Archive for August, 2016

Lacey teen gets adult court in theft of police chief’s car case

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
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Dashaud D. Cummings, 17, consults with temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 17-year-old boy arrested for allegedly stealing a police car as he tried to get away from troopers chasing him for speeding in Chehalis has been charged as an adult in Lewis County Superior Court.

Dashaud D. Cummings was arrested on August 10, captured by a police dog in the woods off Interstate 5 a couple of miles from where Chehalis Police Department Chief Glenn Schaffer’s car was taken at Riverside Golf Course.

Cummings was brought before a judge this afternoon, who asked if this was the case where the individual was up on a roof while law enforcement officers were searching for him, and then took the police car.

A decline hearing was held in juvenile court, allowing the case to be moved in adult court, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio.

The Lacey resident is charged with second-degree assault, attempting to elude and theft of a motor vehicle as well as hit and run.

Charging documents indicate he told a police officer he was running because he didn’t want to get arrested for a warrant. He told the officer he got into one of the patrol cars, was tased,  and fled, later running on foot, according to the documents.

A Chehalis Police Department spokesperson previously related that as officers approached the police car, the suspect put it in reverse, striking a trooper with the open door, knocking the trooper down.

When Officer Matt McKnight informed him he had injured a trooper, Cummings responded, “I told him to move,” the documents state.

The 15-year-old girl who with him told police she told him to stop and that he didn’t have a license.

Defazio asked that the defendant be held on $100,000 bail.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge Cummings has a stable address with his aunt, his legal guardian who is a nurse and asked for lower bail.

Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $35,000.

Centralia attorney David Brown represented Cummings in juvenile court and was appointed to continue representing him.  The arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 8.
•••

For background, read “Theft of police chief’s car could mean adult court for teen” from Thursday August 11, 2016, here

Judge hands down slightly lighter term in Winlock child porn case

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
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Donald L. Schnacker takes a seat beside his defense attorney Jacob Clark in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Winlock man with an an intellectual ability his lawyer described as less than that of a 7-year-old was given a shorter than standard sentence for sharing child pornography on the Internet today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Donald L. Schnacker, 30, was arrested by the FBI in December and has been held since then in the Lewis County Jail.

Investigators found evidence Schnacker used his phone and the Kik messenger app to access wireless internet from the library.

“Unfortunately he got into a situation where someone at the library had introduced him to child pornography and he began sharing it,” attorney Jacob Clark told the judge.

Clark told the judge his client at a young age suffered brain damage and also has mental health problems.

“I think initially, he didn’t realize it was a crime,” Clark told the judge. “His family explained to him it was not appropriate.”

Clark apologized in advance as he didn’t want to insult Schnacker, but said he believed his client’s intelligence is below his 7-year-old’s. He can learn, but his retention is problematic, Clark said.

Prosecutors and his lawyer had worked out a plea deal and asked the judge to give Schnacker 12 months in jail, instead of 15 to 20 months in prison. He had pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm asked for the 12 months but didn’t offer any details for her request.

Judge Richard Brosey agreed, for the reasons given by Clark, and imposed 36 months of community custody after release. He also ordered Schnacker not to use a computer which is connected to the Internet.

Prison for two more participants in Centralia drug-related robbery

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The third of four suspects was sentenced today for a July incident which authorities alleged involved a ruse to obtain heroin that resulted in a struggle inside a car with bear spray and a box cutter in Centralia.

Jon Parker, 32, pleaded guilty this morning in Lewis County Superior Court to conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery. Judge Richard Brosey followed the agreed recommendation that came out of a plea agreement and gave him one year and one day in prison.

Parker chose not to make a statement on his own behalf.

He, Andrea Parker, 34, of Chehalis; Robert Plasencia, 29, of Napavine; and Kiana J. DeLaRosa, 18, of Chehalis, were all arrested after the early morning July 30 events at the 1600 block of North Scheuber Road.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said essentially the plan was already in place when the Parkers arrived. DeLaRosa had asked her friend to get her some heroin, saying she was drug sick, he said.

Court documents describe that when the two victims arrived, DeLaRosa began saying they’d stolen $100 from her, and then a purse and a backpack were taken from them.

