Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Former Chehalis woman accused of bigamy

Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors have charged a 44-year-old woman with bigamy, claiming she married a man in Lewis County when she already had two husbands.

Carrie R. Justus has pleaded not guilty in Lewis County Superior Court.

Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he’s never seen a case of bigamy locally in his career, except for a civil suit once involving a woman who was surprised to learn she was not divorced.

Justus was in court with her attorney on Thursday, after being summonsed to appear.

“Law enforcement was contacted by one of her quote, unquote husbands,” Meyer said.

According to charging documents, Steven Felix who is serving time in a Washington prison, informed a detective at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office he’d been told by his wife, Justus, that at the time they were married she was still married to another man.

Felix learned of this during an argument with Justus, according to charging documents.

The two married in August 2007, yet in July 1999, Justus was wed to Timothy Justus and never divorced, prosecutors allege.

Timothy Justus is serving time in the North Carolina prison system, according to charging documents.

Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen uncovered that she married once even before that, to Eric Mencer in February 1990, according to the allegations.

No court records have been discovered terminating or annulling the marriages, prosecutors wrote.

Carrie Justus claims the first was not a valid marriage, according to the documents.

Bigamy is a class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.

Justus, who said she is from Chehalis and Centralia, and now lives in Shelton, said she hasn’t lived in Lewis County for 10 years, and didn’t marry Felix in Lewis County.

“I married Steven Felix in 2007 in Reno, Nevada,” she said.

She had little further comment on the matter, saying she wanted to check with her lawyer first.

Justus’s trial is set for the end of April. She is out of custody on a $5,000 signature bond.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm
2012.0204.toledorooffire_2

Flames were mostly confined to the roof area of the Spencer Road home. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 2

TWO-STORY TOLEDO HOME CATCHES FIRE

• Some 20 firefighters from four districts responded to a house fire yesterday northeast of Toledo. Nobody was injured but responders had a challenge with the steep roof where wood shake shingles were burning and sliding off, according to Lewis County Fire District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank. A fortunate coincidence was District 2′s personnel happened to be gathered when the early afternoon call came, conducting their annual emergency vehicle driving class, Wiltbank said. “We were there in about five minutes, normally it would have been closer to eight or nine minutes,” Wiltbank said. “That would have given the fire a good head start.” The the two-story A-frame is on Spencer Road between Buckley Road and Schoolhouse Lane. The residents and some friends had actually begun moving furniture outside as crews arrived, according to the chief. The cause is under investigation, but it’s likely related to the wood stove pipe too close to some wood framing, he said. The blaze was contained to an approximately 20 foot by 20 foot section of the roof, he said. The interior sustained just very light smoke damage and soot on a white shag carpet, according to the chief.

MOBILE HOME FIRE NIPPED IN THE BUD NEAR TOLEDO

• A smoke alarm awakened four occupants of a mobile home on Grimes Road east of Toledo about 2:40 a.m. today. Responding firefighters found a trash can fire inside a bathroom which was extinguished by one of the residents, according to Lewis County Fire District 2. Nobody was injured and the damage was limited to the one room, according to District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank. It was likely caused by a discarded cigarette butt, he said. “Other than that, they were pretty fortunate because motor homes can go up pretty quickly,” Wiltbank said.

MOTORCYCLE WRECK INJURES ADNA RESIDENT

• A 20-year-old Adna man was injured when his motorcycle and a small SUV collided in Centralia yesterday afternoon. Aid was called just after 4:30 p.m. to  Harrison Avenue near Belmont Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority. “The motorcycle rider was pretty roughed up,” Fire Capt. Tim Adolphsen said. Nobody else was hurt but the motorcyclist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, Adolphsen said.

TOY GUN DRAWS POLICE OFFICERS

• A juvenile male was scolded by police after they responded to a gun brandishing incident about 1 p.m. on Friday in the area of the 200 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. Officers who located the vehicle and contacted its occupants discovered the weapon was a toy, according to the Centralia Police Department. The boy was admonished and released to his mother, according to police.

