Archive for January, 2013

Local medic punished for discrepancies, violations regarding medications

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Lewis County paramedic’s credential has been suspended indefinitely for forging forms related to controlled substances and for administering unauthorized doses of morphine to patients.

Marla Fleming-Nixon worked for Lewis County Medic One and also as a volunteer medical coordinator for the Napavine area fire district.

Her credential expired in April of last year. Nixon was fired from Medic One a few months before that and resigned from Lewis County Fire District 5 at the same time.

Grant Wiltbank, executive director of Medic One, a shared ambulance service formerly known as South Lewis County EMS, said his internal investigation was limited to discrepancies in documentation.

“Probably the strictest policies we have are dealing with controlled substances,” Wiltbank said, adding that it wouldn’t cost a person their job if it only happened once.

The investigation that followed, conducted on behalf of the state’s manager of emergency medical services, resulted in a statement of alleged charges issued last September.

Nixon chose to forego a hearing on the matter and signed an agreed order two weeks ago acknowledging she committed unprofessional conduct, according to documents filed with the state Department of Health.

The resolution of the case was reported publicly by the Department of Health yesterday.

The facts Nixon agreed were true are as follows:

Between October and November 2011, on about eight occasions, she administered 20 mg or more of morphine sulfate to patients without medical control authorization. Protocols allow a paramedic to give as much as 10 mg without additional permission.

Between February and August of the same year, Nixon falsified the the required witnesses’ signature when she completed a patient controlled medications documentation form which includes a section noting amounts disposed of. That happened about four times, according to the documents.

Wiltbank described the disposal or waste of controlled medications issue explaining, for example, a standard vial holds 10 mg and if a patient is given less than that, a medic must get rid of the excess in front of a witness.

The conduct was found to cause no or minimal patient harm, according to the state documents.

Fire District 5 Chief Eric Linn said Nixon worked with his district for about two years and he had no reason to think she did anything unsatisfactory.

“I was very surprised, she’s a good medic, she worked very hard,” Linn said.

As the medical services officer, Nixon supervised and taught EMTs, and was responsible for quality assurance and ordering supplies, he said.

Paramedics employed by Lewis County Medic One respond jointly with fire districts in south and central Lewis County.

Wiltbank, who didn’t have personnel records in front of him this afternoon, said he thought Nixon worked for Medic One for three, perhaps four or even five years.

He called it an unfortunate situation, and said there was no animosity on his part.

“This is a very big deal,” Wiltbank said. “This was the first time we had to deal with a situation like this.”

Attempts to reach Nixon for comment were unsuccessful. A phone number listed for her in Winlock has been disconnected.

The documents state that if she seeks to reinstate her paramedic credential, she would be placed on probation for at least two years with monitoring to ensure public safety. She also would be required to complete a number of classes beforehand, as well as pay a fine of $500.

Nixon first became licensed to practice as a paramedic in Washington in 1995.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

FIREFIGHTERS DOUSE FLAMES INSIDE VACANT APARTMENT

• Nobody was injured when a fire broke out last night in a vacant upstairs apartment in Centralia. Firefighters called just before 9:30 p.m. to the complex on Virginia Drive just off North Pearl Street found smoke coming out the front and back windows, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The building has six units but other residents had gotten themselves outside, according to Assistant Chief Mike Kytta. It appears to have been a malfunctioning baseboard heater, Kytta said. The damage was primarily to the wall, the heater and the nearby carpet, he said.

OFFICERS FIND WANTED MAN HIDING IN HIDE-A-BED

• Police arrested three people when they found a man wanted on a warrant attempting to conceal himself in a hide-a-bed at the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia yesterday. Officers went to Dominic L. Combs’ trailer home in the Pepper Tree RV Park with information he was there just before 4 p.m., according to police. A man and woman told officers Combs was not inside but he was subsequently found with items piled on top of him on his bed, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Found under the bed were prescription drugs not prescribed to Combs so he was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of those and his warrant, Denham said. Booked for rendering criminal assistance were Ashley M. Williams, 24, of Rochester and Joseph L. Nickols, 30, a local homeless person, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT PACKWOOD

• A deputy took a report yesterday from a man who takes care of another individuals’ horses at the 100 block of Timberline Drive in Packwood that sometime over the weekend someone got into a shed and stole a lantern, an emergency radio, waders and a half tank of gas from a van, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police yesterday were investigating a possible fraud involve someone making transactions on someone’s account. Further details were unavailable.

THEFT CENTRALIA

• Centralia police took a report about 11 p.m. yesterday from an individual at the 1100 block of West First Street who said someone stole his wallet while he was playing dodge ball.

THEFT CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 10:40 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 1200 block of Bishop Road. Further details were unavailable.

UNRULY SUBJECTS

• A pair of Castle Rock residents were arrested late yesterday afternoon for fighting in public at the 1500 block of Lum Road in centralia. Matthew S. Brown. 25, and Shane A. Ibarra, 30, were both then released, according to the Centralia Police Department. Brown was additionally cited for resisting arrest, according to police.

