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Logging incident claims life of Toledo man

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:57 am

Updated at 6:14 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 21-year-old man was killed in a logging accident yesterday north of Morton.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports it occurred about noon at a logging site about a mile and a half east of the 1100 block of state Route 7.

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Tyler Bryan, 1992 – 2014

Aid responded and CPR was conducted for up to 45 minutes but the young man from Toledo died at the scene, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

Snaza said the victim was working at the lower end of a slope about 1,500 feet from a landing zone when one of three logs being pulled up by a cable began to spin and struck him either in the head or chest.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office identifies him as Tyler Bryan, of Winlock, as he recently moved there.

Bryan and his fiancee Sadie Firth just got their first home together last week, and are expecting a baby boy in April, according to a friend.

David Brosius who has known the Toledo native – who left high school to become a logger – for the past 10 years, compared his friend’s standing in the small town to that of the Duke brothers in Hazzard County.

“Everybody knew him, everybody loved him,” Brosius said. “He was a sweetheart.”

Brosius said two of Bryan’s co-workers who are close friends were at his side immediately after the accident yesterday.

Snaza from the sheriff’s office said he didn’t know who Bryan was working for.

An inspector from the Department of Labor and Industries went out there and is investigating today, according to a spokesperson for the state agency. The logging business is Brintech, based in Mossyrock, Elaine Fischer said.

It was just last month when another Toledo resident was killed while cutting timber. Sixty-three-year-old Alex Oberg was working alone at a site in the Toledo area on Jan. 16.

Oberg was not an employee, but the father of the owner of Dawn Til Dusk, based in Toledo, according to L&I. The sheriff’s office said a tree fell on Oberg as he was employing a “domino” tree falling technique.

Brosius upon getting word of Bryan’s death, set up an online donation account, knowing Firth will now be a single mother and thinking of the family’s funeral expenses, and, he said, because he felt like he wanted to do something to help.

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Subject of search from Centralia motel fire turns up alive

Monday, February 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm
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After hours of digging through the remains of a structure fire for a possible victim, excavator operator Mike Mitchell was happily surprised to see the subject of the search at a freeway exit in Centralia on Saturday. / Courtesy photo by Mike Mitchell

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The homeless man said to be squatting at the shuttered Riverside Motel in Centralia who had firefighters worried as they sifted through the burned rubble on Saturday morning turned up by that afternoon upright and alive.

Fire broke out about 2 a.m. on Saturday at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue and responders soon learned someone had delivered dinner the night before to a transient staying there. He was unaccounted for as the blaze was brought under control and then after daylight as an excavator assisted firefighters in moving debris around to extinguish hot spots.

Heavy equipment operator Mike Mitchell said he went about the task carefully, not knowing what they might find. It was disturbing to see a pair of boots at the scene, which looked as though he had taken them off and left them outside an entryway before going in, Mitchell said.

The man, who was described to Mitchell as a longtime resident who walks with a limp and carries a five-gallon bucket, was someone familiar to the south Thurston County resident. He’s seen him around town for he didn’t know long, Mitchell said.

Riverside Fire Authority wrapped up its work about 12 hours after it began, concluding there were no bodies among the rubble and nothing more could be done that day to explore the possible cause.

Police said they had gotten reports of varying numbers of individuals who may have been living in the motel. Temperatures were in the low 30s that night.

The single-story motel complex has long been out of business, and fenced in since a smaller fire in its northeast section three or four years ago. This weekend, it was two of three mobile structures on the northwest corner which burned.

It sits next to the bridge over the Skookumchuck River; its backside is adjacent to Rotary Riverside Park.

The building was on track to be demolished for development.

Mitchell, who had started his day at a job site in Chehalis, said he was heading back to get his truck around 4 p.m. on Saturday, when he spotted a familiar form holding a cardboard sign at the offramp from Interstate 5 at Harrison Avenue. The subject of his earlier search was standing on the corner in the snow begging, he said.

“Honestly, it was a relief for me to see him there,” Mitchell said. “I thought, ‘Oh good, there he is’.”

Centralia police confirmed today they located the man, whose name they did not release, but he hasn’t been interviewed yet. Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief Rick Mack wants to talk with him, as he attempts to consider possible human causes as to what ignited the fire.

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News brief: Checks confirmed diverted from post office theft

Monday, February 10, 2014 at 6:37 pm

By Sharyn L. Decke
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Already at least two victims have turned up following the break-in to the blue mail drop bin outside the Centralia Post Office two weeks ago.

Centralia Police Department detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald says police have learned that over the past few days checks which may have been amongst the stolen mail have been cashed at locations around the state, but not by their intended recipients.

Over the weekend before Jan. 27, someone pried open a drop box at the drive-through beside the post office at the 200 block of Centralia College Boulevard. Post offices in Galvin and Rochester were hit as well. Several school levy ballots which were presumed to have been deposited there were found hours later along a Centralia sidewalk.

Fitzgerald said he has heard from victims who either mailed a check which never reached its destination or received cancelled checks back from the bank and saw the name of the payee had been altered.

He asks anyone who deposited mail into either of the two bins during the weekend prior to the morning on Jan. 27 to take steps to confirm if their item actually reached the person or business it was addressed to.