THEFT

• Police were called to the 500 block of Richmond Avenue in Centralia late Friday afternoon after someone broke into a garage. Inside, two vehicles were prowled and a JVC stereo was stolen as well as a GPS device, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MAN CAUGHT AFTER FLEEING POLICE

• A 44-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for eluding police after a shot vehicle pursuit late Friday night in the area of the 800 block of South Gold Street and the viaduct in Centralia. Richard D. Gardner was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. His case was also referred for a possible charge of possession of marijuana, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to two incidents of vehicles getting spray painted on Friday, one on the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard and the other at South Iron and Walnut streets.

2012.0204.toledorooffireclose_2

Firefighters had to peel wood shingles and remove the woodstove pipe to find hot spots on the Spencer Road house on Saturday afternoon. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 2

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Head-on crash sends two Onalaska women to hospitals

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman in her 70s was airlifted after a head-on crash in Onalaska this afternoon.

Firefighters from three districts responded to the collision just after 2 p.m. on Middle Fork Road, just east of Dluhosh Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner.

Responders had to cut off the roof of her mid-sized pickup to get her out, Conner said.

A helicopter landed at Onalaska High School to pick her up, he said. The woman, Patricia I. Gault, 76, of Onalaska, was flown to Peace Health Southwest Hospital in Vancouver with head injuries and severe leg trauma, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Sheryl L. Unger, 61, also of Onalaska, was driving a 2002 Jeep  eastbound when she went over the centerline at a curve and ran into the pickup, according to the state patrol.

Both vehicles were totaled.

Unger was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with facial lacerations, the investigating trooper reported.

The speed limit on that stretch of road is 40 mph, according to the fire chief.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

THREATS WITH MACHETE

• Deputies were called at 11:30 p.m. yesterday to a Randle residence where a woman said her live-in boyfriend was swinging a large machete around and threatening to kill her. The 50-year-old female had locked herself in a bathroom and said her 45-year-old boyfriend was in a cabin behind their house with the machete and had been drinking, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived just before midnight and took Virgil W. Bohall Sr. into custody without incident, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Deputies were told that over the previous two days Bohall had kicked, slapped, pushed and scratched her, Brown said. Bohall was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to Brown.

STOLEN VEHICLE RECOVERED

• A Dodge van reported stolen Tuesday from the 3000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia was found abandoned yesterday off Blair Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Read about benefit planned for Rochester crash victim at Chehalis Eagles …

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes that a 19-year-old woman injured in a December head-on crash on U.S. Highway 12 in Rochester is recovering, but slowly.

Mark D. Stone, 43, of Rochester, died when his van struck a guardrail and then crossed into the oncoming lane colliding with an Oldsmobile driven by 19-year-old Carmon L. Gillaspie. The state patrol listed her as a Chehalis resident.

Olympian news reporter Chelsea Krotzer writes that Gillaspie spent four weeks at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with shattered bones in her pelvis, legs and feet. Her mother is planning a benefit at the Chehalis Eagles, according to Krotzer.

Read more here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Centralia daycare operator steps down as marijuana dispensary charges are filed

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm
2012.0202.learningtree_2

The Learning Tree of Centralia is open for business, for now.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A Centralia child daycare center remains open but its operator is not allowed on the premises following her charges for multiple drug offenses.

Roberta E. Johnson, 50, is the licensee for The Learning Tree of Centralia, a center that cares for children off East Union Street in the south end of town.

Johnson is also the state business license holder for Triple Ds Natural and Alternative Medicines Clinic, an enterprise that authorities allege sold marijuana.

Johnson and Donald E. Smith, 51, were arrested in November when drug detectives served a search warrant at the Grand Mound store front they said was operating as an illegal marijuana dispensary.

The married couple were among 17 individuals picked up when the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force raided five locations in the county.

At the time, the state agency that licenses day care facilities said since Johnson was released without charges following her arrest, there was no action for it to take.

A file was opened but the license remained valid, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Early Learning.

However, today the state agency contacted Johnson and she agreed she would voluntarily stay off-site while they examine the situation, according to spokesperson Kara Klotz.

Johnson and Smith were charged Friday in Thurston County Superior Court each with 12 counts of delivery of marijuana, 13 counts of  unlawful use of a building for drug purposes, one count of possession with intent to deliver and one count of manufacture of marijuana.

The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force said it made numerous undercover purchases of marijuana from Triple Ds.