• A 35-year-old Bellevue man was arrested just after noon yesterday at Woodland Avenue and Hunt Street for obstructing a peace officer, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MARIJUANA FOUND AT HIGH SCHOOL

• Chehalis police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to W.F. West High School about a student with suspected marijuana. The officer spoke to the 17-year-old girl and confiscated the material so it could sent to a drug lab to be tested, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A Centralia police officer responded just after 3 p.m. yesterday about a building tagged with graffiti on the 400 block of North Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

News brief: Firefighters rescue Centralian after boat flips in river

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Crews responding this morning to a call about an upside down pontoon boat and an oar spotted in the Skookumchuck River in north Centralia found a man who was out of the water but prevented by thick brush from getting up the bank.

Two men from Centralia in two boats had apparently launched from the park off B Street and one of them overturned near there, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The swift water carried his companion’s craft probably another three quarters of a mile downstream before he was able to get off the river, Assistant Chief Mike Kytta said.

The man, in his 50s, had gone into the water and was carried by the river underneath some branches and trees but got himself to the water’s edge, according to Kytta.

Firefighters had to clear a path through the berry vines and brush, Kytta said.

“He was tired and cold and they had to assist him up the bank,” Kytta said.

He was loaded into an ambulance by 11:10 a.m. and taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be evaluated, according to the chief.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Updated at 6:31 p.m.

HOMELESS MAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER GETTING ‘JUMPED’ IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police are investigating after a 45-year-old homeless man with serious injuries sought help at a gas station on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue yesterday evening. An officer called about 6:25 p.m. found the man with a broken nose and numerous facial fractures, according to police. “He was highly intoxicated, he just said someone jumped him,” Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Officers searched the area including Fort Borst Park but found no suspects, according to Denham. The man was checked by medics and transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Denham said. Police were told the injuries were not consistent with falling down or something of that nature, and will be interviewing him again, according to Denham.

SLEEPING DRIVER JAILED

• A 32-year-old Centralia woman was woken up and taken to jail after an officer contacted her “passed out” behind the wheel of a vehicle at an intersection early this morning.  An officer responding about 6:10 a.m. to North Tower and East Oakview Avenue noted the car was at a stop sign with the engine turned off, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. Tammy L. Brick was subsequently arrested for possession of methamphetamine and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STOLEN CAR FOUND, BRIEFLY

• Police following up overnight to a suspicious sight at a motel parking lot determined a 2012 Audi there was stolen. An officer near the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive observed two known subjects around 3 a.m. near the newish vehicle, according to police. They and others contacted in a motel room denied it was theirs but subsequently the officer was told the driver had “borrowed it”, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. The suspected driver, a 39-year-old Elma man, had already left the area by the time police confirmed with the car’s owner in Elma it was missing, according to police. The 39-year-old is being sought for possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FLEEING SUSPECT HEADS TOWARD POLICE STATION

• An individual police called a Good Samaritan called 911 when they spotted a man allegedly shoplift drill bits from Home Depot in Chehalis yesterday and then trailed his vehicle until it was stopped about a block from the police department. Officers responding just before 11 a.m. arrested the suspected shoplifter and his driver, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Christopher D. Buck, 27, of Chehalis was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine when suspected drugs were found on him at the jail, according to officer Linda Bailey. A recommended charge of third-degree theft was added to his case, Bailey said. The driver, Stephen D. Cobb, 40, of Onalaska, was booked for reckless driving and criminal conspiracy, Bailey said. The car was impounded, she said.

TRUCK BODY PARTS MISSING

• Tailgates were stolen off three trucks at the 1500 block of Northwest State Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 9 a.m. yesterday. They are worth $1,000 each, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BREAK-IN AT TACOMA POWER PROPERTY

• Someone stole part of a scrapped copper “cooling core” from a fenced storage yard owned by Tacoma Power in Mossyrock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called out yesterday to the 100 block of Onion Rock Lane learned someone cut a hole in the fence and got inside sometime between Friday and Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $250.

MAN FOUND IN EMPTY HOUSE

• A 30-year-old homeless man was arrested for first-degree trespass yesterday evening after he was discovered inside a vacant home on the 1000 block of E Street in Centralia. Jesus Alejandro Munoz-Cauich was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A Centralia police officer responded to a morning call yesterday about a building tagged with graffiti on Tower Avenue. This time it was at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORTON POLICE PURSUIT ENDS WITH WRECKED HONDA

• A 24-year-old Randle resident was arrested last night for attempting to elude after he allegedly tried to get away from Morton police and headed west on state Route 508 into the Bear Canyon area. A trooper called about 9:20 p.m. to milepost 21 reported the 1993 Honda tried to turn right onto a gravel and dirt road but the driver lost control and it went up an embankment. The driver reportedly fled on foot but was apprehended by police, according to the Washington State Patrol. The car was towed. Michael P. Miller was transported to Morton General Hospital for unspecified injuries, according to the state patrol. He was later booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Read about Thurston courthouse campus locked down following phone threat …

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports deputies will be posted outside the courthouse for security throughout the day following a morning phone call to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office that put the campus on a brief lockdown.

