday about a vehicle prowl at Thorbeckes on Southwest Chehalis Avenue in which a wallet and other items were missing.

WRECKS

• A 22-year-old Seattle man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with back pain after a single-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 near the 13th Street interchange just before 2 o’clock this morning. Earvin R. Narvasa was northbound d when his Honda Civic struck a guard rail, according to the Washington State Patrol. He was cited for second-degree negligent driving, according to the state patrol.

• A 54-year-old driver was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash yesterday afternoon at Jackson Highway South near Ray Road in Toledo. A deputy arriving about 4:45 p.m. was told the truck hit a slick spot in a sweeping curve and rolled over, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. The driver, a man from Ridgefield, said he wasn’t hurt, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was transported to St. John Medical Center in Longview to be evaluated, Brown said.

• A 35-year-old Centralia man was arrested for driving under the influence following a single-vehicle collision on Wednesday afternoon at Reynolds Avenue near Blair Road in Centralia. Justin L. Hyde said his steering went out but a witness said he was going too fast at a corner, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Dodge Durango struck a curb and a construction sign, before crossing over the oncoming lane, according to the sheriff’s office. The damage to the truck was minor, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Hyde was not booked into jail, nor was his 18-year-old passenger who smelled of alcohol, according to Brown.

Vader man dies following head injury, son jailed

Monday, November 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Vader man is jailed today after stepping in between his parents during a fight in front of a Morton motel, which ended when his father suffered a serious head injury and then subsequently died, according to the Morton Police Department.

Travis M. Myers, 27, was arrested after the Tuesday night incident; his father Michael K. Myers, 52, passed away on Thursday at a Seattle hospital, according to Chief Dan Mortensen.

“There was some kind of argument between between the mother and the father, apparently a physical altercation,” Mortensen said. “The son stepped in, pushed the father. He fell to the sidewalk and struck his head.”

An officer called about 10 p.m. to the scene on the 200 block of Westlake Avenue did CPR with help from a trooper and the father was transported to Harborview Medical Center, according to the chief.

Michael K. Myers passed away on Thanksgiving Day, Mortensen said.

The family is from Vader and the men had come to the Seasons Motel to pick up the mother who had taken a room there after her arrest by a trooper for a reason the chief didn’t disclose.

The son was arrested on Wednesday for second-degree assault, but the prosecutor will be evaluating the appropriate charge given the death, according to Mortensen.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

BLEAK BLACK FRIDAY FOR SERIAL SHOPLIFTERS CAPTURED IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police say they broke up a shoplifting ring on Friday afternoon after employees at a Centralia Outlet store called 911 and chased suspects about 4 p.m. near West High Street and Harrison Avenue. Officers were told a woman walked out of the Nike store wearing a pair of their shoes, and one male ran off while another drove away, according to police. Arriving officers found one suspect when he popped out of some bushes and another behind the wheel of his car on Harrison Avenue, Officer Angie Humphrey said. The female was tracked down in Casa Ramos restaurant where she had hid her purse containing the stolen shoes, Humphrey said. Merchandise stolen from as many as a half dozen stores, totaling about $1,200, was recovered from the vehicle, according to police. Booked into the Lewis County Jail for organized retail theft and second-degree theft were Whitley Y. Schiele, 20 and Cedric A. Dorsey, 19, both of Federal Way; as well as a 16-year-old boy from Des Moines, according to the Centralia Police Department.

POLICE: INTOXICATED INDIVIDUAL PUNCHES PATROL CAR WINDOW

• A 21-year-old man was arrested just before 4 a.m. today after he allegedly punched the windshield of a patrol car in Chehalis. A Centralia police officer on his way to work stopped at Maurin and Bishop roads to assist a disabled motorist, according to the Centralia Police Department. It was a father trying to catch up to his intoxicated son, Officer Angie Humphrey said. The son became irate and broke the windshield with his fist, according to Humphrey. Joseph M. Pierce, of Tumwater, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, according to police.

