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Breaking news: Shots fired, individual robbed in Centralia neighborhood

Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm
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Centralia police set evidence markers out on Van Buren Avenue following a robbery.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – Police are investigating a robbery in a south Centralia neighborhood that neighbors say included multiple gunshots.

The victim suffered a minor injury, not from being shot but from being hit, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Officers were called about 12:40 p.m. today to the 200 block of East Van Buren Street, just off South Gold.

Detectives are at the scene, where multiple yellow evidence markers have been placed on the street.

Around-the-corner neighbor Jay Jones was decorating his Christmas tree with his girlfriend when he heard multiple gunshots.

The first couple were distinct, but the “pops” that followed came so fast he couldn’t count them, Jones said.

Police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said further details would be released when an officer is available.

More to come.

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Glenoma families lose mudslide lawsuit against timber company

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm
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The Hurley’s green barn has been cleaned up and the brown barn has been torn down, but the ravine remains on their property since the 2009 mudslides. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The jury in the Glenoma mudslides case returned a verdict this morning in favor of Menasha Forest Products.

The attorney representing 11 families whose properties were inundated with mud, trees, boulders and debris during a January 2009 storm says they may appeal.

“It’s too early to know, but it’s certainly something we’re considering,” Seattle-based lawyer David Bricklin said.

The decision by 12 men and women was reached in less than three hours following an approximately six-week long trial in Lewis County Superior Court. Specifically, they found Menasha was not negligent in its actions.

Bricklin, representing the plaintiffs, contended it was Menasha’s clear cutting of a steep unstable slope above Glenoma that caused the destruction to a number of properties. Menasha’s lawyers said it was erosion from a storm that brought an unprecedented amount of water.

Bessie Hurley, who with her husband Jerome Hurley was part of the lawsuit, said she’s deeply disappointed.

“What is most upsetting about it isn’t the money,” she said. “It’s that the logging company had it confirmed to them they can do whatever they want with no consequences.”

Bessie Hurley, 59, and her family experienced multiple slides on their five acres that day, one of which left a ravine 10 feet deep and as much as 30 feet wide across their yard.

They haven’t been able to afford the bull dozing work or new top soil needed to restore their property, she said. A barn that was undercut had to be torn down, she said.

The worst part though was the fear, the fear they were going to die, she said.

She spoke of hearing what sounded like a freight train before daybreak on Jan. 7, 2009, and going outside with flashlights to explore what had occurred. Four more slides came through before they called 911 and were told, if they couldn’t get out, then rescuers wouldn’t be able reach them.

She describes walls of debris with boulders the size of Volkswagens roiling down as though in a washing machine.

The property at the far end of Martin Road has been in her family since 1964. She said she’s afraid to live there, but can’t imagine anyone who would buy the place.

She and her husband are retired, and take care of an 18-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy who is bedridden.

“I have to tell you, I feel like that logging company raped us that day, and now they did it again,” Bessie Hurley said.

Another one of the plaintiffs, the only one who doesn’t live on Martin Road, considers himself one of the luckier ones. The mud and silt only ran under his house, across his grass and ruined his nature trail and about five cords of split and stacked maple, he said.

Disappointed isn’t a strong enough word for Mike Wood.

“It’s just another case of large corporate greed,” Wood said. “They made the profit, we suffered the destruction, and they don’t have to answer for it.”

Menasha was purchased in 2007 by The Campbell Group based in Portland.

Neither they not their attorney could be reached for comment today.

Olympia attorney Robert Wright filed the lawsuit in November 2010, and took it to trial with Bricklin.

Still pending, is another mudslide suit filed by Wright, involving Manke Timber Co. and five individuals who lived on Bear Mountain Road.

Also, seven of the original plaintiffs – from around the Lunch Creek area – will see their case go to trial in April of next year in Lewis County Superior Court.

Bricklin said he didn’t think the verdict today necessarily means much for the Lunch Creek case, even though all 12 jurors agreed when only 10 were needed for a decision.

The defendant in that case is Port Blakely, and it also involves a clear cut, he said.

“The negligence claims in the Lunch Creek suit are very different,” Bricklin said. “Different different rules, different facts and different landscaping.”
•••

For background, read “Lawsuit: Glenoma families fault logging practices for 2009 mudslide damage” from Thursday December 13, 2012, here

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News brief: Kid “breaks in” to Green Hill School for boys

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 16-year-old boy is in trouble after breaking in to the fenced compound that contains Green Hill School, the state’s juvenile lockup facility for older boys in Chehalis.

Police were called to the institution on Southwest 11th Street about 5:15 a.m. today after security personnel found him outside and brought him inside, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

“I guess on  a dare, is my understanding, he decided to climb over the fence,” Police Sgt. Rick McNamara said.

The teen was intoxicated and apparently managed to scale the razor wire-topped fence without serious injury, according to McNamara.