The newspaper’s staff report states the caller was upset about a case and mentioned he had guns and was close by just before 10 a.m. today.

Read more here

Threat via senator’s office draws police response in Chehalis

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police converged on a Chehalis home yesterday afternoon after a caller to Sen. Patty Murray’s office in Washington D.C. reportedly threatened suicide and said it was “going to make the national news.”

The man, in his early 30s, had said he was not getting the help he needed from the veterans administration for his disability, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

A half dozen Chehalis officers as well as at least one sheriff’s deputy responded to the area of Northwest Ohio Avenue following the approximately 4 p.m. call from Washington D.C. according to police.

“We got information there were guns in the house,” police Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

Carrell said an acquaintance of the man’s spoke with him on the phone, asked him to come outside and he did so peacefully within about 20 minutes.

Police didn’t find explosives or anything that indicated the man had the means to cause any kind of large-scale or nationally newsworthy incident, according to Carrell.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson met him at the door and the man was taken voluntarily to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to Carrell.

A spokesperson for the senator’s office said the details of the veteran’s complaint were confidential, but it did trigger a call to the U.S. Capitol Police in D.C.

Sen. Murray’s office will be following up on his concerns, spokesperson Matt McAlvanah said.

Murray is the former chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and remains a senior member, so they do help veterans who have issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs, McAlvanah said.

Chehalis woman pleads guilty to supplying alcohol for deadly teenage party

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
2013.0129.Talia.Date

Talia R. Date, left, faces a judge in Lewis County District Court today.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One of the young women accused of buying booze for a teenage party in Adna that ended when a 16-year-old boy was run over and killed pleaded guilty today to multiple counts of furnishing liquor to minors and reckless endangerment.

Tyler S. Gonzalez, a sophomore at W.F. West High School in Chehalis, was drunk and laying on the roadway when he was hit by a full-sized SUV near the gathering on Brockway Road last May.

Talia R. Date was in Lewis County District Court in Chehalis this afternoon.

She and Megan M. Day, both 22 years old and from Chehalis, were charged in September.

The hearing was brief, with Judge Michael Roewe confirming Date was making her pleas based on an agreement in which the prosecutor dropped two of the 13 charges and would recommend 30 days in jail.

Roewe reminded her he didn’t have to follow the attorneys’ proposal and that each offense was punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

Date’s sentencing will occur in a few weeks.

“She accepted responsibility and took a direct plea on it,” her attorney Wayne Fricke said outside the courtroom.

Fricke said he will be asking the judge to allow his client to serve her time at home, with electronic monitoring. Deputy Prosecutor Brian Gerhart said he wouldn’t oppose it.

Neither of the women has a criminal record, according to Gerhart. They were charged identically and the same plea offer was made to each of them, Gerhart said.

Neither was charged with furnishing liquor to Gonzalez; they didn’t know he was going to be at the party, he said. They were however charged with reckless endangerment involving him.

Reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor in which one “recklessly engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person.”

Charging documents state that Day is the older sister of one of the 16-year-old boys present, and he had called her and asked her to buy alcohol.

When Gonzalez and another young person arrived around midnight, the rest had already been drinking beer, whiskey and vodka, according to the charging documents.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office concluded Gonzalez wandered away and either laid down, passed out or went to sleep on the roadway before he was killed.

Day was sentenced last week to 20 days. Roewe ordered her to report to the Lewis County Jail by Feb. 23, and said that her time would have to be served in the jail, not with any kind of alternative sanction.

Day had pleaded guilty to four counts of furnishing liquor to a minor, but on the seven reckless endangerment charges stated in writing she was only pleading guilty to take advantage of the state’s offer.

Roewe also ordered Day to complete drug and alcohol information school within two months, and suspended the rest of her sentence provided she not have any other convictions for two years.
•••

For background, read “Chehalis women charged with 13 counts in connection with deadly underage drinking party” from Wednesday September 19, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

WOMAN FLOWN TO HOSPITAL AFTER DOTY DUI WRECK

• Two people were hospitalized after a single-vehicle wreck yesterday afternoon along the 400 block of Elk Creek Road near Doty, one with a possible lacerated liver and the other for unspecified injuries who was subsequently booked for driving under the influence. Deputies arriving about 1:20 p.m. noted the vehicle had struck two trees and the 28-year-old passenger, a woman from Shelton, had a large cut to her forehead, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The driver, who smelled of intoxicants and had trouble keeping his balance, refused to say what happened, or even give his name, according to Brown. He was subsequently identified as Alonzo Sontiago-Gonzole, 35, from Guatemala, according to Brown. He doesn’t speak English, she said. Sontiago-Gonzole was arrested for vehicular assault, Brown said. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on him, according to Brown.

