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Fire guts Mossyrock house

Monday, July 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm
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Firefighters begin putting water on Schoonover Road home. / Courtesy photo by Taryn Houghtelling

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter


A Mossyrock couple lost their home to fire yesterday, but nobody was hurt and all their pets turned up safe.

Lewis County Fire District 3 was called about 12:30 p.m. to the two-story home on the 200 block of Schoonover Road southeast of town.

The man and woman who live their were working in their shop and when they came outside they saw smoke, he said.

“I don’t know what caused it, it looks like it may have started in the utility room,” Chief Fosburg said.

The wood-frame house was fully involved in flames when the first engine arrived, Fosburg said. The upstairs collapsed onto the first floor, he said.

A dozen members of District 3 were joined by firefighters from neighboring Salkum and Morton.

“It was stubborn, it took us about 40 to 45 minutes to get it under control,” he said.

Fosburg described the house and its contents as a total loss.

Crews were on the scene until 6 p.m. putting out hot spots and doing cleanup, he said.

“They thought they might have lost a cat, but after we left, both cats and their dog were accounted,” he said.

A fire investigator is looking into the cause.

The couple has relatives they stayed with last night, according to the chief.

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Injured Cinebar woman rescued from steep banks of Tilton River

Monday, July 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 46-year-old Cinebar woman had to be hoisted by helicopter cable from the banks of the Tilton River yesterday after a river rafting accident the day before left her stranded with a dislocated shoulder.

The woman, her husband and their 14-year-old son had capsized at a water fall on Saturday evening, were tossed into the water and ended up spending the night on the rocky shore, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

She was injured when she struck a rock, according to the sheriff’s office.

The father and son hiked up steep terrain to the Bear Canyon Tree Farm west of Morton where they called 911 just before 7 o’clock yesterday morning, Lewis County Fire DIstrict 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said.

It took until 9:30 a.m. for fire department personnel to locate her, he said.

“It’s a rather steep bank, wooded and 750-feet down the river,” McDaniel said.

About 20 responders assembled yesterday morning as they contemplated whether to use a boat to get her out or the high-angle rescue specialists from Packwood Search and Rescue, according to the chief.

They decided it was not an option to float her out because of rapids and bringing her up the back would have taken too long, he said.

The sheriff’s office search and rescue coordinator requested air support and a helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard in Astoria, Ore. responded.

“That was about 3 p.m.,” McDaniel said. “The helicopter arrived, basketed the patient. In nine minutes they were in and out.”

The woman was taken to the Salkum Fire Hall on U.S. Highway 12 where awaiting medics gave her something for pain and transported her to Providence Centralia Hospital.

The sheriff’s office said the family was traveling in a two-man raft with the woman in an inner tube attached behind the raft. They had launched about 4 p.m. Saturday from the Bremer Bridge at state Route 508.

None had been wearing life jackets, the sheriff’s office noted.

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Police: Intoxicated Chehalis man arrested after starting fire in his apartment

Monday, July 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 27-year-old Chehalis man is jailed after he allegedly used gasoline to set fire to his apartment last night attempting to kill himself or possibly trying to burn up his wife, according to police.

The fire was small but the building on the 100 block of North Market Boulevard was evacuated and six people who live there had to find other places to stay last night, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

Fire and police were called about 9:10 p.m. found smoke coming from the brick building and the suspect laying face down by the dumpster behind it, according to police.

Responders were told he wanted to kill himself, appeared extremely intoxicated and smelled of gasoline, Chehalis Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said.

A gas can was found in his first floor apartment; the oven and stove were turned on, Kaut said.

It’s not clear how he got outside, according to Kaut. Police were told there had been an argument at the apartment earlier, according to Kaut.

“He was trying to harm himself, or possibly burn up the woman who lives there,” Kaut said.

Fire Capt. Kevin Curfman said residents were working on extinguishing the flames when the fire department arrived.

The only person injured was the man’s 32-year-old wife who had cuts on her hands from retrieving a fire extinguisher, according to Curfman.

The fire damage was limited to a wall and carpeting in the couple’s living room, Curfman said.

Chase N. Ettner, 27, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be checked out and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for arson, according to police.

“We’re very lucky it wasn’t worse than what it was,” Kaut said.

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View from the ground: Helping trooper take down fighting suspect

Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Timothy Tyrell Daily isn’t a fighter.

The closest the married father of two has ever come, he says, is watching ultimate fighting competitions on television.

Yet the other day, while taking his brother-in-law for a spin in his newly purchased Honda Civic, the 25-year-old Napavine man soon found himself wrestling on the side of Interstate 5 in Chehalis after witnessing a man – allegedly – attack a lone state trooper.

“It was just kind of a natural reaction for us,” Daily said. “It was a hairy situation.”

Daily and his brother-in-law Jared Kasinger assisted Trooper Robert Moore in trying to restrain a kicking and punching subject, who was finally cuffed by Moore after an off-duty Centralia police detective joined in the fray.