At the time of the raid, a task force spokesperson said while the state’s medical marijuana law allows patients to grow their own or have a caregiver grow it for them, the law “clearly prohibits the sale of marijuana by anybody, to anybody.”

The pair are expected in court on Tuesday when they will get an opportunity to make their pleas and the court’s conditions of release will be addressed, according to Thurston County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jack Jones.

Johnson hasn’t responded to attempts to contact her.

The Learning Tree was open for business this afternoon, with a half dozen toddlers and an adult seated at a round table chattering.

Forty-three children are currently enrolled there, according to Klotz. The center is authorized to serve little ones ages one through 12.

A woman at The Learning Tree who declined to give her name said she was in charge.

“Right now, it’s my job to protect this business, to make sure we stay open,” the unidentified woman said.

The building that housed Triple Ds along Old Highway 99 has been vacated.

A neighbor, Troy Marrs, said Smith operated a medical marijuana-type center there, but his wife was not involved.

“Straight up, she had nothing to do with the place,” Marrs said. “I know her very well, she’s an awesome person with children; she wouldn’t do nothing to jeopardize that.”

Klotz said Johnson is cooperating with the child care licensing agency.

“She’s working on a plan to keep the center open while she deals with the charges,” Klotz said.

If the agency doesn’t agree with her plan, she will have to shut down, Klotz said.

Also, Johnson will need to undergo another background check, which they don’t expect she will pass, Klotz said.

2012.0202.tripleds_2

Triple Ds in Grand Mound is shuttered.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

CHILD SHOT WITH BB GUN

• Aid and police were called about 4:50 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis where a 10-year-old boy had been shot in the eye with a BB gun. His 9-year-old brother was aiming at a fence and the BB bounced and hit his brother, according to police. It was purely an accident, police Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The child was taken to the hospital to be looked at, Wilson said.

“TIGER” COLORS FOUND AT CHEHALIS HIGH SCHOOL

• Police were called to W.F. High School on Southwest 16th Street in Chehalis early this morning where someone used black and orange paint on the big rock outside the school, the grass, parking lot, sidewalk and building. Police Sgt. Gary Wilson said the rival “Tiger colors” were suspected to have been left by Centralia High School students. “I think they’re just gonna have the offending party come and fix it,” Wilson said.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday to a burglary on the 1500 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. Further details were not yet available.

• Tools were stolen from an apartment being renovated at the 400 block of Ash Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Police were called yesterday morning to an apartment on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia where someone had stolen two Makita drills and an iPod “docking station,” according to the Centralia Police Department. An intruder may have entered through a window, according to police.

• Centralia police are investigating an apparent forgery after a resident of Yew Street reported yesterday two checks from his checkbook had been written and cashed of a total of about $400,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Read about spouses who run Grand Mound pot collective face felony charges …

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a Rochester couple have been charged with multiple felonies in connection with their Grand Mound medical marijuana storefront which was raided in last fall.

Roberta E. Johnson, 50, and Donald E. Smith, 51, ran  “Triple D’s” on the 21500 block of Old Highway 99, according to The Olympian. Theirs was among five so-called dispensaries where Thurston County drug detectives served search warrants on Nov. 15.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that detectives allegedly made a dozen marijuana purchases from Triple Ds using medical marijuana authorizations with undercover names

Read more here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

THEFT

• A resident called police about 1:45 a.m. today after returning home to his apartment on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue and finding someone had made off with his television, laptop computer and other valuables. He told police he thought he had locked the front door was not uncertain of that, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called just after noon time yesterday to a burglary at the 1300 block of Delaware Street. An Xbox was stolen, according to police.

• A 25-year-old Centralia resident was arrested yesterday afternoon for burglary after witnesses said they saw someone going into a residence and adjacent shop and removing items. A deputy called about 1:30 p.m. to the 400 block of South Street was told by Timothy M. Howe he had permission from the owner, but the owner said he did not, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Howe was booked for two counts of second-degree burglary,  Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

• Police were called just before noon yesterday about the theft of a vehicle from the 3000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia. Missing was a maroon and gray 1994 Dodge van. Its license plate reads 169 TIY, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A license plate was stolen off a vehicle while it was parked on the 400 block of South Iron Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday evening.

