Archive for March, 2015

Court grants officer anti-harassment order against 20-year-old

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
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Bo Rupert, standing, addresses Court Commissioner Wendy Tripp and witness Officer Josh Mercer while Officer Mike Lowrey, left, and his attorney Shane O’Rourke are seated in Lewis County District Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One might say it was a slam dunk.

A Centralia police officer seeking an anti-harassment order against a 20-year-old local man faced off in court yesterday, and near the end of the half-day hearing, Bo D. Rupert summed up his opposition.

Rupert urged Lewis County District Court Commissioner Wendy Tripp not to grant the order. But said if she did, she may as well put in a restriction that prohibits him from coming within 1,000 feet of Officer Mike Lowrey.

“Because I might be forced to make a decision I might not want to make,” Rupert said, in the Chehalis courtroom, to the commissioner.

Lowrey petitioned for the order on Feb. 13, after the discovery Rupert had re-posted photos of him and his family on a social media site, and had also posted his opinion Lowrey and two other officers should be executed for treason.

The officer, represented by Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke, made the request as a private citizen. But he asked that Rupert be prevented from harassing his wife, his four children and himself, both on and off duty.

Tripp heard from Lowrey, from Centralia Police Department Sgt. Stacy Denham, from Centralia Police Officer Josh Mercer, from last year’s losing candidate for Lewis County Sheriff Brian Green, and from O’Rourke and Rupert. The 20-year-old represented himself.

“Your own witness said you were abrasive,” Tripp said. “You’re somewhat of a volatile personality. That comes across.”

Tripp noted the two sides described interactions that took place on certain days at certain places, but had little else in common.

It’s possible the situation that started Rupert’s upset with Lowrey, at Starbucks with Rupert’s nephew, was based on a mistaken notion, she said.

Rupert contended Lowrey got his nephew banned from the business, simply because he was related to him. Lowrey’s said he wasn’t working the day of the incident.

“You said you became extremely angry, because he involved your family,” Tripp said. “But you don’t seem to have insight, you involved his family.”

“You’re crossing a line, there’s no doubt in my mind,” she said.

Tripp decided Rupert could have no contact with Lowrey’s family, or with Lowrey when he is off duty.

“I’m not going to make an order that involves him as a police officer, I think that’s unenforceable,” she said.

Tripp alluded to the option of Lowrey dealing with any harassing behavior while Lowrey is in uniform in other ways.

The anti-harassment order would be effective for one year, she said.

What Tripp didn’t address directly when she spoke to the men at the end of the hearing, was Rupert’s videotaping of officers performing their jobs. The resident of both Chehalis and Centralia says he does it as a volunteer for a police accountability group called Peaceful Streets Lewis County.

Rupert indicated he planned to get an order against Lowrey. That he’s written a letter to the Attorney General, and that he’s going to go to the FBI.

Outside the courtroom, Lowrey said he is relieved.

“The whole thing is protecting my family,” he said.

In the same hallway on the third floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center, Rupert said he will appeal.

“I’m pissed as hell about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to show a lesson, you don’t involve people’s family and not expect someone to fight back as I did.”

Then he tore in half his copy of the order and left it, along with the dumped-out papers from his briefcase laying on the counter, and walked out the door.

For background, read “Centralia police officer asks judge to order citizen to stop harassing him” from Thursday March 19, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


• Deputies were called last night by a 31-year-old Centralia woman who retreated to her bedroom with her 2-year-old son when her estranged husband reportedly showed up to her residence, came inside, cut the phone line and stole her cell phone. The suspect, Paul A. Adamson, was in violation of a domestic violence protection order when he went to the home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were told she heard her sport utility vehicle drive away before she went to a neighbor’s to call 911, the sheriff’s office reports. Deputies located Adamson and conducted a traffic stop near East Summa and South Buckner streets and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for violation of the court order, Chief Stacy Brown said. The case is also being referred to prosecutors for charges of interfering with domestic violence reporting, driving with a suspended license and taking a motor vehicle without permission, Brown said.


• Centralia police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday about carpeting stolen from a business during a break-in at the 800 block of North Tower Avenue.


• Chehalis police responded to the 500 block of Northwest New York Avenue yesterday for a vehicle prowl over the weekend.