“Usually we hear of them trying to get out, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone trying to get in,” McNamara said.

The boy is from outside the local area, but new to Chehalis, he said.

He was released to a parent or guardian, pending charges.

McNamara said he wasn’t even sure yet what the crime might be.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

K9 TRACKS DOWN FOUR TEENS WHO FLED CAR

• A police dog was summoned after an officer attempted to contact the occupants of a vehicle in a parking lot just after 1 a.m. today and the five people inside fled. It happened near North Schueber and Russell roads in Centralia. Officer Ruben Ramirez and his partner Lobo tracked down four of the subjects, boys ages 15, 16, and 17, according to the Centralia Police Department. Inside the vehicle was marijuana and a pipe, according to police. The 17-year-old was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for taking a motor vehicle – his parent’s – without permission, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. Other potential charges are pending, according to police. Only one of the boys sustained a superficial wound from contact with the police dog, according to Reichert.

THEFT

• Police were called to a home on the 1300 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia yesterday about the theft of a gold necklace. Sgt. Kurt Reichert said the price of gold is upwards of $2,000 an ounce nowadays.

• Police were called to the 700 block of Euclid Way in Centralia on Wednesday about the unauthorized use of a debit card.

MOM ARRESTED

• A 47-year-old Centralia mother was arrested early yesterday morning at the 3000 block of Borst Avenue for unlawful imprisonment after she allegedly assaulted her daughter and prevented her from leaving the home. Sharon R. Deeks was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for fourth-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department. She is however being released from jail without charges for now.

DRIVER WITH NO ID JAILED

• An 18-year-old Chehalis man who was driving without a license yesterday was booked into jail because he had nothing to prove who he was, according to the Centralia Police Department. Freddie E. Bautista was detained after contact with an officer just before 7 p.m. on the 600 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• A 35-year-old Packwood woman reported yesterday her bank cards had been used around the county after her purse was stolen from her unlocked vehicle on Sunday morning while it was parked at the Blue Spruce Tavern on the 13000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood. Missing are four credit cards, a debit card and $200 cash, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office has descriptions of a pair of potential suspects, according to the sherif’s office.

• Pills were reported stolen from a vehicle on the 3200 block of Galvin Road in Centralia on Wednesday night.

VANDALISM

• Police were called just after 20 p.m. yesterday to the 2800 block of Russell Road in Centralia regarding three slashed tires on a vehicle. Police have a person of interest in the case, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An officer took a report yesterday morning regarding a building on the 400 block of West Main Street in Centralia being tagged overnight with graffiti.

• Police were called to the 2500 block of Sharon Street in Centralia about 4:40 a.m. yesterday when someone broke a window with a rock.

• Police were called to North Tower Avenue and East Fourth Street about 9 p.m. on Wednesday where someone had smashed out the windshield and a window of a vehicle.

DRUGS

• A 44-year-old man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after he was detained for an outstanding warrant about 12:30 a.m. today at the Hub Tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Dwayne J. Thomas, a homeless person, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Lawsuit: Glenoma families fault logging practices for 2009 mudslide damage

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm
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Glenoma mudslides. / Courtesy photo Washington State Department of Natural Resources

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Almost four years ago, while the public’s attention was turned to predictions of flooding on major rivers in Western Washington, forecasters were warning the coming heavy rains would swell small streams and increase the likelihood of landslides.

In Morton, an estimated three feet of snow on the ground melted down to two in about 12 hours.

Rain-saturated snow collapsed roofs. Creeks and rivers overflowed and changed courses and hillsides of trees and mud slid into houses, yards and across roadways.

It was Jan. 7, 2009.

Interstate 5 was closed from exit 68 and to the north through Lewis County because of water over the freeway. At the same time, U.S. Highway 12 between Morton and Packwood was shut down with multiple mudslides.

The Glenoma area was especially hard hit.

Lawyers representing 11 families wrapped up closing arguments in Lewis County Superior Court today in a trial in which a timber company is being asked to repay them for the damages.

Seattle-based lawyer David Bricklin contends Menasha Forest Products, purchased in 2007 by The Campbell Group based in Portland, clear cut a steep unstable slope above Glenoma causing a number of properties to be buried by mud on Jan. 7, 2009.

Menasha’s attorney Bud Fallon says the huge storm with an unprecedented amount of water started a process of erosion which caused great damage. But no one was hurt, and no one was killed, Fallon said.

The trial began Nov. 1 before Judge Nelson Hunt.

The “harvest unit” in question was about 118 acres of Douglas Fir clear-cut in the year 2000, according to Fallon.

Fallon spoke to the jury today of multiple slides that ripped whole trees from the ground, and sent boulders, rocks and 16,000 cubic feet of soil down the hillside.

He said Menasha followed the logging rules set by the Department of Natural Resources.

