Archive for December, 2013

Sirens news highlights – and lowlights – from 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

What might the next 12 months bring on the streets, the backroads and in the courtrooms of Lewis County?

Imagine a week with no drug arrests or domestic violence, a month with no thievery or assault and what about a year without any violent deaths? How about no house fires?

While sharing the details from the world of cops, courts and fire departments, I have to confess at least some of my motivation is perhaps so some of us can learn some small something so if we end up in the news, it is for something wondrous and inspiring instead of Sharyn’s Sirens Roundup.

Here is a look back at some of the stories that topped the Sirens news during the year. If any of them bring to mind words of wisdom to share with the rest of us, please offer your thoughts in the comment section.

If any prompt predictions of what 2014 could hold, those would be nice to hear as well.


The year 2013 began with first-degree theft charges filed against the owners of Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales, alleging the couple used various deceptions to avoid paying back the Centralia-based Security State Bank for loans for vehicles, with losses alleged in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Keith A. Birdwell, 47, and Lorrine D. Birdwell, 44, pleaded not guilty.

The Toledo residents who operated the used car business with sites in Centralia and Lacey are awaiting separate trials early in 2014. The “bad checks” issue against Lorrine Birdwell has been dismissed.


The following month, a 24-year-old rural Chehalis resident shot and injured a nighttime intruder inside his house and was highly praised by the sheriff, except for that he didn’t fire more shots, fire sooner and use better ammunition.

Brian L. Creed, 51, who was high on methamphetamine when he encountered the just-awakened young man in the home on Highway 603 subsequently pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, and read aloud an apology before he was sentenced to just shy of three years in prison.


Almost a year after losing her 2-year-old daughter to torturous sexual abuse of a new live-in boyfriend, Becky M. Heupel of Centralia faced a judge, accused of failing to protect the little girl.

The 31-year-old subsequently pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal mistreatment, agreeing to pay with one year and a day of prison time for not acting on clues something was amiss.

Two-year-old Koralynn Fister died from drowning and head trauma while in the care of James M. Reeder, who was convicted but denied he was responsible.


A school bus carrying the Toledo-Winlock High School soccer team went airborne off Interstate 5 and came to rest wheels down at the bottom of a ravine on the night of April 9, with no serious injuries but conflicting reports as to whether its brakes failed.

Ronnie Withrow, the 53-year-old driver was praised by responders for guiding the 2009 Thomas full-sized yellow bus between a sign and a guard rail at the northbound exit to state Route 505.

An inspector with the Washington State Patrol found no mechanical failures although Withrow said the brakes went out. His ticket for failing to stop at the stop sign was eventually dismissed  replaced by an infraction for moving a defective vehicle.


Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey blasted board members of the Lewis County Historical Museum when he sentenced its former executive director for stealing at least $124,000 during her time at the helm.

Deborah Sue Knapp, 53, was given 14 months after pleading guilty to multiple counts of first-degree theft, apparently having routinely issued herself extra salary through payroll draws and using the museum debit card for personal expenses.

Knapp was arrested at the end of 2011 after revelations the non-profit’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained, attributed mostly to the museum living beyond its means.


Some 25 law enforcement personnel took part in an operation in which numerous individuals in Randle were arrested following a months-long drug investigation.

The so-called Big Bottom Bust netted 10, seven of which were accused of selling mostly small amounts of methamphetamine with plea deals made in light of an unreliable informant with mental health issues.


A 48-year-old Chehalis area mother of two teenage daughters was beaten to death by her boyfriend, who initially told a story of wrecking his truck on a logging road near Morton, as they tried to escape three assailants.

Corey R. Morgan, 32, had been sentenced just two days earlier for a previous incident of domestic violence against Brenda Bail.

After Morgan pleaded guilty, his lawyer told the court both were bi-polar, both taking medication and both decided to go out drinking together. Then a judge sentenced him to just short of 23 years in prison.


A 39-year-old woman died eight days after she suffered burns in a fire in a Vader house fire, which had no electricity or running water.

Jeannette Dunivan-Spain told a deputy she tried to knock down flames from a knocked over candle that woke her up.

