Archive for December, 2016

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, December 31st, 2016
2015.0518.2013.1113.sirenslights5860.secondone

•••

INTERRUPTED BURGLARY

• Two suspects are in custody and a third is being sought after a Centralia woman arrived home in the midst of a burglary and was punched by one of the intruders. The thieves fled and the victim followed the woman who hit her, calling 911, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers responding to the 12:22 p.m. call to the 400 block of Courtland Street yesterday apprehended Amber A. Walker, 33, of Centralia, according to police. A second suspect, Travis L. Gray, a 36-year-old Centralia transient, was arrested later in the evening, according to police. Walker and Gray were booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree burglary. This morning, police were asking anyone who knows the whereabouts of the third suspect, Shyla M. Winterholler, to immediately call 911.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 8:15 a.m. yesterday to the 2400 block of Seward Avenue to take a report someone had tampered with a power meter.

THEFT OF IPAD

2016.1231.suspectipadimage001-123 copy

Suspected iPad thief

• Centralia police were called about 8:30 p.m. yesterday to a store at the 1200 block of Lum Road where a male came in and stole an iPad used by employees. The business was able to provide a very clear, but small, surveillance photo of the suspect, according to the Centralia Police Department. Anyone who can identify the suspect is asked to notify the Centralia police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, hit and run, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, trespass, vandalism, vehicle collision, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances … and more among 137 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 30th, 2016
2015.0518.2013.1113.sirenslights5860.secondone

•••

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• A Centralia woman returned home about 5:40 p.m. yesterday to find someone had gotten in through an unsecured back window and left out her front door with about $10,000 worth of valuables including a Dell laptop computer, an iPhone5, jewelry and tools, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.. A deputy responding to the residence on the 3700 block of Prairie Avenue learned the break-in occurred sometime after 7:15 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called about 11:40 a.m. yesterday for a burglary at the 1100 block of Marion Street in which a television, a set of keys and an assortment of tools were stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STRAY SWINE

• Chehalis police were called just after 2 p.m. yesterday about a potbelly pig with a harness running around at the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue. It could not be found, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for drugs, warrants, disorderly conduct, probation violation, protection order violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, hit and run, vehicle collision, suspicious circumstances; complaint of neighbor running chainsaw at nearly 9 o’clock at night.… and more among 125 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Whatever happened to that I-5 shooter?: Still at large

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
2015.1230.bulletthruwindshield

View of bullet hole looking forward from front seat of Mazda hatchback. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It’s been a year since a driver on Interstate 5 fired a handgun at least once, sending a bullet through the rear window of the car ahead of him, busting a hole through the top left corner of its rearview mirror and then piercing the windshield.

“It came really close, really close, to the driver,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn said.

The shooter has yet to be identified and law enforcement is once again reaching out to the public for information, in hopes of making an arrest.

“Even sometimes it’s the littlest things people tell us that can help us crack the case,” Finn said.

It happened around 11 a.m. on December 30, 2015, a Wednesday, during a road rage incident and chase that took place southbound in the 13-mile stretch north of Chehalis.

The victim driver escaped injury. The rear window of his silverish-gray four-door Mazda hatchback was shattered when he pulled into the parking lot at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis to call 911.

Finn said they only got a couple of calls at the time and since, have followed up on one anonymous tip about who the shooter might be. It wasn’t him, he said.

The crime lab tested the glass and confirmed gunshot residue, he said.

The shooter was driving a black, mid 2000s base-model Jeep Cherokee with non-tinted windows and Washington license plates. He is believed to have exited the freeway somewhere between milepost 80 and milepost 76.

Its driver was described as a white male in his 60s to 70s with gray hair and a gray or white beard.  He had a passenger described as a white female in her 80s, wearing a red shirt with an oxygen tube in her nose.

The encounter actually began in south Thurston County around milepost 93 or the Scatter Creek Rest Area. Finn said the victim, a  25-year-old man from Spanaway, was driving in the fast lane and when he came up on the Jeep, got “brake checked.”

“The victim admitted to partaking in behavior, brake checks back and forth,” Finn said. “But the other driver took it to a whole other level.”

They were traveling in and out of traffic at speeds of 85 to 90 mph, Finn said at the time.