ASSAULT

• Chehalis police yesterday arrested a resident of Green Hill School for second-degree assault in connection with a fight last August at the state juvenile lockup facility. A detective was told the 19-year-old victim required surgery for a broken bone in his face after he was hit several times in the head by  an 18-year-old inmate, according to Chehalis police. The 18-year-old was left at Green Hill and the case will be referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for charge A of second-degree assault, according to police.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

SWAT team visits South Tower Avenue residence looking for drugs

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

Updated 5:15 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Centralia Police Department’s SWAT team visited an apartment on the 700 block of South Tower Avenue last night, arresting two people following a several-week long investigation into drug dealing.

A search warrant was served about 7:15 p.m., according to Officer John Panco.

“It was basically uneventful,” Panco said. “Nobody was hurt, nobody resisted.”

Michael A. Kellogg, 40, of Centralia, was arrested and booked for two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, as well as one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, according to Panco.

Alyssa A. Bowman, 24, also of Centralia, was arrested and booked for possession of methamphetamine, he said.

Panco said he didn’t know the amount of drugs found at at the residence, but said both individuals had drugs “on their person.”

The arrests were the culmination of an investigation by the police department’s anti-crime team, he said.

Update: Kellogg was charged this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court with selling heroin, not methamphetamine. A spokesperson for the Centralia Police Department said he may have misunderstood what drug was at issue.

However, Kellogg was also charged with possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine. His bail was set at $20,000.

Also, a woman arrested by Centralia police on Monday, Jinney S. Unger, was charged today with three counts of delivery of heroin, plus possession of heroin and meth.

Police said the cases are unrelated.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Crime in Centralia: Back on downward track, chief says

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia last year experienced its lowest per capita crime rate in more than 50 years, returning to a downward trend Police Chief Bob Berg says began in 2005.

The overall crime rate in Lewis County’s largest city decreased by almost one-third from the year before, although 2010 had featured a huge spike in the level of crime, according to Berg.

The chief, hired in early 2004, last week released figures compiled for the Washington State Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program which are forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

WASPC expects to publish its 2011 Crime in Washington report with statistics from most police agencies around the state by mid-April.

Berg called the department’s targeted work during the past year outstanding.

“Aggressive police work and incarceration of several local career criminals, coupled with support and cooperation from the community no doubt contributed to the decrease,” Berg wrote in a news release.

Centralia officers made 508 felony arrests in 2011 compared with 302 in 2010, he wrote.

Berg’s numbers show 53.16 so-called part one crimes per 1,000 residents last year.

While overall rates for both violent and property crime decreased last year, three of the measured offenses rose compared to 2010, according to Berg.

Forcible rape was up 45 percent, from 11 incidents to 16; robbery was up 14 percent, from 14 to 16; and murder went up 100 percent, from zero to one.

A premature newborn was found decapitated last March in the trailer park home of its mother, Laura L. Hickey. A murder trial for the 25-year-old woman is scheduled for next month.

The remaining part one offenses have decreased compared with 2010. They are:

• Felony assault: down 25 percent (from 69 incidents to 52)
• Burglary: down 23 percent (from 211 incidents to 163)
• Theft: down 31 percent (from 841 incidents to 579)
• Motor vehicle theft: down 9.2 percent (from 65 incidents to 59)
• Arson: down 86 percent (from 7 to 1)

The statistical probability of a Centralia resident becoming the victim of a violent crime is less than one percent and the likelihood of being the victim of a property crime is 4.8 percent (compared with 7.8 percent the year before), according to Berg.

2012.0125.centcrimechart

UCR rate 2004 to 2011 in Centralia / Courtesy graphic by Centralia Police Department

•••

For last year’s story about area crime based on WASPC’s annual report, read “Crime up in Lewis County” from  Friday May 20, 2011, here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

CHEHALIS WOMAN OUT $5,500 IN SCAM

• The sheriff’s office this morning reported a 71-year-old Chehalis woman was tricked into wiring thousands of dollars to a stranger who convinced her that her grandson was in jail in Mexico and needed bail money. A deputy who contacted the victim yesterday was told she sent $5,500 via Western Union, over a three-day period ending on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Bishop Road resident subsequently learned her grandson had not even been in Mexico, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said it’s unlikely the money can be recovered as the woman did not know where the call even originated from.

