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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm

VADER MOBILE HOME FIRE STOPPED IN THE NIGHT

• Fire broke out inside a Vader home during the night, drawing members of Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 to the 500 block of C Street. Crews called about 2:30 a.m. attacked the flames from both inside and outside the single-wide mobile home, according to Fire Chief Richard Underdahl. The resident said she was reading when she smelled something and checked her wood stove and even went outside to look at the chimney, Underdahl said. When she came back in, she saw flames around the ceiling tile, he said. “We were able to knock it down and keep the flames contained to to the living room, kitchen area,” he said. The woman was treated at the scene for chest pain and trouble breathing, perhaps mostly from the stress of getting her pets and some belongings out, he said. Underdahl said two small birds were evacuated. Firefighters were called back about 6 a.m. today, when someone observed some books on a shelf smoking, he said. One half of the mobile home was left untouched, but she is staying with friends or family, he said. The cause is under investigation.

NIGHT TIME INTRUDER STEALS FAMILY VEHICLE

• Police are investigating an incident in Mossyrock in which someone apparently broke into a home, stole a key and then made off with a vehicle while a family slept. An officer called about 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning to the 100 block of Hazel Street found there were pry marks on the back door, according to the Morton Police Department. The perpetrator was gone when the residents woke up, there was no contact, Police Chief Dan Mortensen said. “They kind of prowled around the bathroom, found a key and stole a (Dodge) Durango,” Mortensen said. “It was white.” Mortensen, who didn’t handle the call himself, said he is going to be looking into the incident further today. He said he understood there were cars prowled in two other locations in the area during the same time frame.

UNRULY CLIENT ARRESTED BY FEDS

• Centralia police were called to the Social Security office on the 1800 block of Cooks Hill Road about 11:15 a.m. yesterday when an individual became uncooperative after being told by a security person he couldn’t bring a knife into a federal building. Anthony N. Parkins, 32, from Raymond, was arrested for obstruction of a federal law enforcement officer as well as outstanding King County warrants, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was taken to be booked in the federal detention center, Sgt. Carl Buster said.

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Deputy Sgt. Snaza kicks off campaign for sheriff of Lewis County

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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Rob Snaza addresses a large gathering this morning in Chehalis as fundraising begins in earnest for his campaign to be elected sheriff.

Updated at 9:24 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – While Deputy Sgt. Rob Snaza announced via Facebook nearly a year ago he was running for sheriff of Lewis County, his campaign kick off breakfast this morning attracted some 150 individuals.

Current Sheriff Steve Mansfield told the crowd he endorsed him; his twin brother Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza introduced him.

Snaza told those assembled at the Lewis County Veterans Museum in Chehalis one of his three focuses will be rooting out career criminals.

“I’m going to go after those individuals dealing drugs and committing burglaries,” he said.

Mansfield spoke of the sergeant’s passion for making felony arrests – having been involved in more of them than any other deputy during Mansfield’s time with the office, Snaza spoke of carrying out requests by the sheriff to track people down.

“I’ve had to tell these people, I do not want you in this community, if you don’t want to be a true comitter,” Snaza said.

Mansfield called Snaza a responsible, respectful, fair and caring person who has been preparing himself for the post. Mansfield said he’s already been sharing some of the ins and outs of the position with him. And he offered a thought about the role of the sheriff.

“People don’t really care how much you know in this job, they only want to know you care,” Mansfield said.

Snaza’s other areas of interest should he be elected will be continuing to provide a no-frills jail and community partnerships, wanting to be in the schools, in the neighborhoods and involved with business and community leaders, he said.

Snaza is the SWAT leader and also the supervisor of the  Lewis County Regional Crime Task Force. He’s also one of three elected persons on the board of commissioners for Lewis County Fire District 5 in Napavine, where he says he’s learned about budgeting.

Earlier this month, he was one of two deputies to be presented with Mansfield’s new Guardian Award.

“If you can find someone more passionate, I want to meet him,” Rob Snaza said.

Snaza is running as a Republican. His brother, who ran as an Independent in 2010 in Thurston County, is running now for a second term.

He asked for the support of those gathered. Mark Anders of the Lewis County Republicans asked for their contributions.

Records filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicate a little more than $6,000 cash raised on behalf of Sgt. Snaza’s candidacy since he registered last June.

