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News brief: Subject found from truck that hit freight train

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police acting on a tip spoke to a male overnight who said he was a passenger in the dump truck struck by a train yesterday evening in Centralia.

He said they ran off because they were scared, Officer John Panco said.

Police were called just after 6 p.m. yesterday to a railroad crossing on Floral Street where they found a wrecked large dump truck, but no driver.

The 1965 International dump truck suffered severe front end damage and a crossing arm was bent. The freight train which had kept going subsequently discovered a rupture in one of the cars, spilling soybeans.

Panco said a 200-foot-long trail of what might have been brake fluid suggested the accident may have been cause by a brake failure.

Officers spoke to the male in Chehalis, got a name of the supposed driver and are following up to confirm what happened, according to Panco.
•••

For background, read “Truck versus train in Centralia” from  Thursday March 22, 2012 at 8:05 p.m., here

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Coroner McLeod ends first year tallying fewer homicides, three cases still unknown causes of death

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 9:21 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County coroner’s year-end report shows roughly the same number of suicides here during 2011 as the year before.

The number of homicides dropped however, from what many called an extraordinarily high number in 2010 of seven, down to four last year.

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Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod

Coroner Warren McLeod after his first year in the elected office made public this week his annual report, which primarily describes his office’s purpose, mission and accomplishments.

His staff has strengthened “chain of custody” procedures, acquired a response vehicle and developed a policy and procedure manual, among other changes.

They are in the midst of becoming an accredited facility.

McLeod noted the October coroner’s inquest into the 1998 death of Ronda Reynolds in Toledo cost $35,000.

During 2011, there were 767 deaths in Lewis County, although the coroner’s office also handled two out-of-county deaths as a courtesy for Mason and Yakima counties, according to McLeod.

The vast majority of those deaths were due to natural disease processes, while 29 were accidental and three are undetermined, according to his statistics.

Nine were suicide; while the year before eight deaths in the county were suicide, according to the state Department of Health data.

No details were provided about more specifics in any of the categories.

The coroner’s office has yet to determine the cause and manner of death of three sets of remains found during last year.

McLeod said the remains are still in King County with a forensic anthropologist who specializes in figuring out those types of cases.

One of them is a partial skull found in March in a wooded area north of Mineral, determined to be Michael Lloyd Riemer, who was 36 years old when he went missing from Pierce County in 1985.

The two others remain unidentified, according to McLeod.

Skeletal remains found off the side of a logging road near Morton in April are believed to belong to a small woman between 20 and 35 years old when she died.

Authorities have said they don’t know how long ago she died, but doubted the remains had been there very long, because it was a well-used logging road.

Human remains found in September in a field on Joerk Road in Randle could possibly belong to Trisha McKenzie-Fire, 57 years old when she vanished from her home about a mile and a half away in April, but positive identification has not been made, according to authorities.

McLeod’s office operated with a budget last year of about $296,000. Forty autopsies were conducted during 2011.

His position is half-time, but he has a full time chief deputy coroner and four deputy coroners.

He currently has five individuals in training to become deputy coroners as well as four reserve (volunteer) deputies in training.

The coroner is also advertising for two or three others who live within 35 miles of Packwood so he can cut down on the mileage reimbursements paid out to deputy coroners.

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Two murder cases stalled by requests for psychiatric evaluations

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Joshua Vance, the suspect in the stabbing death of his father in Onalaska and Weston G. Miller, the suspect in last week’s fatal shooting in Centralia will both be evaluated by psychiatrists from Western State Hospital before further court proceedings can take place.

The men are charged with first-degree murder in separate cases and are being held in the Lewis County Jail.

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Joshua Vance

Centralia J.P. Enbody who represented both before a judge today said the requested evaluations are to find out if they are competent to stand trial and able to assist their lawyers in their defense.

“Just to make sure he understands the nature of the proceedings, in a nutshell,” Enbody said.