Anyone with any information about the driver or the passenger, or if they witnessed it, we’d like them to call in, Finn said.

“As police officers, we don’t like cold cases, things to go unsolved,” he said.

Detective Jen Ortiz can be reached at 360-449-7948.
•••

For background, read “Interstate 5 shooter remains at large” from Wednesday January 6, 2016, here

2016.0105.jeepcherokee

The suspect Jeep looks like this one pictured.

2016.1229.bulletthruwindshieldcollage9216

Rear window of Mazda hatchback was shattered.

White Pass community mourning skier’s death

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Officials at the White Pass Ski Area identified the man who lost his life in an avalanche as 31-year-old Adam M. Roberts, a native of East Lewis County.

“He grew up here, he’s from Randle, his family’s still in Randle,” White Pass General Manager Kevin McCarthy said. “He’s one of those, he loved skiing in the back country.”

2016.1228.adam.roberts

Adam M. Roberts

A tribute from management there posted on their Facebook page early yesterday morning expresses condolences from the entire White Pass community.

“Adam, your love for skiing and the pure joy and exuberance with which you approached the mountains has influenced all of us. You will be so very missed,” they wrote.

Roberts and a friend on Tuesday were taking a run outside the boundaries of the groomed ski area and took separate paths, McCarthy said. The friend got to the bottom and waited and waited some more before hiking back up, McCarthy said.

The friend noticed some avalanche debris, but didn’t see any tracks leaving the area, he said. The friend went for help.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it happened around 3:45 p.m. They were notified about 6 p.m. that Roberts was located by the ski patrol beneath three feet or more of snow, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

The White Pass Ski Area is at the summit of U.S. Highway 12 and straddles Lewis and Yakima counties.

Roberts had gone to school at Western Washington University in Bellingham and split his time between there and the White Pass area, and sometimes worked at Mount Baker, according to McCarthy.

He said he’s known Roberts since he was a kid.

He was someone who’d done a lot of mountaineering, taken trips others envied and very few could ski as well as him, McCarthy said.

“At times, he’d push the envelope, you might say,” he said. “What happened to him could have happened to any of us.”
•••

For background, read “News brief: Death on the slopes at White Pass” from Wednesday December 28, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
2015.0518.2013.1113.sirenslights5860.secondone

•••

Updated at 12:41 p.m.

BURGLARY CHEHALIS

• A deputy was called about 3:45 a.m. today after an individual heard the sound of breaking glass at the 700 block of Shorey Road outside Chehalis and discovered a neighboring residence had been burglarized. An orange propane heater valued at $50 was taken and a window and door jamb were damaged, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• A deputy was called yesterday afternoon after a resident returned home to the 300 block of East Oakview Avenue in Centralia and discovered the back door had been forced open. The victim said it must have occurred after he left for work about 7:15 a.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Missing was a laptop computer and rolled pennies, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called at 10:15 a.m. yesterday for a burglary at the 300 block of Lowe Street where the DVR from a surveillance system was stolen.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called about 3:20 p.m. yesterday for a vehicle prowl at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A purse was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A purse was taken from a vehicle parked at the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 3:10 p.m. yesterday.

• Police were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to take a report of an interrupted vehicle prowl at the 100 block of East Center Street.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police were notified at 9:08 a.m. yesterday by Green Hill School that suspected methamphetamine was found in a subject’s room. Police are awaiting a written report from the juvenile detention facility on the 300 block of Southwest 11th Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to the 900 block of H Street about 8:30 a.m. yesterday where someone had spray painted a vehicle in an act of vandalism.