More importantly, if the outgoing item contained a check for payment of some kind, he urges the sender to monitor the related accounts and contact the intended recipient.

Fitzgerald says after a reasonable amount of time has passed, if a piece of possibly stolen mail does not arrive where it is supposed to, he asks the sender to call the police department’s investigative division at 360-330-7614.

Theft of mail is also a federal crime, which is investigated by U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The Centralia postmaster said they empty the bins on Saturday afternoons but not on Sundays and there is no way to know how many pieces were taken. Postmaster Jade Nevitt also indicated anyone who believes they may have been a victim needs to visit the post office to pick up a form they’ll need to forward to the postal service.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 10, 2014 at 12:06 pm

UNAUTHORIZED WITHDRAWAL

• Centralia police are investigating the theft of $9,000 cash from the home of a woman on the 100 block of North Cedar Street. An officer called about 8:45 p.m. yesterday after the discovery learned the money was stored in a safe and had vanished sometime during the previous two weeks, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Stacy Denham said since there was no forced entry to the home and the safe itself was not taken, police are not leaving anyone out of the suspect pool. The reason she had such a large amount in her home, was she just didn’t like banks, Denham said.

THEFT OF FIREARM

• Someone stole a Taurus 38 special revolver from a home on the 300 block of Big Hanaford Road outside Centralia. A deputy called to the residence about 8 a.m. on Saturday learned from the 57-year-old victim it had occurred sometime since Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is listed at $350, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

THEFT OF BABY’S ESSENTIALS

• Someone stole a diaper bag from a woman at the 1700 block of South Market Boulvard in Chehalis on Friday afternoon. An officer called just before 3 p.m. was told the victim was unloading groceries into her home and had set the bag outside her apartment door, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• An officer took a report about 10 a.m. yesterday from the 1500 block of Lewis Street in Centralia of a wallet getting stolen from a vehicle.

COLD RABBIT CAGE INQUIRY

• Chehalis police called just after 3 p.m. on Friday to the 1700 block of Southwest 19th Street about a rabbit in a neighbor’s backyard cage which appeared to have died from the cold weather found indeed it looked like it had frozen to death. The incident is being referred to the city animal control officer for follow up, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

WORKER FLOWN TO HARBORVIEW WITH ARM INJURY

• A 35-year-old employee at a manufacturing business in the Chehalis Industrial Park was hospitalized with major injuries to his arm after his glove got caught in a machine with large rollers on Friday morning. Aid and the sheriff’s office responding about 7 a.m. to Imperial Fabrication at the 200 block of Maurin Road learned the Napavine man was cleaning the piece of equipment used to bend metal when his left glove, hand and then arm was pulled in and crushed, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital and subsequently flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. His current condition was unknown, Snaza said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, shoplifting; responses for alarms, protection order violation, non-injury rollover accidents on county roads, collisions on city streets; reports of hot pink wallet lost in area of Centralia Post Office, dog barking non-stop, dog tied up outside in the weather, kids throwing snowballs and firecrackers at family of raccoons in a tree,  ATV racing on a city street, truck doing doughnuts, kids being pulled on snowboards behind vehicle … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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Firefighters were on the scene of a structure fire in Adna for for about five hours this morning. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 6

FIRE AND ICE IN ADNA

• Members of five fire departments responded early this morning to a fire in a large shop building in Adna. Lewis County Fire District 6 was dispatched about 5:20 a.m. to the 500 block of Twin Oaks Road when an off duty deputy passing by spotted it, according to Chief Tim Kinder. The owner was already up and when she let her dog back inside realized it was burning, he said. The building, formerly a barn with a loft but converted to a shop was fully involved flames when crews arrived, according to authorities. It wasn’t snowing at the time, but chained-up responding vehicles made their way on compact snow and ice and then through inches of snow up a long drive, Kinder said. The metal-sided and roofed building was described as a total loss. Fire investigator Ted McCarty said it appeared to have been used to repair cars and other vehicles. “There was a front-end loader inside that didn’t get touched,” Kinder said. Neither the house or another barn in the area were affected, he said. The cause remains under investigation.

FAIL

• Police were called about an attempted vehicle theft about 11:25 p.m. yesterday at the 100 block of East Magnolia Street in Centralia. Someone had hot-wired a Honda Civic but it was abandoned only a short distance away, apparently unable to get very far in the snow, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FIRE GEAR STOLEN

• An officer took a report about 5:25 a.m. yesterday that someone stole a firefighter’s air tank while crews were extinguishing the fire at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A suspect has been identified and police are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• An officer took a report from the 600 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia on Friday that someone used the victim’s social security number to file a tax return.

SPECIAL (UN)DELIVERY

• An officer took a report on Friday from the 900 block of West Sixth Street in Centralia of mail getting stolen from a resident’s mailbox.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called on Friday to the 1100 block of West Walnut Street in Centralia regarding a vehicle prowl that occurred sometime after 4 a.m.

OBSTRUCTION

• A 64-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 6:30 a.m. yesterday after he reportedly drove around a closed-road barricade for fire at Harrison Avenue and East Bridge Street. Police say when Yvon H. Lamarche was contacted by an officer, he refused to identify himself or get out of his vehicle as requested. Lamarche was booked into the Lewis County Jail for obstructing a public servant, according to the Centralia Police Department.

