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News brief: Rochester resident knocks down two men with his car, troopers say

Friday, April 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 24-year-old Rochester man was arrested for vehicular assault after he allegedly knocked two men down with the open door of his car when he fled a confrontation about his speeding on a private driveway in Olympia last night.

The men were taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital with serious injuries after the 6 p.m. incident, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers tracked down Kody M. Chipman and booked him into the Thurston County Jail.

Trooper Guy Gill reported the men, Dee L. Cooper, 70, of Olympia, and Daniel I. Kitchings, 37, of Rainier, were attending a scout meeting off of South Bay Road and confronted Chipman about his driving, telling him to stay because they were going to call police. The men were standing on the driver’s side of the car, when Chipman put the car in reverse and drove off, according to Gill.

The 1990 Subaru Legacy sustained an estimated $1,500 damage and was impounded, according to the state patrol.

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Read about move over, slow down or face $248 ticket …

Friday, April 1, 2011 at 3:05 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes state troopers will begin today ticketing driver’s who don’t slow down or move over when passing emergency vehicles parked on the side of state highways.

Read about how to avoid a $248 fine here

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News brief: Training fire scheduled near Rochester High School

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters plan to burn down a Grand Mound area house to clear some property owned by the Rochester School District.

The training fire adjacent to Rochester High School is scheduled to take place on May 14, a Saturday.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority expects to begin interior exercises at 8 a.m. and conclude between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. with defensive operations, according to Battalion Chief Jacob Yake.

Th school district donated the building to the fire department, according to Yake.

The address is 19735 Carper Rd S.W.

Yake notes Carper Road will be closed at Old Highway 9 and near 197th Avenue Southwest.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

TWO POLICE PURSUITS OVERNIGHT END WITH ARRESTS

• A 31-year-old man wanted for probation violations led deputies on a high-speed pursuit overnight – a good portion of it on two spiked and flattened tires – through Littlerock and Rochester before driving into a ditch and being arrested. It began when an Olympia police officer on his way home contacted the driver near the Ritchie Brothers complex on Case Road Southwest, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Donald M. Bush, listed as transient, had a Department of Corrections warrant for second-degree escape from community custody, meaning he had not been in proper contact with his community corrections officer, according to Lt. Greg Elwin. Bush sped away in his 2007 Ford Escape reaching speeds of 100 mph as two sheriff’ deputies got behind him, Elwin said. His tires were spiked at Littlerock Road near 130th Avenue yet he continued to Mima Road Southwest and then Bordeaux Road Southwest before coming to rest in a ditch, according to Elwin. The pursuit covered sixteen miles in 14 minutes, Elwin said. Bush reportedly told the officers he knew he would be going back to prison if he were caught. Bush was booked into the Thurston County Jail for eluding a police vehicle.

• A 17-year-old driver was arrested after he reportedly screeched his Crown Victoria sideways through a Chehalis intersection last night in front of sheriff’s deputies standing outside a door at the sheriff’s office evidence facility. Deputies jumped in their patrol cars and when they rounded a corner, observed the car stopped up on the curb atop the remnants of a concrete planter it had pushed nearly a block, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened about 10:30 p.m. The teenager was arrested for driving under the influence and turned over to a sober driver, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

TWO ARRESTED FOR BURNING CAR FOUND IN ONALASKA

• A Honda Civic found burning off Kruger Road in Onalaska earlier this month led to the arrest yesterday of two individuals who had reportedly stolen the car and lit in on fire to try to hide it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives yesterday arrested James A. Bitner, 28, of Centralia for second-degree arson. His accomplice, Courtney R. Blurton, 24, of Onalaksa was also arrested, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown. The vehicle had been stolen on Feb. 26 from Coal Creek Road.

VEHICLE PROWLS

• Centralia police were called yesterday to the 2800 block of Russell Road where tools had been stolen from the back of a truck overnight.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday morning of jewelry stolen from a vehicle on the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia.

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Partial skull discovered near Mineral is an adult

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The partial human skull found near Mineral on Saturday appears to be from an adult, but detectives don’t know if it belongs to a male or a female, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon.

They’re hopeful there is enough DNA to help identity the individual, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this afternoon.

It was found by a hiker in a wooded area and will be sent to a forensic pathologist for further examination.

“We really don’t know how long its been out there,” Brown said. “Weather conditions affect that, and we’re not experts.”

The find was reported Saturday and detectives, along with two dogs, have searched the area for potential evidence, according to Brown. It was in a brushy area on the ground, she said.

Brown said she expects members of Lewis County Search and Rescue to go out there and help look sometime in the next couple of weeks.