DeLaRosa pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree robbery but her sentencing has not yet taken place.

Andrea Parker on Monday pleaded guilty to the same offense as Jon Parker – conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery – but also to four other cases from this year, involving drug possession as well as forgery and second-degree identity theft. She was given 50 months in prison.

Plasencia got 22 months when he was sentenced early last week for second-degree robbery.

•••
For background, read “Bear spray, box cutter and heroin” from Friday August 12, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
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•••

SHERIFF’S OFFICE SEEKING CHEHALIS MAN FOR ASSAULT, THEFT

• Deputies are looking for a 34-year-old Chehalis man who allegedly assaulted his former significant other at the 200 block of Roe Road in Winlock yesterday, and fled with her .22 rifle. Deputies responded about 3 p.m., searched and could not find him, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. They learned later he returned, broke a window and stole a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am, sheriff’s Cmdr. Dusty Breen said. The car was subsequently located at the 400 block of state Route 506 and a K-9 track was conducted but was unsuccessful, Breen said. A case for fourth-degree domestic assault, theft of a firearm, theft of a motor vehicle and first-degree burglary is being sent to prosecutors to review for charges against Adam C. Sullivan, according to the sheriff’ office.

AUTO THEFT

• A black 1997 Honda Civic was taken sometime during the night from the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 7:20 a.m. today. It has a license plate reading 174 ZSQ, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called just before 7 a.m. today about a beige 1988 Honda Accord stolen during the night from the 300 block of Southwest Third Street. It has a license plate reading ALL 4987, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about 12:45 p.m. yesterday about a 2006 Pontiac stolen from the 600 block of H Street. The car was recovered later in the night by the Washington State Patrol, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A deputy responded just before 11 a.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Foster Creek Road in Toledo where a car had been stolen from a field sometime since 3 a.m. on Monday. The 2003 Hyundai Elantra has four doors and is valued at about $2,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FORGERY

• A 29-year-old Centralia woman was contacted by police yesterday morning at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue where she had allegedly used a stolen credit card to get a motel room. The victim was someone she knows, according to the Centralia Police Department. Regina D. Ashley, 29, of Centralia, was arrested for forgery and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

SUPER SHOPLIFTING

• Centralia police responding to an approximately 10:50 a.m. call yesterday to the 100 block of West High Street arrested two individuals for organized retail theft. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Cleo R. Palmer, 44, of Seattle, and Juanquita A. Knox, 44, of Tacoma, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called about 2:25 a.m. for a car prowl at the 1700 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue. Missing is a Smith and Wesson pistol, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

HOSPITAL ISSUES

• Bryan J. Hill, 24, of Chehalis, was arrested about 7:45 p.m. yesterday for interfering with a health care facility and third-degree malicious mischief at the 900 block of South Scheuber Road in Centralia. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Officers were called about 8:30 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of South Scheuber Road in Centralia to take a report of a patient striking a health care provider.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, third-degree theft; responses for alarm, dispute, third-degree theft, misdemeanor assault, graffiti to a building, suicidal person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, barking neighbor dog … and more among 148 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Top ranking deputy to lead Evergreen college’s police force

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
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Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown is resigning to take a new job.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office’s chief civil deputy is moving up, taking a position as chief of police services at Evergreen State College.

Chief Deputy Stacy Brown came to the sheriff’s office just over 20 years ago, working as a patrol deputy, a detective for five years with a specialty in sex crimes and child abuse, a sergeant overseeing the detective division and more.

Since 2009, Brown has been responsible for the special services bureau, and is part of the sheriff’s command staff.

Next, Brown will lead a department with nine commissioned law enforcement officers at Evergreen, a 1,000-acre campus in Olympia with more than 4,000 students.

The announcement was made yesterday. Her last day is Sept. 12.

“It is bittersweet, I will miss everyone here so much,” Brown said. “Lewis County feels like a second home.”

Brown, who resides in Thurston County, said she’s looking forward to working with a great new team.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Evergreen in 2006, while working full time, so she already has an idea of what the culture is like, she said.

Police Services at Evergreen has its own dispatch center and Brown will also oversee campus parking services, with several employees.

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza asked his employees yesterday to join him in congratulating Brown and thanking her for her dedicated service.