WOMAN UNHURT AFTER CRASHING INTO PARKING LOT WALL

• A 78-year-old driver was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital as a precaution after she accidentally accelerated in the parking lot at Safeway in Chehalis and and ran into another vehicle as well as a short retaining wall yesterday afternoon. Firefighters called about 4 p.m. to the scene at the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard had to get the other car moved before the woman could get out, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

SUBARU GOES UP IN SMOKE

• Lewis County Fire District 2 was called yesterday afternoon to a burning vehicle on Interstate 5 near the Cowlitz-Lewis county line. Chief Grant Wiltbank said the Subaru was badly burned but its occupants were safely outside the car. Castle Rock firefighters extinguished the blaze, as it occurred farther south than initially believed, Wiltbank said.

SPRAY PAINT VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called to Southeast Prospect Street during the night where someone had sprayed orange paint on a speed limit sign, left burn marks on two stop signs and used orange spray paint to draw a naughty image on the road. There are no suspects, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police took yet another report this morning of graffiti spray painted on a building on North Tower Avenue. The image at the 800 block of Tower reported just before 7 a.m. this morning appears to be gang-related,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police took a report of a vehicle prowl yesterday from the 300 block of South Market Boulevard in which sometime during the previous week someone opened the unlocked door of a van and stole loose change and automobile oil.

News brief: Randle residents injured when tree falls onto SUV

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
2013.0128.treesuvmorton_2

A tree was removed from atop a Randle couple’s Ford Explorer. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Updated at 9:30 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Randle couple was hospitalized after a tree fell onto their vehicle on U.S. Highway 12 east of Morton last night.

Raymond J. Pollman, 58, was driving a Ford Explorer and stopped near Davis Lake Road waiting for a snow plow clearing the roadway, according to the Washington State Patrol.

It happened about 7:30 p.m.

“The folks were sitting at the intersection waiting for the truck to pass and unfortunately, a tree fell on their vehicle,” Trooper Will Finn  said.

A power line dropped as well he said, leaving a live wire on the roadway which responders had to deal with, he said.

Pollman was taken to Morton General Hospital, according to Finn. His passenger, Dalene J. Pollman, 57, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she is listed this morning in satisfactory condition.

Raymond Pollman was treated and has already been released, according to a Morton hospital spokesperson.

Finn said a transformer, or possibly two, blew at the same time knocking out power to an unknown number of residents in the area.

The roadway there is clear this morning, although numerous trees which must have fallen in the area are cut up on the side of the highway, according to Morton Fire Department secretary Holly Cantrell.

Finn said it was continuing to snow this morning near the pass to the east, with compact snow and ice on the highway.

 

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Updated at 2:21 p.m.

CAR LOST AND FOUND

• A Honda Accord stolen last night when it was left running and unattended for about three minutes in front of an apartment building on the 300 block of Southwest Third Street in Chehalis turned up this morning a front yard on Kennicott Road. Details about its condition were not readily available.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded to an attempted break-in to an espresso stand on the 2300 block of North Pearl Street at about 10 a.m. yesterday. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TWO TRUCKS, TOOLS STOLEN FROM SCHOOL DISTRICT

• Police have found one of the two Toledo School District vehicles stolen last week but continue to look for a maroon 1994 Ford truck with an extended cab, according to the Toledo Police Department. It has the school district’s name on its side in black lettering, according to Chief John Brockmueller. An officer took a report last Tuesday of a break-in to the district’s shop behind the middle school and found a large assortment of tools were stolen as well, according to Brockmueller. Someone used some kind of tool to force open a roll up door, according to the chief. The 1980s Chevrolet half-ton truck was discovered about 5 p.m. that day at the end of Salmon Creek Road, but the list of missing power and hand tools is large, according to Brockmueller.

SHOPLIFTED SPIRITS

• Chehalis police were called to the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard just after 8 p.m. yesterday when a male in his late 20s reportedly hid two bottles of Brandy beneath his coat at Safeway and left, apparently running up the hill, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The loss is $34, according to police.

BURGLARY MINERAL

• A deputy was called yesterday afternoon about a break-in to a vacation home at the 200 block of Mineral Hill Road in Mineral. Sometime between Dec. 27 and yesterday, someone broke a window, went inside and left with a remote door opener, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BURGLARY SALKUM

• A 65-year-old woman called the sheriff’s office on Saturday to report that someone pried open her front door at the 2800 block of U.S. Highway 12 and stole a Wii game system and accessories, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It occurred sometime between Christmas and Jan. 19, according to the sheriff’s office.