“We did find other evidence, or potential evidence at the scene,” she said, without specifying what it was.

The sheriff’s office isn’t saying how much of the skull was recovered or even a location more specific than near Mineral.

“Until we know what we have and what kind of an investigation we’re looking at, we’re not releasing a lot,” Brown said.

Its too early to consider what missing persons it could match up to, according to Brown. She did say they don’t have any indication its Kayla Croft-Payne, who vanished almost a year ago at age 18.

Mineral is along state Route 7, near where the Lewis, Pierce and Thurston county lines meet.

Besides Croft-Payne, who was living in the Chehalis area when she disappeared, the sheriff’s office lists two other missing persons on its web site.

Henri W. Maillard, 20, disappeared in July 1994 after a drive up the Skate Creek Road near Packwood with a friend, according to the sheriff’s office.

Delmar W. Sample, a 53-year-old pharmacist from Onalaska, failed to report to work in Chehalis in March 2005. Sample’s truck was found near Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula.

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Registered sex offender notice: Man moves to Chehalis

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced this week a level three registered sex offender in Lewis County recently changed addresses and now lives in Chehalis.

Waylon B. Huestis, 30, is living on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

Huestis is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

Huestis was released from prison last October after a conviction a little more than 10 years ago in which he, at age 19, sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim reported he used physical force to overcome her resistance, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty.

The conviction was second-degree child rape.

He is on Department of Corrections supervision for three years following his release.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level three sex offender, meaning they believe he has a high risk to reoffend.

Huestis is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 156 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of Huestis, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site level three sex offender page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective McGinty or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.
•••

To search for registered sex offenders living within a specified radius from your home, work or school, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here.  There, you can also find safety tips and other information, as well as register to receive email alerts if a new offender registers with an address near you. The same link can always be found on the sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.

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Registered sex offender notice: Man returns to Mossyrock area

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced a level three registered sex offender in Lewis County who left for a short time returned to his Mossyrock area home.

Dale G. DeHaven, 53, is living on the 100 block of Winston Creek Road.

DeHaven is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

DeHaven was released from prison in 2005 after a 1993 conviction for the violent sexual assault of an 8-year-old female who was the daughter of a casual acquaintance, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty. The conviction was first-degree child rape.

Before that, he served time in prison in connection with the violent assault of a 76-year-old neighbor woman, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level three sex offender, meaning they believe he has a high risk to reoffend.

DeHaven is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of DeHaven, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site level three sex offender page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective McGinty or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.
•••

To search for registered sex offenders living within a specified radius from your home, work or school, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here.  There, you can also find safety tips and other information, as well as register to receive email alerts if a new offender registers with an address near you. The same link can always be found on the sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

VEHICLE VERSUS CHILD IN CENTRALIA

• A 12-year-old boy on a bicycle was struck by a pickup truck yesterday at the stoplight on Harrison Avenue and the southbound freeway off ramp in Centralia, according to police.. Officers called about 2 p.m. reported the boy – a Centralia resident – sustained a serious injury to his foot. The details are still being investigated, according to the Centralia Police Department. The child was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. His name was not released.

THEFT

• A light blue 1991 Mazda pickup truck was stolen from a driveway on the 1000 block of Long Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• Somebody stole a five-ton floor jack and other items from the 2600 block of Harrison Avenue outside Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called last night learned it was taken sometime in the previous month along with a Kenmore dryer, irrigation pipes, a farm implement and miscellaneous scrap metal. The loss is estimated at $1,000.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report yesterday of a brick thrown at a car parked in front of a house on the 800 block of H Street.

• An officer was called to the 600 block of Hamilton Avenue in Centralia yesterday where a windshield was shattered and a rock found inside the vehicle.

• Chehalis police took a report late yesterday afternoon of a vehicle’s’ outside mirror damaged by a brick on Northwest Florida Avenue.

RESISTING ARREST

• A 21-year-old Toledo man was jailed last night after he ran from deputies investigating a report of a suspicious person on the 100 block of Collins Road near Toledo. Darrell R. Jackson was arrested for a warrant and for resisting arrest after the approximately 8:30 p.m. call.

DRUGS

• Police called about noon yesterday to Centralia Middle School arrested two student for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The boys, ages 13 and 15, were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center.

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Breaking news: Skull found in woods near Mineral

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a partial human skull found by a hiker on Saturday near Mineral.

Detectives, with help from members of Lewis County Search and Rescue, are continuing to search the wooded area for potential evidence, according to a news release this morning.

The skull will be sent to a forensic pathologist for further examination, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

More to come

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Prosecutor Meyer decides against pursuing death penalty for John Booth Jr.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

This news story was updated at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday March 30, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The death penalty is off the table for John Allen Booth Jr., a defendant in last August’s triple slaying inside a Salkum-Onalaska area home.