The one-time May Day queen from Vader suffered second-degree burns that led to an infection which killed her.


A 59-year-old motorcyclist who was struck by a bolt of lightning managed to pull off Interstate 5 into a Chehalis gas station and then delay his ambulance ride to the hospital while he arranged safekeeping for his bike.

Medics found minor burns on the side of the Tenino resident’s head and inside his helmet.


A huge news story from 1985 resurfaced last year and then dominated the local news scene with the six-week trial regarding the abduction and slayings of an elderly Ethel couple, Ed and Minnie Maurin.

Prosecutors persuaded a jury that former Mossyrock resident Ricky A. Riffe at the very least was an accomplice to their other longtime suspect who was deceased, the defendant’s younger brother John Gregory Riffe.

With no DNA evidence or fingerprints, but with nearly 100 individuals testifying, Riffe was convicted as charged in the case in which the Maurin’s were apparently forced to drive to their Chehalis bank and withdraw a sizable amount of cash before being shot in their backs and dumped on a logging road.


The Riffe trial ran into November and the 55-year-old, through his attorney, continued to deny he was responsible when he was sentenced to 103 years in prison.


Two brothers were charged after a raid of a Chehalis area home on Jackson Highway turned up freezer bags containing about $200,000 worth of methamphetamine, with crystals as long as a Sharpie felt pen.

The arrests of Randall D. Mauel, 42, and Ryan G. Mauel, 37, came out of fast-moving investigation by narcotics detectives in Thurston County within 24 hours of the local arrival of the drugs, which included  two baggies filled with heroin.


Fill in the blank. Please feel free to offer your predictions for what’s possible during the coming calendar year.

Read about confrontation at Westport Winery draws law enforcement …

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Courtesy photo by Rickie Lehto

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Aberdeen) Daily World reports an investigation is underway in connection with an incident in which a Rochester man tangled with the owner of the Westport Winery, beginning possibly with his son urinating behind the building and ending with a pistol drawn.

News reporter Brionna Friedrich writes Derek Johnson of Rochester, his son, Drew Johnson of Tumwater, and the son’s girlfriend Rickie Lehto stopped at the winery after clam digging on Sunday afternoon; that deputies were called by its owners, one of whom displayed a firearm.

Kim Roberts in a prepared statement claimed they were trespassers who tried to run Blain Roberts over prompting the former Spokane County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy to raise his firearm in self defense, but none of the parties wanted to pursue charges, according to Friedrich.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Read about it here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


• A Chehalis man thwarted an attempted car jacking yesterday evening by pulling a pistol from his hip, scaring the would-be robber away. Police said the 22-year-old was parked behind the library on Northeast Washington Avenue looking at his phone when just after 6 p.m., a male pretending to have a weapon in his jacket, reached through the partially open window of the Jeep Cherokee and said “Surprise n*****, give me your car,” according to police. The subject saw the weapon come up and ran, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Officers checked the area but did not find their suspect, Officer Linda Bailey said. He is described as about 5-feet 8-inches tall, with dark hair wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans, according to Bailey. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police or Lewis County Crime Stoppers, Bailey said.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday of a vehicle prowl from the 3200 block of Galvin Road in which a bag containing an iPad was taken. The vehicle had been unlocked, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone slashed two tires on a vehicle parked outside a residence on the 400 block of North Ash Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police just after 8 p.m. yesterday.


• A stretch of roadway in Centralia was closed this morning after a motorist ran onto a fire hydrant at about 6:30 a.m. Police and aid called to the area where West Main Street turns into Harrison Avenue found the Chehalis man was not injured but the “leaking” flooded the street for a period of time, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants;
responses for alarm, shoplifting, violation of no contact order, trespassing, inquiry about a protection order, subject digging through a dumpster … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 30th, 2013

The driver escaped before his car went up in smoke. / Courtesy image by Carl Weiks


• A column of smoke rising from Interstate 5 north of Centralia yesterday was a burning passenger car. Firefighters called about 3:30 p.m. to the southbound shoulder near the Lewis-Thurston county line extinguished the fire, according to Riverside Fire Authority. “From what I understand, the operator was just driving along, noticed smoke coming from under the hood and pulled over,” Capt. Greg Schwartz said. The driver began to remove some of his belongings from the vehicle and had to be checked by medics, but was okay, Schwartz said. An electrical issue was suspected, the car was destroyed, he said.