THEFT MORTON

• Morton police are investigating the theft of an unspecified amount of cash from an apartment on the 300 block of First Street. The money was reported missing last Tuesday evening, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone broke into a Ford Explorer parked on the 200 block of Southwest Alfred Street in Chehalis sometime between 8 p.m. on Thursday and 5:30 a.m. on Friday, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Among the missing items were a satellite radio receiver and tools, according to police.

• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested on Friday in connection with a vehicle prowl that occurred on Jan. 20 at the 800 block of State Street in Centralia, Among the missing items were a rearview view, a radar detector and a CD stereo,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. James L. Mead was arrested for second-degree vehicle prowl and the rear view mirror was recovered, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning about new graffiti on two buildings at the 600 block of North Tower Avenue.

WRECKS

• A 21-year-old Winlock woman sustained minor injuries when a car ran off the 300 block of Haywire Road near Napavine and struck a tree at about 12:45 p.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Others in the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, including a pair of 2-year-olds, were uninjured but the car was totaled, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. A deputy responding about 12:45 p.m. cited the driver, a 22-year-old Napavine man, for speeding, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 21-year-old Ethel driver suffered only minor scratches when he reportedly collided with a fence and grazed a power pole on Saturday night at the 400 block of Leonard Road  totaling his Ford pickup truck. A deputy responding about 10 p.m. arrested Abraham H. Snodgrass for driving under the influence, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 26-year-old man from Spanaway called the sheriff’s office about 4:45 a.m. on Saturday to report he was a passenger in a car that crashed into the trees off the 200 block of Skate Creek Road South in Packwood. The 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit sustained major damage and the caller told a deputy he did not know who the driver was, but nobody was injured, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. When a deputy arrived about 7:30 a.m., the driver had left, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

THREE MEDICS INJURED IN GAS STATION BRAWL

• A 47-year-old man is jailed after he allegedly attacked paramedics while they were fueling up their ambulance at a Centralia gas station yesterday in an incident that turned into a melee involving a half dozen AMR employees, four police officers and even a female bystander who stepped in to help. One medic was bit on his arm, another struck in the face with his own radio and a third kicked in the chest before it was over, according to the Centralia Police Department.

2013.0128.amr.brawl.three_2

Courtesy Centralia Police Department

Police said it began about 4:30 p.m. as Wade C. Buchanan was putting gas in his vehicle and AMR medics were getting fuel at the Chevron station on the 1200 block of Mellen Street, near Interstate 5. AMR’s headquarters is right around the corner. Police Sgt. Carl Buster said Buchanan for unknown reasons charged one of the medics after making a comment about them driving a new ambulance. “They’re calling for help on their radio, so other medics are real close,” Buster said. “They showed up and jumped in.” When officers arrived, they had Buchanan on the ground, Buster said. One officer used his Taser in an attempt to subdue Buchanan to no avail so another officer deployed pepper spray, Buster said. It had no effect either, Buster said. Buchanan was subsequently detained, according to police. “No one can explain why he went off,” Buster said. There were enough medics there, they treated themselves, he said. One officer suffered a possible shoulder injury, the medic with the bite was taken to the hospital for treatment and the 49-year-old Vancouver, Wash. woman was unhurt, according to police. Buchanan, whose address is in Olympia, had some scrapes on his hand, according to police. He was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for two counts of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department. Watch video on king5.com

WIRE STOLEN

• Someone broke into an outbuilding on the 3800 block of Ives Road in Centralia and made off with approximately 400 feet of wire, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

BOAT MOTOR THEFT

• Two electric boat motors were stolen during the night from the 2000 block of Gallagher Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

WHISKEY SHOPLIFTED

• A 19-year-old was arrested for trying to steal a bottle of Jack Daniels from a grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia on Friday evening. Jonathon Nickols, a Centralia resident, was cited for third-degree theft and minor in possession when he was contacted by an officer about 5:30 p.m., and then he was released,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

MEDS MISSING

• Centralia police were called just after 11 a.m. on Friday to a residence on the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road stolen missing Oxycodone. Officers have a suspect in mind,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

METH AND HEROIN ARREST

• A 34-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of both heroin and methamphetamine at Alder and Cherry streets in Centralia on Friday afternoon. Scott R. Hotchkiss was initially contacted by police about a warrant just before 3 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

NOT A GUN

• Centralia police got a report just after 1 p.m. on Friday regarding a male displaying a firearm to another driver on West Mellen Street. When officers caught up with the suspect, no gun was found in the vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department. The officer suspected the driver simply had something in his hand that looked like a weapon, according to police.

TEENS FOLLOWED BY STRANGER

• Centralia police were called about 3 p.m. on Friday to the area of Cedarwood Drive regarding a male driving an older red pickup truck who had followed some teenagers home. Once the kids got home, the truck left and could not be located, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Guest column: Right to bear arms begets responsibility

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

By Steve Mansfield
Lewis County sheriff

CHEHALIS –  To the citizens of Lewis County:

As a result of the recent tragic shootings and escalating violence across our nation, we again find ourselves deliberating on the highly volatile topics of gun control and Second Amendment rights which are further fueled by political agendas and high emotions.