PICKUP VERSUS BUILDING

• A 46-year-old Centralia man was arrested overnight for driving under the influence after he lost control of his vehicle on the 500 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia and ran into the Weyerhaeuser  building. Police responding about 1:10 a.m. say a passenger sustained a minor injury. Douglas C. Hoheisel was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE SLIDES INTO RIVER

• A motorist was rescued from the Newaukum River south of Chehalis last night after his vehicle left the roadway and came to rest about 30 feet away in the water. Firefighters called about 8 p.m. to the area off of state Route 508 roughly two miles east of Interstate 5 near Guerrier Road found the sport utility vehicle upright in the river in about four feet of water, according to Lewis County Fire District 5. Spokesperson Lt. Laura Hanson reports he had been traveling westbound and hit a tree in the process. Crews, with help from firefighters in Onalaska, were on the scene almost an hour and were able to assist the man out of the SUV and up the bank of the river. His age and hometown were not readily available. Hanson said he was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for evaluation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving under the influence; responses minor non-injury collisions on slick city streets, bank checks stolen and cashed … and more.

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Firefighters bring a driver up the embankment along the Newaukum River. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

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Breaking News: Fire burning vacant Centralia motel

Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:30 am

 

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Courtesy photo by Gharrett Lamping

Updated at 11:15 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters are on the scene this morning at the vacant Riverside Motel on Harrison Avenue near Bridge Street in Centralia across from the Goodwill.

Crews called just before 2 a.m. found heavy fire in the northwest portion of the single story buildings.

Riverside Fire Authority was joined by the Chehalis Fire Department and members of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority out of Rochester.

Assistant Chief Rick Mack said at about 10:45 a.m., they are continuing to put out hot spots and conducting overhaul with the help of an excavator.

“We are doing that rather carefully because we had reports transients were living here and they are unaccounted for,” Mack said.

A homeless person told authorities they brought dinner to one inhabitant there last night and he and police are currently trying to locate him, Mack said. They are also trying to find a second male believed to have been staying there, he said.

The property has long been vacant and was on track to be demolished for development, Mack said. It had a fire three or four years ago, one in which a cause was never determined, he said

It’s owned by a Centralia woman, who is in the process of selling it, he said.

Harrison Avenue was closed but has been reopened.

One firefighter was injured with a laceration to their hand, and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where they were treated and have been released.

More than 20 firefighters operated together until getting control of the blaze about 6:45 a.m., according to the fire department. Mack said two of three mobile structures separate from the original building were destroyed. Each held eight motel rooms, he said.

Crews will remain there today sifting through the debris as they look for the cause, according to Mack.

Update at 2:15 p.m.: The fire department is done for the day there. They did not find any body amongst the rubble. And it’s not safe enough to continue at the site in their effort to determine the cause, according to Mack.

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Courtesy photo by Gharrett Lamping

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Courtesy photo by Gharrett Lamping

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Remains of two of the sections from the northwest corner of the single-story complex are strewn about after they burned and were sifted through with an excavator.

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Sheriff Mansfield won’t seek a third term

Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm
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Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield will retire from law enforcement at the end of this year.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield announced to his employees yesterday he will retire at the end of the year, telling them the last time he ran for office, he knew it would probably be his final four years.

Mansfield, 56, said part of it was for his family.

“It’s not good, it’s not bad, it is what it is,” he said. “I’ll miss all of you.”

The rural Winlock resident was first elected in 2005, after being appointed almost a year earlier to fill out the term of former Sheriff John McCroskey.

His words came yesterday afternoon at the sheriff’s office annual gathering to recognize and reward exemplary performance. The meeting was held at Bethel Church of the Assemblies of God in Napavine.

The final honor he bestowed was one of his engraved coins he handed to his wife, Jill Mansfield who joined him on the stage in the large chapel.

“You don’t sit in this chair and deal with what you deal with and come out alright without someone like this,” he said.

With sometimes unconcealed emotion, Mansfield shared his shifted view of their law enforcement role as warriors to that of guardians of the community.

Mansfield recounted to the group the four days in December some of them spent in a standoff with a suicidal and mentally ill young man in Winlock. He commended Deputy Chris Ruben for the compassion he showed the parents, who sent a card saying they knew all did their best, even though their son shot himself.

Mansfield said while their organization has faced challenges, he feels that together they have made a positive difference in each others lives and in the community.

“You are the protectors, you are the ones that people call when there’s no one else to call,” he said. “Thank you all for an interesting, sometimes painful, and all in all very rewarding ride.”

Mansfield, whose law enforcement career began at the sheriff’s office in the early 1980s, rose to the top among four members of the office who sought the appointment after McCroskey stepped down in mid-term.

A Republican, he won the office again in 2006, but in 2010, one of his sergeant’s, Ken Cheeseman, made a strong showing, following a controversy over Mansfield’s handling of a runaway case involving the teenage girlfriend of his son.

He said he’s unaware of anyone other than Rob Snaza, another one of his sergeants, planning to run for sheriff in November.

Among the honors Mansfield presented before making his announcement was a meritorious service medal to detective Bruce Kimsey for working the decades old Maurin murder case like a puzzle and helping gain a conviction last fall.