“Chief Brown has done an excellent job in a myriad of positions during her tenure with our office, and has led our special services bureau with pride, professionalism, and dedication,” Snaza stated in an email message.

The departure of the top-ranking female deputy leaves the sheriff’s office with no female deputies. Until Deputy Sue Shannon left last year after more than 20 years as a patrol deputy, the two women were the only commissioned law enforcement officers in the organization.

The now-46-year-old started her career in public safety as a dispatcher for the Washington State Patrol. She hired on at the sheriff’s office in May 1996 and has worked for three sheriffs.

In her current position, which she is leaving behind, she has
a wide range of duties, conducted along the 13 staff members she supervises.

The special services bureau includes the sheriff’s office’s records division, the property and evidence division and the civil division.

“We’re responsible for all the evictions in the county and all the civil processes,” Brown said. “Like writs of execution, when someone owes money and someone can go after real or personal property.”

Brown and her people do the work involved in satisfying court judgements, whether trying to obtain a child to return to the rightful parent, or seizing property and holding sheriff’s auctions. They also process gun permits and handle fingerprinting.

Perhaps her best-recognized role has been public information officer for the past nine years, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

Brown said today she had thought she would retire from the sheriff’s office, but she’s very excited about the next step in her career.

“I just hope people understand how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to serve the community, from the bottom of my heart,” she said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
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•••

Updated at 12:39 p.m.

CHURCH VICTIMIZED BY THEFT

• A 34-foot travel trailer donated for a church’s use vanished from its parking lot early yesterday at the 200 block of U.S. Highway 12 south of Chehalis. An unknown person or persons removed the 1994 Carli sometime between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The value is listed at approximately $8,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Someone kicked in a door to a garage-shop of a church on the 2500 block of South Market Boulevard and stole a Stihl gas operated weed eater, according to a report made to Chehalis police just before 11 a.m. yesterday.

AUTO THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 2:15 p.m. yesterday following the discovery a Honda Civic was missing from a parking lot on Hampe Way and then located the car around 6 p.m. at the 600 block of Southeast Dobson Court. Its stereo, speaker and amplifier had been removed, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THEFT AT WORK SITE

• Chehalis police were called just before 8 a.m. yesterday to a job site at the 2500 block of North National Avenue where four pumps were stolen over the weekend. The loss is $4,000, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Two of them were silver and red Honda pumps and the other two were two-inch blue colored pumps, according to police.

FRAUD

• An Oregon resident called Chehalis police yesterday afternoon to report their bank card was used at Walgreens on Northwest Louisiana Avenue to purchase a gift card for more than $300. An officer learned a similar transaction also took place in Tumwater, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DISORDERLY

• Michael A. Kellogg, 45 of Centralia, was arrested about 12:10 a.m. today for interfering with a health care facility at the 900 block of South Scheuber Road in Centralia. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 30-year-old Chehalis resident for possession of methamphetamine after contact with him about 10:15 p.m. yesterday at the 200 block of Jackson Street. Christopher D. Buck was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 24-year-old Chehalis man was arrested just before 11 a.m. yesterday after contact with an officer at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Matthew M Morris was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Two young people were injured when their car collided with the center barrier then rolled coming to rest on the right hand shoulder, on its top, last night along southbound Interstate 5 near the Winlock-Toledo interchange. Carlos Y. Batista and Martelli L. White, both 19 years old and from Lacey, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers responding about 11:15 p.m. noted the 1997 Toyota Celica was totaled. Batista was allegedly traveling too fast and was arrested for second-degree negligent driving, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, probation violation, third-degree theft, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, third-degree malicious mischief, misdemeanor domestic assault; responses for alarm, dispute, harassment, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more among 180 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Former Chehalis Tribal official sentenced for defrauding housing program

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The former head of the Chehalis Tribal Housing Authority was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in jail and two years of supervised release following his conviction for collecting downpayment assistance from the authority knowing he didn’t qualify because he already owned a home.

Hector Ray Canales, Sr., 55, had pleaded guilty to conversion of tribal funds in May, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton in Tacoma said Canales had betrayed the trust of his tribe, according to office spokesperson Emily Langlie.