It happened about 6:30 p.m. the Tuesday before last.

The suspect, Don K. Gonzales, 23, of Centralia, is charged with second-degree assault and other offenses, including attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer.

Gonzales is in the Lewis County Jail on a no-bail hold.

Moore, whose nose and glasses were broken when a semi truck lug bolt was thrown at his face, was appreciative of the two civilians.

According to charging documents, Trooper Moore encountered the man walking along the shoulder of the southbound off ramp at Main Street.

He had told Gonzales to drop two sticks he was carrying and a pocket knife he was “clicking”. When he drew his Taser, Gonzales reportedly replied “Don’t tase me” and dropped the knife.

Then Moore did fire his Taser as Gonzales wound up and threw the lug nut.

Daily said he saw Gonzales take three or four swings at the trooper before the trooper was able to get him in a bear hug.

Then the fight was on.

“When they jumped in, I know their heart was in the right spot,” Trooper Moore said. “And I appreciate that.”

The trooper, who came to court when Gonzales was charged, said he wouldn’t talk further about the incident, wanting to avoid messing up the case in any way.

His left eye was blackened and the injuries to his nose were described as a displaced fracture of the nasal spine and fracture to the left nasal bone.

Kasinger, 24, from Chehalis, ended up with a twisted wrist, according to charging documents. Daily was left with “busted knuckles, not actually broken though, he said, from trying to punch the man into submission.

Daily is an auto body man at Hassler’s in Chehalis where he fixes up cars.

That day, after he picked up his new wheels in Centralia, he stopped by the fireworks stand at Wal-Mart to show his brother-in-law.

They were headed south on Interstate 5 and began slowing when they spotted the trooper pointing a weapon, just in case, he said.

“Obviously it’s a situation,” Daily said. “It’s not good if he has a Taser out, though I didn’t know it was a Taser.”

Daily said he started to pull over and his brother-in-law – who has previous experience working as a corrections officer in California – bailed out before the car stopped.

“I just followed him,” he said “He’s my brother-in-law.”

It was plain as day the trooper was in trouble, he said.

He said he saw the object bounce of the trooper’s face.

“He stumbled back, said some curse words, it knocked him pretty good,” Daily said.

Moore, Kasinger and the man were on the ground, when Daily jumped onto the man’s lower half, he said, “I wrapped my arms around his legs and my legs around his legs.”

The tussle lasted maybe three or four minutes, but it felt like much longer, he said.

The trooper was yelling at him to stop, be still, he said.

“It was a struggle, it was a fight,” he said. “I promise you, I tried with all my might to hurt him.”

He said the trooper gave them instructions, and finally said to just keep holding him down until backup arrived.

Charging documents say Centralia police detective Rick Hughes arrived; Daily remembers two plain clothed officers helping while the suspect was finally cuffed.

Daily, when recounting the brawl, repeatedly said while the trooper appeared in trouble, he also was surely very capable of handling the situation.

“But it wouldn’t have ended pretty, he said.

“I will say, anyone who can take a three-inch lug nut to the face, and still have the consciousness to help us get this guy to the ground, he’s a bad ass.”

Because it happened in Chehalis, the Chehalis Police Department handled the case against Gonzales.

Chehalis Deputy Chief Randy Kaut had no qualms about the two civilians intervening.

“In this case, we had an officer with serious injuries and it sounds like he was struggling,” Kaut said. “To me, they should be commended.”

Kaut said he couldn’t recall in his career ever having a non-police officer jump in and help, but said in the Twin Cities, there’s almost always backup, even on traffic stops.

“It’s just an unspoken rule,” Kaut said, because you never know who you’re going to pull over.

Troopers and sheriff’s deputies are more likely to find themselves alone during such an encounter because of the wide ranging areas they cover, he said.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Stacy Brown said it probably happens more often than we hear about.

“In my 16 years I’ve been here, I’ve heard stories from deputies by themselves out in Randle or Packwood, when log truck drivers have pulled over to help,” Brown said.

Different officers may have differing takes on how they’d view civilians getting involved in an arrest, she said.

“I can tell you what my opinion is, when there’s a fight, and you’re getting hurt, any help is welcome,” Brown said. “That might not be the consensus.”

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Freddy Williams is a supervisor at the state patrol academy in Shelton. He’s taught defensive tactics there.

Williams offered some things for would-be good samaritans to consider.

“When I’m on the ground, I don’t know if they’re there to help me or the bad guy,” Williams said.

His advice: The first words out of the civilian’s mouth need to be, “Officer, do you need help?”

A caution: “If a civilian comes up with a weapon in their hand, you can just imagine what goes through my mind.”

“On a personal note, if I’m out there and I’m getting my clock cleaned,” Williams said. “I’m going to welcome it, and I’m going to say thank you.”

Gonzales was charged second-degree assault, a crime with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

He was also charged with three counts of third-degree assault, one regarding detective Hughes as he allegedly kicked Hughes in the chest, plus one each for Daily and Kasinger.