OOPS

• Chehalis police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday by an individual who said they accidentally dropped a $100 bill, checks and deposit slips into the blue outdoor mail receptacle next the Chehalis Post Office.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police were called at 5:35 p.m. yesterday for a two-vehicle minor-injury collision at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. The causing driver reportedly fled on foot before police arrived, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An 18-year-old Centralia resident who allegedly struck a parked vehicle yesterday and drove away was subsequently arrested for hit and run as well as second-degree driving with suspended license. An officer was called just before 12:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Jackson Street and the suspect was found about 50 yards up an alley north of the collision location, according to the Centralia Police Department. Mason A. Combs, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

RANDLE FIRE CLAIMS OUTBUILDING

• The cause of the blaze that destroyed a metal shop building on the 100 block of Falls Road in Randle is undetermined, according to the fire investigator who examined the scene. Firefighters from Lewis County Fire Districts 14 and 18 answered the approximately 8:37 p.m. call on Tuesday night. It snowed that night, Fire Investigator Derrick Paul said. “By the time they got there, it was fully involved,” he said. “There was nothing they could do.” Paul said the building contained a wood stove and also a pickup truck. Someone had been residing in the shop until about two weeks earlier, he said. Nobody was hurt, according to Fire Chief Jeff Jaques.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, violation of no-contact order, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, third-degree theft, vehicle collision, suspicious circumstances … and more among 141 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

2016.1228.fallsroadshop0387cropped

Little remains of shop building on Falls Road, Randle. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
2015.0518.2013.1113.sirenslights5860.secondone

•••

Updated at 6:57 p.m.

BRANCH CATCHES TRIGGER, VICTIM LOSES FINGER

• A 22-year-old Centralia man ended up losing about two-thirds of his right index finger from an accidental gunshot on his family’s Centralia property yesterday. It happened about 4:45 p.m. at the 1600 block of Military Road and a deputy contacted the victim last night at Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man said he was walking near a pond, carrying a 308 rifle in case he spotted a coyote, according to the sheriff’s office. He said at one point he leaned the gun against a tree and when he went to retrieve it, his right hand was near the barrel and it appears a branch or something similar engaged the trigger, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

MAN PUNCHES GIRLFRIEND

• The sheriff’s office is looking for a 37-year-old Winlock man after taking a report last night he allegedly committed second-degree assault and felony harassment. A 41-year-old woman said it occurred about 3 o’clock yesterday morning, when during an argument at the 100 block of Mines Road, her boyfriend punched her in the face numerous times, came after her with a screwdriver and then pinned her face down to the bed and said he would kill her, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She was able to get away, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

HOUSEGUEST SLAMS HOST INTO SHELF

• A 23-year-old man was arrested yesterday and charged today with second-degree assault for an incident two weeks ago in which he allegedly grabbed a woman by the back of the head and shoved her into a bookshelf, causing gashes on her forehead and eyelid that required stitches. Centralia police called the evening of Dec. 13 to the woman’s apartment at the 1400 block of Johnson Road learned he had been staying with her and when she woke him up for dinner, he got upset, saying she was talking to him like she was his mother, according to charging documents. She asked him to leave and that’s when he assaulted her, according to the documents. Officers found Anthony P. Johnson yesterday at the Hub City Mission in Centralia and he told them the woman hit him in the back of the head first, according to authorities. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail. His bail was set today at $25,000.

DAD SLAPS 2-YEAR-OLD A ‘LITTLE TOO HARD’

• A Winlock father who allegedly slapped his upset toddler in the face so hard finger marks were still visible the following day was summonsed to appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court today. Joseph P. Durham, 22, of Winlock, is charged with second-degree assault of a child. Prosecutors write in charging documents the injury was reported on Sept. 9. Durham reportedly told a deputy it happened at night, when the two and a half year-old boy was “throwing a fit” because he wanted some water and the father wouldn’t give him any because the boy had been wetting the bed, according to court documents. The injuries were still clearly visible two days later when additional photographs were taken, according to prosecutors. A judge this afternoon allowed Durham to remain free pending trial on a $25,000 unsecured bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 5.

CAR PROWL

• A deputy was contacted by a 42-year-old Yakima woman who reported someone broke into her vehicle while it was parked at the White Pass Ski Resort on Christmas Day. She thought it had been locked but no forced entry was found, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the nearly $1,800 worth of items stolen were ski and snowboard equipment and clothing, according to the sheriff’s office.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Traffic on U.S. Highway 12 five miles west of Oakville was reduced to a single lane this afternoon when a pickup truck wrecked near Cedar Creek. Troopers called at 3:10 p.m. noted the Ford 250 pickup was traveling westbound when it crossed the oncoming lane and left the roadway about 50 feet striking several trees. The driver, Ronnie L. Johanson, 61, from Malone, was injured and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol. The vehicle was totaled, according to the state patrol. The accident is under investigation.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, harassment, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, misdemeanor assault, vehicle collision, suspicious circumstances, violation of no-contact order … and more among 135 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Death on the slopes at White Pass

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 31-year-old man is dead after he reportedly skied outside the boundaries at the White Pass Ski Resort and encountered avalanche-type activity.