THEFT

• Officers were called just before 2 o’clock this morning to an attempted break-in at a store in north Centralia. When police arrived at the 200 block of Downing Road, pry marks were found on a door and surveillance video showed several subjects must have been scared off when an alarm sounded, according to Officer John Panco.

• Centralia police were called about 7:40 a.m. today to a car prowl on the 500 block of Woodland Avenue. A checkbook was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Mail was stolen from a vehicle when its windows were broken out overnight, according to a report made to police yesterday from the 100 block of Jalyn Street in Centralia.

UNRULY CITIZENS

• Three people were arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and one of them for resisting arrest about 1:30 p.m. yesterday at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to police. Niko J. Wilson, 19, of Centralia, would not exit the vehicle when told to do so and after he was pulled out continued to try to avoid being handcuffed, according to Officer John Panco. Wilson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. A 21-year-old from Olympia and the 20-year-old driver from Centralia were released after being cited, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• After police were called to the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia yesterday morning to a report of someone possibly trying to hurt themselves, officers arrested a 43-year-old Centralia woman for obstruction. Officers had ordered her to leave the home because they wanted to get inside and she was in their way, Officer John Panco said.

UNWANTED HOUSE GUEST

• A Chehalis resident called police when she discovered someone might be living in her basement. An officer responding to the home on Northeast Franklin Avenue on Saturday was told the woman found items there that did not belong to her, such as a sleeping bag and bedding, according to police Sgt. Gary Wilson.

WRECK

• A 31-year-old driver was arrested for driving under the influence last night after he drove off the road and into a power pole in Winlock. The approximately 8 p.m. wreck on the 1400 block of Ferrier Road left the vehicle with only minor damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Jesse L. Peppers, of Winlock, told a deputy he was reaching for something in his glove box and when he looked up, he was hitting the pole, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

WINLOCK GARAGE CATCHES FIRE

• It was likely spontaneous combustion amongst items left on a floor that ignited a fire inside a Winlock garage yesterday. Lewis County Fire District 15 was alerted by a police officer on patrol to smoke and flames coming from a structure on the 300 block of Northwest Benton Avenue at about 2:40 p.m., according to Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson. It was extinguished with one hose and did not spread to the rest of the house, according to Anderson. Nobody was injured and the garage’s contents sustained just minor heat damage, Anderson wrote in a news release.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Read about Toledo warehouse fire was arson …

Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the fire that destroyed a downtown Toledo warehouse in August was an arson.

The building belonged to volunteer Firefighter Nicholas Delin, of Toledo, who had recently shut down Toledo Hardware around the corner.

News reporter Natalie St. John writes that Toledo Police Chief John Brockmueller reported to the city council the Seattle-based company which investigated the blaze concluded it was likely started by an arsonist; and that the chief has several suspects.

Delin lost a similar building in a fire in Winlock about three years earlier.

Read more here.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

HARASSMENT

• A 61-year-old Winlock man was arrested early Sunday at the 200 block of Markum Lane in Winlock after allegedly holding a gun and threatening to shoot holes in a roof. When a deputy arrived the gun had been taken away from Lonnie C. Cureton Sr. who was asleep on a couch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Cureton was booked into the Lewis County Jail for harassment, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

ELUDING POLICE

• A 43-year-old resident of Centralia and Fort Lewis was arrested early Saturday after a pursuit by multiple police agencies that ended on Old Highway 99 Southwest in Tenino. Lewis County sheriff’s deputies were called about 7 p.m. the night before to the 1500 block of Farmview Avenue in Centralia where a woman said her husband was present in violation of a no-contact order, according to the sheriff’s office. Matthew R. Mecham had allegedly threatened his wife as well, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Deputies were called again just after 2 a.m. and Mecham was pursued out Little and Big Hanaford roads and onto state Route 507, Brown said. His tires were flattened by a “spike strip” but he continued driving until his transmission “blew up,” according to Brown. In the back of his vehicle, a gun locker and gun case taken from his wife’s house were found, Brown said, Mecham was booked into the Lewis County jail for burglary, theft of firearms and a violation of a no-contact order, Brown said.