Booth, 31, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of David J. West Jr., 16, and Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle.

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Deputies investigate off Gore Road on Aug. 21, 2010

He is also charged in the death of David J. West Sr. 52, and the non-fatal shooting of 51-year-old Denise Salts. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer filed notice on Friday he will not seek the death penalty if Booth is convicted.

“After looking at everything, meeting with the family, looking at the case and talking with prosecutors inside and outside the office, I decided not to seek the death penalty,” Meyer said today.

Meyer declined to share what the victims’ family members thought of his decision, saying those are private conversations.

Previous Lewis County Prosecutor Michael Golden left the potential option open, but was voted out of office in November. Meyer, a former defense attorney, stepped into the elected position in January.

Booth’s attorney, James Dixon, said his client is pleased with the prosecutor’s decision, and anxious to proceed to trial.

Booth and former prison cell mate Ryan J. McCarthy, 29, of Redmond, are charged in the case.

Authorities have said they believe the two men’s Aug. 21 visit to the house on Wings Way off Gore Road was related to a drug debt collection.

Booth, a former Onalaska resident, is set for trial  the week of May 16, however, prosecutors have asked a judge to consolidate the two cases into one trial.

McCarthy’s trial is scheduled for the week of Oct. 10.

Dixon indicated he will oppose the motion.

“He has a right to a speedy trial,” Dixon said in an emailed note. “He has waived that right already, but that waiver does not extend to the date currently set for Mr. McCarthy’s trial.”

•••

Read background on the case:

• “West Sr. pointed shotgun telling pair of ex-cons to leave his house, triggering triple homicide, unsealed court documents allege” from Saturday Sept. 4, 2010, here
• “Unsealed document: More details on Salkum slayings” from Monday Sept. 6, 2010, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

WRECK IN BOISTFORT VALLEY SENDS ONE TO HOSPITAL

• A 45-year-old Curtis resident was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after his vehicle collided with a parked truck yesterday evening on Boistfort Road near Hubbard Road. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported that Joseph F. Sanchez came around a corner too fast, lost control and pushed the unoccupied truck through a chain link fence. His Ford pickup truck was described as likely totaled. A helicopter picked him up at Boistfort Elementary School and flew him to the Seattle trauma center, primarily because of the possibility of internal injuries due to the force of the collision, according to authorities. Sanchez is listed in satisfactory condition this morning. He was to be cited for not wearing a seatbelt, among other infractions after the approximately 7:30 p.m. accident.

POLICE PURSUIT ENDS AT CENTRALIA MOTEL 6

• A driver traveling at some points more than 100 mph fled a pursuing sheriff’s deputy in Centralia last night, but ended up being arrested at Motel 6, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Susannah L. Hickman, 21, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempting to elude. It began when a vehicle passed the deputy in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near the Mellen Street exit and continued off Harrison Avenue where she allegedly raced through several red lights before stopping, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said Hickman had just been involved in a hit and run accident before passing the deputy. She didn’t report details of the accident.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 10:30 p.m. last night about the theft of a big screen television from an apartment on the 1100 block of South Pearl Street.

• An officer was called about a Wii stolen from a residence on the 600 block of South Gold Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 9:30 p.m. last night.

• Somebody removed a Mercury outboard motor from a boat parked on the 200 block of Interstate Avenue at the Best Western Motel in Chehalis, according to a report made to the Chehalis Police Department yesterday morning. The victim, who is from out of town, thought it occurred sometime over the weekend, according to police.

• An individual confronted two subjects who were trying to take a tool box from property at the 1400 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia at about 8:20 p.m. last night, but they fled before police arrived, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Lewis County Crime Stoppers is looking for tips about a $5,000 dump trailer stolen from inside a fenced compound on the 1500 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis. The theft of the black trailer was reported on March 13. It has a license plate reading 0601TX.

• Somebody broke into a vehicle and then threw items onto the lawn at the 700 block of H Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police last night.

HOUSE SHOT WITH BB GUN

• Centralia police reported this morning an officer took a report of a window of a house being shot with a BB gun on the 600 block of East Summa Street. it happened last week and police think it may be related to another incident in the area.

DRUGS FOUND AT STORAGE UNIT

• Chehalis police were called to North National Avenue yesterday when an individual cleaning out a storage building found a small amount of suspected marijuana. The material was taken away to be destroyed, according to police.