He gave four individuals a Guardian Award, which replaced his previous Warrior of the Year Award. They are Deputy Sue Shannon, Sgt. Snaza, Jail Chief Kevin Hanson and Lisa Arthur who works with the sex offender registration.

Also named employees of the year for 2013, were the following:

• Operations Bureau: Deputy Tim English
• Support staff: Kari Lupo
• Corrections Bureau: Daniel Spanski-Dreffin

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News brief: Three vehicle wreck at exit 68

Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

By Sharyn L. Decke
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Washington State Patrol says a medical issue caused a motorist from Winlock to run a stop sign as he exited Interstate 5 where his vehicle was struck by two cars before it caught fire this afternoon about 10 miles south of Chehalis.

The driver, Scott B. Caulfield, 38, was unhurt, but his Chevrolet Aveo was totaled, according to the state patrol.

It happened when Caulfield got off southbound at exit 68, and involved two other vehicles traveling on U.S. Highway 12, according to the state patrol.

Troopers called just after 3 p.m. to the scene note no one else was injured, but only one vehicle was able to be driven away on its own.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:00 am

Updated at 1:42 p.m.

SLICK ROAD CONDITIONS LINGER THIS MORNING

• Snow is likely again tonight throughout Lewis County with the only specific weather message for the region issued this morning focusing on the Interstate 5 corridor through Cowlitz County where one to four inches could fall. Cold temperatures and snow last night led to numerous vehicles sliding off the roadways but no serious injuries, according to responders. The freeway through Chehalis was like a ice rink for a couple of hours during the evening, Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Casey Beck said. “Nobody got hurt, we just got ’em off the freeway as quick as possible,” Beck said. One person was transported from one of three collisions in the area of the state Route 505 interchange, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. The state patrol says this morning, both U.S. Highway 12 and state Route 508 into East Lewis County look fairly good but traction tires are advised. Still, there is compact snow and ice on backroads, which are very slick, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said. “Just because the sun is out, don’t be fooled the roads are better,” Snaza said. It’s only 22 degrees in Napavine, for example, he said. County crews are out sanding this morning.

• As many as three vehicles were involved in a mess on the hillside in the area of Southeast 16th and Prospects streets last night including a Chehalis police patrol vehicle. An officer in an SUV was responding about 8:30 p.m. to cars in ditches and his SUV started to slide on the ice and was involved in some kind of collision, Chehalis Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. Another vehicle tried to pass them and slid into the patrol vehicle and then a sand truck was somehow involved as well, Kaut said. Nobody was injured and the Washington State Patrol was asked to conduct the investigation, Kaut said.

FUNNY MONEY

• Centralia police responded about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue where a clerk said two individuals attempted to pass a counterfeit $10 bill, according to the Centralia Police Department. An officer was provided with a description of their vehicle and them and are investigating, according to police.

LOST AND FOUND

• An officer was called to the 700 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis yesterday when a baggie of unmarked green pills were found in the loose nuts and bolts area of a hardware store. They are destined for destruction, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute; requests to check upon an elderly man on a scooter out of doors but not dressed for the cold weather, a pickup truck doing spin outs on a city street … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

WARMING PIPES BLAMED FOR MOSSYROCK FIRE

• A Mossyrock man trying to thaw water lines so he could feed his chickens, pigs and cows lost a metal outbuilding to fire this morning. Firefighters called just after 11 a.m. to the 500 block of Young Road found the shed fully involved in flames and at least one propane tank venting gas and adding to the fire, according to Lewis County Fire District 3. “It’s out, the building’s down to the ground,” Chief Doug Fosburg said. Fosburg said the man turned the propane heater on this morning to warm up pipes and it seemed to be the cause of the blaze. The approximately 20 foot by 20 foot structure stored livestock feed, he said. Nobody was injured and there were no casualties among the animals, according to Fosburg.

JOYRIDE ENDS BAD

• Firefighters were called about 4:30 a.m. today after a car traveling down an alley in a Centralia neighborhood somehow went out of control, sideswiped a parked vehicle, crashed into a tree and caught fire. The engine was fully involved in flames and the passenger compartment beginning to burn when responders arrived, but there was no driver immediately found, according to Riverside Fire Authority. It happened in between North Oak and Rock streets near Maple, Capt. Scott Snyder said. Crews quickly extinguished it, Snyder said. It had come to rest against a garage. Police report a 17-year-old who allegedly stole a relative’s car is in custody.

ASSAULT

• Centralia police responded about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to the 900 block of North Tower Avenue where they arrested a juvenile female for allegedly giving her mother a black eye. The girl, whose age was not readily available, was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for fourth-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called to the 900 block of South Schueber Road about 7:30 p.m. yesterday where they arrested a 46-year-old man for allegedly spitting on medical staff. Ronald J. Gleason was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, stolen wallet, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, fraudulent use of ATM card,  fraudulent spending of someone else’s checks, collision on city street, shoplift, shoplift, and shoplift … and more

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Lethal force case against sheriff’s deputy ready for trial

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An attempt was made to settle their differences through mediation but instead, Lewis County and the family of the unarmed man fatally shot by a deputy in Napavine two and half years ago will meet up in federal court.

