Archive for April, 2014

Warning: Warm weather, chilly water can kill

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office wants to spread the word about the danger of what they call cold water shock following this weekend’s drowning in Mayfield Lake.

“Many people think if the air temperature is hot, the cool water will have little to no effect upon them, however water conditions this time of year are not warm enough to avoid temperature shock or stay in for any length of time,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield said in a news release today.

At mid-morning on Saturday, during a fishing outing, a 46-year-old man jumped in the lake in an attempt to retrieve his boat which was drifting away from a small island near Ike Kinswa Park.

His companion saw he was in distress and attempted to get to him, but had to turn back because of how cold the water was. And despite efforts by a park employee and arriving medics, Gary L. Rhoades was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Water temperatures are still in the mid 40’s on almost all waterways in Lewis County. Cold water shock is a major concern at this time of year, in these conditions, according to the sheriff’s office.

The immediate danger is the result can be shortness of breath, involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, panic and even heart failure that leads to drowning, Mansfield says.

Every year, deputies here investigate drowning deaths which likely could have been avoided had the victim known about cold water shock, according to Mansfield.

The National Center for Disease Control say drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury or death among all ages.

“Understanding the dynamics of swimming in cold water, knowing water conditions, swimming with others, and staying away from drugs and alcohol will prevent water fatalities and help ensure an enjoyable accident free outing,” Mansfield stated.

The sheriff’s office said Rhoades  was a Silver Creek resident. Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod today said he lived in Mineral.

His companion, a 49-year-old man from Tacoma, was taken to Morton General Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

The sheriff’s office said the men had been drinking.

For background, read “Mayfield Lake incident claims one boater, another rescued” from Saturday April 26, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Updated at 9:27 p.m.


• A 25-year-old man looking for his wife was arrested after a rampage in Randle last night that ended near the Nazarene Church where he was reportedly outfitted with a caged baseball mask and beating on the building with a bat, frightening the neighborhood. Deputies who were called about 6 p.m. learned that before he arrived at the church he had been at a nearby home on the 200 block of Silverbrook Road armed with 10-inch long wooden-handled kitchen knife demanding to be let inside. A 15-year-old girl there said he was stabbing the house and when she did not open the door, he left, kicking the family cat as he departed, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Charles M. Aalmo reportedly fled as he saw deputies arriving, scaling a wooden fence which knocked a section of it over and was subsequently taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said Aalmo and his wife had earlier had an argument, although she didn’t say what it was about. Aalmo was wanted by his probation officer and was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for numerous offenses such as disorderly conduct, malicious mischief and unlawful display of a weapon, Brown said. Among the damage was a shattered electrical box on the side of the church building, according to Brown.


• Police were called about 11:30 p.m. yesterday to an apartment in Chehalis where a 22-year-old man he said he awoke to a loud bang from his living room area and then a woman standing in the doorway of his bedroom, holding a broomstick and screaming at him. He said he was acquainted with the intruder, who wanted to know where his girlfriend was and that she left the residence at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street with a bag of his girlfriend’s belongings, telling him she could get it back when she came and talked to her, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer subsequently spoke with the 29-year-old who said the bag was hers and that she had been let in through the front door, according to police. The resident said the door had been locked, and it appeared she came in through a window, police said. The owner of the bag said it contained valuables such as her cell phone, wallet, social security card and birth certificate, police said. The case is under investigation.


• A pair of Rochester women were arrested yesterday after they allegedly entered a Centralia power tool shop on the 3800 block of Harrison Avenue along with a child and left with a weed eater. They and a third woman in the car were stopped by Centralia police and subsequently arrested for third-degree theft and possession of stolen property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Nancy Martinez-Arellano, 23, and Rosalia Martinez-Arellano, 31, according to the sheriff’s office. Their Ford Focus was impounded and a deputy was to seek a warrant to search it, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Centralia police took a report about 10:20 a.m. yesterday of a car dolly stolen during the night from the 1000 block of South Gold Street.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday evening about a car prowl at Shop ‘n Kart on the 2100 block of North National Avenue.