• Chehalis police were called about 9:30 p.m. yesterday about medication stolen from the 1100 block of Southeast Washington Avenue from an unlocked residence.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, shoplifting; responses for alarm, disputes, suspicious circumstances, runaway teen, series of loud booms, individual threatening suicide, child playing on phone and dialing 911, delusional neighbor without medicine, suspected theft of a can of “chew” that subsequently turned up, intoxicated guy pounding on the door of a residence with his pants around his ankles … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Police apprehend a man who ran off from them at the AM/PM gas station on 13th Street in Chehalis. / Courtesy photo by Angie Denney



• Traffic came to a halt as police chased a detainee who slipped away from them at a gas station on 13th Street in Chehalis and ran onto Interstate 5 crossing nearly to the opposite shoulder before he was taken into custody yesterday. It began about 10:20 a.m. when Chehalis police got a call from Green Hill School giving them a heads up about an employee acting strangely and being made to leave the juvenile detention facility, according to police. Less than an hour later, a 911 caller said the man was behind the counter at the AM/PM across the street and wouldn’t leave, according to Sgt. Rick McNamara. The approximately 6-foot 7-inch tall individual was acting as though he worked there and was scaring people, Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Arriving officers attempted to Tase him, but he jumped over the counter and ran off, police said. He headed northbound on foot, crossed the center barrier and was trying to stop cars. “He was non-compliant and not completely with it,” Wilson said. Finally, as an officer pointed a bean bag shotgun at him in the center of the freeway, he did what he was told, according to Wilson. Wellington M. Waggener, 24, of Centralia, was taken to the hospital to be cleared and then was booked into the Lewis County Jail for obstructing and resisting arrest, according to police.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon of a blue 2003 Ford F-350 pickup stolen from where it was parked on Caveness near the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue. Nearby, they found an abandoned white Ford pickup which turned out to be stolen from Portland, Ore., leading them to suspect a connection, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault; responses for collision, protection order violation, possible burglary and misdemeanor theft including a three-wheeled, pedal-powered Green Machine from a yard on the 300 block of Wilding Street in Centralia  … and more.


CORRECTION: The item about the 24-year-old man chased onto the freeway has been updated to reflect the correct timing of events.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Updated at 10:40 a.m.


• The sound of prancing and pawing on the roof was not reindeer and the one dressed all in fur from his head to his foot who dropped down the chimney was not Santa. Firefighters were called yesterday afternoon to a two-story house on the 300 block of South Gold Street in Centralia, asked to help remove a family pet from inside a chimney. “I was a little hesitant because it was kind of out of the scope of what we normally do,” Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Scott Snyder said. But after talking with the young woman, he knew they could probably help, he said this morning. On Christmas Day, they heard meowing inside the flu, Snyder said. The cat apparently sleeps on top of the chimney and had fallen about 25 feet, he said. The teenage owner of the 9-year-old kitty was ready for them to tear apart the fireplace and chimney, but it was hand built with river rock and volcanic rock, and was something that could not easily be repaired, according to Snyder. “We did a little detective work, dismantled the propane heater fireplace insert, removed some flashing and fished the cat out,” he said. The feline had been resting on a shelf inside the flu, miraculously keeping warm but not succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning as the heater had been run, according to Snyder. The cat was a little sooty, a little scared, but otherwise fine, Snyder said. “He managed to come out in pretty good condition,” he said. “That family was very happy.”


• Centralia police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday to the parking lot of a motel on the 1000 block of Eckerson Road following the discovery someone had broken into a Schwan’s frozen food delivery truck. The prowler had forced open the doors and left with $300 worth of product, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 6-foot by 10-foot utility trailer was reported stolen yesterday from the 800 block of E Street in Centralia.

• Police took a report about 6:30 p.m. from the 100 block of Benjamin Street in Centralia regarding a package containing gifts which had been stolen off a porch.


• A 23-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant following contact with an officer about 10:40 p.m. yesterday at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Jacob D. Holmgren was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.