The trial is on track to begin the end of this month in Tacoma in the case involving Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew McKnight and the death of 33-year-old Steven V. Petersen.

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Steven V. Petersen

An attorney representing Petersen’s family claims that despite the fact backup was mere seconds away, the deputy made a reckless decision to engage in an unnecessary confrontation.

The attorney representing the county and McKnight called the claims baseless when the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in October 2012. Michael A. Patterson stated McKnight made the split-second decision to shoot out of fear for the safety of himself and neighboring residents during a rapidly unfolding situation.

It happened on June 20, 2011 in Napavine, when police and deputies responded to an approximately 2 a.m. call that Petersen left stab holes in the door of his ex-girlfriend’s mobile home while trying to get inside and then left on foot.

Deputy McKnight found Petersen a few blocks away, got out of his patrol car and after Petersen refused to take his hand out of his pocket and began to charge McKnight, the deputy fired four shots, according to the account given by local authorities. Petersen had no knife.

The Napavine resident left behind a 10-year-old son.

The complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages, but the claim that preceded it asked for as much as $10 million.

Lewis County RIsk Manager Paulette Young said the two sides met with a mediator in early January in an attempt to avoid a trial. The effort was mandated by the court, according to Young.

Still to be decided by a judge is a motion for a summary judgement which, if the county prevails, would mean dismissal of the case.

“We’re moving forward as if there is going to be a trial, because we have to prepare for it,” Young said yesterday.

It’s scheduled to begin Feb. 24 and run for seven to 10 days.

McKnight, who had been with the sheriff’s office a little more than four years, was cleared by an internal review and the county prosecutor concluded his use of deadly force was justified, based on an investigation conducted by outside law enforcement officers.

Last year, McKnight took a job with the Chehalis Police Department.

Yesterday, Young approached the Lewis County Board of Commissioners to request the county pay his wages while he attends the trial because he has no time built up with the city.

The amount would go toward the county’s deductible for its liability insurance with Washington Counties Risk Pool, she said.

The suit names Lewis County and former Deputy McKnight. It was filed by the father of the deceased, Steven O. Peterson as representative of the estate and on behalf of the younger Petersen’s son.

The plaintiffs are represented by John R. Connelly Jr. of the firm, Connelly Law Offices in Tacoma.

The Seattle law firm of Patterson, Buchanan, Fobes, Leitch and Kalzer represents the defendants.

Patterson said in a news release previously that McKnight properly complied with sheriff’s office policies and procedures, which provided adequate guidance.

Attorneys for the Petersens said when the suit was filed their investigation would focus on the sheriff’s office training, supervision and decision-making in the field when using deadly force.

They called it a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ approach to law enforcement.

The jury trial will be presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton.
•••

For background, read “Multi-million dollar lawsuit coming in deputy-involved shooting in Napavine” from Wednesday June 6, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Hillkress Street where an individual reported a car was registered in their name without their knowledge. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An officer took a report yesterday about fraudulent activity on a checking account connected with the 1300 block of South Gold Street in Centralia.

STOLEN MAIL

• Centralia police took a report about 4 p.m. yesterday regarding the theft of mail from the 900 block of K Street.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, stolen bicycles, giggling children dialing 911, collision on city street, really big drunk guy outside banging on doors of apartment, two-vehicle non injury wreck at intersection of Bishop and Rush roads … and more.

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Read about home invasion robber forgiven as he heads to prison …

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports two women who were bound and robbed at gunpoint in their Rochester home forgave their attacker in court yesterday as he was sentenced to 17 months in prison.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes the women, one of whom was punched repeatedly in the face by Timothy Dopp during the incident in May 2012, both said in court that the terrifying experience scared them enough so that they stopped using methamphetamine and are now happily sober; and they urged Dopp to get clean for the sake of his wife and child.

Dopp, 39, was captured in Pocatello, Idaho four months after the home invasion at the 10,900 block of U.S. Highway 12. The sheriff’s office at the time reported a 3-year-old girl who was in the house slept through it.

Pawloski writes the sentence was recommended by both the prosecutor and defense attorney as part of a deal after Dopp pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, residential burglary and motor vehicle theft.

Read about it here

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Troubling Trend: Suicides up in Lewis County

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A year-end report shows suicides locally continue to trend upward, a statistic that is troubling for the Lewis County coroner.

“It’s not skyrocketing, but nine during 2011, and 14 the next year and 16 the next year that have taken their own lives,” Coroner Warren McLeod said.

“It’s a concern,” he said.

The coroner’s office tracks all deaths that occur in the county and is responsible for determining their cause and manner. Last year, the coroner counted 714 deaths in all. The vast majority of cases are ascribed to natural disease processes.

McLeod said he may sit down with the county medical officer and the folks from Cascade Mental Health – as they are often the ones who often deal with suicidal individuals before the end – and perhaps talk about conducting another public awareness campaign.

It’s something that is potentially preventable, according to McLeod.

One thing he knows to be true, McLeod said, is if you ask someone if they are suicidal, they will usually say yes if they are.

As in the past, one of the most used methods is with firearms, according to the coroner. Hanging is second, he said.

McLeod says can’t answer why the number is going up, and he and his office don’t always figure out a person’s reasons for committing suicide.