Vance, 25, had been off his medication for several days two weeks ago when he allegedly attacked his father Terry Vance while he was asleep in bed, according to his family. The Centralia College student was hospitalized himself for lacerations to his fingers after telling a first responder he cut them to make himself stop.

His lawyer, David Arcuri, said he made the request for reasons he wouldn’t discuss based on attorney-client confidentiality. He called it a 15-day evaluation.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said while sometimes the competency evaluations are done by Western State staff at the jail, they would make sure Vance got his conducted at the state mental hospital near Steilacoom.

Both men were on the court schedule today to make their pleas and have trial dates set. But that didn’t happen.

Vance was brought into the courtroom but taken away before his case was addressed. Miller was not brought up from the jail at all.

Centralia attorney Enbody said it wasn’t necessary for his client to be present.

Miller, 29, was arrested on Tuesday of last week after police were called to his home on B Street in Centralia and found his house guest dead of two gunshot wounds to his chest area.

Prosecutors say it was an unprovoked attack inside the out-of-work welder’s house on B Street but Miller claims 43-year-old David Carson rushed him with a knife.

Enbody said the reason for the request was because the charges are “about as serious as they get” but declined to offer a more specific reason for wondering if his client might not be competent.

Deputy Prosecutor Kjell Werner said both sides “thought it was a good idea.”

Western State has up to 90 days to complete their evaluations, according to Enbody.

However, it took almost 15 months after a Centralia woman was arrested last spring before a judge was able to get the outcome of her mental evaluation.

A court date to review the progress of the evaluation for Miller was scheduled for April 5. A similar date was set for April 12 for Vance’s case.

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Truck versus train in Centralia

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm
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Train traffic is stopped at Floral Street in Centralia after a dump truck struck a train.

Updated at 10:04 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – Police are searching for the driver of a large dump truck that collided with a train earlier this evening in Centralia.

When police arrived at the crossing on Floral Street between South Gold and South Tower Avenue, the light blue  truck sat in the middle of the tracks, its front end smashed.

Neighbor Michael Nichols said he didn’t see it happen but heard it.

“Big boom and it shook my house,” Nichols said.

Officers walked along the tracks and contacted a northbound train that was no longer in sight, Nichols and his neighbor Andrey Puris said.

They had another train back up to just south of the scene, the men said.

It appeared the driver got out and left on foot, Centralia Police Sgt. Brian Warren said.

There wasn’t blood or enough damage on the train to suggest the driver had been dragged away, according to Warren.

A spokesperson for BNSF said the truck struck the side of a freight train hauling soybeans from Vancouver to Seattle, rupturing one car and spilling soybeans.

Spokesperson Gus Melonas said it happened shortly after 6 p.m. and he was told the dump truck’s brakes locked up.

Several trains were delayed, he said.

One track opened up about 7 p.m. and the adjacent track is expected to reopen about 10:30 p.m., Melonas said.

BNSF crews are investigating and inspecting their equipment, he said.

A crossing arm on the west side of Floral Street was bent forward as though it had been hit.

“There you can see, he ran through the gate,” Nichols said.

Officer Warren said the truck is registered in Thurston County and police were attempting to reach its owner.

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Centralia Police Department Officer Angie Humphrey at Floral Street / Courtesy photo from Matthew Kramer

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

DRUGS

• A 25-year-old Rochester woman was arrested for possession of heroin and methamphetamine after contact with police about 11:20 p.m. last night at the 2400 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. Officers went there looking for someone with a warrant and when Amanda D. Chamberlain saw them, she ran, according to police. Chamberlain also had an outstanding warrant, according to Officer John Panco. The suspected drugs were found inside her purse, he said. Chamberlain was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police arrested a 24-year-old woman for possession of suspected heroin after a traffic stop in the 500 block of Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis late yesterday afternoon. Indications of illegal activity led an officer to bring in a drug sniffing dog who discovered a loaded syringe on the floor board of the vehicle, according to police Sgt. Gary Wilson. Alyssa E. Taylor was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Wilson.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called to the 500 block of South Tower Avenue just before 8 p.m. last night where a 17-year-old boy allegedly tried to steal two cans of beer from  a grocery store and fought with security personnel when he was stopped. He was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for second-degree robbery.