• A Longview man is listed in good condition after he was struck by a van on Interstate 5 near Vader this morning. Troopers called about 7:10 a.m. to the area near milepost 58 report a 31-year-old Winlock man driving a 2005 Ford work van southbound moved to the right when he saw the pedestrian come out from the center median area. The pedestrian ran to the westside ditch and then back into the lane where he was hit, according to the Washington State Patrol. John R. Church, 38, of Longview, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol. The investigating trooper reports it’s unknown if drugs or alcohol may have been involved. No citation or charges are expected for the driver.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for collisions … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 27th, 2013


• Police descended upon the Chehalis Industrial Park area last night after a teenager fled a stolen car pulled over on Interstate 5. Trooper Tara Hicks said it was around 6:20 p.m. when she stopped the northbound vehicle near milepost 73 for failing to keep right except for passing. There were four occupants, but one of them ran away, according to Hicks. A Chehalis police dog and its partner subsequently located the 18-year-old suspect – from Antioch, Calif. – in the area of Jackson Highway and Rush Road, police said. He was taken to the hospital to be treated and was booked into the Lewis County Jail along with two others. A juvenile male was booked at the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center. Hicks said the 2007 Buick Lucerne belonged to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and was listed stolen out of Pittburg, Calif. Prosecutors declined to file charges and the three adults were scheduled to be released from jail this afternoon. Hicks said the investigation is ongoing.


• A 33-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant following contact with an officer about 5 o’clock this morning at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Jesse T. Anderson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday from the 1400 block of Logan Street regarding a car prowl that occurred sometime during the night on Monday. A purse was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone poured antifreeze into the gas tank of a car at the 100 block of Mayfield Court near Mossyrock sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The damage is estimated at $4,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Someone broke out the rear window of a car at the 1800 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, disorderliness, protection order violation, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances … and more.

Former Tenino teacher, tutor convicted of collecting child porn

Friday, December 27th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A former Tenino Elementary School teacher who was also a Boy Scout volunteer pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography following a plea agreement with federal authorities in connection with his arrest earlier this year.

James D. Mobley was arrested when his home was searched last January by law enforcement who turned up 650 images and 45 videos he purchased from a Toronto-based web site billing itself as a provider of naturist films, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mobley was described by federal authorities as a teacher who was also a private tutor and active as a volunteer with Boy Scouts.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the 47-year-old will undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation and sexual deviancy treatment, register as a sex offender and be recommended for a four-year prison term, according to spokesperson Emily Langlie.

When he is sentenced on March 21 in U.S. District Court, the judge is free to impose up to the maximum of 20 years, however, according to Langlie.

Mobley is one of 348 people arrested worldwide, so far, as part of what was dubbed Project Spade, an investigation led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service of the international business, according to a news release.

The investigation has resulted in 386 children rescued from direct abuse and exploitation, according to the news release.

When a search of Azovfilms was conducted in March 2011, hundreds of child pornography DVDs and business records were seized. Mobley’s multiple purchases were made between February 2009 and January 2011, according to Langlie.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Updated at 11:43 a.m.


• Deputies set up containment around Rainbow Falls State Park west of Chehalis on Tuesday evening while a police dog searched for an individual apparently attempting to avoid being picked up on a warrant from the state Department of Corrections. Centralia Police Department K-9 Kayo located Jamie L. McCarty hiding behind a tree, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The 27-year-old Chehalis resident was taken to the hospital to be treated for what the sheriff’s office described as a minor bite on both of his legs before he was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Cmdr. Steve Aust. It began around 6 p.m. when deputies went looking for McCarty at a residence on the 600 block of Leudinghaus Road in Dryad with a warrant and then observed a vehicle associated with him pass by, which they caught up with at the entrance to the park, Aust said. The passenger exited and ran, but was caught; the driver, Jennifer R. Purcell, 20, of Chehalis, was arrested and booked for rendering criminal assistance, according to the sheriff’s office. McCarty was additionally booked for resisting arrest, Aust said.