“This isn’t a landslide, you can see clearly this is erosion,” he said. “The run off would have been the same whether the harvest occurred or not.”

The plaintiff’s attorney Bricklin argued it was a big storm, but one that could have been anticipated and taken into account.

The huge storm of 1996 didn’t cause anything similar, he said.

“What’s different between 1996 and 2009?” Bricklin asked. “One difference of course is the fact it’s been clear-cut.

“The geology didn’t change, the slope didn’t change, but the vegetation on it did.”

Bricklin noted some unique features on this site, such as slopes higher than 31 percent situated directly above homes.

“Menasha was willing to take the risk,” he said.

Olympia attorney Robert Wright filed the lawsuit in November 2010 on behalf of Glenoma residents Jerome and Bessie Hurley and others. The plaintiffs involved in the case were affected by the Martin Road slides.

Bricklin said they are asking Menasha to cover in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $750,000 per family.

Jurors began deliberating just after 3:30 p.m. today and will resume in the morning.

Seven of the original plaintiffs – from around the Lunch Creek area – will see their case go to trial in April of next year.

The Roadside Inn Tavern on U.S. Highway was destroyed during the same storm from a different mudslide, according to Wright.

Another suit filed by Wright is pending, involving Manke Timber Co. and five individuals who lived on Bear Mountain Road on the south side of the Tilton River near Morton.

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Koralynn Fister: Attorneys to argue over evidence prior to homicide by abuse trial

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm
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James Reeder waits to be escorted out of the courtroom and back down to the jail.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge will decide if some of the information gathered by police during their death investigation of a Centralia toddler will be kept from jurors, details James Reeder’s attorney said were obtained illegally.

Reeder, 26, is charged with homicide by abuse and other related offenses regarding the May death of his live-in girlfriend’s daughter, 2-year-old Koralynn Fister.

Reeder claimed he found her face down in the bathtub and carried the naked and unbreathing child to neighbors across the street from her house asking them to call 911 while he attempted CPR.

Prosecutors allege Reeder tortured and raped the child. According to the coroner, Koralynn died from drowning and head trauma.

Defense attorney David Arcuri filed a motion to suppress evidence in Lewis County Superior Court, alleging a Centralia police detective went inside the home on West Oakview Street the afternoon of May 24 purportedly to see if there was another child in the residence even though other officers had told him they’d already checked inside for anyone else.

The information detective Pat Beall obtained while inside is what Arcuri is trying to get tossed out, according to Arcuri.

According to the written motion, Beall walked through the house and found no other children. He then dipped his hand into the bath water, finding it cold to his touch.

Beall notified the hospital and was told the child’s temperature was 84 degrees while in the emergency room, according to Arcuri.

The fire department had been called the scene at 3:09 p.m. and Koralynn was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m.

Beall’s information and more was given to Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard to then obtain a search warrant for the house, according to Arcuri.

“If you conduct a search without a warrant, it’s presumptively bad,” Arcuri said today.

The other side must show it was okay, according to Arcuri.

Reeder and his attorney went before a judge briefly this morning to schedule a hearing on the matter.

The arguments will be heard on Jan. 11. Reeder’s trial is set for the end of January.

Reeder remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail.
•••

For background, read “Defendant in Centralia toddler death by abuse case pleads not guilty” from Thursday July 12, 2012, here

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News brief: Defendant pleads not guilty in fatal shooting in Centralia

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm
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Weston G. Miller goes before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court to plead not guilty to murder.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia resident Weston G. Miller pleaded not guilty today in the March shooting death of his houseguest at Miller’s B Street home.

The former welder has been held in the Lewis County Jail since his arrest, unable to make his pleas to first-degree murder because of a question whether he was competent to stand trial.

Miller, 30, told police he acted in self-defense, but prosecutors say it was unprovoked attack when he shot 43-year-old David Wayne Carson twice in the chest area.

Miller pleaded not guilty today to first-degree murder and five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in Lewis County Superior Court.

When police searched the home they found five guns, a silencer, a laser site for a gun and a bullet-proof vest, according to charging documents.

Miller’s only criminal history includes a two-year-old fourth-degree assault gross misdemeanor, but that meant he was prohibited from possessing guns.

Carson, a Centralia resident who had just signed up for college and was going to learn to fly so he could go work in Alaska, died on March 13.

A trial was set for the week of February 4.

Miller’s attorney J.P. Enbody has said the issue of insanity – at the time of the incident – could still come up.
•••

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Toledo teen pleads guilty to baseball bat assault on dad

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Toledo High School student charged with hitting his father in the head with a baseball bat this summer pleaded guilty yesterday to a lesser crime, but still in adult court.

The boy, who turned 17 about a month ago, was arrested in mid-July and charged in adult court with first-degree assault, a felony for which he faced as long as 12 years in prison, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke.