WRECK

• A 21-year-old Chehalis man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with neck pain after his pickup was struck by a vehicle on Highway 603 at Brown Road East last night. A deputy called about 7 p.m. found the truck had rolled, hit a post and landed in the ditch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Th pickup truck also collided with a Ford Expedition stopped at Shorey Road, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The 49-year-old driver of the other vehicle, a 2011 Lexus, was cited for failing to yield, Brown said.

SEX ABUSE

• Chehalis police arrested a 31-year-old Chehalis man last night for an incident of sexual abuse upon a young girl that took place in the unspecified past. Sean M. Klamn was arrested at a Chehalis home and booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree child rape, according to police. The age of the child or if the two knew each other were not revealed. However, under state law, the crime of first-degree rape of a child occurs if the victim is less than 12 years old and can involve the ordinary meaning of intercourse or any penetration however slight with an object or part of a person.

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Read about Tenino police chief quits amid plans of inquiry into his conduct …

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Tenino Police Chief Sean Gallagher resigned today after the mayor said he planned to put the chief on leave pending an investigation into “conduct unbecoming of an officer” related to the inquiry into his wife’s 2010 suicide.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes Gallagher said he resigned because the mayor was trying to take over operational control of the police department.

Read about it here

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Pe Ell coach rape trial set for next week, judge denies request to dismiss charges

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge today said no to a defense motion to dismiss the charges against a now-former Pe Ell softball coach accused of sexual misconduct and rape of a 16-year-old girl.

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Todd D. Phelps

Todd D. Phelps, 52, of Pe Ell, is scheduled for trial next week.

Defense attorney Don Blair told the judge prosecutors changed the date of one of the alleged incidents while they have long known the defense of alibi has been asserted.

“That just smacks to me of misconduct,” Blair said this afternoon.

Prosecutors also withheld potentially exculpatory evidence, according to Blair.

Blair only learned recently of a police report about a call to the victim’s home about a runaway the same night as the alleged rape, according to Deputy Prosecutor Debra Eurich.

Eurich said the newly discovered police report came to her attention during conversations with people involved in the case.

Phelps is charged with third-degree rape as well as second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor in connection with encounters last spring and summer with a member of the softball team he coached.

Pe Ell School District authorities said he resigned at the end of last April  because of a violation of school policy regarding social contact with students.

Phelps has pleaded not guilty. His trial was originally set for early January and has been postponed six times.

The parties are expected in court again tomorrow to confirm if they are ready for trial.

Among the reasons noted have been both sides asking for a continuance, new information given to the court and newly discovered evidence.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt said today changing the dates was not an issue, and that the defense still has plenty of time to interview new witnesses if it needs to.

Hunt said he was not sure what to make of the motion.

“This is to me, is a tempest in a teapot,” Hunt said.

•••

For back ground, read “Former Pe Ell coach faces charge of third-degree rape of teenage student” from Tuesday November 29,  2011, here

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Read authorities seeking family of man killed by train …

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the man killed by a train last week north of Castle Rock is 56-year-old Juan Aurelio Garza, a resident who has lived off and on in Castle Rock and was on his way to the library when he was struck.

The Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office has not been able to locate Garza’s family, although they learned he previously taught at various colleges and high schools and lived in several other states, according to the newspaper.

Read more here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

SPRING CLEANING SURPRISE

• The sheriff’s office was called yesterday when a 70-year-old Centralia woman cleaning out a trunk in her living room found a box labeled “Seventy commercial explosives, extremely dangerous.” A deputy arriving just before 1 p.m. to the home on the 1500 block of North Pearl Street was told she thought they were something used by her late husband about 20 years earlier, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. A bomb squad from the Washington State Patrol was called to dispose of the items, Brown said.