• Sometime between 6:45 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. on Tuesday, someone entered  home on the 900 block of Silverbrook Road in Randle and made off with two homemade jewelry boxes and their contents, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding to the Christmas Eve break-in reports the loss is estimated at $200, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 30-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of heroin following contact with an officer about 5:20 p.m. yesterday at the 1200 block of Mellen Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Nicole R. Sellards was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• Police responding at mid-day on Tuesday to the area of Washington Elementary School on the 800 block of Field Avenue in Centralia arrested a 35-year-old Centralia man. Lance J. Myhre was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine and a possible assault charge is pending as he reportedly pushed his girlfriend, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police responded yesterday to a report of several car tires slashed overnight in the area of the 3000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia.

• A 21-year-old Centralia woman was arrested  for allegedly cutting the tire on her boyfriends’ car in connection with the 700 block of South Gold Street in Centralia on Tuesday afternoon. Ashley M. Bryant was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree malicious mischief, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, misdemeanor theft … and more.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013


From Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Marijuana central could be Chehalis Industrial Park

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Who knew Lewis County harbored so many entrepreneurial spirits ready to take a chance on the newly legalized cash crop of cannabis.

The list of those seeking licenses from the state to grow recreational marijuana locally ballooned to more than 40 on Friday, the end of a month-long period for applications.

The state-regulated industry based on the passage of last year’s Initiative 502 contains three types of licenses. One for producers who will cultivate the plants. Another for processors who will prepare it for resale with packaging and may create marijuana-infused products like so-called “edibles”. And a third for retailers.

In Lewis County, just four entities have made requests for a retail license to sell to the public.

But the list of applicants to become processors or producers is long.

Having all three licenses is not permitted under I-502, but a licensee may hold both a producer and a processor license simultaneously. A number of individuals appear to be attempting to go that direction, according to the cumulative list released today by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

The WSLCB is the agency responsible for issuing the approvals.

While there is a cap on the number of retail licenses that will be given out – seven in Lewis County – the agency says there is no limit on the number of producer and processor licenses it will hand out. To those who are approved.

Information for applicants from the WSLCB says if one’s application is approved, they will receive an electronic billing statement requesting payment of the $1,000 fee.

Reasons for denial are many, for example, among them, failure to meet basic requirements, objection from the local authority, indicators of hidden ownership or based on a persons’s criminal history.

Last week, a spokesperson for the board said they expect it could take them 60 to 90 days to begin issuing the licenses, similar to the wait for liquor licenses.

Some locations on the list have applied for multiple licenses to produce or process. Leading them is 208 Maurin Road, in the Chehalis Industrial Park.

Sixteen entities including those with names such as Emerald Joy and Evergreen Trees are seeking to grow and process marijuana at that location. Some have identified “suites” in their addresses, other have not.

Who are they? Who is their landlord in the large warehouse? And what does the Port of Chehalis think of such neighbors? And, is that property subject to local business licensing from the city, or the county, is it part of an urban growth area with mixed rules?

None of those are questions that could be answered after noon time on Christmas Eve Day. More to come later.

Either way, business is not expected to get underway anytime soon.

Moratoriums are in place regarding such activity in the cities of Chehalis and in unincorporated areas of the county.

Even once they are lifted, Lewis County leaders have already decided to require applicants to provide approval from the U.S. Attorney General or the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

WSLCB spokesperson Mikhail Carpenter has said the agency is aware of the county’s rule, which “for all intents and purposes, is a ban.” And I-502 did not include a provision for cities and counties to opt out, he said.

The agency has asked the state attorney general to offer guidance on the issue, which will more than likely have to be settled in court, amongst interested parties, according to Carpenter.