Snaza is the chair of the Citizens to Elect Rob Snaza, his wife Jennie Snaza is the vice-chair and the treasurer is listed as Debbie Hamilton of Chehalis.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm

ARSON ATTEMPT IN WINLOCK

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning that someone tried to set fire to a Winlock man’s truck while it was parked in his driveway. The 57-year-old from Otter Fox Lane called 911 on Monday morning after finding the vehicle’s door ajar and a burned box of tissue on the seat, according to the sheriff’s office. He said he had parked it unlocked about 4:30 p.m. on Friday and made the discovery about 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. It left a large burn spot that will cost about $100 to repair, according to Brown.

BEE ON THE LOOKOUT

• Someone stole a beehive from the Fort Borst Park garden sometime during the past two weeks. Police called yesterday to the 2000 block of Borst Avenue describe the hive as lavender and bright blue, a wooden box with a metal top.

STORAGE UNIT PILFERED

• Someone cut a lock from a storage unit in Silver Creek and stole more than $1,000 worth of valuables including 32-inch television, an HP computer monitor, a stereo system, a Husky rolling tool chest and four wine goblets, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding yesterday to the 100 block of Chief Umptux Road learned the break-in occurred sometime since mid-January, according to the sheriff’s office.

RIDE BE GONE

• Police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 800 block of West First Street in Centralia when someone stole a Mongoose BMX bicycle while its owner was in a store. The suspect was described as a male walking with another male and a pit bull, according to the Centralia Police Department. The bike had red grips, police report.

VEHICLE PROWL

• A 22-year-old Morton resident was arrested yesterday evening after he was observed prowling at least two vehicles in the Chehalis Jack-in-the-Box parking lot. An officer responding about 6:30 p.m. to Interstate Avenue was told he knew the vehicle’s owners, but at least one of them said that wasn’t so, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Nothing was taken so Jence S. Sawyer was arrested for attempted vehicle prowl and then released, according to police.

INTERFERING WITH POLICE

• Centralia police responding about 10:20 p.m. yesterday to an underage drinking party at the 800 block of West Pear Street arrested two individuals for obstruction. Stephanie M. Morales-Felix, 20, and Angel R. Morales-Felix, 19 both of Centralia, were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Just before 11 p.m. in the same area, a third person – 21-year-old Centralian Adrian G. Torresdrahos– was arrested for interfering with a police investigation and booked for the same alleged offense.

WRECK

• A 41-year-old Centralia woman was arrested last night for driving under the influence of alcohol after allegedly crashing her car into a light pole in Centralia and then running away. Officers responding about 5 p.m. to North Gold and East Main streets say Kimberly K. Torres fled to a friend’s house where she was subsequently located. Torres was booked into the Lewis County Jail, 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, suspicious circumstances, rock-throwing girls, collisions on city streets, shoplifting and other misdemeanor thefts, a homeless person’s campfire built near train tracks … and more.

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News brief: Crab feed Saturday in Tenino

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 9:49 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The fire department in Tenino is holding its annual fundraiser this coming Saturday, a crab feed.

Doors open at 3 p.m. at the station and they will stop serving at 7 p.m., according to Tina Vanderhoof, administrative chief for Thurston County Fire District 12.

The event, hosted by the Thurston County 12 Firefighters Association, is held to raise money for equipment that isn’t covered in their budget.

Last year with the money that came in, they purchased new bunk beds, extra long ones that made some of the taller volunteers very happy, Vanderhoof said. A portion of the proceeds was also shared with various youth groups, she said.

Tickets are $30. On the menu is crab, spaghetti and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

SMELLS LIKE SCAM

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from the 1500 block of South Gold Street regarding what they think is an overseas company that enticed the victim to order two cell phones for $200 and shipped her perfume instead. The female who contacted police yesterday said she sent a money order for her expected items after getting a phone solicitation from “T-max”, according to the Centralia Police Department. She called the business to complain about the mixup, and despite assurances they would send a refund, they haven’t, according to police.