THEFT

• A deputy called yesterday morning to a well drilling business on the 900 block of Jackson Highway in Toledo learned someone had broken in probably just before 3 a.m. and stolen approximately $2,000 worth of various wiring, including wires cut from several machines, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Two Stihl chainsaws were stolen from the 300 block of Shanklin Road in Onalaska sometime between Monday and yesterday, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. They may have the words “McDaniel Telephone” engraved on the base, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

THEFT

• Police were called about 9:40 a.m. yesterday about a burglary to a home on the 100 block of North Gold Street in Centralia. It appeared someone had come in through an unlocked door while the resident was out for about an hour, according to police. Missing was an X-Box, games, a backpack and jewelry, including a bracelet and a ring, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called just before 11 o’clock last night to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia about a car prowl. The owner saw a male inside the vehicle but he left before police arrived, according to the Centralia Police Department.  A stereo was taken, according to police.

• Someone took a wallet, a cell phone and an iPod from an unlocked truck parked at Toledo High School some time during during baseball practice between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

WRECK

• A 21-year-old driver escaped injury when he lost control of his truck pulling a loaded car trailer this morning on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis. Troopers and aid called just before 11 a.m. to the northbound lanes near milepost 70 found the 1999 Ford F250 and its trailer had partially rolled, blocking the freeway, according to the Washington State Patrol. Two of the three cars dislodged from the trailer, according to the state patrol. All three looked wrecked, according to Lewis County Fire District 5. The pickup was totaled. Vladimir Kachankov, 21, of Battle Ground, was unhurt, the state patrol reported. His trailer had blown a tire causing him to lose control, according to the investigating trooper.

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Interstate 5 near milepost 70 is blocked by a truck and its car trailer. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

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Read about several seek the bench in Thurston County …

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that four individuals plan to run for Thurston County Superior judicial seats this fall.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that attorney Allen Miller, former state Rep. Brendan Williams and Thurston County Court Commissioner Indu Thomas announced their candidacy for the position held by the retiring Judge Thomas McPhee; and that Court Commissioner Christine Schaller seeks to fill the spot opening up when Judge Paula Casey retires.

Olympia attorney James Dixon has already been appointed to the vacancy created by Judge Christina Pomeroy’s retirement, according to Pawloski.

Read about it here

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News brief: Prison for Olympia man follows gun show sales investigation

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 70-year-old Olympia man was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison today for unlawfully dealing in firearms in a case that began at a Centralia gun show.

David Devenny, who reportedly sold a gun that a week later was used to kill Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton in 2009, was also fined $12,850 and will get three years of supervision after his release, according to the U.S. Attorney’ Office.

“Defendant lined his pockets by funneling guns to criminals, and others paid the heavy price for his actions,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan stated in a news release. “Those who ignore laws that are meant to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children take heed.”

Davenny was arrested in November 2010 after selling guns to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

He came to the attention of law enforcement who conducted undercover purchases at guns shows in Western Washington.

He pleaded guilty previously to unlawfully dealing in firearms and two counts of selling a firearm to a prohibited person, according to the news release.

Prosecutors in asking for a significant sentence noted that for eight years Davenny dealt countless guns illegally and “flooded the streets with untraceable firearms,” according to the news release.

He was sentenced in Tacoma today by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle, who called Davenny’s behavior “cavalier.”
•••

For background, read “Man’s arrest for illegal firearms sales follows undercover operation at Centralia gun show” from Saturday Nov 20 2010, here

And, “Undercover purchases at Centralia and other gun shows lead to four federal indictments” from Monday May 2, 2011, here

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Foiled Chehalis bank heists lead to serious charges for local pair

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm
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Robert J. Hughes, back row, and Robert T. Hendrickson wait to go before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The two men arrested for allegedly holding up two banks in Chehalis on Saturday got away with, briefly, roughly $2,276.

Robert T. Hendrickson, 23, of Centralia and Robert J. Hughes, 32, of Tenino, were charged today with first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree robbery and attempting to elude a police vehicle.