Meanwhile, below are the applicants who show their address as 208 Maurin Road, Chehalis:

• Alfhild Venutures
• Emerald Joy
• Evergreen Trees LLC
• Gen 3 Growers LLC
• Gig Gardens
• Ground Up Cultivation,
• Holland’s Hope
• Carrina’s Herbs of Grace, STE A
• Grandma’s Garden, LLC, STE B
• Thomas Tew Tolling, STE B
• Stortebeker Ventures, STE C
• Knivet Enterprises, STE D
• Granuaile Industries, STE E
• Sturdivant Ventures, STE F

To view the entire list of applicants statewide, click Washington State Liquor Control Board’s Frequently Requested Lists, scroll down and find “Marijuana License Applicants, updated Dec. 24, 2013”

For further information, check Washington State Liquor Control Board’s Marijuana License Approval or Denial, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013


• Officers responding to the Centralia Outlets on the 100 block of West High Street to a report of someone seen slashing car tires yesterday afternoon spoke with a suspect and arrested him for an outstanding warrant. However, the three victims left before police could contact them, Sgt. Brian Warren said. Brett T. Watkins, 36, from Hoodsport, was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Police are asking anyone who found their tires cut around 3 p.m. yesterday in that area to contact the police department.


• A 16-year-old student-inmate at Green Hill School for boys is facing a possible charge of custodial assault for allegedly slapping the bottom of a corrections officer, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer was called on Friday to the juvenile incarceration facility on the 300 block of Southwest 11th Street to investigate the incident, according to police.


• Chehalis police were called on Sunday to the 700 block of Northwest Ohio Avenue regarding the theft of a mini bike, a motorcycle frame and an air compressor.


• Centralia police responded about 10 a.m. yesterday to a car prowl at the 300 block of West Summa Street where someone rifled through an unlocked vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A pink purse was stolen and a car window broken during a vehicle prowl in the parking lot at Wal-Mart reported to Chehalis police about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called to Garbe’s Tavern about 2 o’clock Sunday morning after someone threw a rock through the window,  according to the Chehalis Police Department. The loss is estimated at $700, according to police.


• Chehalis police were called about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday to the area of Southwest Fifth Street regarding two explosions heard. An officer was unable to locate the source of the sound, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license, violation of protection order; responses for alarms, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, disorderliness, child biting a sibling, rear end collisions, parking lot hit and runs, car lost in the parking lot at Twin City Town Center in Chehalis; complaints of boys tearing down Christmas lights, congestion at the traffic signal at Northwest Chamber of Commerce Way and Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis … and more.

Truck plunges into Winlock stream, minus driver

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

A Ford pickup rolled through a pedestrian fence along Byham Road and came to rest in Wallers Creek.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

WINLOCK – If a truck falls in the trees and no one sees it, does it make a sound?

Yes it does.

“We all heard a crash and didn’t know what it was, so we went back to what we were doing,” Winlock resident Jennifer Brown said.

On the other side of Byham Road and beyond Wallers Creek, Bonnie Givens heard a noise she described as a boom and wondered if something hit her shed.

Moments later, a firefighter and deputy were knocking on her door, asking if they could cut through her backyard to look in the creek.

It was about 2:40 p.m. and responders found a red Ford F250 on its top, in the water, below an approximately 30 foot eroded bank, according to Winlock Police Department Chief Terry Williams. It was unoccupied.

“They said no one was in it, I felt so good finding that out,” Givens said.

At about the same time, Brown’s neighbor came to tell her that her truck had left her driveway, crossed Byham Road, plowed through a chain link fence and fallen.

It happened about 100 yards west of the Tennessee Road Bridge at the very northeast corner of town.

Williams said once a tow truck is able to recover the vehicle, he will be able to figure out if it slipped out of park, or what happened.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 23rd, 2013


• A 22-year-old Toledo man is jailed after he allegedly shot a family member’s goat with a bow and arrow and then cut its throat on Saturday. Deputies called about 1:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Middle Crest Drive near Toledo were told Kameron D. Williams came over and said he wanted to “make a sacrifice to his Gods” and subsequently was discovered pulling an arrow from the animal, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Williams was contacted awhile later walking down the road and denied killing the goat, but was arrested for first-degree animal cruelty and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 22-year-old patient was arrested at Providence Centralia Hospital on Friday night after he allegedly threatened he would kill employees once he got out. Officers called about 8:30 p.m. to the 900 block of South Schueber Road booked Jacob M. Goble into the Lewis County Jail for harassment, according to the Centralia Police Department. Goble, described by police as transient, had taken himself to the hospital and felt he wasn’t getting the treatment he sought, police said.