Charging documents contended he came upon his parents arguing about the father’s extramarital affairs and struck his dad with a metal bat.

When police and aid were called to the Toledo home, the father Leslie Bagley was unconscious on the floor with what was described as major trauma to his head, according to authorities.

O’Rourke said he understood the injuries included multiple skull fractures, although they appear to have healed.

Prosecutors had to get a court order to get interviews with the parents.

The teenager was in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, but still in adult court as prosecutors insisted, according to O’Rourke.

“This is about as close as you can get to being a mortal injury,” he said. “It could have been murder two, that’s why we stuck to our guns.”

The standard sentencing range he now faces is 15 to 21 months, which includes a deadly weapon enhancement for the baseball bat.

O’Rourke called it a good outcome, that takes into account the defendant’s age, their desires and community safety.

Defense attorney Chris Baum said his client made the choice to take the plea agreement. He called it a tough situation.

“It’s kind of a sad case all the way around,” Baum said. “The victim didn’t want him prosecuted, but the state insisted.”

Sentencing will occur in January.

•••

For background, read “Toledo teen charged in adult court for allegedly taking bat to father’s head” from Tuesday July 24, 2012, here

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Winlock High School grad gets 25 plus years for molestation

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm
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A jail guard takes Reginald L. Juntunen’s finger prints before leading him out of the courtroom.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Twenty-four-year-old Reginald L. Juntunen told the court he’s truly sorry for molesting an 8-year-old girl before a judge gave the Winlock man a sentence of 25 years to life.

Juntunen was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon following a plea agreement that avoids a trial for the girl who is now 13 years old.

His parents, sister, grandmother and friends filled two rows on one side of the Chehalis courtroom while the victim’s father sat in the back in the opposite corner.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke read a statement from the father, who wrote of the day five years ago in the Mossyrock campground that forever changed the carefree life of his then 8-year-old child.

He thanked Juntunen for not killing her, and for admitting what he did.

“She’s very happy you’ll be going away for a long time, and won’t be able to hurt anyone again,” O’Rourke read.

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Reginald L. Juntunen, two years ago at a Christian event

Juntunen was arrested this summer after he was identified through DNA as a suspect in the unsolved case from September 2007. He pleaded guilty last month to first-degree child molestation, for sexually assaulting the girl in a campground restroom.

The plea agreement contained an aggravating factor, that the offense was predatory.

The case was originally charged as rape and numerous related offenses but lawyers on the two sides settled on  child molestation, involving sexual contact with the girl.

Defense attorney Chris Baum said told the judge he knew his words wouldn’t change the sentence which is set by statute, but described a client who from the start accepted responsibility for what he did.

Baum said he’s known the Winlock High School graduate for a long time and was surprised by the charges.

“He unfortunately had abused too many drugs and too much alcohol,” Baum said.

Juntunen was enrolled in Lewis County Drug Court when he was charged in the case.

With a box of tissue at his side and with lengthy pauses during which he sniffled, Juntunen spoke of his shame for his behavior and of falling short of his family’s expectations. He kept his back to the courtroom benches and news cameras during the entirety of the hearing.

“As an early teen, I strayed away to a life heavily influenced by drugs and alcohol,” he said. “My morals and values were lost in my addiction.”

He vowed to use his time in prison to better himself.

O’Rourke also read a letter from the victim, in which she described having to stay close to her mom and dad out in public, and her fear of going into a restroom alone.

“Even today, I’m afraid the same thing could happen to me,”Rourke recited. “But at least now I’m more aware.”

Judge James Lawler called the case horrendous, and imposed the sentence of 25 years to life.

During that time, Juntunen will also serve 20 months for a burglary and selling stolen jewelry that occurred this year.

Baum said it will be up to the indeterminate sentencing board if and when Juntunen gets out of prison. He will be on probation for the rest of his life if he gets out.

“He’s gonna do more than 20 years, and then the board will take a look at him,” Baum said.
•••

For background, read: “Breaking news: Winlock man admits he touched girl in campground restroom” from Friday Nov. 9, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

55-INCH TV STOLEN FROM CHEHALIS RESIDENCE

• Chehalis police were called just before 10 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue regarding a break-in. Among the missing items are a 55-inch flat screen television, a wedding band, two compound bows and DVD, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There are no suspects, according to police.

MISSING HONDA CAR

• Police are looking for a stolen Honda, a black 1992 Prelude that went missing from the 100 block of Virginia Drive in Centralia. An officer took a report about 12:30 a.m. today. The car has a license plate of ADK 6583, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SHOPPER LOSES DEBIT CARDS

• Centralia police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday by an individual who said he lost his wallet while at the Centralia Outlets and then discovered someone had used both his debit cards.