• Centralia police were called just before 6 a.m. today regarding someone having spray painted the hood of a vehicle at the 800 block of F Street.


• The Lewis County coroner said today he found no injuries or signs of foul play involved with the man who died in Mineral early Monday. Deputies were called to a campsite when friends of a 36-year-old Gary Jerome of Hoquiam man tried to wake him up but found he was dead. Coroner Warren McLeod said the cause and manner of death can’t be determined until he gets the results of toxicology tests.


• A man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after a logging accident near Pe Ell this morning. Firefighters were called just before 8 a.m. the the area about 15 miles into the woods off Muller Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 11. The initial report was a possible broken leg but paramedics with AMR wanted him airlifted, Fire Chief Michael Krafczyk said. Krafczyk was not on the call but said he understood the Weyerhaeuser worker is a 49-year-old. He praised the man’s co-workers who used their extra  medical emergency equipment to get the patient back-boarded and ready for transport. One of the loggers is also a firefighter from Winlock, he said. “They have that extra equipment because they’re at logging sites,” he said.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for stolen bicycle, collisions on city streets … and more.

Police: Yardbirds employee stole thousands of dollars from business

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Now former manager at Yard Birds David Briscoe appears in court for bail hearing this afternoon.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A  manager at Yard Birds arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing as much as $30,000 from his employer over time told police he’d gone bankrupt and was getting behind in his medical bills.

David E. Briscoe, 58, was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged with first-degree theft. He appeared before a judge this afternoon.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter said the Centralia man worked at Yard Birds-Shop ‘n Kart for the past seven years, but is no longer employed there. “He has $19 in the bank,” Schroeter said.

Briscoe qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

Police say Briscoe was responsible for managing the business’s swap meet area, vendors, storage units and recreational vehicle spaces on the property at the 2100 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis.

They say he was collecting rents for the spaces and keeping the cash for himself, over a two to three year period.

According to charging documents, the alleged thefts came to light when one RV space tenant contacted the property manger TJ Guyer about relocating and staff there could not find a record for the woman.

The transactions were investigated by a loss prevention specialist hired by the business and a financial audit conducted by the owner on Friday turned up numerous discrepancies, according to charging documents.

Charging documents indicate Briscoe signed a statement for the loss prevention investigator estimating he may have taken as much as $30,000 and made a handwritten listing of instances he could recall amounting to $18,980.

When interviewed by Chehalis Police Department Officer Troy Thornburg, Briscoe said he believed he had taken somewhere around $24,000 over the past few years, the documents state.

He reportedly admitted to providing tenants with their rental receipt, then destroying his copy and keeping the cash. Briscoe explained to Thornburg he was bankrupt and falling behind on medical bills, charging documents state.

First-degree theft carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and / or a $20,000 fine. Lewis County prosecutors attached a so-called aggravating factor that the crime is a major economic offense.

Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard set his bail at $5,000.

Briscoe is expected to be arraigned on Thursday morning, in Lewis County Superior Court.


Yard Birds in Chehalis sits between North National and Northeast Kresky avenues.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014


• Deputies were called just before 10 o’clock yesterday morning to a campsite in Mineral when friends of a 36-year-old Hoquiam man tried to wake him up but found he was dead. They had come up the night before to stay over and go fishing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was told he had been drinking hard liquor and beer the night before, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The coroner responded to the location, along the 200 block of Mineral Road South behind the old Mineral School, and will be conducting an investigation, Brown said.


• Someone shot out the rear window of a vehicle at the 200 block of Centralia College Boulevard in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 2:30 p.m. yesterday.The Centralia Police Department this morning indicated they are investigating.


• A 58-year-old Toledo man reported yesterday that someone came through his unlocked sliding glass door and stole more than $1,400 worth of firearms the day before. A deputy responding to yesterday’s report from the 400 block of Jackson Highway South was told it happened sometime between 8:45 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Missing are a Savage 20-gauge shotgun, a Sears 12-gauge shotgun, a Mossberg rifle and a Smith and Wesson 9 mm pistol, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Someone took a battery charger from a barn on the 1300 block of Bunker Creek Road west of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The theft was reported yesterday but happened on Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Morton police reported yesterday they are continuing to investigate a burglary at a Mossyrock business last week in which someone stole several cases of beer and approximately $200 cash. The victim told an officer the break-in at the 100 block of East State Street occurred sometime 9 p.m. last Tuesday and 10 o’clock the following morning, according to the Morton Police Department.