• Centralia police were called about 8:15 p.m. on Friday to the 400 block of West Magnolia Street where a resident discovered two males on a roof on the two-story residence and chased them away. Police said they might have been looking in a bedroom window and they may or may not have known the occupant of the bedroom.


• A 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested for trafficking stolen property in connection with a report taken on Friday of a theft from a vacant home on the 2500 block of Seminary Hill Road outside Centralia. Taken was about 1,000 feet of service wire and 2,000 pounds of chain link fence, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chad C. Bass was booked yesterday into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $1,000.

• A metal sign stolen from the 100 block of West First Street in Centralia turned up at a scrap yard on Saturday, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police have a suspect in mind.


• Sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Friday, someone forced their way into a residence on the 400 block of Salmon Creek Road near Mossyrock and made off with more than $4,000 worth of valuables including two 40-inch flat screen televisions made by Panasonic, a Blu-ray player, a Hewlett-Packard laptop computer, a Nabi 2 tablet, jewelry and DVDs, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police were called to the 1500 block of Eshom Road on Friday regarding various fishing tackle and equipment which was stolen in the night.


• Centralia police responded about 9 a.m. yesterday to a car prowl at the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive. A window was broken out, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone broke a window of a vehicle parked at the 200 block of West Reynolds Avenue on Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday afternoon.


• A 27-year-old Olympia man was ejected and then partially pinned by his car when he lost control of it slamming into a power pole on Saturday night outside Centralia. A deputy responding about 9 p.m. to the 1900 block of Salzer Valley Road reports the driver suffered lacerations and possible internal injuries and was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Alcohol is suspected to be involved and potential charges await the results of blood analysis, according to Cmdr. Steve Aust.

• The 24-year-old Chehalis man injured in a single-vehicle wreck near Pe Ell on Friday night is listed in serious condition this morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Tyler V. Clark was traveling eastbound on state Route 6 when he attempted to pass another vehicle, lost control and rolled his pickup truck, according to the Washington State Patrol. Responders had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate him.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, shoplifting, drug arrests for which information is not readily available from law enforcement; responses for alarms, disputes, protection order violation, someone putting trash in someone else’s dumpster, vehicles colliding with parked cars; complaints of noisy neighbor truck, loud neighbor music, barking neighbor dogs … and more.

Fire claims Salkum area barn

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters spent the early morning hours extinguishing a fire that swept through a pair of barns in the Salkum-Onalaska area.

Crews were called about 3:20 a.m. to the 800 block of Gore Road where the two side-by-side buildings were found fully engulfed in flames, according to Lewis County Fire District 8.

Chief Duran McDaniel said it was the glow that woke the owners, which was also visible from his own residence down the road.

By the time he arrived, the roof of one of the structures was gone and only its posts left standing, McDaniel said.

An unspecified number of cattle apparently left the barn on their own, although the owner was still searching for one calf this morning, according to McDaniel.

Lost in the fire were two tractors, a fifth-wheel trailer and lots of hay, McDaniel said.

“They did manage to get several other vehicles away from the buildings,” he said.

District 8 was assisted by firefighters from Onalaska, Mossyrock and Napavine, he said.

A fire investigator is looking into the cause.

Vader driver rescued from burning vehicle

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

A 1994 Pontiac Grand Am was extinguished after its unconscious driver was dragged to safety near Vader. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A motorist traveling alone on a dark, desolate highway in south Lewis County overnight was pulled unconscious from his wrecked and burning car by passersby who happened upon the scene.

The 56-year-old man from Vader was rushed by helicopter to a Seattle hospital with serious injuries.

Aid and troopers were called about 12:20 a.m. to the site, on state Route 506 about three miles west of Vader.

Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 Chief Richard Underdahl said when crews arrived, the Pontiac Grand Am had slammed into a tree and was fully engulfed in flames.

“Bystanders had removed the driver from the vehicle and dragged him to safety,” Underdahl said.

Earl L. Crawford is listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center this morning.

According to responders, Crawford was westbound and traveling fast through a sweeping left curve before the collision. The Washington State Patrol reports speed was a factor.

The fire chief said he believed the patient didn’t sustain any burns but he had serious facial injuries.