DOMESTIC ISSUE LEADS TO CHASE

• A short foot pursuit and a brief struggle with a suspect just before 2 p.m. yesterday at the 1200 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia ended with the arrest of a 22-year-old man wanted for earlier in the day violating a no-contact order regarding his ex-girlfriend, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers looking for Ronald A. Yeager found him and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for multiple offenses, including resisting arrest, obstruction, possession of methamphetamine, stalking and harassment, according to police.

DRUGS

• Two people were arrested for drug offenses following a traffic stop about 2:20 a.m. today at North Schueber Road and Borst Avenue in Centralia. The driver, Jennifer L. Schroeder, 27, of Chehalis, had an outstanding warrant and was seen trying to hide pills under her leg, according to police. And an officer found a bag of suspected heroin next to the passenger seat where Michael J. George, 23, of Centralia, was sitting, according to the Centralia Police Department. Both were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

OTHER

• Plus various other incidents and calls involving misdemeanor domestic violence assault, minor collisions warrant arrests and complaints, such as what can one do about people smoking in front of their business.

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I-5 shut down overnight for wreckage involving four semis, two passenger vehicles near Vader

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 10:17 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Volkswagen Jetta on Interstate 5 near Vader was hit by two semi trucks overnight, first in the northbound lanes and then after it was propelled across the freeway, by a southbound big rig.

The wreck just before 1 a.m. was part of an incident that involved four semi trucks and two passenger vehicles and closed portions of the freeway until earlier this morning.

All but two of the rigs had to be towed.

“The driver of the Jetta, at least a broken nose, non-life threatening injuries, surprisingly,” Trooper Will Finn said this morning.

It began when a southbound Freightliner swerved for a deer, struck the center barrier and lost part of an axle and at least one tire which came to rest in the northbound lanes, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The Jetta and a Dodge van both struck the tire assembly and became disabled, Finn said. A northbound Freightliner struck the Jetta and the van, shooting the Jetta into the northbound lanes where another semi truck ran into it, according to Finn.

A fourth semi became disabled when it hit debris in the northbound lanes, he said.

It happened near milepost 58, near the Cowlitz River.

A detour was put in place until about 4 a.m. when just the inside lanes were closed while workers reset the jersey barriers, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The driver of the Jetta, Henry Hammond, 57, of Tacoma, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital. He was treated and has been released.

The van’s driver, Christopher Hawkins, 57, of Clackamas, Ore., was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with chest pain, according to Finn.

Stephanie N. Laird, 33, of Vancouver, who was driving the 2005 Freightliner that swerved was uninjured, according to the state patrol.

The deer apparently was not struck and was not at the scene, according to Finn. Charges are pending, he said.

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News brief: Semi wrecks close Interstate 5 near Vader

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 2:24 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two collisions involving two semi trucks have Interstate 5 blocked in both directions just south of Vader, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The closure near milepost 58 near the Cowlitz River began about 12:45 a.m., according to a news release from DOT.

Northbound traffic is being diverted at Jackson Highway.

The roadway isn’t expected to be cleared for several hours.

Update at 3:12 a.m.: The southbound right lane has opened. The rest of the freeway may be cleared within the hour, according to DOT.

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Chehalis mom who agreed to work with police targeted in drug sting

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 33-year-old Chehalis mother is being held in the Lewis County Jail after she allegedly three times sold small quantities of methamphetamine from her home while police were surveilling.

Nora M. Davis was arrested on Friday morning after police served a search warrant at her home on the 200 block of Southwest Second Street. There, they found a man who answered the door with suspected meth in his pants and then in her bedroom, a scale for weighing drugs as well as a bag of suspected meth and a glass pipe, according to charging documents and police.

Chehalis police had given Davis a break in July after meth residue was found on a pipe in her purse, offering her a chance to become a confidential informant instead of a drug charge, but she failed to follow through, according to prosecutors.

Davis has no criminal history. A judge yesterday ordered her held on $10,000 bail.

Charging documents describe how Davis then became a target for another confidential informant who in October, November and last Thursday allegedly purchased $20 and $60 amounts of the drug during visits to Davis’s home.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said the 41-year-old Chehalis man – Thomas D. Crews – who was arrested on Friday morning was being released from jail without charges.  Eisenberg wouldn’t say why.

Davis is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts of possession. She is expected to make her pleas on Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

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Police: Surveillance footage, booking photo and facebook pic end short crime spree

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police found numerous clues in Wal-Mart’s security video as they scoured the images after the suspected driver of a stolen $50,000 truck eluded pursuing deputies and slipped into the Chehalis super store a week ago.

Sgt. Brian Hickey said he couldn’t make out the license plate of the white van that appeared to pick up the suspect about five minutes after he entered the business on Dec. 2, but he later spotted a similar vehicle and ran the plates to discover the registered owner had been booked into jail before. He looked like the same guy, according to Hickey.