According to records filed in the case, Canales engaged in a “sham” transaction to transfer his existing ownership to a relative, so that he could collect $37,400 from the program which he used to pay for a second home in the Chehalis area.

Langlie stated that Canales used his position in the tribe and his knowledge of the internal fiscal controls to illegally collect the down payment funds. The fraud meant that other eligible Chehalis Tribal members did not get down payment assistance, Langlie stated.

Canales was the chairman of the board of the  Chehalis Tribal Housing Authority.

The case was investigated by the Chehalis Tribal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The judge ordered him to pay $37,400 in restitution. Canales has since repaid just over $24,000 to the tribe.

News brief: Forest fire visible from Rochester, Tumwater contained

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Members of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority are assisting with water support this morning as firefighters with the state Department of Natural Resources mop up after a blaze in the Capitol Forest that grew to about three acres.

Crews were dispatched about 9:40 p.m. yesterday on reports a large fire could be seen from Rochester and Tumwater, according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

“Crews arrived to find the fire located off the 8200 Road north of Capitol Peak near the Noshka area,” Scott stated in a news release. “The fire was initially one and a half acres in heavy logging slash and grew to approximately three acres before containment.”

Local firefighters worked the scene until the early morning hours and turned it over to DNR, according to Scott.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no injuries reported.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, August 29th, 2016
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•••

Updated at 7:11 p.m.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 55-year-old Winlock resident who wrecked his motorcycle off the 200 block of Knowles Road in Winlock early Saturday morning sustained head injuries, broken bones and abrasions along his body, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding about 1:35 a.m. cited Corey L. Smith for driving under the influence but he was released at the hospital so he could be treated, according to the sheriff’s office. His 1992 Harley Davidson sustained major damage, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 20-year-old Toledo resident sustained minor injuries but was arrested for driving under the influence after his 1999 BMW 323 came to rest on its side against a tree along the 700 block of Tucker Road outside Toledo. A deputy responding just after midnight on Friday noted Edgar B. Clairez had been wearing a seatbelt but his car had rolled and was totaled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was taken to the hospital for medical clearance and not booked into jail, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 39-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for driving under the influence as well as hit and run after allegedly crossing lanes and striking an oncoming vehicle at the 1700 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Officers responding to the approximately 9:30 p.m. call on Friday report Consuelo Paulin-Garcia fled the scene but was located a short time later, according to the Centralia Police Department. Two victims were injured, according to police, with one treated for labor contractions and the other for neck pain. Paulin-Garcia was booked into the Lewis County Jail, but is being released with no felony charges filed pending further investigation.

• Centralia police were called about 11:30 a.m. on Friday about a hit and run accident at Harrison Avenue and Interstate 5 in which the fleeing vehicle was described as a gold-colored pickup towing a trailer full of lawn care equipment.

• An officer called about 11:20 a.m. on Friday about a car versus bicyclist accident at the 200 block of West Main Street in Chehalis was unable to locate the suspect vehicle but did find a male pushing a bicycle who said he didn’t know anything about it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PROSECUTORS: DETAINEE SPITS, KICKS OFFICER

• A 43-year-old Bucoda man put in the back of a patrol car for an outstanding warrant was arrested for third-degree assault after allegedly kicking a Napavine police officer in the lower stomach and belt area. The incident occurred after the man allegedly spit on the side of the police vehicle and was “escorted to the ground” when Officer Noel Shields believed he was about to spit on him, according to court documents. John P. Beck was booked into the Lewis County Jail on Friday night, according to its online roster, but charging documents state the incident near McDonalds on Kirkland Road happened yesterday. Beck was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with third-degree assault and his bail was set at $10,000

MAN IN ROAD, COVERED WITH SHEET

• Centralia officers called just before 1 o’clock this morning about a man standing in the roadway blocking traffic, with a large sheet covering himself, ended up using a Taser to take him in to custody. Police arriving to the area at North Pearl and West Fourth streets report he charged them and when they tried to talk with him, he made threats and was aggressive, according to the Centralia Police Department. A Taser was deployed and Shane M. Schafer, 45, of Centralia, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

WATER BALLOON INCIDENTS PROMPT CHASE

• An 18-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for reckless driving last night after allegedly attempting to flee a victim of a water-ballooning. Officers called about 10:35 p.m. to Main and Silver streets in Centralia detained Hodges C. Bailey and two under-18 youth for allegedly striking numerous vehicles in both Centralia and Chehalis with the water-filled balloons, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AUTO THEFT

• A gold 1998 Mazda 626 was reported stolen about 8:35 a.m. on Saturday from the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

FIREARMS THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 11:15 a.m. yesterday to a home on the 800 block of West Plum Street to take a report of a stolen pistol.