The Chehalis Fire Department said Gonzales was checked by medics for “scrapes and what not” but not transported to the hospital.

Information in his court file lists him as 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighing 157 pounds.

When Gonzales appeared in Lewis County Superior Court on July 5, he told the judge he didn’t know who he was, according to temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter.

His arraignment was supposed to be Thursday, but he was not brought to court by jail staff.

As Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer put it to the judge: “It’s my understanding he preferred not to attend.”

Court appointed defense attorney Ken Johnson said he hadn’t had a chance to meet with his new client.

Johnson said he went to the jail to see him, but Gonzales was being kept in solitary.

“They said I could go back and see him in the hole, but that would not be productive,” Johnson said. “I guess he’s responding to internal stimuli. Voices in his head.”

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

FIREWORKS GO OFF INSIDE VEHICLE

• Centralia police say a juvenile was arrested yesterday afternoon after he allegedly lit a bottle rocket and tossed it into the backseat of a vehicle in connection with an address on the 100 block of East Bridge Street.

HIT AND RUN TO GAS PUMP

• Centralia police were contacted just before 11 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle that struck a gas pump and then left at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. Riverside Fire Authority said it caused a small leak.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report about 11:20 p.m. yesterday that foreign currency was stolen from a residence on the 1400 block of View Avenue. Missing are about 70 Euro and 60 “Kroation” dollars, as well as several watches, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police reported this morning that several “swards” were stolen from a residence on the 400 block of South Silver Street while the owner was out.

• Tools were stolen from a shop on the 2500 block of Howard Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police Friday afternoon.

• Four individuals were arrested for occupying an unfit building after police found them at the 700 block of West Main Street in Centralia on Friday evening. Among them: Shannon R. West, 29, of Ethel; Briana L. Corrothers, 22, of Centralia and Darcie N. Negrete, 20, of Centralia. Ruslan Y. Bezhenar, 33, of Centralia, was also arrested and booked for felony harassment and intimidating a public servant, according to the Centralia Police Department. They were caught after a witness spotted an individual climbing a water drain to get inside the building, according to police.

CENTRALIA MAN PICKED UP FOR IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES

• Centralia police said a 22-year-old Centralia resident was arrested about 7:40 a.m. yesterday at state Route 507 and Big Hanaford Road for an “immigration hold.” Cesar Galvin-Venegas was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Guest column: Gratitude overflows in time of sorrow

Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

By Michelle Matchett
Boistfort Valley resident

Hello. My name is Michelle Matchett.

My son Nicholas Matchett drowned in the Chehalis River on May 4th.

I want to thank everyone for helping us during this time of great loss and being here for my daughter Alex and myself.

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Michelle Matchett

Thank you for the cards, flowers, letters and donations to help with expenses.

Thank you all for being there to hold me up.

Thank you to the Boistfort school staff and students for the letters and memories they shared to me and the celebration of his life they held for us.

Thank you Pastor Rex and Gayle from the Boistfort Community Church for reaching out to us.

Thank you to Jerred and Melissa Hunt for the most heartfelt beautiful service for Nicholas.

Thank you to Lewis County Search and Rescue, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Ronnie at CPS and all the medical personnel who tried to revive Nicky when they found him.

Thank you Joy, Faye and Tammy for going to the funeral home and helping me plan the services; I would have been completely lost.

Thank you to my entire Home Depot family, store manager James, Desi, Bob, Jim, Ron, Jerry, Emily, Zach, David, Barb, Melissa, Joy, Faye, Duane, Renae … thank you all.

Thank you to my neighbors Starla and Bruce, Cathy and Terry.

Thank you to Jeff at Cattermole Funeral Home for his knowledge and care he gave to helping with the funeral arrangements for Nicky.

Thank you to Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod and his staff for the priceless gift of the last footprints of Nicky on paper; framed with loving care hand delivered to me. Thank you for treating him as a person, thank you for telling me you would never forget him.

I cried the entire time writing this, there is no way that I can mention everyone that has touch us and helped us. It hurts so much losing my father and son in one month and words are hard to come up with.

Thank you all and God bless you and your families.

Michelle

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Nicholas Matchett, 2004 - 2012

•••

For background, read:

• “Breaking news: Child drowns in Chehalis River” from Friday May 4, 2012 at 7:38 p.m., here

• “Celebration of life set for 8-year-old Boistfort student who drowned” from Monday May 7, 2012 at 8:09 p.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