2010.0620.mansfield.campaignpic.trim_2

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield

As your sheriff, I have sworn to support the Constitution of the United States and to support the constitution and enforce the laws of the state of Washington. This is my mandate and I will not lose sight of that. I made my position clear on this topic when you, the people of Lewis County, elected me as your sheriff. I have not wavered from such position or the responsibility you bestowed upon me to carry out these duties. Regardless of the path the federal government chooses to pursue, I am first and foremost responsible and accountable to you.

Doing nothing to address the problem of violence and fear is not an option.

Rather, it will only ensure that the violence will continue. Likewise, doing nothing will only empower those who have no interest in protecting rights afforded by the Second Amendment. Unchallenged, they will continue to move forward to a point where it will be too late to undo the damage of ill-conceived and misapplied legislative actions.

I fully support the ability of law abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. However, every right begets responsibility. That being said, I do feel it is not only important, but imperative that we all be involved in ending this senseless violence that cannot continue to go unchecked.

So yes, I do believe action needs to occur, but not in a knee-jerk fashion. Rather, our actions must be deliberate and any new legislation must be crafted with scrutiny to guard against infringement upon our constitutional rights.

We must be active participants in the process to find answers that address the causes of our social problems, not just the symptoms. We must focus on the areas that make sense and that can have an impact on the root problem. I consider the root problem to be not guns themselves, but guns in the hands of the wrong people.

It is to this end I am continuing to focus efforts to:

• Close background check loopholes that will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

• Aggressively work with our prosecutor to vigorously prosecute those who commit crimes with guns and have been restricted from gun ownership due to their criminal past.

• Work with our schools, businesses and citizens in facilitating successful “all hazard” planning and preparation efforts for critical incidents.

• Educate the public on issues of deadly force and safely carrying a firearm.

• Work with our legislature to ensure the rights of law abiding citizens are not compromised by knee-jerk legislation and politics.

To restate: I will faithfully support the ability of law abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights. I ask you to stay informed and engaged with the issues.

Also, I ask you to be able and willing to make your position known to our state and federal legislators. You can be assured I will uphold my oath of office, continue to do my best in meeting our mission, and protect our constitutional rights.

Sincerely,
Steve Mansfield, Sheriff of Lewis County

•••

Others sharing their views in recent days include Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin who told a gathering on Friday, according to the Yakima-Herald Republic, he favored “improved background checks, including at gun shows, and better access to mental health care, but not reinstatement of a law that expired in 2004 that banned certain semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines”;

And former Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball who wrote a piece yesterday in The Olympian in which he says he does not support the claim the Second Amendment allows citizens to possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, and, he says, “Furthermore, no one should be able to purchase any firearm without submitting to a thorough background check, no matter where or how they purchase that weapon.”

News brief: Litter of pups perish in West Lewis County fire

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A heat lamp warming some puppies may have been what ignited a barn fire in Dryad earlier today.

About nine firefighters from Doty and Pe Ell responded to the approximately 11 a.m. call to the 200 block of Kobe Road.

Lewis County Fire District 16 Chief Greg Feuchter said the roughly 30-foot by 40-foot metal sided structure was a total loss.

“I think the female and either five or eight puppies, they’re gone,” Feuchter said.

The building was used for storage, and the dogs, he said. The family lost a tractor as well, he said.

Feuchter said he wasn’t sure of the dogs’ breed, although there were some Border Collies elsewhere on the property.

Crews were on the scene until almost 2 p.m., he said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 25th, 2013

STOLEN HONDA CAR FOUND BURNING LAST NIGHT

• Police are investigating yet another car stolen in Centralia and found torched in south Thurston County. Firefighters were called around 10 p.m. yesterday to a fully involved vehicle fire on a service road near the railroad tracks very close to the county line, off state Route 507, according to Thurston County Fire District 16. Centralia police say the Honda Accord was taken from a residence on the 1100 block of Long Road and found burning about an hour later.

MORNING BURGLARY IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police are investigating a break-in this morning at a building on Northwest Prindle Street. Officers were called about 7:15 a.m. when a big roll-up door was found open. Someone broke a window to get inside and tried to gather up some things, but were gone when police arrived, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon about a vehicle prowl that may have occurred while the victim was parked at Yard Birds. Missing was medication and other items, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Former Centralia High School student getting a shot at shorter sentence from 2007 drive-by shooting

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. was back in a Lewis County courtroom today as lawyers begin the process to address a court order to resentence the former Centralia High School student.

Five years ago, Solis-Diaz was given nearly 93 years in prison for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old.

He was arrested in August 2007 after gunfire was sprayed along the east side of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, missing six bar patrons. Witnesses testified it was gang-related.