THEFT

• Centralia police responded to a burglary at a home on the 2000 block of Ahlers Avenue about 4:45 a.m. yesterday. Missing were rings and $2,000 cash, according to police. Someone apparently got in through a window,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An officer was called to a business yesterday on the 1200 block of South Gold Street in Centralia to take a report about the theft of several security cameras.

CAR PROWL

• Cash, jewelry and a GPS device were stolen from two vehicles parked on the 1100 block of West Plum Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• A Kenwood stereo was reported missing from a vehicle parked on the 1000 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia on Friday morning.

• An iPod and an XPlode stereo were missing from a car parked on the 600 block of Scott Drive in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Thursday morning.

• Centralia police took a report about 3 a.m. on Friday from an individual at the 200 block of Johnson Road in Centralia who said someone broke out the windows of his vehicles sometime during the previous two days.

DRUGS

• A 46-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer about 9:30 p.m. yesterday in an alley near the 200 block of South Tower Avenue. James A. Nix was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 60-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for a warrant and possession of methadone about 4:45 a.m. yesterday after contact with an officer on the 900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Kathie I. Martin was booked in to the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 36-year-old Seattle-area man was arrested about 7 a.m. on Friday for possession of methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department. Enrique Orozco-Caberra was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer on Woodland Avenue, according to police.

RV CATCHES FIRE

• Firefighters were called yesterday evening to a fully-involved in flames motor home parked in a driveway on the 2000 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. It was an older motor home, nobody was injured and the cause of the blaze is under investigation, according to Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Erik Olson.

Prosecutor clears deputy in Boistfort area fatal shooting

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has concluded a sheriff’s deputy’s fatal shooting of a Napavine man earlier this month along state Route 6 near Boistfort was justified.

2012.1106.greg.kaufmantrimmed_2

Gregory S. Kaufman

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Wallace was placed on administrative leave after the Nov. 1 encounter in which 64-year-old Gregory S. Kaufman died.

In a letter released Wednesday by Meyer describing his legal analysis to the lead investigator in the case, Meyer outlines a scenario similar to what the sheriff’s office has already said: Deputy Wallace stopped to assist a parked motorist, who he found was suicidal and who subsequently exited his vehicle and advanced upon him with a knife.

Kaufman was struck by two bullets as Wallace retreated, apparently backing up toward the highway in the dark.

Meyer writes the deputy had no other choice:

“When the legal standard is applied to the facts at hand, it is clear that Deputy Wallace was justified when he used deadly force against Gregory Kaufman.”

According to the document, Kaufman was arrested two days prior for alleged misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend, Vicky L. Henthom and a no contact order was put in place.

A Chehalis police officer contacted Kaufman by phone the evening of Oct. 31, asking Kaufman to come to the police department to discuss a violation of the order; because Kaufman had left a note for his girlfriend on her car, according to the document.

Kaufman never appeared at the police station, Meyer writes.

The deadly encounter at a large gravel turnout just east of the South Fork Chehalis RIver Bridge later that night lasted five minutes, according to Meyer.

Meyer gives the following account:

The deputy, alone on patrol, approached the driver’s side door of the car and found Kaufman sitting in the reclined passenger seat.

Deputy Wallace spoke to Kaufman through a tinted, fogged up window and asked Kaufman if he was okay. Kaufman indicated he was fine and just had a nose bleed.

Deputy Wallace seeing cut marks and dried blood on Kaufman’s wrist as well as blood stains on his abdomen – but no blood on his mustache – said he didn’t believe him and asked if he’d been cutting himself.

Kaufman nodded yes, then turned his head and pointed to a neck wound, prompting the deputy to ask 911 dispatchers to send aid.

The deputy asked Kaufman to unlock the door, which he did.

With the door open, the two spoke. Kaufman became emotional, said he’d left a note for Vicky and was concerned about violating the no contact order.

The deputy tried to reassure him he was only concerned about getting him help.

Wallace asked Kaufman where the knife was. Kaufman reached to his right and brought up a knife with a five-inch blade.

Wallace asked him to place it on the dashboard and at first it appeared he would comply.

Then Kaufman looked at the knife, looked at Wallace and then reached over to open the passenger door and got out with the knife in his hand.