MASS WARRANT ARRESTS

• A warrant sweep last week by law enforcement in Lewis and Cowlitz counties ended with 51 arrests. Six teams began making arrests early Thursday with assistance from officers from Centralia, Chehalis, Kelso, Longview, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Service, according to a state Department of Corrections’ news release today. Twenty-seven of those picked up were previously convicted of violent crimes, according to the DOC.

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News brief: Chicken-hauling truck rolls over outside Centralia

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 9:55 am
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Two trailer loads of chickens on their way to a processing plant overturned outside Centralia this morning / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff's Office

This was updated at 11:20 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A semi-truck carrying some 5,000 chickens rolled over this morning on Salzer Valley Road outside Centralia sending one man to the hospital and closing down the roadway temporarily.

Riverside Fire Authority called shortly after 8 a.m. to the wreck near Centralia-Alpha Road found the 22-year-old driver sustained minor injuries. He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to fire Capt. Scott Snyder.

Some of the chickens escaped and some were not so fortunate, according to Snyder.

There were “quite a few” chickens all over the place, Snyder said.

“They’re going to be picked up by the farm and sorted out cause there were some fatalities I guess,” Snyder said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported numerous chickens died and the “several” injured poultry were to be taken away to be euthanized.

The Freightliner truck was hauling two trailers loaded with 26 crates of poultry, according to the sheriff’s office.

The birds were on their way from a farm on Schafer Road to a Foster farms processing plant in Kelso, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown reported.

The truck driver, a Kelso resident, failed to negotiate a corner and drove onto the soft shoulder which caused the truck to roll, according to Brown. He is expected to be cited for going too fast.

The semi belongs to Signature trucking.

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Courtesy photo by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office

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Courtesy photo by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office

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News brief: Flood watch issued in Lewis and nine other counties

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A flood watch is in effect for Lewis and other counties in Western Washington from tomorrow afternoon into Friday as expected heavy rain combines with rising freezing levels.

A warm and strong Pacific storm system will bring rain later tonight and is expected to stall over the area for 24 to 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

Counties under the flood watch include Lewis, Thurston, Mason, Pierce, Clallam, Jefferson, Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King counties.

A flood watch means conditions are favorable for flooding but it is not imminent or occurring. The weather service recommends folks monitor weather forecasts.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm

RECYCLING THIEF ARRESTED, SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS

• A 22-year-old Centralia man who reportedly stole several bags of aluminum cans and recycled them for money ($35.20) for food and cigarettes was arrested  for second-degree trafficking in stolen property, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The theft was reported Friday from in front of a garage on the 2100 block of Taylor Street in Centralia, according to the sheriff’s office. The victim called a local recycler and described the pickup truck she saw leaving with her cans and a deputy contacted the man, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. William G. Fultz Valenta was booked into the Lewis County Jail for trafficking and also third-degree theft, Brown said. The case of his 20-year-old female companion was referred to the prosecutor’s office for similar charges, according to Brown.

BEER RUN ENDS

• Morton police were called to the 400 block of Second Street where a subject reportedly stole an 18-pack of beer and ran to a waiting vehicle about 4 a.m. on Saturday. Twenty-six-year-old Ryan M. Pittman was arrested for misdemeanor theft and the driver, Geoffrey M. Whittall, also 26, was arrested for the same offense as well as possession of marijuana, according to the Morton Police Department.

CAR WINDOW BROKE OUT FOR SMOKES, LOOSE CHANGE

• Centralia police took a report on Friday morning of a window being smashed out of a vehicle on the 800 block of H Street in Centralia. Taken were cigarettes and about $5 in change, police reported.

DISAGREEMENT ENDS WITH ARREST

• A 23-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday morning after he got into a dispute with his estranged fiance at the 1100 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia, according to police. Juan Vega-Allen allegedly shut a door and wouldn’t allow her to leave as they argued about her new boyfriend, police reported. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful imprisonment.

ELUDING POLICE

• Police on Saturday were looking for a subject after he reportedly sped away from a traffic stop in Centralia around 4 o’clock on Saturday morning. The officer didn’t catch up to the driver, but recognized the driver, according to Centralia police. The vehicle was found abandoned. The incident occurred at West Pear and South Rock streets.

JAIL INMATE ARRESTED

• A 24-year-old jail inmate was arrested for setting off the fire alarm in the Lewis County Jail on Saturday and also several times the day before. Timothy J. Chapek, of Portland and/or Beaverton, Ore., reportedly intentionally created a cloud of dust particles by repeatedly banging on the wire cage surrounding the fire alarm in his cell, activating the alarm.

THEFT

• Two rifles, two tail lamps from classic cars and a Snap-on tool chest were stolen in a burglary to a garage on the 100 block of East Roanake Street in Centralia, reported yesterday evening.