In general, less than 20 percent leave a suicide note, he said.

“The ones I know the motive, a lot of times it’s relationship issues,” McLeod said. “And sometimes health issues with older persons.”

McLeod finalized his annual report yesterday.

During 2013, 16 deaths were attributed to suicide in Lewis County.

Eighteen deaths during the same period were found to be accidental, compared with 19 the year before.

And 2013 saw only one homicide, whereas 2012 saw four.

Four cases from last year are undetermined as to the manner of death, where there was not enough forensic evidence to label them otherwise, according to McLeod.

His office has already responded to two deaths by suicide this year.

In September, the corner’s office partnered with the county department of public health and social services as well as Cascade Mental Health to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of impending suicide, and publicized the available resources.

Cascade offers what McLeod called 24/7 crisis services in Lewis County at no cost. The phone number is 360-330-9044.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Updated at 6:37 p.m.

AUTO THEFT

• A 1995 Honda Accord was stolen sometime between Sunday and yesterday from the 1600 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia. The four-door car is valued at about $1,400, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 26-year-old Chehalis man was arrested yesterday afternoon at the Pepper Tree Motel in Centralia for vehicle theft in connection with a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am taken last month from Terra Bonita Drive in Chehalis. A deputy had learned its 35-year-old owner loaned the car to Robert J. Plascencia who hadn’t yet returned it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Plascencia was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

MISSING MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

• A deputy was called to Adna Middle School yesterday morning regarding the theft of a $1,000 trumpet. The Yamaha brand instrument vanished sometime between Jan. 24 and Jan. 25, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BIKE HEIST

• Centralia police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a burglary to a shed on the 700 block of G Street. Missing is a white Trek mountain bike, according to the Centralia Police Department.

POSSIBLE CYBER SEX CRIME

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning by a parent who discovered their 12-year-old girl had shared inappropriate photos over her cell phone with an older male. The case is under investigation and the phone will be examined by computer experts, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 38-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine yesterday after contact with an officer about 10:40 a.m. at the 1300 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. Jacob R. Woods was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SHERIFF: INTOXICATED MOTORIST STRIKES CAR

• A 28-year-old Chehalis woman whose car was struck by a pickup truck early yesterday morning at the Love’s Truck Stop on the 1200 block of Rush Road in Napavine followed the truck to Dorning Road in Winlock and called 911, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding about 6 a.m.  arrested the driver of the Dodge Ram for driving under the influence as well as hit and run, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The collision left her 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer with major front end damage, according to the sheriff’s office. David M. Meyer, 43, of Winlock, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

SCHOOL BUS RUNS IN TO STOP SIGN

• A deputy responded about 4:20 p.m. yesterday when a school bus taking a corner too sharply struck a stop sign and ended up with two shattered windows, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened at Brockway Road and Sunnyside Drive west of Chehalis, according to the sheriff’s office. The children were loaded onto a different bus and finished their journey home, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. No ticket was issued, Snaza said.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The 20-year-old Centralia father arrested in December for breaking his six-month-old baby’s arm is now serving a three-month long jail term after pleading guilty last week instead of going to trial. Wayne P. Stalker initially told a story the infant’s older sibling had “plopped” onto the baby’s limb, but confessed to police and then to a judge what happened, according to court documents. The Wal-Mart worker described how after he changed the little one’s diaper it still wouldn’t stop crying and as he held it on his knee, he grabbed its forearm in such a way that he heard a “pop,” according to court documents. Court papers state Stalker urged the baby’s mother to take it to the doctor where a hairline fracture was discovered. Stalker was sentenced last Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court for second-degree assault.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license, drug arrest for which no information was readily available; responses for alarms, collision on city street, runaway child; request to assist an older couple locate their vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot; complaints of railroad crossing arms stuck down, noisy neighbors … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

ALLEGATIONS OF CREEPY THIEVERY

• A 29-year-old Chehalis area man was arrested on Friday morning after a search warrant was served at the 300 block of Forest-Napavine Road  looking for evidence of a burglary to his 15-year-old nearby neighbor’s place, according to police. Officers were looking for missing female underclothes that belonged to the girl as well as computer and electronic devices in connection with an investigation that began in December, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The student had reported at school some inappropriate Facebook stuff, according to police. Wayne R. Radford III, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary and other possible offenses, according to Sgt. Gary WIlson.

PACKWOOD MAN ACCUSED OF HARASSMENT

• Police are looking for a 49-year-old Packwood man after a call on Friday night to  the 13000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood regarding an alleged assault and harassment involving two women there. A deputy responding about 7 p.m. learned that Brian J. Huppert shoved one of his female acquaintances, when they declined to loan him money, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY PACKWOOD

• A deputy was called about 9 a.m. on Saturday about a break-in to a home on the 200 block of Alpine Drive in Packwood. Sometime between last weekend and Friday, someone made forced entry into the residence and stole clothing, a Playstation IV, video games and other items, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said this morning the case is under investigation and they have no suspect information. The loss is estimated at $800, according to Snaza.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Sometime during the week that ended on Saturday, someone burglarized a home on the 100 block of Grimes Road outside Centralia and stole about $1,000 worth of jewelry and other items, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BREAK-INS MORTON

• Morton police last Monday were called to a storage facility on the 800 block of Adams Avenue where two padlocks had been cut off from doors. Nothing however appeared to be missing, according to the Morton Police Department. However three days later, an officer was advised of locks cut and numerous items stolen from the same location, according to police.