INTRUDERS

• A deputy was called to a building belonging to the state Department of Natural Resources in Morton about noon yesterday regarding a break-in that occurred sometime since last Tuesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Someone damaged the shop entry door at the 500 block of state Route 7, although it didn’t appear they took anything, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 17-year-old girl was arrested for trespassing overnight after an officer observed wet foot prints leading up to a vacant house and found her in its basement. It was about 1:20 a.m. at the 1100 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis, according to police. Officers suspect people have been going inside the residence to use drugs, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The girl was turned over to a relative, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

VEHICLE THEFT

• A 1993 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck was discovered missing yesterday morning from a business on the 1600 block of Lum Road in Centralia. A deputy called to investigate learned it must have been taken between 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and 7:30 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has a license plate reading B61647W, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 22-year-old Centralia resident was arrested last night for possession of methamphetamine when he was picked up on an outstanding warrant. Tanner Z.R. Russell, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 11:45 p.m. at the 400 block of West Main Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

U.S. Highway 12 near White Pass was closed for several hours after an eastbound semi truck driver lost control on a corner, struck the guard rail and jackknifed blocking all lanes. Troopers responding just before 3 a.m. to the scene 18 miles east of Packwood report the driver declined aid. The 2014 International hauling two trailers was towed and the road reopened just before 8:30 a.m., according to authorities. James L. Lavine, 31, from Eatonville, was to be cited for speed too fast for conditions, according to the Washington State Patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, domestic misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for possible violation of no contact order, collisions on city streets … and more.

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Read about deadly Toledo wreck results in two-decade sentence for driver …

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Vancouver) Columbian reports the fatal single-vehicle crash into a power pole in Toledo in November has led to a 20-year sentence for the driver, Jonathon K. Reno, 42, of Vancouver, Wash.

News reporter Paris Achen writes the lengthy term imposed yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court was the result of stiffer sentencing guidelines for vehicular homicide enacted in 2012 and Reno’s extensive history; which included three DUIs and convictions for reckless driving as well as attempted vehicular assault in 2006.

Troopers said Reno was intoxicated and traveling at a high rate of speed when his Honda Accord struck a guard rail and utility pole at Jackson Highway near Ray Road the evening of Nov. 10. His passenger Adam W. Newstrom, 28, of Vancouver, Wash. was killed.

Read more here

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News Brief: Bus, log truck collide on U.S. Highway 12

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 10:59 am
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Lewis Mountain Highway Transit bus is towed after wreck this morning in Glenoma with log truck. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol.

Updated at 1:27 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A collision between a loaded log truck and a bus on U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma this morning sent at least four people to the hospital.

Aid was called about 6 a.m. to the scene near Wills Road where the driver of the Lewis Mountain Highway Transit had made a U-turn to pick up a passenger, according to authorities.

Photographs shared by a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol suggest damage to the vehicles was moderate. It’s not clear how many passengers the bus was carrying or how many were injured.

Four individuals were brought to Morton General Hospital and all are in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The Morton-based bus service makes round trips each day between Packwood and the Twin Cities.

Trooper Will Finn indicated at about 7 o’clock this morning the incident was partially blocking the highway and had punctured the fuel tank of the log truck. Finn said at 8 a.m. to expect delays for another couple of hours.

The bus driver was at the hospital getting X-rayed for head and neck pain, according to Finn. A 16-year-old passenger, Jonathan Thompson of Randle, was taken to the hospital by a private party, according to the investigating trooper.

Both vehicles were westbound, and the bus attempted a U-turn in front of the log truck, according to the state patrol.

Finn indicates the bus services allows for flag down by riders, however the driver, Richard L. Hamstreet, 69, of Randle, can expect a citation for improper U-turn, according to the investigating trooper.

James P. Pence, 59, of Randle, the driver of the 2001 Kenworth reportedly is uninjured.

Both vehicles were towed from the scene.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

VEHICLES VICTIMIZED

• Two boys are in trouble after shooting BBs at traffic striking at least 10 vehicles yesterday in Centralia, according to police. No injuries were reported but windows were broken in two cases, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police were called about 12:30 p.m. by one victim to the 900 block of Alder Street. Officers spoke to neighbors and were led to the suspects, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. The youths, ages 12 and 14, said they were doing it to hear the BBs bounce off the metal, he said. The boys were not taken into custody, but the case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for a charging decision, according to police. Denham said police suspect there are several victims with as yet undiscovered damage, and urges them to call the police department.

• A 44-year-old Toledo man is in trouble after he allegedly threw a beer can at an approaching vehicle on the 1600 block of Winlock-Vader Road breaking its windshield last night. A deputy contacted about 10:30 p.m. by the 48-year-old woman somehow tracked down the suspect, Brian K. Vanhoof and arrested him for second-degree malicious mischief, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Snaza said. The damage to the woman’s pickup truck is estimated at more than $1,000, Snaza said. Vanhoof was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Snaza said he didn’t know if the two were acquainted. He is to be released pending possible charging in Lewis County District Court.