• A 1991 Madza pickup, four wheels and tires along with a  battery were among the items missing after a burglary to a garage on the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Ethel, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported today. The break-in occurred sometime between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $1,550.

• A black 1997 Pontiac TransAm stolen out of Centralia was found on Saturday on the 900 block of Davis Lake Road outside Morton, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Police were called about 10:30 p.m. last night when a neighbor heard someone break out the driver’s side window of a vehicle parked on the 600 block of East Summa Street in Centralia, according to police. The window-breaker drove away in a dark-colored car, according to police.

• Somebody stole a stereo from an unlocked vehicle at the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Sunday morning.

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News brief: Toledo man hurt in Friday night wreck

Monday, March 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Toledo man was seriously injured after a Friday night single-vehicle collision on the 400 block of South Jackson Highway.

Frances M. Wharton, 48, suffered facial trauma when his sport utility vehicle struck a utility pole, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A trooper called to the scene about 9:30 p.m. reported the 1994 Ford explorer was northbound when it ran along a ditch about 100 feet and hit the pole.

The Washington State Patrol said Wharton was flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. However, a hospital spokesperson said they had no record of him being admitted.

His vehicle as described as totaled.

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News brief: Rochester man critical after weekend crash near Castle Rock

Monday, March 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm
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Photo shared by Kari Johnson

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Rochester man was listed in critical condition yesterday after a Saturday afternoon collision on Interstate 5 north of Castle Rock.

Michael T. Burleson, 27, of Rochester was a passenger in a northbound car about 2:15 p.m. on Saturday which lost control and ran into the rear of a disabled vehicle on the right shoulder near milepost 53, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Burleson suffered a cracked skull, a broken neck and five broken ribs, according to the state patrol. He was flown to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, the patrol reported.

The driver of the 1996 Nissan 2SX he was traveling in, Guy B. Rostan, 26, also of Rochester, was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with head and chest injuries. A  hospital spokesperson said yesterday Rostan was treated and released.

The state patrol blamed the hydroplaning on driving too fast.

A 50-year-old Portland woman in the 2005 Mitsubishi Montero that they hit – Maria O’Brien – was admitted to St. John Medical Center and in stable condition yesterday.

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Bystander hurt when 50 caliber round explodes at Centralia shooting range

Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm
2011.0327.bighanaford.shooting

Mark Rieker target shoots from a shack built some 30 years ago by nearby neighbor Dick Teitzel and friends off Big Hanaford Road. His younger brother Justin Rieker waits his turn late Sunday afternoon.

This was updated 11:30 a.m. on Monday March 28, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A 43-year-old man was seriously injured today when a 50 caliber rifle malfunctioned while some friends were target shooting northeast of Centralia.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputies and aid responded to the 2:30 p.m. call to a shack and spread of remote rural property used as a shooting range off Big Hanaford Road at Tono Road.

“The guy pulling the trigger didn’t get hurt, it was the guy standing next to him,” sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust said.

Aust said it appeared the firing pin struck the round before it was properly seated and it basically exploded inside the gun, with the force of it moving sideways.

The victim, who is from Point Roberts, Wash., sustained injuries to his upper body, taking pieces of casing in his chest and eyes, along with possibly puncturing a lung, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. His name was not released.

Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Scott Weinert said the patient was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and then airlifted to a hospital up north, but he wasn’t sure which one.

He had serious injuries, Weinert said.

The sheriff’s office said the victim had put the gun together himself and was using it for the first time.

After shooting four rounds, a friend of his was getting ready to fire it. When the bolt would not close, the gun’s owner knelt next to it not realizing the firing pin had not retracted on the previous shot, according to the sheriff’s office.

It happened when he forced the bolt closed.

“You’re talking about a bullet casing that is several inches long and you have all that pressure in there,” detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said.

A 50 caliber rifle is about as big as an ordinary person can legally possess and use, according to Breen.

The lower portion of the gun is a AR15-style and the upper portion manufactured by Bohica, Breen said.

The National Rifle Association describes 50 caliber rifles as among the most expensive made and primarily used by long-range target shooting experts.

Point Roberts is a small piece of Whatcom County on a peninsula accessed only by water or through Canada.

Nearby neighbor Dick Teitzel said it’s only the second accident he can recall at the make-shift range he and friends built some 30 years ago.

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Kayla Croft-Payne: Missing Lewis County teen’s parents still seeking answers

Friday, March 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm
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Teenager Kayla Croft-Payne hasn't been heard from since last April 28

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

VADER – When 18-year-old Kayla Croft-Payne first went missing, the little store in Vader displayed a flyer at their counter and handed out copies of the appeal for information about the teenager’s whereabouts.