The ski patrol requested a deputy just after 6 p.m. yesterday and reported they had removed the deceased individual and were enroute with him to the ski lodge, which would take about an hour, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said the man lives in the Randle area, but his name is not being released.

Breen said the incident is under investigation.

Animal lawyer, animal control officer pushing for charges in Centralia cat’s death

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
2016.1227.jaycatattorney9211

Attorney Adam Karp answers news reporters’ questions following hearing on Jay the cat.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The untimely death of Jay the cat who suffered what prosecutors called cruel and terrible injuries at a north Centralia apartment complex this past spring drew two dozen spectators to a Chehalis courtroom today.

A Bellingham lawyer, on behalf of a Thurston County animal control officer, petitioned a judge in Lewis County District Court to allow for the issuance of a citizen criminal complaint.

2016.1227..Jaykitty.DerekHorrace

Jay the cat

Lewis County prosecutors have called the death deplorable, inhumane, horrific and without justification, but contend they had insufficient evidence for criminal charges.

Attorney Adam Karp strongly disagrees.

Karp in his 19-page filing, with additional declarations from numerous witnesses, laid out a variety of potential criminal charges which could be pursued.

One of them was in connection with the man Centralia police arrested the night of April 28, but then let go.

Centralia police said Kyle B. Burke, 24, took a knife to the pet at the 100 block of Virginia Drive. The following day, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said the cat may have suffered its injury at the hands of a child, at one point was dropped from a second-floor balcony and that possibly Burke was putting it out of its misery.

A retired Thurston County deputy and his wife went to the apartment complex and retrieved the dead pet that Centralia police had left behind, and took it to Erika Johnson, a former law enforcement officer and current senior animal control officer for Joint Animal Services in Thurston County.

Johnson had a veterinarian conduct a necropsy.

“Her opinion, of reasonable medical certainty, is Jay was alive before that penetrating injury,” Karp told the judge today. “This was not euthanasia.”

Meagher argued to Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard the veterinarian could not pinpoint which injury caused the cat’s death.

“The state submits what’s going on here is they don’t like our charging decision,” Meagher said.

It would put the office in an ethical bind of they were made to prosecute a case they didn’t have faith in, he said.

“Who killed the cat?” Meagher asked rhetorically. “Nobody can answer that, even their expert.

“That’s why the state can’t charge the fellow, his friend, or even the little girl.”

Meagher said the strongest part of their case was to submit the 11-year-old girl to a voluntary diversion process. Witnesses said she squeezed Jay until his body made a “popping” sound and subsequently struck him in the head with a three pound rock, according to court documents.

Judge Buzzard took the final two minutes of a half hour hearing to say he took numerous pieces of information into consideration and would not allow the petition to proceed.

Karp said afterward he was underwhelmed, upset and concerned about the way animals are treated in the county, noting “lackluster treatment” by two branches of the government.

He plans to appeal Judge Buzzard’s decision, once the written findings are filed.

He immediately filed in Lewis County Superior Court a petition to impanel a grand jury to look at the case. He said it will take two of the Superior Court judges to decide if it can go forward.
•••

For background, read “Centralia police admit errors in cat cruelty investigation, taking a second look” from Wednesday May 18, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
2015.0518.2013.1113.sirenslights5860.secondone

•••

Updated at 12:41 p.m.

DOMESTIC INCIDENTS

• A 49-year-old man who allegedly grabbed his roommate by the throat from behind and pulled her to the ground was arrested on Sunday night for second-degree assault. A deputy responding to the 400 block of 10th Street in Vader about 8:20 p.m. booked James M. Shank into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutors declined to file the felony charge and are moving the case to Lewis County District Court.