DRUGS

• A 28-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after a small bindle of suspected meth was found on him when he was arrested for allegedly shoplifting a pair of headphones from Wal-Mart in Chehalis on Friday night. Police called just before 10 p.m. to the retailer on the 1600 block of Louisiana Avenue booked Johnny R. Cyr into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 29-year-old Morton resident was arrested on Friday afternoon after someone reported he was “huffing” on a bus in Chehalis. An officer found him about 12:45 p.m. sitting on a sidewalk with a can of compressed air at the 1100 block of North National Avenue basically passed out, according to police. Alan G.A. Shehan was checked by aid, arrested for inhaling toxic fumes and then released pending a court date, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

HIT AND RUN ARREST

• A 42-year-old motorist was arrested last night after he allegedly struck another vehicle at the intersection of North Tower Avenue and Maple Street in Centralia and fled. Officers responding about 9 p.m. subsequently stopped Wuilson Alverto Lopez near Wal-Mart in Chehalis and the Centralia resident was booked into the Lewis County Jail for hit and run as well as driving under the influence, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for misdemeanor assault, driving drunk, misdemeanor theft; responses for alarms, disputes, stolen gas cap, suspicious circumstances, hit and run to parked vehicle, someone who received a counterfeit bill; complaints of egged vehicles, constantly barking neighbor dogs, noisy nighttime karaoke … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: This has been updated to correctly reflect that the Packwood man wanted for harassment had not been arrested as of early this afternoon. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office erroneously provided information that he was contacted, arrested and booked into jail.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Updated at 4:26 p.m.

ONALASKA FIRE

• The cause of a fire in a large 1930s-era former chicken house in Onalaska on Friday night is still under investigation, according to Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel. Crews called about 9:30 p.m. to the 400 block of Burchett Road found burning mostly at the floor level of the all-wood building, according to McDaniel. The chief said the structure had been converted for use as a shop and for storage.

AUTO THEFT

• Someone stole a red Toyota Camry from the 1700 block of Military Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 5:35 p.m. on Friday. The car has a license plate reading 797 ZAA, according to the Centralia Police Department.

OTHER THEFT

• Police took a report about 11:40 a.m. yesterday regarding a purse stolen from the 300 block of Diamond Street in Centralia with possible suspect information, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NOT WATCHING SUPER BOWL TODAY

• A 34-year-old Winlock woman was arrested about 3 p.m. on Friday in Centralia on an outstanding federal warrant, according to police. Rebecca R. Mullis was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer at the 1100 block of South Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 40-year-old Centralia man was arrested for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine after contact with a police officer about noon on Friday at the 700 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Travis L. Combs was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

KIDS

• Police responded about 12:15 p.m. on Friday to Centralia Middle School regarding several youngsters and possession of alcohol. The cases are being referred to juvenile prosecutors for evaluation of possible charges, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called to the area of the 500 block of West Roanoke Street in Centralia yesterday morning about several vehicles getting egged. A house on the 300 block of North Iron Street was egged as well, according to the Centralia Police Department.

OTHER

• Centralia police arrested a 22-year-old resident about 5 a.m. yesterday for allegedly jumping in front of cars at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue. James V. Miller was cited for disorderly conduct and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• Firefighters and law enforcement responded around 1 o’clock this morning to a single-vehicle wreck at the intersection of state Route 506 and Winlock-Vader Road. It is the same area where less than two weeks ago a motorist was killed when he slammed into a concrete wall at  a gas station there. A small pickup was found with quite a bit of damage to its driver’s side which appeared to have hit he wall before sliding, but there was no driver or patients at the scene, according to Lewis County Medic One.

• Police and aid were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday to a vehicle that ran into a utility pole at  South Schueber and Military roads in Centralia. A male passenger complaining of back pain was transported to the hospital and the 18-year-old driver was cited for reckless driving, according to responders.

• The numbers are out for 2013 and the Washington State Patrol reports collisions on state routes and highways in Lewis and its four adjoining counties were down by nearly 5 percent compared with the previous year. Injury collisions dropped by 8 percent, according to a year-end report. The statistics come from the state patrol’s district five which covers Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. Spokesperson Trooper Will Finn shares more details behind the efforts during the 12 months that ended on Dec. 31. Troopers in district five removed 1,250 impaired drivers from the roadways, stopped 44,568 speeders, contacted 4,172 vehicle occupants for not wearing or improperly wearing a seatbelt and contacted 5,681 motorists for driving erratically, according to Finn. During the year, troopers in the district investigated more than 2,800 collisions, Finn reports. Finally, over the past five years, troopers in the district have seen a 22 percent reduction in fatality collisions, he notes. In district one, comprised of Thurston and Pierce counties, troopers last year took 3,203 drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol off the roadways, according to spokesperson Trooper Guy Gill. “Every time a trooper stops an impaired, speeding, or aggressive driver, a life is potentially saved,” Gill says.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, misdemeanor assault; responses for collision on city street, violation of no contact order … and more.