Updated

KIDS LOCK SELVES IN BEDROOM DURING BREAK-IN

• Deputies were called to a home south of Adna yesterday when someone broke into a house where three children were home alone. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said a 13-year-old boy babysitting his two younger siblings led the children into a bedroom, locked the door and called his mother who phoned 911 about 12:35 p.m. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the children had seen a red van and a man in the driveway and then heard banging and slamming on the door. Their dog was barking, the teen heard footsteps inside the house, Brown said. It was on the 200 block of Penning Road. They never actually encountered each other and for whatever reason, the intruder left, according to Brown. An arriving deputy stopped a red van on the 100 block of Penning Road and found a woman with a crowbar, according to the sheriff’s office. The house was cleared and the children found safe and unharmed. A dog track was conducted, but no one else was located. A door to the home had been forced open and nothing initially appeared to be missing, according to Brown. Deputies suspect it may be the same red van seen at a home burglary on the 200 block of Brockway Road in Adna earlier this week, she said. Darlene J. Lockard, 50, of Olympia, was arrested for attempted residential burglary, as well as possession of methamphetamine and a pipe, according to the sheriff’s office. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

RV PARK RESIDENT: WOKE UP TO MAN SITTING ON BED

• Deputies and troopers responded about 8:15 p.m. yesterday to the 2900 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Silver Creek to reports of a man carrying a large knife walking through an RV park, making threats and claiming hundreds of people were after him. Clarence R. Coleman, 60, of Silver Creek, was taken into custody, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. One couple said they had awoken that morning and found Coleman sitting on their bed mumbling about people trying to get him, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Coleman was arrested for brandishing a weapon and first-degree trespass and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. He denied entering anyone’s trailer, Brown said.

UNCOOPERATIVE MAN WITH KNIFE

• Centralia police called to an address on the 1300 block of Logan Street last night about an individual banging on doors and trying to get in found a man outside with a cut on his arm and the bloody tip of a knife sticking out of his pocket, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Stacy Denham said they ended up using their Taser on him because he wouldn’t obey officers who tried to detain him. Denham said he didn’t know if the people inside knew Hever Rodan Escalante or not. The 26-year-old Escalante, who must have only cut himself, was arrested and booked for obstructing a public servant, according to Denham.

ONLINE TRICKSTER TAKES ONALASKA RESIDENT FOR OVER $2,000

• A 27-year-old Onalaska man was ripped off in a classic scam in which a buyer he met online claimed he accidentally paid with a check written for too much money and asked the seller to wire him the difference. Of course the check turns out to be bad. A deputy contacted the victim on Wednesday who said he’d sold a motor for $500 through Craigslist and the purchaser sent him a check for $2,800, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The buyer then told him his secretary mistakenly filled in the wrong amount, according to the sheriff’s office. The victim said his account showed the check cleared on July 7 and the following day he wired the difference to Kentucky, to the man who called himself Steven Mack, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. On Wednesday however, the victim learned the check had been written on a closed account, Brown said. The engine, however, never got shipped to the buyer.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSAULT

• Police were called just before 3 o’clock this morning to the 100 block of Cedar Street in Centralia where a 40-year-old man allegedly choked his girlfriend during an altercation. Michael Watkins, 40, of Centralia was arrested for second-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MOTORIST PROPOSITIONS PANHANDLER

• Police were called about 11:35 a.m. yesterday to the off ramp at Interstate 5 and Harrision Avenue in Centralia when a man held out a dollar to a woman there asking for money, propositioned her and was exposing himself, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STOLEN VEHICLE FOUND

• A truck reported stolen in Thurston County a week ago was found yesterday parked and unoccupied at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

DRUGS

• Two individuals were arrested about 11 a.m. yesterday at a motel on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis, one for warrants and both for drugs, according to police. Centralia police say Kari N. Driver, 24, of Chehalis was arrested for possession of heroin and Ryan L. Lester, 32, of Rochester, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and multiple warrants.

GAS CAN DRAGGED BENEATH CAR

• A woman traveling down Interstate 5 through Chehalis yesterday afternoon ran over a gas can laying on the road which was left wedged in the undercarriage of her car, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. Firefighters stood by where she pulled over near milepost 75, and a tow truck lifted the vehicle, Firefighter Mike Goodwillie said. His partner used a tool to retrieve the can which Goodwillie was told had been full when she hit it, but lost its contents as it was dragged.

GRASS FIRE

• A spark from a golf cart being driven by kids ignited a grass fire on the 3000 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia yesterday. Firefighters called about 4 p.m. found the dad using a garden hose, according to Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Ken Colombo. It spread to about 50 feet by 100 feet and was extinguished by the fire department, Colombo said. The long grass has been cut but the died clippings still lay on the ground, according to the fire captain.

CAR VERSUS BIKE

• Police and aid were called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday to an incident in Centralia where the license plate on a car pulling out of an alley slashed the ankle of a woman passing on a bicycle. It happened near West Main Street and Tower Avenue. The 22-year-old was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The driver was not cited, police noted.

TWO HOSPITALIZED AFTER OFF-ROAD ACCIDENT

• A 47-year-old man was flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a punctured lung after a dune buggy type vehicle wrecked in Randle last night. The driver was taken to Morton General Hospital with multiple bruises, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers called about 9:30 p.m. to a hay field off the 1000 block of Cline Road learned the Polaris ORV rolled onto its side after striking a pothole. The passenger, James E. Townsend, 47, of North bend, was ejected, according to the state patrol. The driver was Dean A. Roberts, 50, of Mount Vernon.