Now, almost a year later, the small poster has moved, tacked to a wall by the door and surrounded by others offering items for sale, chimney cleaning services and even tutoring.

Still, not much more than a week goes by without a customer asking if anyone’s heard anything about her, according to clerk Kelli Gammel.

“It’s a sad story. A very sad story,” Gammel said.

While Croft-Payne moved away from Vader at least twice in her late teens, she would always come back. Her mother, Michelle Croft, lives in the small south Lewis County town.

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Kayla Croft-Payne on Facebook

The teen would pop into J and G’s Grocery periodically, Gammel said.

“A very pretty girl, she could have been a model,” Gammel said. “Tall, slender. She was popular with a lot of people.”

Gammel, who’s known the teen’s parents since before Croft-Payne was born, describes her as somewhat “street-smart” but also gullible.

When Croft-Payne turned 18, she got several thousand dollars from a trust fund and moved into an apartment in Chehalis. That was September 2009. Neither the money or the new place lasted long, according to her family.

That’s when things spiraled out of control, Gammel said.

“The last time she came into the store, she was with an older man who kind of gave me the creeps,” she said.

Gammel says she’s picked up plenty of rumors about what happened to the young woman, but she had begun to bounce around and “we didn’t really know who she was hanging out with.”

“Somebody knows something,” she said. “But when Kayla disappeared, she wasn’t hanging out in Vader.”

Late last spring, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office put out a public request for any information on Croft-Payne, saying she was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who had not seen or heard from her for several days.

She hadn’t logged on to her MySpace internet account since April 28.

At the time, she was living in a trailer behind a place on the 200 block of Newaukum Valley Road, between Chehalis and Napavine.

She was very social, talking to friends online daily, sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty said.

“Then it just stopped,” he said. “No contact with her attorney, her MySpace, Facebook. It just stops.

It was the sort of disappearance that prompted the sheriff’s office to put every available detective on it to track down leads for at least two weeks, according to McGinty.

But now, without new tips coming in, the case work is mostly routinely checking her Internet accounts and a nationwide database in case she were to get arrested, detective’s Sgt. Dusty Breen said earlier this week.

Croft-Payne has friends all over, some – who like she did – used drugs, according to those who know her.

She was raised by her mother in Centralia and Chehalis and then for about three years during middle school – when she got put into foster care – lived in the area around Toledo.

She spent six months in a drug and alcohol treatment program for pregnant women in Tacoma.

By March of 2009, she was clean, but wanted to get away from the drugs in Vader. She and the baby moved in with a married friend in Winlock.

At first, it went fine, said Cassandra Sines the friend who is now 24. Croft-Payne attended an alternative high school program, she said.

But then she was partying and not coming home to take care of her baby, Sines said. Methamphetamine was her drug of choice then, though later she used heroin, according to Sines.

By June, Child Protective Services put the child in foster care.

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Kayla Croft-Payne on MySpace

The last time Sines saw Croft-Payne in person was in January 2010.

“I don’t know if she was on drugs or what that day,” she said. “She was kind of being bitchy, and we told her to leave.”

Still, they “talked” online almost daily. Croft-Payne was sort of addicted to social media, she said.

“The last couple of times I (messaged) with Kayla, she wanted to get clean,” Sines said.

It was Sines who gave the missing person information to the sheriff’s office. But the initial phone call on May 5, was made by Croft-Payne’s close friend Ashley Smith, who used Sine’s phone, Sines said.

“Ashley asked me to give her a ride to go find Kayla,” she said. “We drove to Onalaska, to Vader, she wasn’t there.”

Smith got panicky, called 911, and gave Sines’ name instead of her own, Sines said.

Neither Croft-Payne’s father or her mother  know a lot about the friends their daughter was hanging out with in the months before she vanished.

“The drug scene’s been sucking her back for years,” said her father, Thomas Payne.

Payne, who’s 46 and lives in Longview, said even though his daughter was sometimes rebellious, she would always call.

He last spoke with her a month or two before she disappeared.

“She wanted to get away from all the people she was doing drugs with, get a fresh start, get her life together,” Payne said.

She wanted to see her younger sister, and asked if she could move in with him, he said. He told her only if she went into drug treatment first. She said she’d be down but didn’t make it, he said.

Not knowing, and not getting much information from the sheriff’s office has been agonizing for the union construction worker who is also father to a 10-year-old girl.

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Kayla Croft-Payne, Department of Licensing photo

“I’ve got lots and lots of friends that would love to go out and look for her,” he said. “But we’ve got no idea where to start in the world.”

Late last year, detective McGinty asked Payne and his daughter to come in and give DNA samples, just in case they were needed, he said.