• Chehalis police took a report yesterday morning of various items stolen from a vehicle on South Grandview Drive.

• A vehicle prowl was reported Sunday afternoon in Chehalis along Southwest Gails Avenue, a prowl on Saturday afternoon on Southwest 19th Street, and on Friday along South Market Boulevard.


• A 62-year-old Mineral man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine yesterday evening after a pipe was found in his coat pocket, with a heavy residue of the the suspected drug. Richard A. Jacobi was pulled over about 7 p.m. on the 500 block of Mineral Creek Road in Mineral, reportedly driving on a suspended license, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Jacobi was booked into the Lewis County Jail but will be released with no charges filed pending further investigation.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; responses for counterfeit bill, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets; complaints of harassment, yelling male, screaming female, beggar begging, neighbors tweaking out, girl on cell phone walking down mainline of railroad tracks … and more. Also, noisy neighbor kids playing video games on April 25 in Morton.

Aging explosives: Bomb squad, fire department destroy Winlock barn on purpose

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The scene on Hart Road east of Winlock today. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The discovery of seriously deteriorated explosives in an old barn outside Winlock led to the intentional destruction of the building this morning by experts.

A bomb squad with the Washington State Patrol concluded the safest way to dispose of the volatile materials was to conduct a controlled burn, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The dilapidated structure on the 100 block of Hart Road was almost nearly consumed by fire by about noon today, the sheriff’s office reports.

A deputy responded there last night after the property owner made the find while cleaning out the barn, according to the sheriff’s office.

The explosives appeared to have been there long before he bought the property and probably for several decades, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release. It was hard to tell exactly what it was because of its poor condition, but they think it may have been old mining dynamite, she said.

Members of Lewis County Fire District 15 lit the fire about 11:40 a.m. and the plan went off without any hitches, according to Brown.

It’s not an uncommon kind of call for the sheriff’s office in Lewis County, even though access to explosives nowadays is fairly limited.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said the man who came across the old explosives in his old barn did the right thing in a dangerous situation. He hopes other would do the same.

“I continue to urge people not to pick up, handle, or transport anything that even remotely resembles an explosive device,” Mansfield stated. “The best thing to do is immediately leave the area and call our office.”


The volatile materials laying inside the barn. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Read about home detention included trips to bars, beach …

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter reports an anonymous call about a local man hanging around bars and taking his family to the coast for a fourth of July vacation while he was sentenced to electronic home detention led to questions about a private company used to monitor criminal offenders.

Lewis County authorities are no longer using the services of Northwest Home Monitoring after learning a manager gave John Burkett permission for the weekend vacation and allowed him leave his home for more than just the agreed upon time to operate his used car business, according to

Reporter Chris Ingalls says Thurston County judges will now be reviewing their use of the company.

Burkett was given a jail sentence last year following his convictions that included witness tampering related to a Chehalis bar fight. He owns Burkett’s Auto Sales on on South Gold Street in Centralia.

Ingalls said he wasn’t punished further, as he was technically in compliance with the court’s orders.

Read about it here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 28th, 2014


• A deputy driving down Front Street in Mineral about 1 a.m. on Saturday came across what appeared to be a human hand, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The find was taken into evidence and turned out to be a bear paw, the sheriff’s office said today. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said it’s something that happens on occasion, apparently some people’s idea of a joke. “When you take the fur and hair off, it looks like a human hand,” Brown said. “And there’s no reason for it to have been skinned the way it was.” It’ not funny, Brown said, it’s a very time intensive investigation that has to take place following this kind of occurrence. She said its hard enough to tell the difference, it has to be treated as though it might be human. The extremity was inspected at the coroner’s office this morning. It’s happened often enough, perhaps three times in the past five years, that a forensic anthropologist at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office taught a sheriff’s detective how to do an examination of the bone structure so deputies wouldn’t have to transport paws to Seattle so often, she said.