FIRE BREAKS OUT, BURNS OUT IN BOISTFORT HOME

• The cause of a fire that consumed an entire room in a Boistfort area home is under investigation. A resident of the 400 block of Moon Hill Road arrived home, opened the door to the single-wide mobile home and saw smoke, according to Lewis County Fire District 13. He closed the door and called 911, Fire Chief Gregg Peterson said. When the fire department arrived, however, while the room used for storage was charred, it had burned itself out, he said. It happened on Wednesday evening while the residents were away for a few hours. Peterson said smoke caused damage through the rest of the home.

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Defendant in Centralia toddler death by abuse case pleads not guilty

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – James M. Reeder pleaded not guilty today in the case involving the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.

Six times he answered not guilty while staring at the table in front of him in Judge Richard Brosey’s courtroom in Lewis County Superior Court.

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James M. Reeder

Reeder, 25, is charged with homicide by abuse, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree child rape and possession of methamphetamine.

Koralynn Fister died May 24.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital after Reeder carried the naked and unbreathing child to neighbors across the street from her house, saying he found her face down in the bathtub.

He was watching her while the mother and her 4-year-old daughter were away from their Centralia home, according to police.

Authorities said they found numerous injuries, some in more advanced stages of healing than others. The coroner says she died from head trauma and drowning.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has described the crime of homicide by abuse as repeated assaults or torture that ends in the death of a child. It carries the same possible penalty as murder.

Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, except the drug charge. Prosecutors added the aggravating circumstances of abusing a position of trust with a particularly vulnerable victim.

Reeder’s arraignment was delayed because he was sent to Western State Hospital to be evaluated to determine if he was competent  to stand trial and assist his lawyer in their defense.

The Centralia resident who worked as a flooring installer until about a year ago was separated from his wife and living with Koralynn’s mother. He has no felony criminal history.

He is expected back in court next Thursday to set a trial date.

•••

For background, read “Mental evaluation: Suspect in death, rape of Centralia toddler found competent for trial” from Tuesday July 10, 2012, here

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News brief: Van versus motorcycle wreck leaves two with broken legs

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A couple from Yakima County were airlifted after their motorcycle collided with a van this afternoon on U.S. Highway 12 in Ethel.

Aid and troopers were called about 3:25 p.m. to the intersection at Leonard Road found the Harley Davidson upside down in the ditch as well as its riders, according to responders.

Randy Gomez, 51, had a broken leg; Irene Gomez, 50, had two broken legs, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said they called for LifeFlight because they were open fractures.

The Gomezs, from Moxee, were headed west when an eastbound van made a left turn in front of them, according to the state patrol.

The driver of the Mercury Villager, Beverly Overbay, 70, from Mossyrock, was reportedly uninjured.

Both vehicles were described as totaled.

Randy Gomez was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle; Irene Gomez was flown to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., the state patrol reported.

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Missing manhole cover trips blind man

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm
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The pit along Southwest 11th Street is covered by plywood today, but it was open last night.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A blind man walking to the grocery store to buy milk dropped into a brick-lined pit of an uncovered storm drain in Chehalis last night.

Police and aid called about 11:30 p.m. to the corner of Southwest 11th Street at Market Boulevard found 42-year-old Tim Franklin just pulling himself out.

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Tim Franklin

He said he was stuck down there about five minutes.

“I stepped into it, went forward and smacked my head on the other side,” Franklin said.

It was only chest-deep, but one of his feet got wedged in a small pipe about halfway down, he said.

“There I was, I was yelling,” Franklin said. “Not for help, I was cussin’.”

Franklin, who uses a white cane to make his way around town, was more annoyed than he was hurt. Today however, the brim of his hat hid a purplish-red scuff mark on his forehead.

“You know, I never go on this side of the sidewalk, he said.

A woman across 11th Street who heard him and called 911 told him it’s been uncovered for about three days, he said.

“Why would they leave it this way,” he said. “I’m pissed.”

The opening – on the shoulder next to the sidewalk – is about three feet long by two feet wide. A shallow stream of water trickled across the bottom of it this afternoon.

A piece of plywood and orange cones set atop it now.

The cover that belongs over it is more like a grate, according to Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Kevin Curfman. He said he was told by the street department it keeps getting stolen.

“(They’re) gonna have to figure out how to bolt it down or something,” Curfman said.

Franklin declined to go to the hospital, a paramedic checked his neck, he said.

The Chehalis man says he’s not immune to accidents because of his lack of sight. A hereditary condition gradually took his vision until it was entirely gone at age 30, he said.

Four or five years ago he fell at Stan Hedwall Park and broke his ankle, he said.

The ankle is sore, he said today. He planned to have his doctor check it, his hip and his head, he said.

Last night, after the nice paramedic was done with him, he nixed the trip to Safeway and limped the 13 blocks back home, he said.

“They didn’t offer me a ride home,” he said.

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News brief: Judge to decide if B Street murder defendant competent for trial

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One expert says he is competent to stand trial and another expert says he is not.