Payne tells Jada her big sister is just being a butt head and not calling, he said.

“All she knew is we were giving DNA to help find sissy,” he said. “She’s 10, she hasn’t put two and two together yet. Thank God.”

The part of the conversation with McGinty that has stayed him with the most, is the idea his daughter may have died from an accidental drug overdose and her body hidden by friends afraid of getting in trouble.

Payne hopes renewed attention to the case will bring someone forward with information.

“I don’t care, I just want to find out where she’s at one way or the other,” he said. “To put her to rest or get her help.”

Lewis County detectives say the last place they can verify Croft-Payne being seen is in Cowlitz County. She stayed at least one evening in a trailer park in the Toutle area, according to detective Sgt. Breen.

The theory she died from a drug overdose did come through the investigation, McGinty said.

Late last July, they had a cadaver dog search around a river in the Toutle area, but they did not get any definite “alerts” from the dog, according to Breen.

If Croft-Payne did succumb to drugs and anyone knows where she can be found, the sheriff’s office would like to hear about it.

Hiding a body is not a felony, it’s only a misdemeanor, according to Breen.

The teenager’s mother last spoke with her in April.

“She called, said she was on her way down and didn’t show up,” Michelle Croft said.

Last weekend, as she spoke about her missing oldest child, her 4-year-old grabbed a helium ballon from the living room wall of their home and ran outside, announcing she would “send it to Kayla.”

“We usually write messages on them,” Croft said. “We’ve had a rough time. At first she thought it was her fault sissy didn’t come home.”

Croft learned her daughter was reported missing by reading a newspaper article about it, she said. At first, she thought her daughter’s father was hiding her, she said.

The 44-year-old mother didn’t like seeing the sheriff’s office label her daughter transient. She wasn’t, Croft said.

“When she didn’t get her way, she’d stay with friends,” she said. “And when she didn’t get her way there, she’d be back.”

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Kayla Croft-Payne

Croft said she doesn’t have much money because she doesn’t work, but she’s gotten help from Gammel in making missing person flyers. She driven from Tacoma to Portland, posting them in convenience stores, she said.

“The not knowing, it’s killing me, it’s killing me inside,” she said. “It’s hard to take care of Shelbie, sometimes I just want to lay down.

“But I feel like if I’m not out there putting pictures up, I feel like I’m giving up.”

Croft, who said she’s in recovery from meth addiction, has also been spending time with people in the drug world, hoping to learn something about her daughter’s whereabouts, she said.

“Kayla, she ran with people in their 30s and 40s,” she said. “She grew up fast because she got put into the system.”

She’s heard her daughter was hanging out with gang members from the Mexican Mafia in Longview, she said.

“I was told she was being trafficked for sex,” she said. “I was told she had a pretty high drug bill.”

But that’s just one rumor the mother of two has come across.

Sheriff’s detectives say Croft-Payne spent time in places such as Lewis County, Kitsap County and Grays Harbor County.

They’ve followed tips into Pierce County and even tracked down a wood chipper after they heard someone made comments she’d been put through one. It was covered with cobwebs, Breen said.

In June, they went to a court hearing where Croft-Payne was expected, in connection with getting custody of her baby.

“She was trying to get her child back, trying really hard,” McGinty said. “For her to not show up, it wasn’t like her.”

They checked with her grandmother in Montana, wondering if she left the state. She wasn’t there.

“There’s been tips she was alive,” McGinty said.

After hearing a rumor she was on the east Coast, Breen sent for a license photo, but it was another woman, he said.

Last October, it appeared Croft-Payne posted a message on someone’s else’s MySpace page, the detectives said.

But when McGinty contacted technicians at MySpace, he learned  her comment was labeled with the date when the recipient opened it, not when she sent it, he said.

Croft-Payne’s MySpace page also appears as though she logged on in July, but it wasn’t her, that’s when the company logged in to check her account, he said.

The detectives don’t know what happened to her, but they’d like to find her.

“Our minds aren’t settled whatsoever,” Breen said. “However, the more time goes by … it doesn’t look good.”

The sheriff’s office has shared a copy of her case file with law enforcement officers in Cowlitz County.

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Kayla Croft-Payne

For McGinty, who estimates he investigated some 150 missing or runaway person cases during his four years as a detective, this one is different.

“I’d get runaways, at least four a month,” he said. “Sometimes they’d come back that night, sometimes the next day.”

She is the first who has not surfaced, he said.

Croft-Payne is a white female with blue eyes and brown hair. Detectives say now she is probably about 5-feet 9-inches tall and 130 pounds.

Anyone with any information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 360-748-9286.