• Centralia police were called about 10:45 a.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of Kresky Avenue about an ax through a sign.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, resisting arrest, underage drinking, open container in public, driving with suspended license, driving without a valid license, violation of no contact order; responses for alarm, vandalism, runaway child, suspicious circumstances, request for an officer to trespass an individual from a business planning to fire him, another fake $20 bill discovered to have been accepted by a business … and more.

Read about the real reasons Tenino police chief was fired …

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Tenino Mayor Bret Brodersen wanted to keep the change in police chiefs low key, out of respect for Chief John Hutchings’ professional reputation, he says, but given mounting criticism on social media for firing Hutchings last week, decided to share the background publicly.

In a lengthy news release issued yesterday, Brodersen lays out issues involving the city’s exposure to a significant financial penalty that could result in cuts to city services related to an audit from the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a conflict between the number of hours Hutchings reported working compared with the number of hours he was authorized to work.

Brodersen also describes recently learning the police chief added a paid reserve police officer, not approved, not budgeted for and in violation of city statute that prohibits payment. The un-named reserve officer collected more than $10,500 over the past few months, according to the mayor.

Hutchings was hired by Brodersen’s predecessor in the summer of 2012. He was terminated last Wednesday.

Brodersen said on Thursday it was a difference in philosophies; and that he planned to hire a new chief as quickly as possible.

The Olympian describes the firing as partly due to Hutchings generally overstepping his bounds and writes about Hutchings’ supporters plan to march on city hall and circulating a petition to reinstate Hutchings.

Read more about it here.

Anonymous threat to Chehalis grade school increases police presence

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Updated at 10:18 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are at Olympic Elementary School in Chehalis to “keep an eye on things” this morning after a threat was received yesterday by phone.

Officers were contacted about 2:20 p.m. yesterday regarding a phone call received at the school on the 2000 block of Southwest Salsbury Avenue. Olympic teaches fourth and fifth graders.

After the students finished going home for the day, officers searched the building and found nothing suspicious, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Department spokesperson Linda Bailey described it as a very vague threat.

“Something about an attack, vague as to the date, time and location,” Bailey said.

Officers are investigating the source of the call, she said.

The school contacted parents yesterday to inform them, and let them know if they chose to keep their children home today, it would be fine.

Chehalis School District Superintendent Ed Rothlin said this morning no extra curricular activities have been cancelled.

School officials used their “robo-dial” system yesterday to inform parents in the entire district of what they knew, he said. They plan to follow up today with another message for families, he said.

Rothlin said they had a police presence at all their schools this morning, and he expected officers would probably remain at Olympic most of the day.

The plan is to continue with police making random visits to the schools until the end of the week, and next week is spring break, Rothlin said.

News brief: Local resident arrested for RE/Max office arson fire

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 33-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night in connection with the fire the night before at a real estate business on the 1000 block of Johnson Road.

Darren G. Waggoner was arrested at his home for first-degree arson and second-degree burglary and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Firefighters responding about 11 p.m. on Sunday to the RE/Max office on Johnson Road near Caveness found smoke rising from the roof and flames inside on the main floor. It was quickly extinguished.

Centralia police say security video from the nearby Les Schwab showed a person breaking a window, and was the same person a police officer spoke to at the scene of the fire. A computer and a cell phone were recovered and the investigation led to Waggoner, according to police.

For background, read “News brief: Centralia real estate office hit with arson” from Monday March 30, 2015, here

News brief: Monetary part of judgement reduced for defendants in malnourished horses case

Monday, March 30th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Morton area couple couple won their appeal of a court order to pay more than $20,000 restitution for the cost of care, boarding and veterinary expenses for their horses seized by the sheriff’s office in 2012.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office confiscated nine horses from property at the 800 block of state Route 7 following an investigation into animal neglect, saying one was in such poor condition it had to be put down.

Joanne M. Simmons, 65, and Terry L. Simmons, 58, were initially charged in Lewis County Superior Court with six counts of first-degree animal cruelty and two counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

The couple accepted the state’s amended plea offer and subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, misdemeanors associated with knowingly allowing the animals to live in conditions that caused unnecessary pain.