• A 25-year-old Longview man who allegedly broke the back window of his girlfriend’s vehicle at the 3600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia on Friday afternoon during a dispute was subsequently located and arrested for third-degree malicious mischief, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Christopher K. Brotherton was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 23-year-old Curtis resident was arrested yesterday for second-degree malicious mischief for a Friday morning incident at the 2200 block of Wildwood Road in Curtis in which she allegedly damaged her father’s antique desk, a wall and the floor. Lara N. McComb was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT, THEFT, THEFT

• Centralia police were called to the 100 block of West High Street about 7:15 p.m. yesterday where the business reported two males stole over $1,000 worth of merchandise and then fled the store.  The case is currently under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An individual called Centralia police just after 7 p.m. yesterday to report a residential burglary at the 700 block of Euclid Way. Sometime during the previous 24 hours, someone broke in and stole clothing and speakers, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called to the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road just before 6 p.m. yesterday to take a report someone had damaged a vending machine by prying open the money ports, according to the Centralia Police Department. It’s not yet known if anything was taken, according to police.

• An individual called Chehalis police about 12:30 a.m. today to report that previously someone had placed his truck on blocks – on Southwest Seventh Street – and stole the rear tires and then returned to try to take the front tires, but he had put locking lug nuts on them, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• An officer was called about 3:45 a.m. on Saturday by a resident on the 1000 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis who said she heard a noise and when she checked, saw a male on her front porch take her wind chime, put it in a backpack and leave on a bicycle.

• Officers responded to the 100 block of Engle Drive in Morton about 10:45 p.m. on Thursday to a possible vehicle theft.  A 1998 Ford Contour was reported to possibly be stolen by two individuals that had been staying at the residence, according to the Morton Police Department. The case is still under investigation, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 11:35 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis when an employee discovered someone had rummaged through the glove box and trunk of her car and stole six packs of cigarettes, the vehicle owner’s manual and some “owl” cards, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A deputy was called to the 100 block of Armstrong Road outside Chehalis yesterday following the discovery of a vehicle prowl in which someone stole a jacket with a Smith and Wesson handgun in its pocket, $520 cash and a stocking cap, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called regarding a vehicle prowl about 4:25 p.m. on Friday at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue. A backpack was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone broke the window of a vehicle parked at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia and stole a gift, according to a report made to police just before 2 p.m. on Friday.

DRUGS

• A deputy responding to a dispute about 11:45 p.m. yesterday subsequently contacted one of the parties who had left and arrested him for possession of cocaine. Rafael Martinez-Ledesma was located driving along Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia and smelled of alcohol, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A search incident to that arrest turned up two bindles of a white powder that field tested positive for the drug, according to the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail and a case of driving under the influence will be referred to prosecutors, according to the sheriff’s office.

TRESPASSING

• Centralia police arrested a 31-year-old man inside a vacant house at Centralia College Boulevard and Washington Avenue about 11:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve after discovering he had broken in, according to the Centralia Police Department. Steven D. Couch, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree criminal trespass, according to police.

• An officer was called about 4:40 a.m. on Saturday by a woman at the 10 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis who said she found someone left candy by the pillow on her bed, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

OTHER CRIMES

• A man called Chehalis police about 10:30 p.m. yesterday to report that when his vehicle’s door was shut at a parking lot, the rear window shattered. It was the second time he was similarly victimized, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 34-year-old Onalaska resident who was allegedly driving under the influence when he ran his vehicle into a ditch near the intersection of Middle Fork and Tauscher roads was arrested about 7 p.m. on Saturday. Dustin L. Nichols was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A police vehicle slipped on black ice and struck a utility pole on Mellen Street in Centralia about 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, according to the Centralia Police Department. The officer was not injured and an outside agency was asked to conduct the investigation, according to police.

• An individual called 911 just before 7 p.m. on Friday to say someone threw something off the West Street overpass which struck the caller’s car as it was traveling north on Interstate 5. They said they did not need contact, according to the Chehalis Police Department. A responding officer was unable to locate a suspect, according to police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, violation of no-contact order; responses for alarm, dispute, shoplifting, civil issue, hit and run, vandalism, vehicle collision, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances … and more

Flames tear through turn-of-the-century Salkum home

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
2016.1224.fullerroadhousefireLC2016034009

Two-story house on Fuller Road is surrounded by yellow tape after blaze on Christmas Eve Day. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The cause of a fire that destroyed a large, old two-story farmhouse on Saturday in Salkum remains under investigation.