A sentencing hearing was set for May 17 in front of Judge Nelson Hunt, who presided over his trial and sentenced him the first time.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said today she will be writing a brief to the court to address how long the new sentence should be and why.

Her boss, elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, said they don’t know yet exactly what they will recommend.

Defense attorney Robert Quillian said he will be doing the same, and has much work to do, studying the case and the legal issues involved.

The appeals court referenced some matters that could have been handled differently, Quillian said.

Quillian indicated to the judge he will ask for an investigator.

Among the shortcomings identified by the Washington State Court of Appeals in its September decision, was the lack in 2007 of a pre-sentencing report which could have shed light upon issues related to the teen’s mental and emotional sophistication.

Solis-Diaz challenged his virtual life sentence in light of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held a sentence of life without parole is forbidden for a juvenile who did not commit homicide.

He has been incarcerated at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla-Walla. His attorney requested today he remain in the Lewis County Jail for closer access for meetings.

Today, in the Chehalis courtroom, were Solis-Diaz’s mother Elizabeth Dan, and nearly 20 apparent supporters.

Dan was reluctant to speak about the case.

“I just don’t want to read anything bad about my son,” Dan said. “I tried to raise my son the best way I know how. And that’s it.”

Chehalis defense attorney Chris Baum was a deputy prosecutor in 2007. He handled the case.

“This is a tough situation and I’m not sure where it’s going to go,” Baum said this afternoon. “I’m very curious.”

The 2007 sentence was driven by statute, Baum said.

First, although Solis-Diaz was only 16, he was treated as an adult in adult court, Baum said. The multiple convictions for first-degree assault had to be served consecutively.

“And no matter how you slice it, there’s 30 years on the firearms enhancements,” he said.

Baum suggested it needs to be dealt with by the legislature.

His prediction is the new sentence will also be very long, because of the statutory framework in place, and it will get appealed and a higher court will sort it out further.

“The judge has very little discretion,” Baum said. “The real authority is in the hands of the prosecutor. It’s the charging decision.”

Prosecutor Meyer said the Lewis County case is front and center right now among prosecutors around the state.

The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys is putting together prosed legislation to deal with cases that amount to life without the possibility of parole for juveniles, Meyer said. They’re doing it because the Supreme Court has made it clear it has to be addressed, he said.

One idea would be something like a review after 30 years, according to Meyer.

Quillian, who is based in Olympia and been a lawyer since 1976, said sentences as long as his clients don’t occur very often at all.

He’s hardly seen any among his own cases, he said, if you don’t count murders and three-strike cases who are literally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

“I can count them on one hand, I can tell you that,” he said.

•••

For background, read: “Appeals court gives Centralia teen a “do-over” on 90-plus-year drive-by shooting sentence” from Wednesday September 19, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

CANDY ASSAULT

• A 28-year-old Centralia man was arrested overnight for allegedly stealing a candy bar from a local business and then throwing it at the clerk when he was confronted. An officer called just after 2 a.m. to the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia booked Matt Eastman into the Lewis County Jail for misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WORSE ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called to a home on Southwest Mills Avenue about 8:30 a.m. yesterday where a 32-year-old man allegedly choked his girlfriend. He was arrested for second-degree assault but not booked into jail because he had to be taken to the hospital for an apparent overdose of pills, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ANOTHER ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to Green Hill School where a pair of teenagers had gotten into a fight and one of them hit a staff member who separated them. The case involving a 16-year-old at the state juvenile detention facility will be referred to prosecutors for a charge of custodial assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BIG FOOT BREAK-IN

• A deputy called last night to a burglary of a large shop building on the 200 block of state Route 506 in Toledo found a door open on the south side of the building and a roughly size 12 boot print on the door. The victim, a 66-year-old Toutle man, said that just before 9 p.m. he heard an alarm, saw a light on in the shop, shined his light that way and called 911, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Missing were a table-chop saw, an air wrench and an extension cord, according to the sheriff’s office.

ANOTHER TOOL THEFT

• About $1,400 worth of tools were discovered stolen when a Mossyrock man returned home at about 1 p.m. yesterday after being away only an hour and a half, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the residence on the 100 block of Vista Drive was told the resident left some tools just inside the front door and two batteries charging on the deck. Among the missing items are a power drill, an impact wrench and a bucket of other tools, according to the sheriff’s office.

News brief: Investigation leads to employee in $1,000-plus theft from Centralia business

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

It was not a safe cracker, but an inside job when more than $1,000 went missing from the Visiting Nurses Thrift Shop the other day, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police were called early Tuesday morning to the business on the 200 block of South Pearl Street about a burglary. Money was missing from a safe.

It quickly became apparent to detectives it was staged to look like a break-in, police Sgt. Stacy Denham said.

“The evidence didn’t line up that someone came in from the outside,” Denham said.

Investigating detectives came to conclude a 27-year-old employee who had worked for the business about three years was involved, according to police. When interviewed, he acknowledged what he did, Denham said.