The Simmonses argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it imposed restitution for costs connected to uncharged or dismissed crimes, according to the opinion issued last week from the Washington State Court of Appeals.

The three-member panel of judges agreed the trial court erred and remanded for modification of the order to provide for only the costs associated with the horses subject to the pleas.

The couple was represented in their appeal by John Hays in Longview and Jodi Backlund in Olympia. Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg argued for the state.

For background, read “Former owners of Morton horses charged with animal cruelty” from Tuesday November 13, 2012, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 30th, 2015


• Chehalis police were called about 5:10 p.m. on Saturday after a man walking across the Chamber of Commerce Way overpass said he was shot at with a BB or a pellet from a passing vehicle. The 51-year-old Chehalis resident caught up to the pickup truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot and it contained three juveniles, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case for a 17-year-old Chehalis boy is being referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of fourth-degree assault, according to police. An Airsoft BB gun was taken in to evidence, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.


• Centralia police were called about 12:25 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of North Pearl Street about a burglary to a barn. Taken was a hunting blind, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A deputy was called to the 100 block of Mulford Lane outside Toledo on Saturday afternoon after a property owner discovered someone had broken in to several sheds and shop buildings. The loss is preliminarily estimated at a couple of thousand dollars, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The The 59-year-old Astoria, Oregon man said it occurred sometime since late last fall, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Chehalis police responded yesterday to a report from the a business at the 700 block of South Market Boulevard in which pry marks were found on both the front and back doors.


• Centralia police arrested a 17-year-old boy on Friday following a report of a sexual assault of a juvenile he is related to, according to the Centralia Police Department. The boy was taken into custody and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.


• Centralia police were called about 4:30 p.m. on Friday about a vehicle stolen by an acquaintance of its owner from the 1100 bloc k of Scammon Creek Road. The missing car is a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police responded after an approximately 11:35 a.m. call yesterday to the 200 block of William Street in Mossyrock by an individual who said that while attending a baseball tournament, their son went to their vehicle and found an unknown male sitting inside of it. The intruder ran off when the boy approached and nothing seemed to be missing, according to the Morton Police Department. Police are still investigating.

• Someone stole stereo equipment from a vehicle at the 1300 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

• Centralia police were called about 10:40 a.m. yesterday regarding fishing gear stolen from a vehicle at the 1300 block of Alexander Street.


• Officers contacted a resident in the 100 block of Third Street to warn them about a city ordinance prohibiting people from keeping pigeons on Thursday.


• Chehalis police were called about 6:50 p.m. on Saturday after a 2- to 3-year-old child was found on railroad tracks in the area near Southwest Pacific Avenue. The father of the little boy showed up to a residence where an adult had the little boy prior to the officer’s arrival and advised he’d heard his back door open and thought it was his older daughter, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He began looking for his son and then found him around the corner, according to police. “He did not get a citation, no, but he was spoken to sternly, yes,” department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. The tracks were not the ones used by Amtrak, Bailey said.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, driving without a valid license; responses for alarms, dispute, vandalism, trespassing, barking dog, misdemeanor  theft, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, protection order violation, car stuck on railroad tracks, another fraudulent check received by a business, an unauthorized charge on a person’s bank card … and more.

News brief: Centralia real estate office hit with arson

Monday, March 30th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police are investigating a fire that broke out last night at a real estate business on the 1000 block of Johnson Road.

After it was extinguished, it was determined someone had broken in to RE/Max and lit the fire, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Sgt. Jim Shannon said he understood the damage was fairly substantial.

Riverside Fire Authority reports it responded about 11 p.m. and located fire inside the building on the main floor and quickly extinguished it. The building sustained moderate fire and smoke damage, according to Capt. Terry Ternan.

It was just four weeks ago when someone set fire to a children’s medical clinic in Centralia.

Sheriff, prosecutor talk about changes in crime fighting efforts

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza talks about some of the many of the new plans he has for his office.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

SALKUM – More than 30 men and women met with newly-elected Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer at a “town meeting” held in Salkum.

Snaza said it’s something the two began talking about doing a long time ago.

“We’re a team,” Snaza told the gathering.

Meyer introduced himself as the defense attorney-turned-prosecutor.