Centralia resident Weston G. Miller, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the March shooting death of his house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

Miller told police he acted in self-defense, but Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has said it was unprovoked attack in his house on B Street.

The former welder was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, after police searched the home and found five guns, a silencer, a laser site for a gun and a bullet-proof vest.

Miller appeared briefly in Lewis County Superior Court this morning when lawyers scheduled a half-day hearing for next month.

Meyer said an evaluation conducted by Western State Hospital concluded Miller is competent and a defense expert concluded he is not.

A judge will hear from both sides on August 15 and make a decision, according to Meyer.

Carson, a Centralia resident who had just signed up for college and was going to learn to fly so he could go work in Alaska, died of two gunshot wounds to his chest area on March 13.
•••

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Read about Maurin murder suspect Rick Riffe stays in Alaska, for now …

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The man charged with the 1985 kidnapping and murder of Edward and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Maurin declined today to waive extradition proceedings that would bring him back to Lewis County from Alaska, according to a news story published in the Anchorage Daily News.

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Rick Riffe

Associated Press reporter Rachel D’Oro writes that Rick Riffe appeared before a judge today in Anchorage and said he didn’t need an attorney appointed to him, he planned to hire one.

Riffe, 53, was arrested Sunday at his home near King Salmon, Alaska by two Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives with help from Alaska state troopers.

The bodies of the elderly Ethel couple were found on Christmas Eve 1985 off a logging road near Adna. They had gone missing several days earlier.

Prosecutors believe Riffe and his now-deceased brother John Gregory Riffe got into the couple’s home, uncovered bank records and forced the couple to go with them to the bank and withdraw $8,500 before shooting them in the backs with a shotgun inside their car, according to charging documents.

The brothers moved from Lewis County to Alaska where they have lived since 1987, according to the sheriff’s office.

A detective and Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead stayed in Alaska in hopes of bringing Riffe back right away, the sheriff’s office told county commissioners yesterday.

D’Oro did note note in her news story how long those proceedings could take.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer planned to seek a governor’s warrant as soon as possible if Riffe chose to go through extradition proceedings, the commissioners were told.

A hearing is scheduled for July 19, according to Meyer.

•••

For back ground, read:

• “Breaking news: Sheriff: Cold case solved in 1985 shooting death of elderly Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Sheriff: It’s safe for further witnesses to come forward following arrest in deaths of Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 5:14 p.m., here

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Onalaskan’s insanity plea in alleged murder of father bolstered by mental exam

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Murder defendant Joshua Leroy Vance was acutely psychotic and responding to “command hallucinations” to kill his father early in the morning on March 7 in their Onalaska home, according to a mental evaluation conducted by a psychologist.

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Joshua Vance

Defense attorney David Arcuri submitted Dr. Brett Trowbridge’s professional opinion when he filed a motion asking for an acquittal of his client based on insanity. Vance pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in early May.

Yesterday, in Lewis County Superior Court, the prosecutor’s office said now they would like their experts to examine Vance as well.

Vance, 25, is charged with first-degree murder after allegedly using a knife to attack his sleeping father, 58-year-old Terry Vance on March 7.

The younger Vance is also charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, as he allegedly told a deputy he was going to kill his grandmother, nephew and uncle but couldn’t because he cut his hand.

He remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $1 million bail.

The Centralia College student has already been evaluated by specialists from Western State Hospital who determined he was mentally competent to stand trial, but now they will evaluate him for insanity, according to an order signed by a judge yesterday.

Vance appeared in court for the brief hearing.

According to Arcuri, the guidelines for criminal insanity look at if a person suffers from a mental disease or defect such that they could not comprehend the nature or quality of their act, and, even if they could understand, could not conform their behavior.

Trowbridge wrote in his report, which Arcuri received on June 1, an insanity defense would be appropriate because at the time of the alleged incident, with Vance’s acute mental illness he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality of his conduct.

According to the report from Western State’s previous contact with Vance, he has been hospitalized in the past for command hallucinations to kill himself and harm others. He also has been treated for substance induced hallucinations, according to the report.

His diagnosis’s in the state doctors’ report included psychotic disorder, major depression, amphetamine dependence and alcohol abuse.

Vance told the evaluator he started using methamphetamine at age 11, but had not used it for the previous two years.

Vance’s family say he was being treated for mental health issues at Cascade Mental Health in Chehalis and had gone off his medication because he couldn’t afford it.

If state doctors decide to bring him to their facility to conduct the exam, they can commit him for not more than 15 days and then as soon as is practicable furnish the court with a report on their findings, according to the court order.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said the two sides set a date of Aug. 2 to check in with the judge about the status of the upcoming evaluation.