Denham said an examination of the safe showed it was opened using the keypad and then the keypad was damaged after the safe was opened.

The money was not recovered, it had already been spent. The suspect said he needed the money, for bills, Denham said.

The 27-year-old Centralia man has not been arrested, but police are recommending to prosecutors that he be charged with burglary.

Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
2013.0123.keith.lorrine.birdwell.closer_2

Keith and Lorrine Birdwell listen as their lawyer speaks for them in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The owners of Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales, accused of using deception to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Centralia-based  bank, went before a judge today, following the filing of criminal charges.

Keith A. Birdwell, 47, and Lorrine D. Birdwell, 44, were accompanied by a lawyer who notified Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler the couple had already worked out an agreement with the prosecutor that actual bail money wouldn’t be required.

“They are longtime members of the community,” attorney Daniel Garner said.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead confirmed the couple could remain out of jail pending trial by each posting a $20,000 signature bond; a promise to appear for hearings.

Lawler approved the arrangement and ordered the Toledo couple to report to the jail to get their photos and fingerprints taken if not by 5 p.m., then tomorrow.

Garner said, outside the courtroom, he had no comment to make on behalf of his clients.

The Birdwells, who own a used car business with sites in Centralia and in Lacey, are each charged with one count of first-degree theft and five counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

The checks were allegedly written for several thousand dollars each over a period of three days this past July and returned for “not sufficient funds.”

The charges include special allegations the couple’s actions were major economic offenses with a high degree of sophistication.

The circumstances involve a form of a line of credit with Security State Bank, in which the unsold vehicles at the car lots were used as collateral for the loans, according to Centralia Police Department detective Sgt. Fitzgerald.

Charging documents describe how a bank employee conducting a check in July of the collateral could find only about 10 of the 55 vehicles which should have been on the car lots.

“The bank’s unrecovered losses on these ‘flooring’ loans was hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg wrote in charging documents.

The “bad” checks – a secondary issue – caused the Birdwell’s business account at Security State to go into the red by more than $160,000, according to Eisenberg.

The police investigation began in August after the bank contacted police about the situation. Detectives secured several search warrants to examine the couple’s bank accounts and their home in Toledo.

Charging documents suggest the bank discovered a potential problem in July, but the ensuing investigation found the alleged deception on the part of the Birdwells began around the previous October.

Eisenberg describes the loans this way: In order to finance the cars available for sale on their lots, Birdwells had a line of credit with their bank, allowing them to stock their dealership while maintaining capital to acquire new vehicles.

Security State would make a so-called flooring loan on each incoming vehicle and Birdwells promised – in their contract – to notify the bank and pay off each loan within 10 days of selling the vehicle.

Birdwells also agreed to notify the bank of any change in a car’s location.

The bank would periodically inspect the lots to check on the unsold vehicles and offer new loans on newly acquired cars, according to Eisenberg.

The police investigation found examples of alleged misrepresentations on Birdwells’ part, such as allegedly obtaining loans on three cars they did not own, and in other cases, allegedly failing to notify the bank a car had been sold.

In those cases, they either acquired or maintained their flooring loan for weeks or months after the sale, charging documents state.

When a bank employee would visit the dealerships, the employee was told the car was at the shop, at another dealership or being sold at an off-site sale, the court documents allege.

“Birdwells would also pass one car off as another, to suggest it was still on the lot, when in fact it had been sold,” Eisenberg writes.

It’s more than just not being able to pay back a loan, which would be a civil issue, according to police.

“There is a space in there where it’s ambiguous, but they crossed that threshold when they began deceptive practices to keep the bank from getting its money back,” detective Sgt. Fitzgerald said.

It came to a head in July, when a bank employee discovered 21 vehicles were unaccounted for, according to charging documents.

Keith Birdwell explained that away, but the following day got a phone call from the bank’s president asking about the discrepancies and asking why the bank was not receiving loan payments after car were sold, according to the documents.

The charging papers give the following account:

The two set a meeting for July 24, but it was rescheduled for July 26.

However, on July 24, the bank conducted an unannounced “flooring check” and that’s when only about 10 of the collateralized cars could be found.

Beginning that day, Keith Birdwell allegedly wrote several checks from their Twin Star Credit Union account to their Security State account. The first one was for $29,750, all but one of the others were larger.

However, the Twin Star account – which for months had a working balance of $25 to $105 – did not contain nearly enough money to cover the checks.

The Birdwell’s representative told police detective Rick Hughes that Keith Birdwell expected to cover the checks with a loan from an associate. The associate told detectives he had not promised a loan, but had only said it would be considered.

Criminal charges were filed on Jan. 8. The Birdwells were summonsed to appear in court today.

First-degree theft, without the aggravating circumstances tacked on, has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and / or a $20,000 fine.

A court date was set for February 7 in which the Birdwells will appear before a judge again to make their pleas.