He spoke of successes with drug court and the new track for a small number of mentally ill offenders, which they call a mental health alternative program.

“For too long, we as a criminal justice system said we couldn’t do anything till they did anything bad enough,” Meyer said.

Wednesday afternoon’s event at the Salkum Timberland Library was the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings around Lewis County, to talk with citizens, answer their questions and listen to their concerns.

Meyer is just beginning his second term in the elected office. Snaza took office in January, after two decades as a deputy.

Snaza shared the prosecutor’s enthusiasm for new and different ways to get at reducing crime and approaching their roles.

“We’re not just here to put people in jail,” Snaza said. “But also to help provide help to people who need assistance.

“If you could save one person’s life, would you do it?”

The sheriff said he has plans for getting each deputy 40 hours of crisis intervention training and talked about the jail’s more concentrated efforts to address mental illness.

He introduced Special Services Sgt. Fred Wetzel, whose responsibilities include coordinating neighborhood watch groups.

And the new sheriff told the group that every deputy has been assigned a school.

“We just let the schools know, we’re here,” he said. “We’ll do presentations with them, talk about texting, social media, whatever they want.”

The two, accompanied by Undersheriff Wes Rethwill as well, spent almost two hours chatting and answering questions.

Among the concerns from the audience were the new gun law I-594, animal cruelty, trespassing, boating patrol, unmarked vehicles, drunk driving, police cars flying by without lights going and the number of patrol deputies in their area.

Snaza said they’re not sure when and where the next meeting will be, but said they are thinking of doing one more before summer.

For background, read “Town meeting: Got a question for the sheriff, the prosecutor?” from Sunday March 22, 2015, here


Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer speaks to the small gathering at the Salkum Timberland Library.

May trial set for boyfriend’s rampage with 22 rifle in Onalaska

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Todd H. Bergfalk, facing camera, waits his turn to appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court for a bail setting hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 44-year-old man who allegedly fired a 22 rifle towards his girlfriend as she ran away from him outside her trailer home in Onalaska over the weekend remains held on $250,000 bail.

Todd H. Bergfalk pleaded not guilty yesterday to two counts of second-degree assault. He also allegedly pointed the Remington 22 long rifle at his girlfriend’s 23-year-old son.

He was arrested on Saturday after deputies were called to the 700 block of state Route 508. Deputies reported Bergfalk was very intoxicated and emotional, rambling about abused animals and how he was upset, according to authorities.

He denied pointing the gun at anyone, but said he should probably just go to jail, according to charging documents.

At his first appearance before a judge on Monday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, a defense attorney said Bergfalk was unemployed, so he qualified for a court appointed lawyer.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported Bergfalk and his girlfriend were arguing when he fired four rounds inside her trailer, and that he wouldn’t let her leave, but she finally made a run for the door.

The sheriff’s office said he fired approximately 10 rounds as she she ran down her driveway, and that some were fired in her direction.

Charging documents state Julie Schoonover ran into the main house and told her son what had happened, and he went outside to try to calm Bergfalk. The 23-year-old said Bergfalk pointed the gun at him and told him not to get any closer, charging documents state.

He called 911, and arriving deputies learned from Susan Bergfalk she had already secured the gun.

Neither charging documents nor the sheriff’s office indicated why he may have been upset, but the documents do state that Schoonover said when she first arrived back home after going out to look at a boat for sale, she found Bergfalk standing in the driveway holding a knife and yelling.

The evidence cited in charging documents includes a bullet hole in the mud approximately 50 feet from the trailer in the direction Schoonover said she ran, as well as more bullet holes in the mud just outside the trailer steps and numerous shell casings.

While he was arrested for first-degree assault when booked into the Lewis County Jail, the charges filed by the prosecutor on Monday were for second-degree assault.

Bergfalk has a conviction for misdemeanor assault from 1989 and at the time of his arrest, a warrant out of King County related to driving under the influence, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said he lives in Tacoma. He gave his home address as Onalaska in court documents.

No contact orders were put into place regarding Schoonover and her son. Bergfalk’s trial was set for the week of May 18.