The pair were taken into custody after wrecking during a police pursuit less than 30 minutes after officers were called to a silent alarm at Twin Star Credit Union on South Market Boulevard and then 10 minutes later to Chase Bank a few blocks to the north.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter said Hendrickson has no current income or assets and Hughes is pending $300 a month from on-the-job injury payments. Both qualified for court appointed attorneys.

Parents of both men were in Lewis County Superior Court today when the defendants appeared before Judge Richard Brosey.

Charging documents and police allege the following account:

Employees at Twin Star observed a man later identified as Hendrickson standing in the customer service area.

When he was asked if he needed assistance, Hendrickson put his hands in his pockets, leaned forward and told the credit union employee to give him all the cash in the drawer.

The employee said there was no money in her drawer, but said they could get some out of the ATM. He left.

Chehalis police have said that branch has no cash drawers like regular banks.

Hendrickson got into to the passenger side of a black Acura.

Employees at Chase told police an individual later identified as Hendrickson came in and asked to use the restroom and left soon after. He returned a few minutes later and approached a teller with his hands in his pockets.

“Give me all the money in the drawer and there won’t be any problems,” he allegedly said.

The teller removed all the cash from the drawer and set it on the counter. Hendrickson put it in his front pocket and walked out the front door.

The silent alarm from Twin Star on the 1500 block of South Market Boulevard came at 10:07 a.m.

As police officers converged, already with descriptions of the suspect and the car, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ken Cheeseman saw a male run from Chase Bank and get into a black Acura.

He followed but lost sight of the car but it wasn’t long before an officer spotted a black Acura at the Interstate 5 exit at Mellen Street in Centralia.

Centralia Officer Ruben Ramirez followed the car which began heading west on Cooks Hill Road watching a woman walking her dog yank her pet from the road and go into a ditch to avoid getting hit, as well as observing the Acura swerve into oncoming traffic narrowly missing two oncoming vehicles.

Ramirez activated his lights and siren and hit speeds of 100 mph.

The car passed Swanson Drive and as it entered a curve, skidded off the road into a ditch.

An individual later identified as Hendrickson exited the passenger side and ran, but Ramirez’s partner, police dog Lobo, took him to the ground.

When Hendrickson was searched, a large wad of money was found, some of which was confirmed to be from a robbery the day before in Thurston County. Chehalis police have said the pair might be tied to a bank robbery in Olympia.

Other money was seen in the console area of the car.

A Chehalis detective reviewing surveillance videos from both financial institutions identified the individual shown as Hendrickson.

His bail was set at $150,000. He has no felony criminal history, according to Schroeter.

Hughes, because he has some felonies and other crimes in his background, including a recent bail jumping charge in Thurston County, found his bail set at $250,000.

Their arraignments are set for Thursday afternoon.

•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Holdups at two Chehalis banks, two in custody” from  Saturday March 17, 2012 at 12:35 p.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Updated at 5:54 p.m.

MUGGING

• Centralia police took a report overnight of an individual who said he blacked out in a local park and when he awoke, there were four men standing around him who demanded his money. He handed it over and they fled, according to the Centralia Police Department. The case is associated with an address of the 100 block of South Silver Street. Further details were not readily available

ASSAULT

• A 26-year-old Ethel man was arrested after he allegedly attacked and choked his father on Sunday afternoon. Deputies called to a dispute on the 2200 block of U.S. Highway 12 just before 5 p.m. arrested Robert Donyes for second-degree assault but the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office is evaluating the case for misdemeanor assault instead.

ILLEGAL KNIFE CONFISCATED

• Chehalis police called to a dispute on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue just before 6 o’clock yesterday evening ended up arrested a 26-year-old man for possession of an illegal weapon. An officer found a butterfly knife in the pocket of Jeff D. Prindle of Chehalis, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Prindle was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the misdemeanor offense, Chehalis Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

PELLET GUN VERSUS CAT

• Police were called about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday to the 700 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis where a cat had reportedly been shot at close range with a pellet gun. Further details were not readily available.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday to the 1800 block of Southwest Ruzicka Drive about a burglary to a home. A computer was missing, and someone may have gotten inside through an unlocked slider, according to police.