• A 50-year-old Winlock resident was arrested and booked early Saturday for attempting to elude after failing to stop for a deputy on Friday night along North Military Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Shawn H. Boren reportedly drove across a lawn into the brush and fled on foot before being found by police dog Leko a short time later, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

• A 41-year-old Ethel resident was arrested for attempting to elude following a Friday afternoon call about a disorderly person at the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Lynn K. Jorgensen Jr. was found driving a motorcycle on the 1500 block of U.S. Highway 12 where he made a dangerous U-turn, and then returned to a field at the original address and tried to hide in a shop, the sheriff’s office reported.

THEFT

• A 21-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon in connection with the theft of jewelry from the 700 block of K Street in Centralia. The theft was reported to police about 1 a.m. Joshua M. Reetz, of Silver Lake, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was scheduled to be released without charges pending further investigation.

• A Toyota pickup reported as abandoned on Friday at West First and F streets in Centralia was found to be stolen out of Olympia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An estimated $6,000 of items were reported stolen from the 400 block of Independence Road, in Rochester the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Among the items taken sometime between Jan. 10 and 19th were a pressure washer and a tool box, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• Centralia police were called Friday morning to the 200 block of South Pearl Street about the theft of sterling silver flat wear from a display case.

• Police were called just before 11 p.m. on Friday about a television stolen from the 200 block of Jackson Street in Centralia.

• A Centralia teenager who said he tripped and then opened a door to a vehicle to break his fall was arrested for second-degree vehicle prowl and minor in possession of alcohol after a deputy was called about 8 a.m. on Sunday to a parking lot on the 1100 block of Spencer Road outside Toledo. Arrested at the same time as Devon J.M. Munsey, 18, was a 43-year-old Centralia resident, Christopher Couch, for attempted vehicle prowl, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• An officer took a report about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday of a car prowl on the 1100 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. A CD player was taken from an unlocked vehicle overnight, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

• Troopers were called about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday to single-vehicle collision at U.S. Highway 12 just west of White Pass where 57-year-old Wenatchee man was injured. Ira D. Suesserman had been traveling westbound when his pickup truck struck a snowbank on the shoulder and rolled onto its top, according to the Washington State Patrol. Suesserman was taken to Morton General Hospital with a possible neck injury, according to the state patrol. His 1997 Ford F150 was described as totaled.

DRUGS

• A deputy called Friday night to the 300 block of South Military Road in Winlock to a complaint a drug pipe had been left in someone’s garage learned the pipe was gone but its owner’s truck was parked down the road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. About an hour later, a Winlock police officer found Darold G. Teitzel, 46, of Winlock hiding under a truck next to the garage with the pipe and other items including a small baggie of suspected methamphetamine with him, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Teitzel was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for a warrant, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, Brown said.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Cooking fire destroys Chehalis house

Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A two-story house ravaged by fire in Chehalis yesterday evening apparently started with a man cooking french fries in his kitchen.

Nobody was injured, but a dog and cat were unaccounted for at the home on the 500 block of Riverside Drive, Chehalis Firefighter Kevin Reynolds said.

It’s the second time in less than two months Reynolds and fellow firefighter Pat Gilligan have been the lone two members of the department on duty and responding as a crew of just two.

It was quite the fire for two people,” Reynolds said. “Once we had the manpower, we went upstairs with hoses.”

The Chehalis Fire Department was called around 5 p.m. and when they arrived, flames were coming out the kitchen door and window, as heavy smoke flowed out of the second floor, Reynolds said this morning.

An adult male got out safely; Reynolds wasn’t sure if anyone else was home at the time. The Red Cross responded to assist with finding a place to stay, he said.

Members of Riverside Fire Authority in Centralia and Lewis County Fire District 6 arrived to assist, and ultimately off-duty Chehalis firefighters with their ladder truck, according to Reynolds.

Their staffing usually consists of a team of three on duty, but nowadays if one is sick or on vacation, “you do what you can with what you’ve got” Reynolds said. He called it un-nerving.

He called the older, but sturdy home on Riverside Drive a total loss.

Reynolds, who has been with the department since 2001, the past nearly four years as paid member, said he doubts the house could have been saved even if a third firefighter was on duty, but a blaze the day after Thanksgiving is a different story.

“This one, for whatever reason, was going really hard and fast when we got there,” he said. “But on North Street, I know the outcome would have been different if we’ve had a third guy.”