The clincher was the hooded sweatshirt with distinctive stripes shed by the suspect before departing Wal-Mart, according to Hickey. The van’s owner was wearing a jacket like that in his Facebook picture, Hickey said.

It was about 4:40 a.m. a week ago Sunday when a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull over a speeding driver near a Chehalis automobile dealer on North National Avenue. After the chase ended at Wal-Mart, deputies and police surrounded the building but the driver vanished.

The 2012 Chevrolet pickup truck had been stolen from Titus Will.

Hickey interviewed his suspect yesterday, after the 28-year-old Centralia resident was picked up by Centralia police.

“So, I go to ask him questions, like, do you know why police are looking for you?” Hickey said this morning.

“He says yeah, I got an idea,” Hickey said.

“Well?” Hickey asked him.

“Oh, for crimes,” the suspect answered, according to Hickey.

“Yeah?” Hickey said he asked.

“For breaking into the coffee stands,” the man replied, according to the sergeant.

Hickey said Garrett R. Dschaak told him about twice stealing from Ooh La Latte on Bishop Road in Chehalis and two recent espresso stand burglaries in Centralia.

He said he lost his job about a month ago, and needed the money, Hickey said.

“So, when he got done talking about all that stuff, which I didn’t know he was involved in, we talked about Wal-Mart,” Hickey said. “Cleared up a lot of crimes.”

Dschaak was booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday for attempting to elude and possession of a stolen vehicle. More charges can be expected from the other police agencies, according to Hickey.

The suspect is scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

BIG HAUL

• Someone broke into a home on the 100 block of Fircrest Road outside Chehalis while the resident were away over the weekend and made off with more than $10,000 worth of valuables including two guitars, a keyboard, a drum set, a mixer and cymbals, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called after the discovery yesterday evening learned the thief or thieves got inside by removing the handle on a sliding glass door, according to the sheriff’s office. Among the other items stolen were fishing and camping gear, a small safe, two snow boards, a knife set, a rifle scope, a bow and alcohol, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The victim had been the subject of a vehicle prowl recently in Lakewood, where documents containing his address were taken, according to Brown.

ANOTHER VICTIM AT PACKWOOD CENTER

• A deputy took a report yesterday from a woman who said her wallet was stolen from her purse on Sunday evening while at the  Packwood Community Center on the 12,000 block of U.S. Highway 12, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

HOLIDAY MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

• Chehalis police were called to Northwest New York Avenue yesterday morning regarding outdoor Christmas lights which someone had broken.

• Two inflatable Santa Claus’s were apparently knifed at the 800 block of Northwest Hood Place in Chehalis over the weekend. An officer called on Saturday afternoon found they were punctured and torn and would no longer inflate, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

REGULAR MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

• A 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 8:25 p.m. last night for allegedly throwing a bottle at a vehicle during a dispute at the 1200 block of Mellen Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Justin R. Smith was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• Police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of Long Road in Centralia to take a report someone had shot the window of a home with a pellet gun.

• The sheriff’s office took a report yesterday regarding mailboxes and posts being removed from the area around the 100 block of Tr-Mountain Lane southeast of Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

• Morton police responded to a complaint of the smell of marijuana about 10 a.m. on Saturday in the 100 block of Third Street. The caller was advised the source of the odor was legal if coming from a residence, according to the Morton Police Department. It couldn’t be determined where the smell came from, according to police.

• Chehalis City Hall was evacuated just before 11 a.m. yesterday after a fire broke out on a switch panel in the elevator room in the basement. Firefighters used a dry chemical fire extinguisher to smother the small bit of remaining fire after its source was discovered, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. The damage is estimated at $50,000.

OTHER

• Plus various other misdemeanor domestic violence assaults, warrant arrests, minor collisions and alarms, as usual.

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News brief: Napavine market burns

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 2:35 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Four fire departments were called last night to a fire at a Napavine market that caused extensive damage.

Nobody was injured and the cause is under investigation, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

It happened about 8:30 p.m. at a multi-business commercial structure on Alder Avenue Northwest near Washington Street, according to Fire Lt. Laura Hanson.

Arriving units found smoke and fire in the Annie’s Market end of the approximately 7,000-square-foot single-story building, according to Hanson. All the building’s occupants were out, she said in a news release.

Twenty-six firefighters battled the blaze, coming from Napavine, Toledo, Winlock and rural Chehalis, according to Hanson.

The fire was confined to the one business but the rest of the building sustained smoke damage, according to Hanson.

Hanson said the market had extensive interior damage.

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Centralia detective recognized with award of merit by WSP

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police detective Rick Hughes has been honored by the Washington State Patrol for his role in helping subdue a man who allegedly assaulted a trooper this summer along side on Interstate 5 in Chehalis.