• A deputy was called Friday to a vacant house on the 1000 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia where the back door had been kicked in. Two lawn chairs were missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Chehalis police were called about 8 o’clock Sunday morning about a break-in to a shed on Southwest Second Street. Someone had pried the metal siding away, according to police. It wasn’t clear what might have been stolen.

• A 1999 Dodge Caravan and several other items were stolen from a shop building on the 900 block of state Route 506 in Vader sometime between Friday and Saturday. Among the other missing valuables are a Honda boat motor, a pressure washer and a lawn mower, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at almost $5,000.

• A red Honda Dual Sport motorcycle was stolen from a shed on some vacation property on the 12000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood sometime during the week that ended on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has a license plate reading 386 592A. The ignition on another motorcycle there was damaged, the sheriff’s office reported. The loss is estimated at $1,500.

• A black 1990 Honda Accord was reported stolen from the 1000 block of Schueber Road in Centralia on Friday. The car, taken sometime overnight, has a license plate of 242 ZAW, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A maple tree and 11 newly planted trees were cut down on two different properties belonging to Sierra Pacific Industries at Telegraph and McClure roads in Vader, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday of pain pills stolen from the 200 block of West Reynolds Avenue in Centralia.

• Two Selah resident were arrested at the White Pass Ski lodge on Friday after they were identified from security footage as responsible for recent thefts of a a pair of Rosignol skis and a snow board,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Allen D. Noble, 19 and Brett W. Dodward, 21, were booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, the sheriff’s office reported.

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning about a vehicle prowl on the 200 block of East Chestnut Street. Tools had been taken overnight, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An Alpine CD player was taken from a vehicle on the 400 block of Roe Road in Winlock sometime between Friday and Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Chehalis police were called Friday about a car prowl in the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue, at Wal-Mart. It apparently occurred two days earlier.

WRECKS

• A 21-year-old woman from Winlock was hospitalized for facial lacerations and a sore back after the truck in which she was a passenger lost control and smashed into a car on the shoulder on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis on Saturday. Troopers called about 1:30 p.m. to the northbound lanes at milepost 66 concluded the drier of the truck, Santiago Ramirez-Hernandez, 35, of Winlock, was traveling too fast. His truck and the parked Toyota Camry were both described as totaled. His passenger, Herminia Santiago Santiago, 21, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol.

• Troopers were called about 1:30 p.m. today to a single-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 near the Toledo-Winlock interchange, according to the Washington State Patrol. A 33-year-old driver from Edmonds was northbound and going too fast when she lost control of her car, went off the roadway to the west and came to rest on the inside shoulder, according to the state patrol. Gema I. Ebanks, of Edmonds, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with a back injury, according to the investigating trooper. Her 2003 Toyota was totaled.

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Breaking news: Holdups at two Chehalis banks, two in custody

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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Twin Star Credit Union was closed temporarily after an attempted robbery this morning.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. and 2:22 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two subjects are in custody after holdups at two Chehalis banks this morning.

Police were called about 10 a.m. to Twin Star Credit Union on South Market Boulevard just south of 13th Street.

A deputy spotted a suspicious car nearby at the same time an alarm alerted officers to a robbery at Chase Bank, Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

“A chase, a wreck and a dog bite,” Wilson said of what followed.

A car being pursued by police wrecked on a curve along Cooks Hill Road in Centralia where one male fled on foot, according to police. Centralia Police Officer Ruben Ramirez and his dog Lobo caught him, Ramirez said.

Wilson said the subjects may be responsible for a bank robbery in Olympia last night as well, but he had not confirmed that.

Just after 11:30 a.m. Twin Star remained temporarily closed with a sheriff’s patrol car parked out front and arriving customers departing without being able to take care of business.

About eight blocks to the north, Chase Bank’s front door displayed a similar notice, apologizing for the temporary inconvenience.

Chehalis Deputy Police Chief Randy Kaut said one man had gone inside Twin Star, and implied he had a weapon by keeping his hand in his pocket.