• Police were called about a 30.06 rifle stolen in a burglary at a residence on the 700 block of Vienna Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 11 p.m. on Saturday.

CANDLE TAKEN

• A 32-year-old Winlock woman allegedly stole an LED candle from a chapel at the 900 block of South Scheuber Road in Centralia on Friday afternoon. Lucia D. Spross was arrested for third-degree theft and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TIRES TAKEN

• Chehalis police were called to the 500 block of Southwest William Avenue at about 2 p.m. on Friday to take a report that five tires were stolen from behind the home early that morning or during the night.

FUNNY MONEY

• A counterfeit $100 bill was spent at a retail store on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 7:10 a.m. on Saturday. A report of a similar instance at the same location was made on Friday afternoon, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called about 8:10 .m. yesterday for a vehicle prowl at the 1700 block of Ham Hill Road in Centralia. Missing was a GPS unit, tools and binoculars, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 10:15 a.m. yesterday to the 100 block of North Washington Avenue for a broken window to a vehicle. Just before 10:30 a.m., a report of a broken windshield was made from the 1300 block of Rose Street, and just before 11 a.m., a victim reported the same at the 200 block of North Washington Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called for malicious mischief to a vehicle on Saturday night at the 200 block of West Second Street, the 400 block of West Hanson Street, the 1400 block of Belmont Avenue and the 900 block of Marion Street.

DRUGS

• Austin J. Hines, 20 of Centralia, was arrested and booked for felony possession of marijuana after contact with police about 11:25 p.m. on Saturday at Centralia College Boulevard and Cedar Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, underage drinking, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, possession of marijuana, possession of liquor by minor; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, third-degree theft, hit and run, harassment, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, graffiti to a fence and tree and locomotive … and more among 477 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 72-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Centralia resident booked for allegedly shooting at moving truck on Main Street

Monday, August 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police believe a 27-year-old man fired a shot from a gas station parking lot at a passing vehicle on Main Street, which missed but may have lodged in a building across the street early yesterday morning in Chehalis.

Officers were called to the report of a shooting about 3:20 a.m. yesterday, located the suspect truck and stopped it at the 400 block of North Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said the motive is unclear but police are interviewing the occupants of the targeted vehicle and have arrested the passenger of the suspect vehicle.

He is Matthew W. Harader, age 27, of Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault and for possession of methamphetamine.

The driver of the truck he was in, an adult male, was not arrested, Bailey said.

Officers believe Harder fired from the parking lot of the 76 gas station at the 600 block of Main Street, according to Bailey. No injuries were reported, according to Bailey.

The case is still under investigation, but Harder is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon to face criminal charges.

Read about optimism for Thurston Sheriff Snaza’s long road to recovery …

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza remains in critical condition following the motorcycle accident that left him with a punctured lung, a lacerated kidney, a severely broken left arm and a damaged right hand.

Snaza underwent surgery Wednesday to fuse a bone in his neck.

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Sheriff John Snaza

Undersheriff Tim Braniff said at a press conference yesterday afternoon the 51-year-old is strong and “he’ll be back, according to Olympian news reporter Amelia Dickson.

The sheriff’s office informed the public on Wednesday morning they learned Snaza the evening before was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Sanders County, Montana, while off duty. The sheriff sustained life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

He is the twin brother of Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza.

By Thursday, there were positive responses to the doctor’s request of movement, according to sheriff’s Lt. Tim Rudloff.

Rudloff has been keeping the public informed throughout by posting news releases on the department’s Facebook page.

Braniff told the gathering Snaza has made significant improvements with breathing on his own, but was still being assisted by a ventilator because of the internal injuries.