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Monument to fallen officers takes its place in Chehalis

Friday, January 31, 2014 at 9:35 pm
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The Guardian now sits outside the Lewis County Law and Justice Center on Main Street in Chehalis.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Some 200 individuals gathered despite a light rain at the courthouse entrance yesterday to witness the unveiling of a memorial to local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

“I’m honored and feel very privileged to dedicate this to the seven officers who lost their lives,” Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said. “Also to the families who’ve sacrificed and to the police officers who now and the future work to protect us.”

Its creator, local artist Jim Stafford, named it The Guardian. He removed a black drape to reveal the bronze statue depicting an officer, a little girl and a K-9.

Centralia Police Department Chief Bob Berg made note of the efforts made by those shepherding the project, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Association and others.

Berg and Mansfield read the names which each are engraved on the granite base, and laid a red rose for each one.

The widow of the most recent officer to die carried a rose to Deputy Brady Taylor who placed it in memory of Deputy Stephen Mike Gallagher Jr. Gallagher was killed after his patrol car struck an elk on his way to a call to assist Brady in east Lewis County four and half years ago.

Those memorialized are:

• Marshal James C. A. Parsons, Centralia Police Department, end of watch: June 30, 1903

• Officer William H. Smith, Centralia Police Department, end of watch: Dec. 23, 1910

• Deputized Civilian John A. Haney, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Nov. 15, 1919

• Deputy Seth “Riv” Jackson, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: April 7, 1937

• Deputy Ernest Runke, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Sept. 19, 1957

• K-9 “Ward”, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Oct. 15, 1985

• Deputy Richard A. Snider, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Feb. 8, 1986

• Deputy Stephen “Mike” Gallagher Jr., Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Aug. 18, 2009

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The monument sits atop brick work which includes messages, names and dedications from individual donors.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:25 am

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

CONFUSION OVER BABY LEADS TO COMMOTION OUTSIDE WAL-MART

• A security person pursuing a suspected shoplifter in the Wal-Mart parking lot shouting “they stole, they stole” about a woman carrying an infant led other customers to jump into action believing they were witnessing a child abduction. Police were told they saw a woman throw a baby in the backseat and try to drive away, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “One witness attempted to block her car in to prevent her from leaving and she ended up hitting their car,”  Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said this morning. It happened about 1 p.m. on Wednesday outside the retail business on Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis. Security personnel told police the woman shoplifted a pair of boots which subsequently were thrown out the car window in Chehalis, Kaut said. Through a license plate number, the 22-year-old mother was tracked down at her home in Centralia, and she told the officer she panicked and left the scene, according to Kaut. She was not taken into custody, he said. Police will be consulting with prosecutors evaluating the case for possible charges of theft and vehicular assault, Kaut said. The person who used their vehicle to prevent the woman from leaving isn’t expected to be in any trouble, he said.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY

• Someone broke into a home in the Adna area yesterday morning between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., stealing well over $1,800 worth of jewelry, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called about 7:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Clinton Road learned a jewelry box containing bracelets, rings and necklaces were missing, along with some change, according to the sheriff’s office.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday to the 800 block of South Silver Street in Centralia regarding a bank card getting stolen from an unlocked vehicle overnight.

• Someone took a wallet from an unlocked vehicle at the 100 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police at 10 a.m. yesterday.

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart around 11:15 a.m. yesterday when an individual discovered someone had broken into their unlocked vehicle. Among the items missing were jacket, tobacco, DVDs, CDs and prescription medication, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after he was caught allegedly shoplifting at K-Mart in Chehalis on Wednesday afternoon. An officer responding to the Northwest Louisiana Avenue retailer found he had taken three boxes of candy and a “stylus”: and a search following his arrest turned up a glass pipe with suspected drug residue, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Jason R. Dunham was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

RESIDENT FINDS TWO BURGLARS IN HOME

• Thurston County deputies are still looking for two males after an interrupted burglary on Wednesday in which the 60-year-old resident was assaulted. Deputies called about 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the home on the 10000 block of Old Highway 99 north of Tenino near Rich Road learned the homeowner arrived to find his front door kicked in and saw two males coming out a back bedroom. One of them used a sheathed hunting knife he’d picked up to hit the 60-year-old before they ran out, according to Sgt. Ray Brady. A vehicle pulled into the driveway apparently to pick them up, but then drove away because they were taking too long to get in, Brady said. A deputy caught up to the suspected getaway driver, in his gold 2006 Mercedes and arrested a 25-year-old man from Mount Vernon who said they had been in the area because they were going to the mall, Brady said. Brady said it’s the second time this week in Thurston County where a resident has come home to find a burglar in their home.

COLLISION

• A 54-year-old Rochester man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after his truck rolled over a guardrail along a creek on Maytown Road just east of Interstate 5 yesterday. Firefighters called about 11:20 a.m. extricated the man after stabilizing the vehicle, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. The 2003 Chevrolet pickup was heavily damaged, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers suspect driving under the influence, but the man was transported to the hospital because of a possible head injury, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, window broken out of a business; complaint someone dumped trash in someone else’s dumpster … and more.

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A Chevrolet pickup is heavily damaged after striking and then rolling over a guard rail on Maytown Road. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol