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Driver plows into busy Outlet Mall store, three times

Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm
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“Witnesses said they heard ‘bang, revving, bang, revving, then a crash’.” – Officer Buster. / Courtesy photo by Andy Jacaway

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An elderly driver accidentally rammed a building three times yesterday before the front end of his Cadillac broke through an exterior wall scattering shoppers at the VF Factory Outlet in Centralia.

Nobody was injured, even though it was a fairly busy day, according to Centralia Police Department Sgt. Carl Buster.

The Longview man, 90, and his wife were still sitting in the vehicle when police arrived, with the nose of the sedan inside the store, according to police.

“It was fortunate, not a single person got hurt,” Buster said.

Police were called about 2:15 p.m. to the 100 block of High Street, just east of Interstate 5.

The couple had finished shopping and were exiting a parking spot in front of the store, Buster said.

Witnesses outside told police the car backed up, struck a vehicle behind it, shoving it into a second vehicle and then the man put his car in drive and went forward, jumping over the curb and hitting the building, according to Buster.

Witnesses said the engine was revved up really high, Buster said.

“One witness said the guy backed up four or five feet and then hits the building a second time,” Buster said. “He backs up for a third time, and this time he goes through the wall like two feet into the store.”

People inside the store were crying, saying they had no idea what was happening, Buster said.

Sarah Cain said it seemed as though an angry customer had decided to ram the building on purpose, and she watched as items tumbled off a nearby shelf.

It sounded like a bomb going off, Cain said. She estimated there were about 50 customers inside.

“By the third time, people were running out of the building screaming,” she said.

The damage to the Cadillac was surprisingly minimal, but it left a hole in the stucco wall about the size of the hood of a car, Buster said.

The car was towed though, because it lost some fluids, he said.

Officers decided not to ticket the man because it was on private property and there was no criminality involved.

“He said, ‘That car is so quiet and sound proof; I couldn’t hear the engine revving’,” Buster said. “He thought he was pushing the brake.”

 

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Damage to the car was minimal. “It would have been a great Cadillac commercial.” – Officer Buster. / Courtesy photo by Megan Wilber

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News brief: Two injured, horses unhurt in I-5 wreck at Centralia

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm
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Firefighters respond to truck versus semi collision on Interstate 5 at Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A loaded horse trailer broke loose from a truck on Interstate 5 in Centralia today, leading to the pickup swerving and then getting struck by a semi truck.

Troopers and aid called about 12:45 p.m. to the northbound lanes just south of the freeway exit to Harrison Avenue found the Ford pickup truck atop the concrete center barrier facing the wrong direction.

The horse trailer gradually parked itself about 100 yards away against a guard rail on the right shoulder, according to responders.

The passenger had only minor injuries but the driver was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with possible serious injuries, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Terry Ternan said.

Crews had to cut him out of the vehicle, Ternan said.

The investigating trooper reports the horses were not injured and the cause of the incident was the hitch breaking.

Passenger Flora L. Wood, 64, of Graham, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital. The driver, Donald R. Rackley, 68, of Graham, was airlifted from Providence with possible head and other injuries, according to responders.

The semi-truck driver, 66-year-old Arnold Horath of Tenino, was unhurt, according to the Washington State Patrol.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – “Must-be-nearing-a-full-moon Edition”

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

JAIL GUARD PUNCHED BY INMATE

• A 33-year-old inmate reportedly upset about his medical treatment allegedly struck a corrections officer in the face with his fist yesterday morning at the Lewis County Jail in Chehalis. The jail employee ended up with a split lip and Adam T. Beaubien, from Yelm, was additionally booked for third-degree assault,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FAMILY THREAT DRAWS DEPUTIES

• Deputies called about 3:15 p.m. yesterday to the Toledo area about a man who may have had a gun and reportedly threatened to kill family members found the 37-year-old incoherent and curled up on the floor of a horse barn. When told to show his hands, he jumped up and approached a deputy so he was Tased, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. During the interaction at the 100 block of Smokey Valley Road, a deputy suffered a cut to the face which was treated at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. Matthew H. Pettit, of Toledo, was arrested for harassment and third-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He didn’t have a gun.

POLICE SUMMONED FOR STOLEN CUP OF JAVA

• A 28-year-old homeless person who allegedly stole a cup of coffee and took up a “fighting stance” when contacted by police was wrestled to the ground around 5 a.m. yesterday in the area of the 500 block of South Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. Matthew E. Eastman was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

STOLEN SOAP LANDS MAN IN JAIL

• A 20-year-old homeless man was arrested after he reportedly stole soap from a vacant residence on the 2100 block of Southwest Salsbury Avenue in Chehalis yesterday evening. Marcus L. Day, from Auburn, said he was just trying to keep himself clean, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

WALKING IN THE ROADWAY

• A 49-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for disorderly conduct yesterday afternoon when police discovered she was walking in traffic at South Pearl Street and Centralia College Boulevard. Barbara A. Heppe was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WOMAN CAUSES COMMOTION

• A 38-year-old Olympia woman was arrested for disorderly conduct around 11:15 a.m. yesterday after police were told she was screaming at unspecified citizens who feared she might assault them at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Jamielee Madsen was booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

WANTED MAN FOUND UNDER BED

• Two people were arrested at a motel on the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive in Centralia around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, one of whom was a 47-year-old woman who allegedly stepped in front of officers when they attempted to arrest a 44-year-old man wanted on an outstanding warrant. Centralia police said Mitchell W. Sinclair hid under a bed and was Tased when he wouldn’t follow the officer’s instructions. Raelynn D. Gonzales was arrested for obstructing, according to police. Both are Centralia residents, according to police. Both were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

PHONE HARASSMENT

• Deputies called Wednesday night about obscene phone calls received at a Toledo area home arrested a 69-year-old neighbor at the 200 block of Drews Prairie Road. William M Bowers, was a former longtime friend of the couple he allegedly phoned, leaving lewd messages, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said Bowers resisted arrest and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for telephone harassment and resisting, according to the sheriff’s office.

ATTEMPTED THEFT

• Centralia police arrested a 25-year-old man last night who allegedly tried to grab money from another person at the 1200 block of Alder Street. Booked into the Lewis County Jail for misdemeanor assault and attempted robbery was Dominic L. Combs, a Centralia resident, according to the Centralia Police Department. Further details were not readily available.

STOLEN CAR

• A white 1992 Honda Accord station wagon was reported stolen yesterday from the 100 block of Haliday Road in Centralia. It had been left unlocked with the keys in the ashtray, according to the Centralia Police Department. The license plate is AKJ 9239, according to police.

JAIL BREAK

• Someone broke into the old Vader Jail sometime during the past year, a deputy was told on Wednesday. The building in the south Lewis County town is a museum and among the missing items are old “Little Falls bricks,” according to the sheriff’s office. A list of what’s missing is being compiled, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said yesterday. It’s unknown how they got inside, Brown said.

MISSING MAIL

• Centralia police took a report about 1:20 p.m. yesterday about mail stolen from a mailbox at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

BREAK-IN TO VACANT HOME

• Police were called to an unoccupied residence on the 300 block of North Washington Avenue on Wednesday morning after the discovery someone had taken wiring and pipes, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LUMBER PILFERED

• Police were called about 3:15 p.m. yesterday regarding the theft of six pressure treated fence posts from the 900 block of Goff Street in Centralia.

FRAUD

• Centralia police took a report about 2 p.m. yesterday from the 1200 block of Prospect Avenue regarding the fraudulent use of a credit card.

• Centralia police are following up with suspect information after a report yesterday morning an individual cashed fraudulent checks in the amount of $500 at a bank on the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

VANDALISM

• A man called police about 5:45 p.m. yesterday after he heard a loud noise and then discovered damage to the rear end of his vehicle at the 300 block of Southwest James Street in Chehalis.

WRECK

• A 35-year-old Centralia man was hospitalized with minor injuries after a head-on collision yesterday morning on the 800 block of Centralia Alpha Road outside Chehalis, and then he was taken to jail. Firefighters called about 10 a.m. found both drivers had gotten themselves out of their vehicles, which were described as totaled. A 61-year-old Chehalis man traveling in the Dodge Dakota pickup was uninjured, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Saturn’s driver was arrested because he had an outstanding warrant from California and initially gave a deputy his brother’s name instead of his own, according to the sheriff’s office. Chad R. Crow, 35, was booked for identity theft.

AND MORE …

• And more, such as complaints of misdemeanor assaults, violations of protection orders, shoplifts, a folding chair missing from a porch, loud music, hypodermic needles found in a mailbox, cars left in a no-parking zone, a man panhandling, a car squirreling around a play field, a “big red-headed chick” who ran her grocery cart into someone’s leg, a “defiant” student in the vice principal’s office, a dog which might “mess” on a school playground, and fender benders including one at the 900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia about 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday when a driver struck another vehicle and a building after failing to put her car in park and more …

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News brief: Partial “urn” with cremated remains turns up at local recycler

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:54 am
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The hollow portion of what looks like stand for a bird bath contained the cremated remains of three individuals. / Courtesy photo Warren McLeod

Updated at 1:40 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the next-of-kin for three sets of cremated remains found at a Centralia recycling business.

Coroner Warren McLeod suspects they are from the same family and were inadvertently discarded. They were turned in to the coroner in October, who has run into a dead end.

The decedents are: Marjorie Boyer, age 77 when she died on Feb. 4, 2004; Emmett Robert Nesteby, age 76 when he died on Feb. 8, 2000; and Wayne Nesteby, 43, who died on Sept. 26, 1997, according to McLeod.

Th remains were inside three labeled plastic bags inside an ornate ceramic container which looks like a pedestal base to a sun dial or maybe a bird bath, according to McLeod.

The pedestal is light weight, about two and half feet tall and appears to be something one might place in a garden.

Information from a funeral home involved led to the name of a daughter, Kathleen Colley, who 13 years ago had an Oregon address and phone number, according to McLeod.

The labels are from funeral homes in Parker, Arizona; Gresham, Ore. and another city in Oregon, according to McLeod.

If anyone knows Colley or the others, they are asked to contact the coroner’s office at 360-740-1376.

Update at 7:38 p.m.: McLeod says a nephew has been located in Walla Walla and will be coming over on Monday to pick up his family members.

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Knapp confesses she stole money from Chehalis museum as its director

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm
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Deborah Knapp leaves the courtroom without comment after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree theft.

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deborah Sue Knapp said very little today when she admitted stealing thousands of dollars from the Lewis County Historical Museum while she worked as its executive director.

Today’s hearing in a Chehalis courtroom was brief.

Knapp, 53, pleaded guilty pursuant to a deal in which she will pay restitution in exchange for a recommendation to the judge she serve 12 months in jail, which she could do on work release if she’s able to find a job.

What her actual sentence will be, will be up to a judge when Knapp returns to Lewis County Superior Court on the afternoon of May 3.

How much she stole and the amount she could be ordered to repay has not yet been agreed upon by attorneys on the two sides.

Knapp was arrested at the end of 2011 after revelations the non-profit’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was gone and its other accounts were in the red by about $14,000

The four officers on the 13-member museum board were replaced and the new board president said at the time the books hadn’t been in balance since 2008. Knapp was hired as the director in July 2006.

Knapp’s lawyer said it’s hard to assess exactly how much his client is responsible for, but that it is much less than originally alleged.

“She did not steal all of it, or even most of it,” Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson said.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said he believes he could prove it was at least $137,000.

Part of the plea agreement required that Knapp pay $20,000 of the restitution by today, and that was done. The money was a loan from extended family of Knapp’s and was deposited with the county clerk’s office, Johnson said.

Johnson said his client moved to Clark County shortly after the case was filed. She and her husband are living in a mobile home and scraping by, he said.

The hope is she can find employment before her sentencing date, so she can serve her time with the Clark County Jail on work release, according to Johnson.

“She’s doing the best she can, she’s also had health problems,” he said.

Halstead said this is one of those cases in which the defendant needs to go to jail, but his office also wants to help the museum.

“If she goes to prison for a year or two, she’s not going to be making restitution payments,” Halstead said. “And after she got out, she would be paying back $25 a month.”

Prosecutors allege Knapp basically doubled her salary for a period of time, obtaining “draws” that weren’t subsequently accounted for, writing her own payroll draw checks without anyone else’s knowledge and many times listing them in the check register as voided.

Her salary was $43,000 per year. Her responsibilities included overseeing the day-to-day operations of the museum in downtown Chehalis and supervising three part time employees and the volunteers.

She used the museum’s debit card to pay personal expenses, including her power bill on Fineview Road for at least two years, according to prosecutors.

Among the odd debit card purchases were items for her daughter’s wedding and flowers for former prosecutor Michael Golden’s campaign, according to Halstead.

“It’s heart breaking, the breach of trust,” said Julie Zander, a museum board member for one year after the scandal came to light.

Zander, former museum board member Edna Fund and its new board president Peter Lahmann were among almost a dozen spectators who sat behind the prosecutor in the Chehalis courtroom this afternoon.

In the benches on the defense side, were just a small handful of women.

The modified charges state that Knapp wrongfully obtained more than $5,000 in each of four years, ending with 2011.

Judge Nelson Hunt read aloud Knapp’s brief statement admitting to four counts of first-degree theft and asked for her plea on each count.

Four times, Knapp simply answered “guilty”.

Although authorities had said they would continue delving into financial records going back to when Knapp was hired, that wasn’t done, leaving any misappropriations during 2006 and 2007 unknown, according to Halstead.

Lahmann, the apprenticeship coordinator for the Laborers Union, took time off work to be in court. He started in the position of museum board president in January.

“What can I say, it is what it is,” Lahmann said. “There’s no joy here, it’s just the legal system in action.

“Hopefully we can get the museum back on track. We have a good board, good volunteers, a good director. It’s a small organization.”

The museum, which resides in a former rail station on Northwest Front Way, remains open, although it did close its doors for a period in late 2011.

Lahmann said he thinks there are 10 or 12 individuals on the board now, but they are in the midst of rewriting the bylaws.

Marie Panesko, whose husband John Panesko sat as board president during the year following Knapp’s arrest, pointed out the current museum board has both new and old members.

“So there’s continuity, but a lot of new blood,” she said. “That’s important for the community to know.”

While prosecutors initially charged Knapp with 10 counts of first-degree theft and amended down the charges to four counts, the dollar loss they attribute to the former museum chief hasn’t changed.

Halstead still indicates roughly $45,000 in theft through her paychecks and $92,000 from personal use of the organization’s debit card.

His approximations of where the endowment fund went are $137,000 from Knapp’s theft, $150,000 spent to benefit the museum and $100,000 in losses to the account from a downturn in the market and penalties assessed for early withdrawals. The rest is unaccounted for, he said.

The endowment was a fund meant to be left untouched, so it could generate interest which could be spent. In January 2008, it contained $460,516. By Oct. 15, 2010, it had a zero balance.

Defense attorney Johnson said he pored through the records and could only find one withdrawal from the endowment that was properly board-authorized; it was a paving project, he said.

Johnson noted that sometimes with large thefts of money, one sees spending on big trips, new cars and such.

“That’s not what we have here,” he said, indicating Knapp wasn’t all that good with her own finances.

The two attorneys hope to come to a consensus about the amount Knapp should repay the museum by her sentencing date. If they don’t, and it goes to a hearing, the judge has the option of tripling whatever amount is determined, according to Halstead.

What’s problematic, is figuring out the debit card expenditures, according to Johnson, since there were multiple people with access to the museum debit cards.

“It’s hard to believe an organization like this would use debit cards,” he said. “How do you keep track of how much you’re spending?”

Johnson called the museum obviously poorly run and negligent in not following its own rules.

The bylaws said a committee should be organized to manage the endowment, he said. They had no committee, he said. It was supposed to take the authorization of two board members to withdraw funds from it, he said.

Johnson said his client took a certain amount of money that didn’t belong to her, and that’s what the criminal case is about, but the broader lesson is they were all operating with someone else’s money.

“They have a fiduciary responsibility to manage that money,” he said.

They didn’t have a budget, according to Johnson.

“Here’s an organization that had a paid bookkeeper and a paid (board) treasurer,” he said. “And they couldn’t seem to keep track of it.”

Johnson’s assessment is much of the endowment was used to make ends meet for the museum, which was living beyond its means.

Newly elected Lewis County Commissioner Fund is one person who was a museum board member from shortly after Knapp was hired and until this past December.

How the board was in the dark about museum finances is easier to see now, according to Fund.

The board treasurer did give reports to the board, Fund said.

“This is one of the curiosities, and I hate to dredge this up,” she said. “But the treasurer is like 80 or 78 years old.

“She would say, ‘what’s the balance Debbie? And (Debbie) would give it to her.”

Board approval was required for withdrawals from the endowment, but the requests were not made, according to Fund.

“Debbie controlled the information that went to the (board) treasurer, who was also the (museum) bookkeeper,” Fund said. “In hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to have that be the same person.”

Board meetings were held quarterly, and sometimes cancelled by the board officers, she said.

“When this all started, I thought, lessons learned,” Fund said.

Among those lessons, according to Fund, is she should have resigned from the board when she wasn’t able to be an active participant.

Fund said she and board member Dennis Dawes, began to get suspicious, and tried to get the board to agree to obtain the bank records, an idea the majority of the board rejected in October 2011.

Another lesson, according to Fund.

“Do not allow your friendships to affect checks and balances,” she said. “This is probably one of the biggest travesties to many of us; Debbie was our friend.”

Nobody but Knapp has been implicated in the losses, criminally, according to Halstead.

“I haven’t been presented with anything that would indicate anyone else was involved with the missing money, or the taking of funds,” Halstead said.
•••

For background, read:

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

• “Police asked to investigate finances of Lewis County Historical Museum” from Wednesday November 16  2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

HEAD BUTTING BOYFRIEND

• A 43-year-old Mossyrock man was arrested yesterday for allegedly head butting his girlfriend, leaving her with a broken nose. Deputies were in the area of Young Road on another matter and just happened to talk with the 36-year-old woman, noticed she had been hit in the nose and asked about it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She said that earlier in the day her boyfriend had head butted her and also choked her, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Kenneth L. Thompson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to Brown.

SHOVING WOMAN

• Centralia police were called about 4:40 p.m. yesterday to the 1900 block of Johnson Road in Centralia where they once again arrested 69-year-old John C. Baker. The Centralia man reportedly violated a no-contact order in which the petitioner is a 42-year-old woman and shoved her, according to the Centralia Police Department. A week ago, Baker was arrested for misdemeanor assault for grabbing a 42-year-old woman at the same address and allegedly threatening to snap her neck. Sgt. Stacy Denham said it’s Baker’s house where yesterday’s incident occurred and Baker is not supposed to be there as the victim resides there also.

DRUGS AT SCHOOL

• A 15-year-old student was suspended from Onalaska High School yesterday after the principal found a small amount of suspected marijuana in his backpack. A deputy called to the 500 block of Carlisle Avenue yesterday morning was told the principal did not believe the reason two boys said they were in the woods so brought them into the school and searched the backpack finding a glass pipe and marijuana, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. That teen was released to his mother and a charge will be recommended to prosecutors of possession, according to the sheriff’s office.

BIKE PARTS STOLEN

• Centralia police took a report from an individual about 7:20 p.m. yesterday who said someone stole the headlight and tail light off his bicycle while he was at the library on the 100 block of South Silver Street.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police took a report about 12:45 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl on the 300 block of South Street in which a wallet and purple Nikon Coolpix camera were taken.

• A deputy was called yesterday about an overnight vehicle prowl at the 100 block of North Prairie Road south of Chehalis in which a wallet with $250 cash, two credit cards and a social security card was stolen. A gas can with a gallon of fuel was missing as well, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE …

• A Centralia teenager was arrested for reportedly kicking his father’s truck and another Centralia teenager in a separate incident is in trouble for allegedly putting a dent in his father’s car door, tearing up a fence and overturning flower pots in their yard. His dad had told him he couldn’t use the car anymore and to get a job, according to the sheriff’s office. Neither young man was booked. Also, as usual, arrests for warrants, misdemeanor domestic assaults, complaint of loud music, report of shoplifting (frosted animal cookies) … and more.

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News brief: Mom who allegedly gave pot to son faces serious charge

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm
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Police say a cell phone video provided them shows mom offering son marijuana from bong. / Courtesy image Centralia Police Department. See Kirotv.com video

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors charged the Centralia mother accused of giving her toddler a hit from a marijuana water pipe with a crime today, one that could easily give her about five years in prison if she is convicted as charged.