“He has a long road to recovery, and that recovery will be aided by the outpouring of support shown thus far,” the undersheriff said.

Braniff is second-in command and running the office in the sheriff’s absence.

Snaza was first elected sheriff in 2010.
•••

Read “Undersheriff on Sheriff Snaza: ‘He is strong, and he’ll be back’” from The Olympian on Friday August 26, 2016, here

For background, read “Breaking news: Thurston Sheriff Snaza seriously hurt in motorcycle wreck” from Wednesday August 24, 2016, here

Two of spooked horse victims on the mend, after fair accident

Saturday, August 27th, 2016
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Helen Morgan at her father Jake Morgan’s bedside. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County officials went silent about the spooked carriage horse that took off running down the midway at the Southwest Washington Fair, injuring five people.

The designated spokesperson about the incident talked with news organizations the day it occurred, offering sparse details.

By early this week, the spokesperson, Lewis County Risk Manager Paulette Young, said nothing more would be said.

“We’re not providing any more information on that, we are no commenting,” Young said Tuesday.

The day before, the three-member Lewis County Board of Commissioners issued a formal statement:

“Because of potential litigation that could arise in the future, and upon advice of counsel, Lewis County will not be making any further comments on this matter,” they wrote. “Our thoughts and well wishes continue to be with those affected by this incident.”

It happened about 2:30 p.m. a week ago Friday.

Young on that afternoon said she knew only that five people were hurt and four of them were hospitalized, after a vendor’s horse with buggy ran through the fairgrounds.

The chief of the fire department whose jurisdiction includes the fairgrounds in between the cities of Centralia and Chehalis said he didn’t know much more. Riverside Fire Authority Chief Mike Kytta referred questions to Young.

We don’t have a whole lot,” Kytta said earlier this week. “With our fairground crew there, we had the whole thing turned around in 18 minutes.”

Kytta said four individuals were put into AMR ambulances and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital. The fifth person went there in a private vehicle, he said.

Although ordinarily Riverside Fire Authority records and shares such basics as the age and sex of accident victims, Kytta said he did not have that information.

“Now we know, from the news, a father and daughter were flown to Harborview with head injuries,” he said earlier this week.

Jake Morgan of Toledo and his daughter Helen were airlifted to the Seattle trauma center. A GoFundMe page posted the following day included words from the mother, Emily Owen, who said they expected a long healing road ahead.

“They have been overwhelmed with prayers and wishes,” the statement read. “Due to the severity of Jake and Helen’s injuries Emily won’t be able to go back to work immediately.

“If you feel moved please join me in donating what you can to offset their cost of living during their stay here in Seattle, and in the time home.”

Now, fellow Toledo resident Brandie Devine is busy organizing assistance for the family.

A benefit spaghetti dinner and auction is planned for Sept. 30 at Toledo High School. It will run from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

“Emily will move from primary provider to caregiver,” Devine wrote. “As this family heals, let’s do what we can as a community to ‘make life a little easier’. ”

The cost is $5 per child and $7 for adults.

To donate auction items, Devine can be reached at 360-880-7331

To donate food or supplies for the spaghetti feed, please contact Catrina Mathis at 360-703-1716 or Cara Buswell at 206-303-9472 or 360-864-4291.

Also, Devine notes that in the meantime for anyone who would like to contribute money to help family members with fuel costs for their trips to and from the hospital, an account is set up at the Toledo Flying K Gas Mart.
•••

For background, read “Chehalis: Spooked horse injures several fairgoers” from Friday August 19, 2016, here

Insurance on $322 million highway project will pay for $18.5 million collision settlement for Rochester man

Friday, August 26th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Washington State Department of Transportation issued a formal statement yesterday, the day after a settlement of $18.5 million was approved for a Rochester motorcyclist severely injured last year when he collided with a dump truck working on the Interstate 5 construction project in Centralia.

“This was a tragic and serious incident for Mr. Bliss and our thoughts remain with him, ” the state agency wrote. “Safety is a top priority for WSDOT and we work diligently with our contractors to reduce the risk of roadway incidents.”

Scott R. Bliss was 44 years old when the early morning wreck occurred on April 17, 2015 at the northbound Harrison Avenue entrance to Interstate 5. A Mac truck was turning on to the ramp from an adjacent area and Bliss was entering the freeway when Bliss’s motorcycle struck its trailer, leaving him with a brain injury.