On November 25, crews responded to Northeast North Street in between Market and Washington where a woman who pulled her pets out of her burning home suffered smoke inhalation.

Eventually some 25 to 30 firefighters joined them from three other departments but that home and its contents were also described as likely a total loss.

The changed staffing situation is a growing concern at the city department, according to Reynolds. It leaves him hoping the future holds a merger with surrounding departments.

“The thing to remember is s fire doubles in size every 60 seconds,” he said. “It’s everything we can do with two people just to stabilize a fire.”

•••

Read “News brief: Chehalis house burns” from Friday November 25,  2011, here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Read about preferred pain drug – methadone – now called last resort …

Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports doctors are receiving stark warnings that methadone is riskier and more dangerous than previously believed because it’s unpredictable and poses a heightened risk of accidental death.

Methadone is the same drug that got Toledo’s Dr. Lance Christansen in trouble after a string of patient deaths primarily attributed by authorities to over-prescribing methadone.

Two Seattle Times reporters wrote back in December about a “preferred” drug list that took effect in 2004 for doctors prescribing to those covered under injured workers claims, state workers and Medicaid.

That was the same year complaints began about Christiansen after four Lewis County residents died.

Among those who raised alarms about Christiansen, was the state Department of Labor and Industries, sparked by a call from the Lewis County Coroner’s Office about suspicious deaths.

In one of those deaths, the state alleged Christiansen prescribed five to 10 times the appropriate amount. His license to practice was subsequently taken away.
•••

Read  The Seattle Times story “Preferred pain drug now called last resort” from The Seattle Times on  Saturday January 27, 2012 at 8:59 p.m., here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

State Supreme Court sides with defendant in Lewis County case

Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 6:54 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state Supreme Court has tossed out a man’s DUI conviction and part of his vehicular assault conviction saying prosecutors didn’t prove he was advised of his right to seek an independent blood alcohol test.

A trooper asked an interpreter to read the special warning and his rights in Spanish to Jose Matilde Morales at the hospital, but the state didn’t call the interpreter at trial to attest to that, nor was the signed form introduced into evidence, according to Thursday’s decision.

Morales, 51, was arrested in November 2004 after he “rolled the stop sign” and collided with another car at Big Hanaford Road and state Route 507 outside Centralia. A Bucoda woman and her elderly mother were injured.

He was convicted in Lewis County Superior Court of hit and run, driving under the influence and vehicular assault.

The vehicular assault charge included all three alternatives; DUI, driving recklessly and driving with disregard for the safety of others.

Morales’ lawyer had objected to the admission of the blood test because the only evidence regarding the special warning was the trooper’s testimony he had handed the form to the interpreter and listened while the interpreter spoke to Morales in a language the trooper did not understand, Supreme Court Justice Charles K. Wiggins wrote in the majority opinion. The blood test was admitted.

Judge Pro Tem R.W. Buzzard presided at the trial.

Morales appealed the DUI as well as the parts of the vehicular assault based on driving under the influence and driving recklessly.

The appeals court sided with prosecutors, and then the state Supreme Court agreed to review the case.

The knowledge of the right of independent testing of blood is especially important to a person’s defense because evidence that can prove or disprove the charge will disappear within a relatively short time, Justice Wiggins wrote.

The blood tests were erroneously admitted, the court decided.

The Supreme Court reversed the  DUI conviction and the parts of his vehicular assault conviction based on DUI and reckless driving.

The justices ruled eight to one in favor of Morales. Justice James M. Johnson wrote a dissent.

For Morales, the decision means only those convictions will be removed from his criminal record; he’s already served all his time, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said on Friday.

Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he and his staff talked about the case on Friday.

“Hindsight being 20-20, that witness should have been called,” Meyer said.

Meyer, who took office a year ago, pointed out the original deputy prosecutor who handled the case during its appeal also failed to brief the Supreme Court on the matter.

The trial and the appeal were handled by two deputy prosecutors Meyer didn’t invite to stay with the office after he was elected, he said.