• Centralia police took a report about 9:10 p.m. on Saturday from the 1200 block of Rhobina Street in which someone broke the side window out of a parked car.

BREAK-INS CENTRALIA

• A residence on the 3600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia was burglarized on Friday between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., with as much as $2,400 worth of valuables stolen. Someone pried open a back door to the mobile home and used something like a skill saw to cut through a wall of a detached shop stealing numerous items; among them a rifle, ammunition, a television, tools, check books, credit cards and prescription medication, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone burglarized a house on the 100 block of Union Avenue outside Centralia sometime between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, stealing a muzzle loader, a box of ammunition, an Xbox, a camera and numerous other valuables totaling about $1,300. A responding deputy learned from the 52-year-old victim that she discovered her dogs were out and found she had been broken into, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. There was no forced entry into the home, and deputies are working on leads regarding a number of suspects, according to Sgt. Rob Snaza.

CAR THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 8:25 a.m. on Saturday about a red 1993 Nissan Sentra stolen from its garage on the 100 block of Northeast Coal Creek Road. The two-door car had last been seen about 4 p.m. the day before, Chehalis Police Department Officer Linda Bailey said. It has not yet been found and bears a license plate of 559 VRT, Bailey said this morning.

FAILED BIKE RECOVERY

• A Centralia man in his 20s called police yesterday to report he was assaulted the night before when he confronted a person riding what he believed was his stolen bicycle. Sgt. Stacy Denham said it occurred in the area of the 400 block of West Magnolia Street and when the bike’s owner tried to get his bike back, he was hit and pushed, and the two suspects got away with the bike.

PERSISTANT CALLER ARRESTED

• A 41-year-old Randle man contacted for allegedly making unwarranted reports to 911 and then calling a deputy’s cell phone more than a dozen times was arrested about 11 p.m. on Friday at the 600 block of Silver Creek Road in Randle, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Charles K. Arnold had been told to stop calling but didn’t and when he was contacted a scuffle ensued that led to him getting tased, according to the sheriff’s office. Arnold was booked into the Lewis County Jail for telephone harassment, resisting arrest and two counts of third-degree assault, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

MISCONDUCT ALLEGED

• A complaint of a male touching another individual inappropriately on a school bus on its way to W.F. West High School in Chehalis on Friday is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A shoplifting suspect was booked into the Lewis County Jail last night after a hypodermic needle and white crystal substance was located with her. Judy L. Howell, 32, of Kelso was contacted at Wal-Mart and arrested for possession of drugs, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 20-year-old Centralia resident was arrested about 8 p.m. on Saturday for a warrant and being a minor in possession of marijuana. Brenna M. Layton was contacted by police at the 1200 block of Alder Street and then booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LOST AND FOUND

• Numerous valuables left at the Midway Cinema in Chehalis over the past two months and held in their lost and found were turned over to the Chehalis Police Department this weekend, including cell phones, wallets, purses, a camera and IDs, according to police.

• A bag containing prescription medication discovered on a fence on the 500 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis was tuned over to the Chehalis Police Department last night, according to police.

WRECK

• A deputy responding about 2 p.m. yesterday to a collision between a car and a utility pole on the 300 block of Cedar Creek Road outside Toledo found the vehicle unoccupied but subsequently located its driver who had suffered injuries to his face and head, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Kameron D. Williams, 22, of Toledo, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and faces a possible charge of driving under the influence as he admitted he had been drinking, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. His 1999 Nissan 2SX was totaled, according to Snaza.

FIRE RIPS THROUGH RANDLE RV PARK BUILDING

• The fire that burned a large equipment storage barn at the Shady Firs RV and Mobile Home Park in Randle last night was most likely accidental and appears the cause could have been electrical in nature, according to Lewis County Fire District 14. Firefighters called about 10:25 p.m. to the property at the 10,200 block of U.S. Highway 12 near Young Road found the building fully involved in flames and conducted a strictly defensive operation, Fire Chief Jeff Jeff Jaques said. “There was a lot of value in there, but it was so far along,” he said. As many as 16 personnel from Packwood, Randle and Glenoma battled the blaze for hours, according to the chief. Nobody was injured, but the pole-built structure held tools, a pickup truck, a couple of tractors and equipment used for taking care of the park, Jaques said. It was 80 feet by at least 100 feet in size, with metal siding, he said. The owner is still working on adding up the dollar value of the loss, he said. Jacques said he wasn’t sure if the fire investigator has fully finished his investigation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, complaints of loud neighbor music … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: The item regarding the stolen Nissan has been updated to reflect police were notified on Saturday morning it was missing, not on Friday morning.