A trial is scheduled for the week of Oct. 22.
•••

For background, read:

• “Onalaska man pleads insanity in father’s fatal stabbing” from Tuesday May 8, 2012, here

•  “Murder suspect: “When he was good, he was such a good young man”" from Friday March 9, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

Updated

FOOT PURSUIT PLUS DOG CATCH WANTED GUY

• Centralia police and K-9 Kayo were looking for a wanted subject around 11 p.m. last night in the area of the 300 block of North Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say Galen R. Whitmore, 20, of Centralia, fled from officers and jumped several fences before Kayo caught him with his teeth. Whitmore was booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to police. The jail roster indicates he was wanted by the state Department of Corrections and also for failing to appear in court related to third-degree driving with a suspended license.

INTRUDER STEALS FROM ADNA AREA HOME

• Deputies are looking for a newer red mini van seen at a home burglary on the 200 block of Brockway Road west of Chehalis yesterday between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The 68-year-old resident arrived home just before 4 p.m. and found a side door kicked in and found indications someone had rifled through a bedroom, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The dollar loss is as yet unknown, but someone went through documents and jewelry boxes, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

REFRIGERATOR MISSING

• Centralia police say an unknown person stole a refrigerator from a rummage sale on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue. The responding officer noted it is a brown Frigidaire brand.

TOOLS TAKEN

• Police were called just after 8 a.m. yesterday when a Chehalis man woke up to find his garage door open on the 100 block of Northeast Terrace Road. Sometime after 10 o’clock the night before someone went inside and stole a tool box with various tools including four trays of bright orange Craftsman sockets, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SUSPICIOUS CHECK LEADS TO STOLEN WALLET

• Chehalis police said today a search of a car impounded last week turned up a wallet belonging to a 47-year-old Tumwater woman who recalled getting bumped by a man while she shopped at Staples in Chehalis. The incident led police to refer the case involving Korey E. Cleveland, 43, of Tenino, for a charge of second-degree possession of stolen property, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Cleveland was detained last Thursday after leaving a saw shop on State Avenue in Chehalis, when employees became suspicious a check he was attempting to use to buy about $1,000 of goods might be stolen, according to Chehalis police. Because a shotgun was found when he was pulled over and he is not allowed to possess firearms, he was arrested and jailed and his vehicle was impounded, Carrell said. The Thurston County resident to whom the check belonged declined to pursue any charges, Carrell said.

FRAUD

• A 38-year-old Toledo area woman called the sheriff’s office yesterday to report someone in the Washington DC area used her bank card information on Friday to make an online purchase of $133 from the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police took a report late yesterday afternoon about stolen checks and subsequent forgeries from the 1600 block of Pike Street. They are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called just after 5:15 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl on the 2600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Just a half hour earlier, the same officer took another report of a prowl in the same area, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 2:25 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl on the 300 block of Northeast Adams Avenue. Taken were sunglasses, keys and some money, according to police. The victim said a neighbor’s vehicle had been prowled as well, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to a repeat tire slashing yesterday afternoon at the 600 block of E Street in Centralia.

• Police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Southwest Eighth Street in Chehalis when a resident found the rear passenger window to his truck broken. It seemed a beer bottle had been thrown at it, possibly from the alley nearby where arguing had been heard, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

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Mental evaluation: Suspect in death, rape of Centralia toddler found competent for trial

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A staff psychologist at Western State Hospital has concluded James M. Reeder is competent to participate in the court proceedings in his Lewis County homicide case, involving the alleged torture and rape of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.

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James M. Reeder

Reeder, 25, was sent to the state mental hospital June 21 after his lawyer requested the evaluation a week earlier.

The report, filed yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, notes the Centralia man has mild depression and anxiety, attributed to the legal situation he is facing.

“Any of his previous symptoms that may have interfered with his ability to understand court proceedings or assist in his defense appear to have abated,” Dr. Ray Hendrickson wrote in the report.

Reeder has not yet been arraigned, presumably that is the next step in his case. A notation in his court file says he will appear before a judge on Thursday morning.

He is charged with homicide by abuse and related charges, including possession of methamphetamine, following the May 24 death in Centralia of Koralynn Fister.

If convicted, he faces a possible maximum penalty of life in prison.

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Koralynn Fister

The coroner has said the child died from drowning and blunt trauma to her head. Reeder said he found the toddler face down in the bathtub when he stepped out to grab a towel.

Prosecutors allege at least two incidents of sexual abuse of the little girl during the roughly two month period Reeder lived with his girlfriend Becky Heupel and her two daughters, ages 2 and 4.

Defense attorney David Arcuri did not state in court the reason for requesting the competency review, but according to the report, Reeder said he attempted suicide in the jail, trying to drown himself in the sink.

The report, dated June 29, said Reeder was kept in a ward that allowed 24-hour observation and treatment while he was at Western State.

While there, he was put on medication for depression and anxiety, as well as temporarily for insomnia. He said he hardly slept while at the jail, the psychologist wrote.

During the formal interview, he was cooperative and open, the psychologist wrote. He said he was “sad, depressed, anxious … grieving, mourning … I miss that little girl … don’t know how to explain what happened.”