Rachelle L. Braaten, 24, remains in the Lewis County Jail following her arrest on Friday. Prosecutors say an anonymous video provided to police shows her holding a so-called bong while her now 2-year-old son put his mouth near its top, then coughs.

She allegedly told officers it happened four or five months ago.

Braaten is charged with a class B felony, which for a person like Braaten who has no criminal history has a standard sentencing range of 51 to 68 months, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke.

The offense has a long name: delivery of a controlled substance by a person over 18 to a person under 18, domestic violence.

It’s a serious charge, O’Rourke said.

The potential penalty is high because it involves a child, O’Rourke said. The maximum penalty is 10 years and a $20,000 fine.

The mother of two appeared briefly this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

O’Rourke told the judge the little boy is with his paternal grandmother. Both of her sons were taken by Child Protective Services on Friday. No mention was made today of the 5-year-old’s whereabouts.

Judge Nelson Hunt gave Braaten a court appointed defense attorney and scheduled her arraignment for Thursday.

She remains jailed on $20,000 bail.
•••

For background, read “Prosecutors: Centralia father released, mother faces possible charge for alleged bong-smoking baby” from Monday March 11, 2013, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

Updated at 1:18 p.m.

BIG BURGLARY

• Numerous weapons, ammunition, a safe and a bank bag containing $1,000 were among the valuables stolen in a burglary at the 700 block of Chandler Road west of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called last night learned the thefts occurred sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is more than $4,500, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

TRACTOR TAKEN

• A 78-year-old Centralia man returned home after being out of the country to discover his 20-year-old Kubota tractor was missing. A deputy called yesterday morning to the 2700 block of Harrison Avenue was told the loss is about $10,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

MOPED MISSING

• A Yamaha moped valued at $1,000 was reported stolen from the 100 block of Union Avenue outside Centralia sometime between Feb. 24 and Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

SCREAMING MAN TASED

• A 48-year-old Longview man who was found last night screaming, shaking his fist and walking around a vehicle on property at the 100 block of Sargent Road in Winlock was arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest. A deputy called about 10 p.m. ended up using a Taser to zap the subject who wouldn’t obey commands, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown didn’t say why Carl R. Brickey was there, but noted he appeared to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs so was taken to the hospital to be checked out before the jail would book him.

TRYING TO SCRAP OUT ANTIQUE

• Two men were jailed yesterday evening after they were discovered allegedly trying to use a torch to cut up an antique iron lumber planer at the 100 block of Pine Tree Road east of Winlock. The 63-year-old property owner said he did not know the men, but the pair said they’d gotten permission from a neighbor across the street, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. David R. Shive, 52, of Chehalis and Troy M. Duryea, 44, of Ethel, were arrested and booked for trespassing and malicious mischief, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS FOUND IN CONDEMNED RESIDENCE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they arrested a 34-year-old Centralia man on a dangerous weapon violation Friday after he was contacted parked outside a condemned home on the 300 block of M Street in Centralia and admitted he had brass knuckles with him and a pistol stashed under the steering wheel. The call was related to a child custody issue and when deputies looked in the home for the children in question, they found methamphetamine, pipes, pills and “other contraband,” according to the sheriff’s office. Eric C. Bolstad was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

THEFT

• Morton police reported yesterday they are investigating a burglary to a business on the 100 block of Main Avenue that occurred sometime before the morning on March 4.

DRUGS

• A 33-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday afternoon near the Mellen Street freeway interchange for second-degree driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a dangerous weapon, according to the Centralia Police Department. Brian A. Lamb had a large knife with him, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police took a report about 7 a.m. today of a car prowl on the 300 block of South Street in which someone entered an unlocked vehicle and stole its stereo.

• Centralia police were contacted about 12:30 p.m. yesterday by a woman at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue who said her purse was taken from her vehicle while she was helping someone move.