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Eighty-year-old twins succumb to exhaust fumes in garage

Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two elderly twin brothers died last night of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning from working on a vehicle inside a garage south of Chehalis.

The wife of one of them returned home from a neighbor’s, found the men lying unconscious on the floor inside the garage and called 911, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The men were twins, 80 years old. One was visiting from Rainier, Washington, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lewis County Fire District 5 responding about 6:15 p.m. to 100 block of Ironwood Court found one patient semi conscious and the other unconscious with two or three bystanders performing CPR on him, Chief Eric Linn said.

They were joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 6 and Lewis County Medic One, he said. While some responders took over CPR on the one brother, others treated his sibling and put him on oxygen, Linn said.

Both were transported by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital.

William Schofield, of Chehalis, was pronounced dead at the hospital. His brother was transferred  to Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle where he passed away about 3:15 a.m. today, according to authorities.

Linn said a woman suffering anxiety or heart problems believed due to secondary stress was transported to the hospital as well.

Carbon monoxide is created in combustion fumes from gas engines and from other sources such as gas appliances or burning charcoal or wood. People and animals can be poisoned by breathing it, with fatality highest among persons 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Linn said the ultimate treatment is a decompression chamber, something not found in Lewis County.

“We support the patient the best we can but the definitive treatment is what’s going to make a difference,” he said.

It happened in the Newaukum Village golf course community, Linn said.

The men had been working on the exhaust manifold of an antique car, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Responders said all the doors had been closed. Firefighters’ detectors indicated high levels of carbon monoxide inside.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield issued a statement saying how tragic and sad the incident was, urging the public to purchase and use inexpensive carbon monoxide alarms.

“These brothers were simply working on a car together and ended up dying from a silent killer,” Mansfield stated in a news release.

The CDC warns to never run a car or truck in a garage with the garage door closed, as carbon monoxide can build up quickly.

The name of the brother from Rainier isn’t expected to be released by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office before tomorrow.

The CDC offers information about carbon monoxide poisoning’s symptoms and ways to prevent it, here

•••

For more, see KING5.com

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the hospital in Seattle to which one brother was taken. The sheriff’s office erroneously reported he died at another hospital.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 7:02 pm
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Stolen car recovered and two arrested near Big Hanaford and Downing roads outside Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Aaron Towman

Updated

CENTRALIA CAR CHASE ENDS AT RIVER

• Two were arrested after a police pursuit overnight that ended near Schaeffer Park outside Centralia when an officer used a patrol car to disable the fleeing vehicle. Both occupants ran but were apprehended nearby, with one of them first trying to get away via the Skookumchuck River, according to the Centralia Police Department. It began around 1 a.m. at the 2400 block of Borst Avenue when police tried to pull over an erratic vehicle which had been involved in two prior reckless driving hit and run incidents, according to police. The driver, Damen J. Kroll, 24 of Centralia, was arrested for eluding, driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, police report. Passenger Matthew M. Morris, 21 of Chehalis, at first jumped into the water, but gave up quickly when he discovered how cold the river was, according to police. Morris was arrested for obstruction. The car turned out to be stolen; it’s owner called police after waking up and discovering it was gone, police said. Both men were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

ROCHESTER FIRE: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

• Members of three fire departments responded yesterday afternoon when a Rochester area resident who’d arrived home only about 15 minutes earlier spotted smoke inside her single-story house. West Thurston Regional Fire Authority called at 4 p.m. to the 10,800 block of Independence Road found fire burning in a wall next to the chimney, spreading up into the attic and down to below the floor, Chief Robert Scott said. Crews tore out some kitchen cabinetry, cut a hole in the roof and extinguished the blaze, he said.  Scott said she’d had fire in her wood stove earlier that morning. He said the brick chimney in the fairly older home was butted up against the tongue-and-groove wall boards, which ignited from the heat. The smoke damage was limited as many of her interior doors were left closed, he said. She is staying is staying with family in the area, according to the chief. It’s a road that just a few days ago that was covered by about 18 inches of flowing water, according to Scott. Had it not yet receded, responders would have had to take a longer route, he said. “Another five or six minutes burning unchecked, this would have been an entirely different story,” Scott said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants … and more.