For background, read, “Boyfriend jailed after allegedly shooting at woman, missing” from Monday March 23, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 27th, 2015


• Centralia police talked to several intoxicated individuals when they responded to a brawl outside a bar on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue last night. None of the eight to 10 people who reportedly had been fighting nor anyone else was willing to cooperate and officers arrested no one but stayed in the area until they all cleared out, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A set of keys and a Milwaukee radio were stolen out of a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.


• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart just before 6 o’clock yesterday evening about a possibly suicidal woman who threatened to harm herself and reportedly said if police showed up, she would stab them. Arriving officers located the 31-year-old in a camper and she pulled a knife from her pocket, opened it up and told them to shoot her, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Eventually she was taken into custody without anyone getting hurt, until she was in the back of a patrol car and kicked an officer, Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. The woman, whose address is listed as transient, also appeared to be intoxicated, Kaut said. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to police.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, shoplifting, hit and run, collisions on city streets, somebody driving crazy, a report of possible child abuse, a customer at a gas station in a Mercedes sports car who pooped over by the propane dispenser … and more.

Shakedown at Chehalis ATM

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Updated at 11:07 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police searched without success last night after the attempted robbery of a customer who had walked up to a bank’s ATM machine in Chehalis.

Officers called about 9:15 p.m. to the TwinStar Credit Union on the 1500 block of South Market Boulevard found the victim, a 42-year-old Chehalis woman, was uninjured, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

She said she was approached by a male who wanted money from her,” Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. “The victim replied she didn’t have any cash, she only had a check; he took her cell phone.”

He was wearing a black and white bandana over his face, according to police.

No weapon was displayed, but she saw something in his waistband she thought was the handle of either a gun or a knife, Kaut said.

Kaut said it appeared from the officer’s report a relative of the woman’s was with her, but still in their car.

The subject was described as in his early to mid-20s, heavyset and about 5-feet 6-inches tall, wearing a black hoody, Kaut said.

The report also labeled the male as Hispanic, but said he didn’t speak with any kind of an accent. No hair or eye color were noted.

Police were told he ran toward the opposite side of the bank, where a car was heard speeding away; the victim saw headlights going down a side street.

A police dog attempted to track him, but nobody was found, according to Kaut.

Prosecutors gathering information from husband for wife’s trial in 3-year-old boy’s death

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Brenda A. Wing looks on as her lawyer John Crowley, center, confers with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The mother of three, accused with her husband in the death of a toddler who was staying with them in their Vader home appeared in court this afternoon, as lawyers continue to map out a path to her trial.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge that Brenda Wing’s attorney was asking to postpone her trial a week, as her husband Danny Wing recently pleaded guilty in the case.

“That kind of changes things a little bit,” Halstead said.

The couple were arrested in November, a month after 3-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner died from what the coroner calls battered child syndrome.

Prosecutors charged them with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter; each of the two were charged as either the principal or accomplice.

The autopsy found abrasions, bruises, facial trauma, healing fractures that were described as weeks-old injuries.

Danny Wing pleaded guilty last Thursday to first-degree manslaughter and assault, and as part of the deal, is expected to be a cooperating witness for the prosecution.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt agreed to move the trial to the week of May 18.

The lawyers set a date of April 30 for a hearing where they typically file a document that includes the expected length of the trial and other particulars. Today, they estimated it could last a week and a half, or up to three weeks.

Seattle-based defense attorney John Crowley said he needs the extra time, to review materials he expects won’t be available until after next week when the state conducts a taped interview with the husband.

Danny and Brenda Wing’s three children, between infancy and age 6, were all taken into custody by Child Protective Services the day they were arrested. Both Wings remain held in the Lewis County Jail.

No details alleging how Jasper sustained his injuries are included in prosecutor’s charging documents.

Yesterday Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said they’d like to know what happened. Today, Halstead said he wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions about the facts in the case.

Whether Brenda Wing’s trial actually takes place remains to be seen.

Outside the courtroom, Halstead sidestepped the question if he is attempting to work out a plea deal with Crowley for Brenda Wing.

“We’re always working to resolve our cases,” Halstead said.

For background, read “Prosecutor expects plea deal will help reveal answers about Vader toddler’s demise” from for Wednesday March 25, 2015, here