WRECKS INTO TREES

• A deputy arriving about 6 a.m. yesterday to where a 1995 Ford Ranger had run off the road and into a stand of fir trees north of Toledo found no driver. It was west of Jackson Highway at Tucker Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 32-year-old Centralia woman was discovered on the verge of hypothermia and scratched up by brush when a deputy investigated an abandoned vehicle in a swampy wooded area off the 2100 block of Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia at about 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. A deputy found the engine to the 2006 GMC pickup was cold and after hearing branches breaking about 20 yards away, came upon the apparently intoxicated driver, according to the sheriff’s office. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and a charge of driving under the influence is pending results of a blood draw, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The vehicle appeared to have been traveling eastbound when it crossed the road and entered the brush, according to Brown. It sustained major body damage, Brown said.

• An 18-year-old Winlock man escaped injury but totaled his 1987 Mercedes 300 when he took his eyes off the road and ran into a tree on Friday afternoon at the 700 block of South Military Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MACHINE?

• Lewis County Crime Stoppers is looking for tips on the whereabouts of an excavator hauled away from a Centralia-area work site last month. A witness saw an individual wearing an orange safety vest and a hard hat load the yellow 2007 Komatsu PC160LC-7KA onto a trailer at approximately 5 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the intersection of Kuper and Foron roads and then drive north on Harrison Avenue, according to Crime Stoppers. The piece of heavy equipment has a serial number of K41426 and is valued at more than $100,000. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to the clearance of crimes. Anonymous calls can be made to 1-800-748-6422.

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Missing excavator. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Crime Stoppers

 

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Prosecutors: Centralia father released, mother faces possible charge for alleged bong-smoking baby

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm
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Rachelle L. Braaten reportedly told police she knew she shouldn’t give her young son a hit of marijuana, but was peer-pressured by a group passing around a bong.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It was an anonymous cell phone video of a baby supposedly taking a bong hit that drew police to a Centralia home where they arrested the parents on Friday.

Authorities say a number of people can be heard in the background laughing as the toddler approaches the marijuana smoking device which the mother is holding, and when his mouth gets close to its top, the little one rears back and coughs.

“At this point, the other people in the room begin laughing louder and the child looks at the camera taken aback, and the video ends,” prosecutors write in court documents.

The mother Rachelle L. Braaten, 24, went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge in Chehalis today where prosecutors asked for her to be held for up to 72 hours while they make a charging decision.

Her fiance has been released from the jail and isn’t expected to be charged anytime soon.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told the judge there is probable cause for the offense of delivery of a controlled substance by a person over 18 to a person under 18

Braaten, handcuffed and shackled at the waist, was represented by defense attorney Bob Schroeter this afternoon.

He pointed out how interesting it is that the home owner who was accused of a 40-plant marijuana grow is released yet his client is sitting in court.

One hand-held video, Schroeter said.

“Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it so,” Schroeter said.

Braaten is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. She has no criminal history.

O’Rourke said he expects to decide about charges tomorrow and bring her back into court.

Centralia police on Friday evening announced they’d served a search warrant  and confiscated 40 marijuana plants and firearms from the house on the 1400 block of Delaware Avenue in north Centralia.

Braaten and her boy’s father Tyler J. Lee, 25, were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for manufacture of marijuana. Braaten was additionally booked for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. Lee was additionally booked for three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

On Friday night, a police spokesperson said while there, officers were informed Braaten had been allowing the little one to literally inhale marijuana out of a bong.

However, O’Rourke’s court documents describe the anonymous video received earlier this month by a Centralia police officer as the primary reason for law enforcement’s visit to the home.

According to the documents, the call by officers upon the couple was cordial. Police obtained written consent to look around and were invited in, O’Rourke writes.

The two brothers, one 5 years old and the other, who turned 2 in early January, were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.

In subsequent interviews, Braaten allegedly admitted it was her in the video and that she and a number of other people were passing around a bong.

She said it happened four or five months ago.

Braaten said she knew she shouldn’t be giving her son a hit off the bong, but the others “peer pressured” her into doing it, according to the documents.

There may very well be no charges of growing marijuana for either of the parents, according to O’Rourke.

It turns out there is evidence Lee is validly prescribed medical marijuana and there is a second person he is validly providing it for, O’Rourke said this afternoon.

The declaration of probable cause describes “approximately” 40 plants. O’Rourke said it’s a close call and he needs to see pictures, as it seems 30 plants for two individuals would be acceptable.

He noted he didn’t see charging Lee with manufacture of marijuana in the foreseeable future.