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Detective Rick Hughes

It was July 3 when Trooper Rob Moore contacted the 23-year-old Centralia man near the Main Street off ramp and ended up tackling the man after a lug nut was thrown in his face, breaking his nose and glasses.

Two passing motorists stopped to help, and then detective Hughes and another passerby, Robert Gordon from Washington County in Oregon, stopped to assist.

Don K. Gonzales, 23, was subsequently charged with second-degree assault, plus three counts of third-degree assault related to the brawl as well as  attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer. His attorney said he was suffering from some type of mental issue when the events occurred.

Hughes and Gordon were honored the week before last in Vancouver with awards of merit.

A citation of the events read during the ceremony thanked the men for their life-saving efforts.

“The actions of Detective Rick Hughes and Robert Gordon not only helped, but also may have prevented further significant injury to Trooper Moore,” Trooper Will Finn wrote in a news release.

The two men sprung into action and assisted Moore in getting the subject under control and into custody, Finn wrote. Hughes was reportedly kicked in the chest before it was over.

State Patrol Capt. Ron Rupke commended the two for their courage.

The state patrol’s award of merit is presented to law enforcement officers or citizens who risk their own safety to assist a state patrol employee in the performance of a hazardous act, according to Finn.

Finn said he wasn’t sure of Gordon’s background, if he is a civilian or possibly a retied police officer.

The pair of local civilians who jumped in Timothy Tyrell Daily, 25, of Napavine, and his brother-in-law Jared Kasinger, 24, of Chehalis, are expected to recognized this coming spring for their actions, according to Finn.

“They’re being honored with a higher award in May,” Finn said. “They haven’t been forgotten.”

Gonzales has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
•••

For background, read “View from the ground: Helping trooper take down fighting suspect” from  Sunday July 15, 2012, here

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News brief: St. Nick is coming to town; hanging with firefighters

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Santa Claus will be making his pre-Christmas rounds in Centralia and Chehalis this week, collecting donations for the needy as well as handing out candy canes and safety information to good little girls and boys.

In Centralia, members of Riverside Fire Authority are hosting the visit that winds through the community from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each evening beginning tonight and continuing through Thursday.

His helpers will be happy to accept non-perishable food items and new toys.

The sleigh will park at the end of each route each night and hang out until 8 p.m. where children can pose for photos with Santa.

In Chehalis, the Santa Mobile travels tomorrow night and Thursday night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., arranged by the Chehalis Fire Department.

Coordinator Steve Emrich offers sincere apologies for the postponement from last Thursday, noting that circumstances beyond their control got in the way.

CHEHALIS –
Tuesday:
• 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Southwest 13th Avenue though Southwest 16th Avenue general area
• 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Southwest Snively Avenue general area through Southwest 19th Avenue
• 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Southwest 20th Avenue through Southwest 22nd Avenue and Southeast Washington Avenue
Thursday:
• 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Northwest Westside neighborhoods
• 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Southwest Chehalis Avenue and Southwest William Avenue area
• 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Southwest Cascade Avenue and Southwest First Street through Southwest 12th Street

CENTRALIA –
Tonight:
• 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.: Jefferson Lincoln Elementary School area starting at West Plum and South King streets and ending at Jefferson Lincoln Elementary School
Tuesday:
• 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.: Oakview Elementary School area starting at West Reynolds Avenue and Hillview Avenue and ending at Oakview Elementary School
Wednesday:
• 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.: Edison Elementary School area starting on West First Street and ending at Edison Elementary School.
Thursday:
• 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.: Fords Prairie area starting at Fords Prairie Avenue and Eshom Road and ending at Riverside Fire Authority Headquarters Station at 1818 Harrison Avenue.

For more Centralia details, click on Firefighters Association Santa Mobile, where you can find a map, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

VEHICLE PROWL WEEKEND

• Centralia police were called about 3:25 a.m. today to the 1500 block of Lewis Street where a suspected car prowler was confronted and chased down by the victim. Police say the prowler, Christopher D. Buck, 27, of Chehalis, tried to head butt the male who caught him so Buck was arrested for misdemeanor assault. Buck, and another suspect in the prowling, Christian D. Brown, 25, of Centralia, were both booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to the 1300 block of Kayu Lane in Centralia where four unlocked vehicles had been prowled. Missing was money and a hunting knife, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a purse was taken from one vehicle and a laptop computer from another vehicle at the Packwood Community Center on the 12,000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood last night between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

• A Carhart jacket and some CDs were stolen from a vehicle on the 1700 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• An individual reported on Saturday prescription medication was stolen overnight from a vehicle parked on the 1000 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia, according to police.

• Centralia police took a report of a vehicle prowl on Friday morning from the 400 block of West Plum Street in Centralia.

• A rain coat was stolen from a vehicle parked on the 400 block of North Oak Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

• Two 50-foot lengths of copper wire along with $5 in change were reported stolen from a motor home on recreational property on the 100 block of Evans Road outside Toledo, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The victim said it happened sometime between Nov. 18 and Nov. 24, according to the sheriff’s office.