• A deputy took a report on Saturday that someone broke into a home on the 100 block of Cottonwood Lane in Packwood stealing a 36-inch Sanyo flat screen television, three cordless drills, a DVD player, and a comforter. The break-in happened sometime during the previous two weeks, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police responded about 3:30 a.m. yesterday to a report of a burglary at the 1300 block of Lum Road. The case remains under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called just before 6 a.m. yesterday to a report of a burglary at the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia. The case remains under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A red 1999 Chrysler 300 was stolen about 11 p.m. on Friday when its owner left it running while going into a residence on the 1000 block of Mellen Street in Centralia.


• A 16-year-old boy found hiding in some bushes by a police dog about three blocks away from an incident at the 1500 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia on Friday evening was arrested for trespassing and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center. Officers called about 7:40 p.m. initially were told it was an interrupted burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 69-year-old Packwood man fishing on Riffe Lake on Saturday reported someone prowled his truck while it was parked at the Taidnapam Park north boat launch. It happened between 10:30 a.m. and noon, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. items taken from the unlocked toolbox in the bed of the pickup included tire chains, a shovel, two quarts of motor oil and a small toolbox, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 24-year-old Ethel man escaped serious injury when he took a corner too fast, hit a ditch and rolled his 2004 Acura RSX onto its top south of Chehalis over the weekend. A deputy called to the 600 block of Tauscher Road after the approximately 3 a.m. crash on Saturday was told by the driver he was in a hurry to get home and it was foggy, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The car was described as a total loss. The driver declined aid but was cited for driving too fast for conditions, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 76-year-old Ethel woman backing out of a church parking lot yesterday morning was cited for failure to yield the right of way following a collision at the 4200 block of Jackson Highway south of Chehalis. Her Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Geo prism that she hit both sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 39-year-old woman in the Prism was hospitalized with neck and back pain and then cited for driving with a suspended license and not having insurance, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Two were injured, including the 18-year-old driver from Chehalis, when a car carrying four teenagers struck a tree after running off U.S. Highway 12 just east of Montesano on Saturday morning. Jessica A. Westcott, 18, from Chehalis, was transported to Summit Pacific Medical Center with unspecified injuries, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers called about 10:30 a.m. determined the Honda Civic had been eastbound when a passenger in the front seat grabbed the steering wheel, jerking the car off the roadway to the right and into the tree. Also injured was Caleb L. Hall, 19, from Hoquiam, who was taken to Community Hospital, according to the state patrol. Hospitalized for precautionary measures were Brandon J. Lynch, 19, of Montesano and Shawn M. Anderson, 17, of Hoquiam. The collision is under investigation.

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, misdemeanor domestic assault, misdemeanor theft, a 53-year-old man arrested after his wife told police he accused her of cheating, checked inside her for sperm and punched her more than 20 times; responses for alarms, violation of protection order, vehicle versus pole, single-vehicle wreck into a guard rail when an animal crossed a county road in front of a car … and more.

News brief: Weekend Mayfield Lake death was a Silver Creek resident

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The drowning victim from the incident on Mayfield Lake on Saturday has been identified as a 46-year-old Silver Creek man.

His name won’t be released until the coroner is able to talk with his family.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said he and a 49-year-old Tacoma resident had been fishing, but both went into the water when their boat drifted away after a brief stop a small island near the state Route 122 bridge at the northwest portion of the lake.

The 46-year-old stopped swimming about five feet short of the craft, and his companion went after him but turned back because of the cold temperatures, according to the sheriff’s office.

An employee at the nearby Ike Kinswa Park rescued the fisherman and brought him to shore where CPR was performed, but he was pronounced dead at Providence Centralia Hospital, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The Tacoma man was taken to Morton General Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

Brown said the two had been drinking.


For background, read “Mayfield Lake incident claims one boater, another rescued” from Saturday April 26, 2014, here

Coroner: Combination of prescription drugs blamed for deaths of Napavine brother and sister

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities say the heavy duty pain medication Fentanyl led to the deaths of a pair of grown siblings in Napavine in February.