“It’s just not something I’m comfortable charging today,”O’Rourke said.

Lee won’t be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm either, according to O’Rourke. There were three or four guns in the house, he said.

He does not have a felony background preventing him from owning guns, although he does have a pending municipal court case for fourth-degree assault domestic violence in which a judge ordered him not to possess them, O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke told Judge James Lawler he expects to bring Braaten back to court at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
•••

For background, read “Police: Marijuana smoking toddler taken from Centralia parents” from Friday March 8, 2013, here

Kirotv.com posted raw video from the Centralia Police Department, here

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News brief: Flames ravage Rochester garage, apartment

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm
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Courtesy photo by Derek White

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a Rochester blaze that destroyed a garage and adjoining apartment yesterday is under investigation.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Lt. Lanette Dyer said crews were called about 3:40 p.m. to the structure on the 10400 block of 184th Avenue Southwest where flames were showing.

The resident, a retired gentleman, was not injured, she said. He did have a motor home in the garage, she said.

Dyer said the building is a total loss. Fire investigators are going out there this afternoon to look into the cause, she said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

OOPS

• Two out-of-towners who came to bail a boyfriend out of the Lewis County Jail on Saturday night found themselves checked in to the lock up facility after a passing patrol car detected their vehicle was stolen. It was shortly after 10 p.m. when the officer’s automatic license plate reader noted a Toyota on Southwest Chehalis Avenue was listed as stolen from Renton, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson. Booked for possession of a stolen vehicle were 31-year-old Junette Short, of Tacoma, and 28-year-old Jennifer Ramirez of Renton, Wilson said. The automobile was impounded and items discovered inside have led to an ongoing investigation, according to police.  No charges will be filed pending further investigation.

ROOMMATE, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS, VANISH

• Police are looking for a 22-year-old Centralia man after his roommate returned home from out of town on Friday and discovered about $4,000 worth of valuables, plus his young roommate, gone. Deputies called to the 3100 block of Laurel Lane outside Centralia were told that nail guns, other tools and a five-piece antique silverware set were missing. A neighbor subsequently reported a generator disappeared from their garage at about the same time the young man was allowed inside it to retrieve his motorcycle gloves, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies learned the suspect had posted the generator for sale on the internet earlier in the week and then sold it for $500, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. They believe the missing man got on a train headed for the Seattle-Everett area, Brown said. Prosecutors are being asked to charge him with second-degree theft and trafficking in stolen property.

ROWDINESS DRAWS POLICE TO SCHOOL BUS

• Five students were arrested when they became so out-of-control a school bus driver pulled over and police were summoned to the 200 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis on Friday. Officers called about 1 p.m. cited the boys and girls ages 12 through 16 for disorderly conduct, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said the youngsters were very angry for a reason unknown to him, used foul language and there may have been a threat to break windows. Only one of them was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, in connection with a probation violation, Wilson said.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to a home on the 1100 block of South Pearl Street where a female said someone had gotten inside her home, rummaged around and stolen items such as jewelry, mail and a purse.

BURGLARY RANDLE

• A deputy called to a Randle-area cabin on the 100 block of Park Lane on Saturday was told someone cut around a window pane to get inside and stole numerous items such as two sets of binoculars, two windbreakers, a five-gallon can of gas and tools as well as a sealable container with graham crackers and chocolate.

ONE BEER SHOPLIFT

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday to a convenience store on North National Avenue in Chehalis and told a subject walked out with a beer. They didn’t want the shoplifter arrested, just told to never come back, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone used an Adna man’s lawn trailer to cart out to the road a generator stolen from an outside storage compartment on a fifth-wheel trailer parked at his home at the 200 block of Curtis Hill Road, according to a report made at mid-day on Friday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone stole credit cards and identification from a vehicle at the 1400 block of Logan Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police around 5:50 p.m. yesterday.

• A CD player and stereo equipment was reported missing on Friday from a vehicle parked in a field off the 500 block of Avery Road West outside Winlock.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report about 2:30 a.m. today regarding tires slashed on two vehicles at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue.

AND MORE …

• And, as usual, calls such as complaints of noise, trespassing, fender benders, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, warrant arrests, violations of no-contact orders and possible crimes that turned out to be unfounded … and more.