Wallace drew his weapon and told him to drop the knife, but Kaufman began to advance on the deputy, with the point of the knife aimed at the deputy.

Wallace repeatedly told Kaufman to drop the knife; Kaufman did not respond but continued to advance, having walked around the rear of his car.

Wallace radioed dispatch to say the man was coming at him with a knife, continued to retreat toward state Route 6.

Then – at 12:16 a.m. – Wallace fired two shots. Kaufman immediately fell to the ground.

Noticeably absent from the narrative are descriptors of Kaufman’s movements, such as “lunged” or “charged” which the sheriff’s office reported in its initial account that morning.

Meyer’s document places Kaufman about 20 feet from his car and Deputy Wallace about 35 feet from the car when he fired his weapon.

The autopsy found a bullet wound to the abdomen, a fatal bullet wound to the head and superficial cuts on the side of his neck and on one wrist. A notepad found on the car seat contained a document titled “Last will and testament.”

Meyer’s information comes primarily from an investigation conducted by the Regional Sheriff’s Critical Incident Investigation Team. The group is made up of deputies from the surrounding counties of Thurston, Pacific, Mason and Grays Harbor and the Washington State Patrol.

Thurston County Sheriff’s detective Cameron Simper was the lead investigator.

Wallace, 37, has been with the sheriff’s office for nine years. Prosecutor Meyer notes he is authorizing the return of Wallace’s duty weapon to him.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said on Wednesday evening she did not know when Deputy Wallace would be back at work.

Last year, when Deputy Matt McKnight fatally shot a citizen, an internal investigation was not completed until a week after the prosecutor completed his review of the outside investigation.
•••

Read Prosecutor Meyer’s letter detailing his investigative conclusions, here

News brief: Winlock man’s traffic death related to heart issue

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An autopsy conducted yesterday concluded the 69-year-old Winlock man who died after a two-vehicle accident in Evaline on Wednesday afternoon died from a previously undetected heart condition.

Larry Pudelko was traveling alone on Highway 603 near Schoolhouse Road when his Chevrolet Malibu crossed the centerline and struck an oncoming pickup truck, according to authorities.

Pudelko died en route to the hospital. A Lake Forest Park couple in the other vehicle suffered injuries that were not described as life threatening.

Lewis County Chief Deputy Coroner, Dawn Harris said yesterday Pudelko suffered a “dissecting aortic aneurysm”. It’s basically an undetected weakness in the vessel wall that can rupture at any time causing virtually instantaneous death, she said.

The manner of death will be labeled as natural as opposed to accidental, according to Harris.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

OVERNIGHT ARRESTS AROUND DOWNTOWN CENTRALIA

• A 22-year-old Chehalis woman was taken to jail last night after she allegedly tried to kick a police officer around 10 p.m. when she was detained for leaving her vehicle on railroad tracks in downtown Centralia. Ericka B. Dukeshire-Pogue, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Three people were arrested in Centralia last night for driving under the influence of alcohol, all within an hour of each other. According to the Centralia Police Department: Bryan A. Woodhead, 22, of Centralia, was stopped at 1:18 a.m. at the 800 block of South Pearl Street; Ian J. Rust, 21, of Rochester was stopped at 1:52 a.m. at North Ash and West Main streets; and Devin S. Carroll, 21, of Chehalis, was stopped at 2:17 a.m. at North Silver and West Main streets. All were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested for fourth-degree assault overnight after allegedly pulling his girlfriend’s hair. Joseph A. Miranda was booked into the Lewis County jail after contact with an officer about 1:20 a.m. at the 200 block of North Railroad Avenue in Centralia,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police called about a suspicious person around 5:15 a.m. today at the 1200 block of Alder Street arrested a 25-year-old Centralia resident for possession of heroin. Brandon V. Stray was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called just after 6 p.m. yesterday about a burglary at a home on the 3400 block of Fords Prairie Avenue. Missing is a safe containing cash and jewelry, according to the Centralia Police Department. The loss is estimated at $5,000, according to police.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday evening regarding the suspected theft of funds by an employee at a business on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue. The case remains under investigation,  according to the Centralia Police Department. Further details were not readily available.