Reeder also – when asked – said he’s always been paranoid, not liking to go to bars or Wal-Mart, for example, because people talk about him and look at him.

The psychologist indicated he felt that was more like a personality trait or a symptom of anxiety.

The report included a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, but did not elaborate on what that meant.

Reeder was taken away by police from the couple’s West Oakview Street area home the day Koralynn died, and arrested that night. He is being held on $5 million bail.

Reeder had been unemployed for about a year, but previously worked as a flooring installer, according to the report.

One portion of it offers basic self-reported biographical information: such as he is currently separated from his wife who has a 5-year-old son, and that he has a 2-year-old daughter he fathered with a girlfriend.

His attorney has described him as a lifetime Lewis County resident, who attended W.F. West High School through the 11th grade.

He has no felony criminal history, but in February 2011 was convicted of a gross misdemeanor, fourth-degree assault and in January 2007 was convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to the Western State Hospital report.

He suffered a concussion in a motor vehicle accident as an eighth grader, according to the report.

He told the psychologist he has used, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Although Reeder denied current thoughts of suicide or wanting to harm himself, the psychologist recommended he see a mental health provider.

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated and corrected to reflect a trial date has not yet been scheduled for Reeder.
•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Mother’s boyfriend held for investigation of rape, murder of Centralia child” from Friday May 25, 2012 at 5 p.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Updated at 5:10 p.m.

BUSINESS BURGLARS

• Two mornings in a row, Centralia police have responded to burglaries at businesses in which cash was stolen. An officer checking out an alarm about 3:10 a.m. today at the 2300 block of North Pearl Street found the building had been broken into. Yesterday morning about 8:30, an officer was called to a business on the 200 block of South Pearl Street for a burglary as well, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MAN BITES GIRLFRIEND

• Police were called just before 7 o’clock yesterday morning to the 100 block of Virginia Drive in Centralia where a female said her 21-year-old boyfriend bit her in the shoulder. An officer was told it happened during an argument about him not wanting to get up with the baby, according to Centralia police. He left before police arrived, police said.

OUT OF CONTROL AT GREEN HILL

• A 16-year-old student at Green Hill School for boys is in trouble after he allegedly kicked, punched and spit at six staff members who were trying to place him in solitary on Sunday afternoon, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case will be referred for possible charges of third-degree assault, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

FRAUD

• A 43-year-old Lincoln Creek area resident called the sheriff’s office yesterday to report she discovered her bank debit card was compromised online. An unknown individual somehow used her card to make a purchase from a business in Maine, totaling $378.06, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

HOME BURGLARY

• Two rifles, an X-Box and hunting gear were missing after a burglary on the 200 block of Schoonover Road near Mossyrock, according to the lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was told it happened sometime between Wednesday and Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office.

GIRLS RACING

• Two women allegedly caught racing on South Pearl Street near Centralia College were cited after being contacted by an officer about 10:20 p.m. yesterday.

OOPS

• A 21-year-old Olympia man, Blake G. Moreland, was arrested for driving under the influence when he was spotted traveling the wrong direction on North National Avenue in Chehalis just after 1 o’clock on Sunday morning, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday.

VANDALISM

• Police were called just after 5 p.m. yesterday about tires slashed on the 1400 block of Logan Street in Centralia. An officer took a similar report a few hours earlier at the 400 block of North Oak Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to R.E. Bennett Elementary School where someone had spray painted a large swath of the backside of the building with graffiti. Similar graffiti was found on a business nearby on the 100 block of South Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Sgt. Gwen Carrell said she could not decipher the gray-blue lettering.

EXPLODING MAIL BOX

• Somebody blew up a mail box on the 100 block of Cousins Road outside Chehalis causing grass and a tree to catch on fire, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday. A deputy called early Sunday morning was told it occurred about 11 p.m. the night before, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

PLASTIC GUN PICKED UP BY POLICE

• Chehalis police were called when someone found a small black handgun on a garbage container outside the St. Helens Apartments on North Market Boulevard on Saturday morning. It turned out to be a toy and was taken into lost and found, according to Chehalis police.

WATER PLAY

• Chehalis police were called just before midnight on Saturday about individuals dancing in the fountain in front of the library downtown. It appeared they had put soap in it. No arrests were made.

GRASS FIRE

• The Chehalis Fire Department was called about 9 p.m. yesterday to a grass fire at Southwest Newaukum Avenue and Sylvenus Street. It was knocked down in about 10 minutes, according to Fire Capt. Casey Beck.

CELL PHONE TRACKING EASY TO DO

• KOMOnews.com went to an award ceremony in Chehalis yesterday to tell the story of a 5-year-old boy who two weeks ago called 911 to get help for his ailing father. The Centralia boy, Quincy Hall, didn’t know his address but did know how to call for help. Read how dispatchers quickly found his location using tracking information from the cell phone the child used. See their video here

• The Seattle Times published a story yesterday about how cell phone companies are responding to thousands of requests each day from police for customer’s locations, text messages and call details, frequently without warrants and not just in emergencies. Read more here