Firefighters called about 10:45 a.m. to the 200 block of Fuller Road found the wood frame structure fully involved in flames, with a large hole already burned through its roof, according to Lewis County Fire District 8.

There were vehicles parked in the driveway, but after two thorough searches of the interior, they concluded nobody was there, Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said.

McDaniel said it’s probably one of the oldest homes in the valley, constructed around the turn of the century.

Nearly 20 firefighters from two districts battled the blaze, hauling about 20,000 gallons of water, McDaniel said.

They stopped the spread before it consumed an attached shed, he said.

McDaniel said he’s not sure who was living there, but understands a sheriff’s deputy, who was first on the scene, later interviewed the gentleman who resided there.

A crew was on scene until 3:15 p.m., according to McDaniel.

A fire investigator was there a few hours on Saturday and plans to return this week.

Christmas Eve crash claims a life, south of Chehalis

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One person died at the scene and another was hospitalized after a single-vehicle wreck last night on state Route 508 near Forest-Napavine Road.

Troopers and aid were called about 8:40 p.m. to the wreck with entrapment south of Chehalis. The Honda Accord had been westbound, left the roadway to the right and struck a tree, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The passenger, Thomas D. Lininger, 43, of Chehalis died at the scene, according to the state patrol.

The driver, Kimberly J. McPherson, 51, from Centralia, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital because no air transport was available due of the weather, according to responders.

Both had been wearing seat belts, the state patrol reports.

The state patrol is investigating the collision but indicates drugs or alcohol were believed to be involved.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

2013.1224.christmascard-001

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia rape charge that ended in mistrial is dismissed

Saturday, December 24th, 2016
2015.0612.lawandorder.final

•••

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge has found a Lewis County rape case must be dismissed because of intentional governmental misconduct by the sheriff’s deputy assisting the prosecutor during the trial.

The trial in Lewis County Superior Court began and then ended the same day last month in a mistrial.

Jordan T. White, 23, of Centralia, was facing a charge of second-degree rape for an alleged incident in 2014 at a rural Centralia home involving a young woman with whom he had somewhat of an intimate relationship.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt decided last week to dismiss the case. At issue was nonverbal communication in front of the jury by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin Rodgers, who was seated at the prosecutor’s table for the trial. Rodgers investigated the case.

Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke and Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm each filed a proposed written order to document the judge’s decision. The two differed in how to characterize what occurred.

This week, the two lawyers and Judge Hunt spent almost an hour in a hearing discussing what the order should state. The document is called Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

They agreed that Deputy Rodgers, while seated next to Bohm, dropped his pen onto the table at a particular point during the trial which drew the attention of members of the jury. He also had gestured to the alleged victim while she was on the witness stand.

“Deputy Rodgers engaged in intentional governmental misconduct by showing his disgust at the defendant’s version of events and communicating with the alleged victim through hand gestures during her testimony,” Hunt said of the wording he would adopt in the final document.

Judge Hunt went on to say that when the jury was sent out of the room and he questioned the deputy about his actions, the deputy was not immediately forthcoming in his answers.

The state has 30 days in which to decide if it will appeal the dismissal, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

The mistrial occurred on Nov. 29. Follow up hearings were held on Dec. 14 and this past Wednesday.

The incident was reported in the spring of 2015 to the sheriff’s office and charges were filed late this summer. The alleged victim said she was heavily intoxicated and realized the next morning she had been anally penetrated, according to court documents. White told the deputy what they did was her idea, because she wanted to remain a virgin, according to the documents.

O’Rourke said his client has mixed feelings about the outcome of his case.

“I think a lot of people would expect relief, or jubilance,” he said. “It’s not like that.”

Their position on the case was White was wrongly charged and they had been prepared to go all the way to a verdict, O’Rourke said.

An attempt to seek comment from Deputy Rodgers through the sheriff’s office resulted in Chief Deputy Dusty Breen stating that neither they nor the deputy would comment. Breen said the sheriff’s office would review what occurred.
•••

For background, read “Rape case: Trial cut short in Lewis County Superior Court” from Wednesday November 30, 2016, here