He didn’t get any money there, Kaut said. The credit union doesn’t have cash drawers like a regular bank, he said.

A black Acura left and that’s what the deputy saw down the street, a man running out of Chase Bank and getting into a black Acura in a parking lot nearby, according to Kaut.

The robber’s routine was similar inside the second bank, except he left with cash, Kaut said.

Officers impounded the vehicle and will get a search warrant to get inside of it, he said. An officer could see money inside it, Kaut said.

The two men are being checked at Providence Centralia Hospital with minor injuries before being booked into jail, according to police.

They are Robert T. Hendrickson, 23, of Centralia and Robert J. Hughes, 32, of Tenino.

•••

Correction: This has been updated to correctly reflect that Chase Bank is north of Twin Star Credit Union.

2012.0217.chasebank.robbery

Chase Bank on the 600 block of South Market Boulevard is closed after a morning robbery.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

DRUGS

• A 21-year-old motorist pulled over for speeding yesterday on U.S. Highway 12 near Ethel yesterday was arrested after two and half pounds of marijuana and 18 Ecstasy pills were found in his trunk. A trooper smelled marijuana and subsequently had a K-9 sniff the vehicle, according to charging documents. Samuel N. Daggett, 21, of Mountlake Terrace, showed a valid medical marijuana authorization, but said it was for an ailment the trooper understood not to be approved by the law, according to charging documents. Daggett was charged today with one count of possession of a controlled substance and a count of felony possession of marijuana. His father was in court and asked to co-sign a $25,000 unsecured bond for his release. Charging papers note Daggett said at the jail the amount authorities claimed was wrong, as he had just paid for two pounds of marijuana not two and a half pounds.

INDECENT EXPOSURE

• A 65-year-old man was arrested and jailed yesterday morning after two individuals saw him urinating in a parking lot across from R.E. Bennett Elementary School  in Chehalis about 10 a.m. A driver stopped in traffic told police he made no effort to hide his exposed (parts), according to charging documents. James L. Stephens, who is moving from Rochester to the 300 block of South Market – near where he was observed – was charged with felony indecent exposure because he has been previously convicted of a similar offense or a sex offense, according to authorities. Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told a judge this afternoon Stephens’ criminal history includes a 30-year-old conviction. It was first-degree rape, according to charging documents. He is a registered level three sex offender, according to Chehalis police. Stephens was released on a $15,000 unsecured bond.

FRAUD ONLINE

• A 19-year-old Chehalis woman called the sheriff’s office yesterday after she learned she’d been tricked out a $2,200 engagement ring set she tried to sell on Craigslist. After receiving what she thought was confirmation payment had been made into her PayPal account, she sent the goods via UPS to an address in California, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It turned out the email “confirmation” was fake, according to Brown. The sheriff’s office advises counterfeit payment confirmations can look authentic, but should be independently verified. It’s a common scheme they are seeing, according to Brown.

• A woman called Centralia police yesterday to report she was ripped off by a fake ad that popped up on her computer. It warned there was a virus and charged a fee to repair it, according to the Centralia Police Department. After she paid, she realized it was a scam, police reported. The amount stolen was not indicated by police.

THEFT AND BURGLARY

• Police were called about 6:45 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of West Mellen Street in Centralia where someone had apparently broken in to a home while the residents were away. Damage of an unspecified nature was found inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report about 12:15 p.m. yesterday of a car prowl on the 100 block of South Silver Street in Centralia. A stereo was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• Officers were called to a school bus hitting a parked vehicle about 3:25 p.m. yesterday at West First Street and North Washington Avenue in Centralia. Police said there were no injuries and the damage as minor.