ROOFING MATERIALS STOLEN

• Police were called about 10 a.m. Saturday to a burglary at a house that is being remodeled in which roofing materials were taken. Someone forced open the back door of the  unoccupied home is on the 2100 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE THEFT

• Police were called about 9 a.m. yesterday regarding an attempted vehicle theft at the 100 block of Yew Street in Centralia. Someone broke the ignition, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A Centralia woman’s stolen car turned up on Friday destroyed by fire and abandoned on TransAlta property at the end of Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle was a 1992 Honda Accord, according to the sheriff’s office.

FRUAD REPORT

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday from the 200 block of West Oakview Street of an unauthorized charge found on an individual’s credit card.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine about 12:30 p.m. yesterday after contact with an officer at the 200 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Isaiah C. Marlow was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A pair of 11-year-old boys were contacted by police at the 200 block of East Oakview Avenue in Centralia on Friday afternoon regarding possession of marijuana. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for a charging decision, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 2:40 p.m. yesterday to the 800 block of West Pine Street and a complaint a garage door was tagged with spray paint.

OTHER

• Plus various other misdemeanor domestic violence assaults, misdemeanor thefts, DUIs, warrant arrests, minor collisions, alarms and suspicious circumstances, as usual.

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News brief: Cause of death mixed for elderly Chehalis man hit by car

Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An autopsy on the  94-year-old man hit by a car in Chehalis earlier this week showed he died from probable cardiac arrhythmia due to heart disease and COPD, but the trauma and shock from the accident sped up his death, according to the Lewis County coroner.

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George Benton

George Benton, a retired Chehalis firefighter, was in a crosswalk on South Market Boulevard riding his power wheelchair when he was struck by a 1990s Buick passenger car on Monday evening, according to police.

Chehalis police reopened the accident investigation following Wednesday’s death.

Benton was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with an injury to one side of his chest, a broken ankle and a cut to his ear. Police said the injuries seemed minor at the time. He didn’t even want to go to the hospital, but was talked into it, according to Chehalis Deputy Police Chief Randy Kaut.

He was transported later that night to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to get his ear repaired and back home by Tuesday night. He died Wednesday morning at the adult family home where he lived.

Benton was a widower who resided on Southwest 12th Street but still owned his house on Southeast Washington Avenue where he spent time “puttering” in his shop or yard, according to his caregiver Leah Jensen. Each are about a block from where he was hit.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said he is listing the manner of death as accidental.

Specifically, McLeod said the findings were probable arrhythmia due to arteriosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease and COPD, with other significant conditions being blunt force trauma to one ear, the side of his chest and his right leg.
•••

For background, read “Elderly Chehalis man struck in crosswalk dies” from Thursday December 6, 2012, here

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News brief: Occupants escape serious injuries in two I-5 wrecks

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two women were hospitalized today after a single-vehicle wreck on Interstate 5 north of Centralia which left their Toyota Corolla totaled.

Troopers were called about 11:15 a.m. to the northbound lanes  just north of the Harrison Avenue interchange where the car had collided with the concrete barrier.

Debera L. Hamlin, 77, lost control of her car after nearly striking another vehicle in an attempted lane change, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Hamlin and her passenger, both Centralia residents, were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol.

Trooper Brian Ashley said Hamlin had neck and back pain while Toni Maier, 41, complained of some pain to her neck and face. They were treated and have been released from the hospital.

Meanwhile, a truck that ran off the freeway into some trees at the south end of the county about 11:20 p.m. last night was towed out this afternoon.

It happened on the northbound side near milepost 57, according to Trooper Will Finn.

Finn said they wanted to wait until daylight to remove the truck to avoid rupturing the tanks. The driver had a hand injury but wasn’t hospitalized, according to Finn.

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News brief: Lewis County museum embezzlement case lingers long after arrest

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Nearly a year after she was arrested, the former director of the Lewis County Historical Museum has still not gone before a jury on theft charges that arose after the discovery the endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained.

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Deborah Sue Knapp

Deborah Sue Knapp, now 53, was in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday as attorneys asked a judge to postpone the trial until March.

Prosecutors allege Knapp routinely issued herself extra pay through payroll draws and used the museum debit card for personal expenses. Knapp has pleaded not guilty and is free on an unsecured bond.

Lawyers have previously asked for postponements based on the tremendous amount of financial records being analyzed but yesterday’s request was more to accommodate several other upcoming trials, according to her attorney Ken Johnson.

Judge Richard Brosey approved the choice to schedule Knapp’s trial for the week of March 4.
•••

For background, see “Prosecutor: Former museum director gave herself thousands of dollars in fraudulent payroll draws” from Friday December 30, 2011, here