Anonymous tips can be left at: Crime Stoppers of Lewis County 1-800-748-6422 or the sheriff’s office online crime tips page.

•••

A vigil is planned for Kayla Croft-Payne at 6:30 p.m. on April 28 at Penny Playground in Chehalis, at Southwest 13th Street, off Interstate 5 exit 76.

Organizers are looking for donations of purple and green helium balloons. For information, contact Jerome Painter at jeremy@zebracomputers.com

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 25, 2011 at 10:23 am

DOMESTIC MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

• Deputies arrested a Winlock-area man yesterday evening after he reportedly went into a rage and destroyed several items in and around a home where he lives with his grandfather. Steven R. Luurs Jr., 30, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree malicious mischief, domestic violence after the 5:40 p.m. call to the residence on the 200 block of Tennessee Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Luurs reportedly damaged a flower pot, a rain gutter, a bicycle and a cable.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called to a business on the 200 block of South Pearl Street just before noon yesterday about theft of six rings.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

DRUGS

• A 24-year-old Cinebar resident was arrested yesterday evening in Chehalis with about an ounce of suspected marijuana, according to Chehalis police. The arrest, which occurred following a traffic stop on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue, grew out of an investigation by a drug detective, police said. Steven C. Ippisch was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to detective Sgt. Rick McNamara.

EXPLOSION

• Centralia police referred a case to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office yesterday for possible charges in connection with two male juveniles who reportedly set off a “large home made firecracker type of device” in Riverside Rotary Park on Harrison Avenue.

THEFT

• A deputy was called yesterday morning about the theft of a motorcycle from the 200 block of state Route 131 in Randle. The Kawasaki KLX 110 went missing sometime between March 9 and yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $2,100.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police reported they were called to two locations yesterday about gang-style graffiti on the sides of buildings. One was at the 900 block of West Main Street and the other at Marion Street and Royal Avenue, according to police.

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Breaking news: Suspect arrested in 1986 Centralia cold case murder

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

This was updated at 3:12 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A California man has been arrested in a 1986 shooting death in Centralia, following a tip developed by a “cold case” detective, the Centralia Police Department announced.

Efren J. Triana, 23, was shot outside a tavern at the 100 block of West Main Street in Centralia early on Oct. 25, 1986, according to police.

U.S. Marshals located the suspect, Carlos Vidal Gutierrez, 54, in Aromas, California, and took him into custody today, according to police.

Centralia Police Officer John Panco said Gutierrez was a suspect from the beginning.

“We’ve been tracking him off and on for quite a while, well since 1986,” Panco said. “One of the retired detectives opened the case and was able to track down a tip.”

Retired detective Tracy Wiese handled the case.

The tavern was called La Adalitas, Panco said.

“There was some kind of (disagreement) or something, I don’t know all the details at this point,” Panco said. “Mr. Gutierrez shot Mr. Triana several times. I don’t know exactly how many.”

Triana lived in Rochester, according to Panco.

Panco expected it could take some time to get Gutierrez extradited to Lewis County.

There will be more information coming, Panco said.

“We’re just happy we located this … murder cases stay open until we find the suspect, and it took 25 years for this, but it looks like we have,” he said.

Aromas is in San Benito County in central California not far from the coast.

Gutierrez was booked into the nearby county jail, according to police.

•••

This news story was corrected to reflect the victim’s town of residence.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

WRECKS

• A 16-year-old driver was arrested yesterday after he allegedly struck three vehicles on the 900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia and then ran from the scene about 5:30 p.m. One of the victims followed him and the Chehalis teenager was subsequently found walking down the street at West First Street near J Street, according to Centralia police. Police reported the teen refused to comply with them and they used a Taser to take him into custody. He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with injuries that included at least a bloody nose, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was arrested for three counts of hit and run, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A log truck driver escaped serious injury in a rollover accident about 9:30 a.m. yesterday outside Chehalis. The truck was northbound on Highway 603 and turning right onto Shorey Road when the trailer tipped over and lost its load, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was examined by aid  but not transported to the hospital, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

DRUGS

• Police were called to Centralia Middle School yesterday morning where they arrested a 14-year-old student for illegal possession of prescription medication. The boy was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center.

THREAT WITH GUN

• A pair of Longview residents were arrested for felony harassment yesterday afternoon after police were called to the 1400 block of William Avenue in Chehalis. James P. Dutra, 49, reportedly threatened to harm some individuals and indicated he had a gun in his pocket, according to Chehalis police. He and Diane K. Norris, 48, were booked into the Lewis County Jail. Police detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said police are still trying to figure out the details of the dispute. The victims told police they didn’t know the couple, he said.