• A truck driver was tracked down at a loading dock in the Port of Centralia after he reportedly backed up on Harrison Avenue to make his turn, twice striking a car behind him. A deputy called about 3:50 p.m. learned the 61-year-old driver from Rochester moved out his way after the first bump only to have him back up further and get her car again, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He told the deputy he heard a horn but was unaware of the collisions, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. His Peterbilt  tractor-trailer rig was undamaged, but the Saturn sustained an estimated $3,000 damage, according to Brown. A Toyota Camry also somehow involved was not damaged, Brown said. The 75-year-old truck driver from Alberta, Canada was cited for hit and run, Brown said.

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News brief: “This is a drill, only a drill”

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Attention scanner listeners: Dispatchers in Lewis County’s 911 center will be participating in a drill today, practicing how to deal with an undisclosed emergency situation.

The radio communications will be conducted on a secondary frequency, and will be preceded by an announcement it is an exercise, according to Laura Hanson at Lewis County Communications.

The drill is expected to begin about 1 p.m. and could continue until as late as 2:30 p.m., depending upon actual emergency communications needing attention at the same time, Hanson said.

The mock scenario will involve some type of incident taking place close enough to the Historic Courthouse on Main Street in Chehalis that dispatchers would have to “shelter in place”, Hanson said.

Also taking part in radio and phone communications simulating their response will be Chehalis police, fire, the sheriff’s office, the jail and other county departments, according to Hanson.

For the 911 center, it is an opportunity to check and refine their continuity of operations plan, according to Hanson.

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News brief: Minor flooding in Grand Mound

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Chehalis River at Grand Mound reached flood stage at 6 o’clock this morning and is expected to crest around 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains yesterday caused minor flooding on the Chehalis and Skokomish Rivers, the weather service reports. A flood warning continues on both rivers; the Chehalis in Thurston County until late tonight.

The Chehalis River is expected to continue to rise slowly today and crest just above its flood stage of 14 feet, according to the weather service.

•••

Check the National Weather Service, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

ATTEMPTED DOG-NAPPING

• A resident of the 500 block of Jackson Street in Centralia called police about 10:15 a.m. yesterday after he caught someone trying to steal his St. Bernard. He had gone in the backyard to get his dog and spotted its back end going around the fence toward an alley “kind of struggling” according to police. He saw a guy pulling his dog away, grabbed the dog and then alleged dog-napper shoved him before running away, according to Officer John Panco.

THEFT

• A deputy took a report yesterday of several appliances stolen from a vacant house on the 500 block of South Street in Centralia. The victim is “Fannie Mae” and the contact person is an assistant from a real estate company. Missing was a hot water heater, a dishwasher, a double oven and range as well as the kitchen sink, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy took a report yesterday evening of items stolen from a barn on the 100 block of Kahout Road in Curtis, including the metal coupala from atop the barn, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also missing is a barber chair with a white cushion and stainless steel frame and 30 to 40 wood boards, according to the sheriff’s office. The theft occurred sometime between Jan. 2 and Saturday.

• Police responded to Oakview Elementary School in Centralia just after 3 o’clock this morning where a window had been broken and someone apparently went inside. Unknown if anything was missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DUI

• Centralia police arrested a man yesterday on the 1400 block of Lewis Street after he reportedly drove his truck through a neighbor’s yard then went inside a home and refused to answer the door when police knocked. His vehicle had caused “damage”, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers got a search warrant and then found Zachary S. Gunderson, 30, hiding inside with Jason R. Moore Sr., 29, according to police. Gunderson was arrested for driving under the influence, obstruction and hit and run, according to police. Moore was arrested for obstructing.

WRECKS

• Centralia police responded to a two-car accident on the 2000 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue in Chehalis about 11:10 a.m. yesterday. While the damage to the vehicles was serious, the injuries were not, according to Chehalis police. One driver had turned in front of the other, Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

• Deputies didn’t find a driver when they responded yesterday morning to a wreck on the 300 block of Big Hanford Road outside Centralia. A 1999 Plymouth had struck a guard rail and gone into a ditch, sustained an estimated $1,000 damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It was towed.

STOVE FIRE

• Firefighters were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday to a kitchen fire at a dental office on the 2400 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia. The damage was limited to an electric range, according to Riverside Fire Authority.