Bliss just finally returned home about a month ago from a rehabilitation center.

The settlement is the largest amount paid to a single person in a Lewis County Superior Court case, as far as Bliss’s attorneys could find.

The lawsuit filed on his behalf named Washington state, the state Department of Transportation’s contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. and the driver, Wesley G. Snelson, from Galvin.

The judge’s approval came on the same day local and state officials met for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the nine year highway construction project coming to a close.

The $322 million project encompassed an 18-mile stretch, adding and modifying interchanges, adding lanes and building new connections that parallel the freeway to carry local traffic, among other improvements.

The $18.5 million in settlement money will be put in a trust for Bliss.

Most of it, $13.5 million, is being paid through Scarsella’s private insurance, according to a WSDOT spokesperson.

The other $5 million comes from a liability insurance policy required under the construction contract paid for by Scarsella but taken out in WSDOT’s name, according to Lars Erickson, communications director for the state agency.

The Interstate 5 work, which began in 2007, was done between Maytown and Napavine.

“This work will help drive down collisions and improve travel times on this portion of the West Coast’s busiest highway,” WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator Bart Gernhart stated in a news release. “By partnering with local community members, we incorporated their vision of a safer and more efficient I-5 corridor that will have lasting benefits for all travelers.”

The most visible difference are the connectors between the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges, meant to improve safety by reducing merge weaving and preventing backups onto the interstate.

Drivers should expect occasional nighttime single-lane closures during the next few weeks as WSDOT’s contractor, Scarsella Brothers, Inc., finishes guardrail installation and striping work, according to WSDOT spokesperson Bart Treece.

Additional roadside landscaping and erosion control work will be completed during the fall and winter months.
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For background, read “Multi-million settlement reached for motorcyclist’s injuries at I-5 onramp during construction” from Wednesday August 24, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, August 26th, 2016
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BASEBALL BAT ATTACK

• Police were called to a motel room at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia about 12:40 a.m. today where an uncle allegedly punched his niece and another family member was hit with a baseball bat and knocked unconscious. Johnaton M. Simien, 39, from Eunice, Louisiana, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUTTER KNIFE DEFENSE

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday after he contacted police and said his girlfriend stabbed him with a butter knife and chipped his tooth with a mug at the 600 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia.. Officers called about 1 p.m. found the girlfriend with a black eye, several bruises on her upper arms and red marks around her neck, according to court documents and police. Robert E. Chandler was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to police.

THEFT OF MAIL

• Centralia police were called just before 1 p.m. yesterday to take a report of mail being stolen from the 2600 block of Eureka Avenue.

DRUGS

• A 33-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer about an outstanding warrant at the 400 block of Girard Street in Centralia about 4:50 a.m. today. Treston D. Zimmerman was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 26-year-old Onalaska man contacted about 3 o’clock this morning about an outstanding warrant the the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia was subsequently arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Zacharey J. Hanley was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 24-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of heroin after a man reported finding drug paraphernalia and what field-tested positive for the drug among his daughter’s belongings at the 1200 block of Centralia Avenue just before 1 p.m. yesterday. Kayla M. Burleson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 21-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for unlawful possession of a controlled substance at about 10:20 a.m. yesterday at the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia. Chris M. Yates, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

POSSIBLE ‘HOUDINI HOUND’  HEADS TO GROCERY STORE

• A Chehalis woman called police about 10 p.m. yesterday after returning home from work and finding her dog which had been inside a kennel inside her house was gone, even though the home was still locked up. “We’re not sure if the dog figured out how to get out or someone let it out,” Chehalis Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. A citizen at about noon time had found the Labrador mix wandering at Safeway on the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard, according to police. It was taken to the shelter, Kaut said. A bedroom window was possibly open, according to Kaut.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police report they responded to a car versus bicycle accident at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday. It involved minor injury, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, third-degree theft, suicide threat, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, dog left alone in vehicle … and more among 180 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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CORRECTION: The item involving Robert E. Chandler has been updated to correctly reflect who used the butter knife and whose tooth was chipped.