•••

Read the Supreme Court decision, here

Read the dissenting opinion, here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

HIT AND RUN

• Deputies are looking for the driver of a stolen truck who crashed head-on into a van early this morning at Harrison Avenue and Foron Road in Centralia. Aid and the sheriff’s office called about 4:50 a.m. learned the driver of a white 1987 GMC truck had been turning right onto Harrison into the wrong lane when he ran into the van, according to the sheriff’s office. The truck driver fled on foot and could not be found even after a police dog track, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The van’s driver, a 53-year-old Rochester resident, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with minor injuries, responders said. The pickup truck had been stolen sometime earlier in the night from Van Wormer Street in Centralia, Brown said. Brown is asking anyone with information about the truck or its driver to call 911 or Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

DRUGS AT GREEN HILL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday to Green Hill School where authorities said one of their residents was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. The 16-year-old being held in the state juvenile detention facility didn’t have anything to say about where it came from, police detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said. The teen was arrested and then released since he’s already in the custody of Green Hill, McNamara said. How drugs could have gotten inside Green Hill is a good question, McNamara said. Police have found that sometimes it could be brought in, mailed in or even tossed over the fence, he said. The case will be referred for a possible felony charge of possession of a controlled substance in a prison facility.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY

• Two 16-year-old Chehalis boys were arrested yesterday after they allegedly climbed over a fence and tried to get in through the side door of a home on the 2000 block of Jackson Highway in Chehalis yesterday. A deputy was called about 11:30 a.m. about prowlers in a backyard who apparently ran when they were startled by a resident and her neighbor, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.  Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said one was found walking up the road and the other returned to the scene. They were arrested and booked into Lewis County Juvenile Detention for attempted burglary, Brown said.

COMPUTER THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday about a laptop computer stolen from the room of a patient at a nursing home on the 1300 block of Alexander Street.

• A Dell laptop computer and an iPad were reported stolen from a home on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia last night. Police, called just after 8 p.m., could find no signs of forced entry, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• A 29-year-old Mossyrock man reportedly escaped injury when he lost control of his car yesterday on Cinebar Road and wrecked it into a ditch. A deputy responding around noontime reported the Chevrolet Cobalt sustained major damage to its front end, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• The Washington State Patrol reports the driver of the car that wrecked Tuesday morning on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis was Manuel L. Lara-Fregoso, 57, of Onalaska. Lara-Fregoso was northbound near milepost 73 about 10 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle and hit the center barrier before crossing all three lanes to the shoulder where he struck a light pole and then a tree, according to the state patrol. The 1997 Chevrolet was described as totaled. Lara-Fregoso was treated and has been released from the hospital.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Drive-by shooting defendant gets 18-plus years

Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm
2012.0125.colbert.salmeron_2

Colbert A. Salmeron apologizes to Brandon Cagle for firing a gun toward him almost six years ago

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Twenty-five-year-old Colbert A. Salmeron’s eyes eventually welled up as he spoke in court yesterday pleading for leniency, forgiveness and apologizing for firing a gun toward a group of people in downtown Centralia more than five years ago.

“I never wanted to kill him, I did shoot that way, but I didn’t want to hurt them,” Salmeron said as he addressed Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler.

Salmeron said he was young, jealous and had been drinking, but now he’s a father with five children and knows what he did was wrong.

“I want to become a better person, be a better citizen,” he said.

It was August 2006 when at least four individuals were standing next to a pickup truck in a parking lot on North Tower Avenue and Salmeron pulled up and fired six shots striking vehicles, according to law enforcement. No persons were hit.

Salmeron was facing multiple charges of first-degree assault and hiding out in El Salvador when he was captured last year. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of first-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault and bail jumping.

He was a gang member, but the incident was over a woman with whom he and the target of his anger – Brandon Cagle – both had a relationship with, defense attorney James Dixon said.

In the Chehalis courtroom yesterday, some 15 supporters sat behind the defendant while Cagle was the lone victim who attended the hearing.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes and Dixon had worked out a plea deal in which Salmeron faced a sentence of somewhere between about 14 years and a little more than 19 years in prison.

Dixon asked for the low end of the sentence and Hayes asked for 17 years.

Lawler said he had it in his mind when he came to work he would impose the high end of the range, but aimed closer to the middle when it was all said and done.

“You could have killed a number of people with bullets flying all over the place,” Lawler said.

And you ran, he said.

Lawler noted Salmeron’s family support and said he was satisfied “what you can be is different from what you were.”

And, he sentenced Salmeron to 18 years and four months in prison, with credit for time served.