The area is roughly a mile west of Brim Creek Road on the way to Ryderwood, according to Underdahl.

Underdahl said if not for the civilian rescuers, Crawford certainly would have perished.

“One trooper said, he is so lucky someone was on this road; during the time we were there, not one car drove up,” he said. “That road is not well traveled.”


The scene on state Route 506 west of Vader this morning. / Courtesy photo by Tiffany Pannkuk

Imprisoned Onalaska man resists bill for costs of lost appeal

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Ronald Brady is directed to a seat in front of Judge James Lawler yesterday afternoon.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ronald A. Brady was back in Lewis County briefly, in the midst of his prison term for shooting an unarmed suspected burglar outside his Onalaska house three years ago.

Brady lost his appeal of his second-degree manslaughter conviction and prosecutors had him transported to Chehalis yesterday in connection with collecting $96, the state’s cost of responding to his appeal.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said Brady didn’t sign the paperwork or respond to any correspondence about it sent to him so she had him brought before a judge.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler asked Brady about his objection, when he indicated he didn’t want to sign anything without consulting an attorney.

“I’m not a lawyer and I have no idea if I’ve given up any rights unless I check,” Brady said.

The brief interaction took place at 4 p.m., when a handful of newly arrested individuals were making their first appearance before a judge. Defense attorney Brian Gerhart who was there to represent them, consulted briefly with Brady inside the courtroom ahead of time.

Brady indicated he has contacted another attorney about another issue on the appeal.

Judge Lawler said he noted the objection, and signed the order to amend the judgement and sentence.

The amount was added to his $1,000 fine and $1,147 in other fees already imposed.

The 60-year-old was convicted by a jury in the summer of 2011 in the death of 56-year-old Thomas McKenzie of Morton. He was given a sentence of five years and three months.

The case generated strong opinions on both sides. Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield didn’t arrest Brady, saying he thought the shooting was justified. When prosecutors subsequently filed charges, they argued the act was intentional and premeditated.

Brady appealed on several grounds, including contending the trial court erred when it refused to allow testimony to prove McKenzie and his wife were at his property to steal and didn’t allow the jury to consider a right to resist the commission of a felony.

The appeals court said the only crime being committed at the time he opened fire with a .22 rifle was criminal trespass.

The panel of three judges this past April upheld the conviction and this fall, the Washington Supreme Court denied his petition for review.

The Onalaska man is housed at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, a minimum security facility near Littlerock.


For background, read “Breaking news: Onalaska man gets five years for shooting suspected burglar” from Wednesday July 6 2011, here

News brief: Motorist injured near Pe Ell

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Updated at 10:22 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 24-year-old Chehalis area man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after a single-vehicle wreck on state Route 6 last night.

Troopers and aid responded about 9:20 p.m. to the scene roughly two miles east of Pe Ell.

“When our guys got there, the truck was on its top in the ditch and they had to use the Jaws of Life (to extricate him),” Lewis County Fire District 11 Chief Michael Krafczyk said.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Tyler V. Clark was headed east and moved into the oncoming lane attempting to pass another vehicle when he lost control of his Toyota Tacoma pickup. Clark’s pickup rolled and landed on the north side of the highway, according to the state patrol.

Because of the weather, medics with the fire department and AMR had to transport him to the Tumwater airport to meet a helicopter to fly him to the Seattle hospital, according to Krafczyk.

The truck was totaled. The injuries were extensive enough to warrant an airlift, Krafczyk said.

The investigating trooper blamed the wreck on speed and reports it may have involved alcohol or drugs.

Just a week ago, speed was blamed for a collision that killed two young people on Big Hanaford Road north of Centralia. Jonathan W. Parker, a 20-year-old from Centralia, lost control of his car and slid into the path of a dump truck. His 18-year-old passenger, Tiara F. Kalebaugh from Pe Ell died with him.

Washington State Patrol spokesperson Trooper Jason Hicks this past week cited a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which found that excessive speed remains a leading cause of preventable traffic deaths.

According to Hicks, about one-third of such fatalities nationwide are linked to speeding. In Washington state during 2012, of the 437 people who died in traffic, 159 of the deaths included speed as a contributing factor.