It’s not clear from the investigation and toxicology results if Cheryl Ausland, 50, accidentally took too much; she died from a combination of that, an insomnia medication and an antidepressant, according to the Lewis County coroner.

Her 59-year-old brother  Robert Collier, is believed to have taken his own life after Ausland died.

Aid and deputies were called to the home the morning of February 18, when co-workers of Ausland went to check on her because she hadn’t shown up for work. The pair lived together in the house on the 100 block of East Stella Street.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said the investigation is not quite wrapped up, but detectives don’t suspect any foul play in Ausland’s death.

Collier’s death was determined to be suicide in part because of the amount of drugs in his system, as well as other things at the scene, Breen said. He said he couldn’t share more details until he finishes his review, expected to be within a week or so, he said.

Breen said it appeared the deaths occurred during the 24-hour period before they were discovered and it seemed as though Collier died after his sister did.

The coroner’s specific cause of death is listed as acute intoxication from Fentanyl and Zolpidem – a drug that slows brain activity to allow for sleep, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

In Ausland’s case, those two drugs combined with the antidepressant Nortriptyline led to her death, McLeod said.

Who the various medications were prescribed to isn’t clear.

Ausland’s manner of death is labeled undetermined, and they probably never will know the answer as to whether it was an accident or intentional, McLeod said.

Breen said Fentanyl  is a powerful pain medication and is renowned for causing overdoses It’s usually when used in combination with other drugs, he said.

It usually comes in the form of a patch, he said.

News brief: Coroner identifies dead man as Centralia resident, with heart issue

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Updated at 6:11 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The man found dead on a Centralia street yesterday has been identified as 64-year-old Anthony Fries.

He is a Centralia resident who lived in the vicinity of where his body was discovered early yesterday morning, laying along the 100 block of East Third Street, just off North Tower Avenue.

An autopsy conducted this morning concluded Fries died from cardiac-related issues.

Centralia police said yesterday that they found signs of trauma and that Fries did not die from natural causes.

The death was suspicious in part because it occurred outdoors, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said.

Since there were no witnesses, police and the coroner’s office pursued the case in the same way they would have if a crime had occurred, according to McLeod.

The “trauma” was minor abrasions, he said, which the doctor found consistent with collapsing onto the pavement after a massive cardiac event.


CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the victim’s last name. The coroner initially released his last name incorrectly, because of a typo.

News brief: Car, beer, tree lead to trauma center for Randle resident

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Updated at 11:44 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 25-year-old Randle man is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following a weekend wreck that left him with very serious injuries.

Aid and deputies called about 1:20 a.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Glenoma Road found the car had been traveling fairly fast when the driver lost control at the turn and collided with a tree.

Johnathon R. Fisher had not been wearing a seatbelt, so the impact threw him head first into the passenger door, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Fisher was the only occupant in the vehicle, though he was accompanied by a case of Bud Light beer found in the front seat, and deputies were told he had drank numerous beers before leaving Randle, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said Fisher was headed to Riffe Lake when the accident happened.

He was taken by ambulance to Morton General Hospital where he was stabilized and then transferred to the Seattle hospital, according to Brown.

Fisher is listed in serious condition this morning in the intensive care unit, according to a hospital spokesperson

The car was totaled and impounded, Brown said. She said Fisher was driving with a suspended license and faces possible arrest for driving under the influence, depending upon the results of blood tests.

Breaking news: Body discovered on street in Centralia

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Updated at 4:06 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police called early this morning to a report of a body lying on the side of a Centralia street are just now wrapping up their scene investigation.

Officers responded about 6:20 a.m. to the 100 block of East Third Street, just off North Tower Avenue, according to Officer John Panco.

The preliminary investigation concluded he did not die from natural causes, Panco said.

There were signs of some trauma to the body. It’s a suspicious death, he said.

“I know detectives are doing the best they can, everybody wants to find out what happened,” Panco said.

The man appears to be older than 60, and is believed to be a person who lives in the vicinity, according to Panco.

“We have an idea, but I’m unaware if it’s been confirmed,” he said.

The coroner took custody of the body for further examination at their office.