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Breaking news: Read about Lewis County soldier dies after incident at Fort Bragg …

Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina reports a 22-year-old Ethel resident was killed yesterday during a live-fire training exercise at Fort Bragg.

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James Groth

James Groth, 22, died and seven other soldiers were hurt in the incident; the cause is under investigation, news reporter Gregory Phillips writes.

Fort Bragg officials report the soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 18th Fires Brigade’s 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment were conducting artillery training with an M777, towed howitzer early yesterday morning.

Read about it here

WNCN in Raleigh, North Carolina has video from its newscast.

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Read about former Winlock man killed in Afghanistan bombing honored by family, friends …

Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KOMOnews.com reports the Winlock native killed in Afghanistan last week will be laid to rest today, following a candlelight vigil last night in Steilacoom.

Mike Hughes, 38, a former corrections officer at McNeil Island who was working as a civilian contractor training Afghans to run their prisons was due home to marry his fiance on Valentines weekend wedding, according to KOMO.

See video and read about it here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

DISAGREEMENT ON ROADWAY ERUPTS WITH PEPPER SPRAY

• A pair of feuding motorists ended up getting talked to by police  yesterday morning after their rolling argument included a pause to exchange words in Chehalis and one was sprayed with a Mace-like substance. It happened around 9:30 a.m. beginning with some sort of driving incident outside the city and the two males followed each other finally stopping side by side near Boistfort Street and Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “One brought out his little chemical spray and took a snap at him,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The sprayee called 911. It was a minimal amount and didn’t get in his eyes or anything, Wilson said. The sprayee subsequently decided he didn’t want to press it, so nobody was arrested, according to Wilson. The other driver was contacted and told it was not acceptable behavior, he said. “Fortunately, there were no firearms involved in this,” he said.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police took a report about 9 a.m. yesterday of a black Honda vanishing during the night from the 1000 block of H Street. The car was subsequently located abandoned after an accident in Grays Harbor County by a trooper, according to Centralia Police Department.

SHED BURGLARY

• An officer was called to the 600 block of Dobson Court in Chehalis on Wednesday morning and took a report of tools stolen from a shed sometime during the previous week, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police responded to the 400 block of North Gold Street about 8:45 a.m. yesterday regarding vehicles at a business which had been broken into.

DRUGS

• A 15-year-old girl was suspended and a case referred to prosecutors for a charging decision after an officer was called to W.F. West High School on Wednesday about a suspected meth pipe found in a school locker, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PLAYING WITH FIRE

• An officer was called to W.F. West High School about 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday where a 15-year-old Olympia girl had allegedly lit a piece of paper on fire in the restroom. The case is being referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of reckless burning, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DOGS SHOT BY DEPUTY IN ROCHESTER

The Olympian reports a deputy shot and killed two pit bulls in Rochester yesterday afternoon after reports of a chicken killing and a resident being blocked from leaving her home at Cinnamon Court and then an attack on a dog and its 38-year-old owner on Loganberry Street. News reporter Andy Hobbs writes the two were located on the porch of a house in the 5400 block of 189th Avenue Southwest at about 3:15 p.m. and the deputy fired in self defense when the animals charged.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, misdemeanor assaults, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, non-injury collisions … and more.

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Deaths of Napavine pair remain unsolved

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities say the two individuals found dead inside their Napavine home are Cheryl Ausland, 50, and her 59-year-old brother Robert Collier, but they don’t know yet how they died.

An autopsy was set for today and this afternoon, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod reports the cause and manner of death won’t be determined until he gets the results of toxicology tests.

That can take eight to 10 weeks.

The sheriff’s office is still investigating, after two co-workers of Ausland went to her home on East Stella Street on Tuesday morning to check on her when she didn’t show up for work. They found the pair deceased.

There were no signs of a struggle or obvious lethal injuries, leaving detectives to wait for information from the autopsy.

A spokesperson for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says they haven’t ruled out anything.

“I wish toxicology test were instant, so we could say,” Cmdr. Steve Aust said. “Quite frankly, I think toxicology is going to answer those questions.”

Aust said the tests would basically be looking for alcohol, drugs or some other substance that could have led to the deaths, and that they aren’t suspecting poisoning.

When detectives believe the two died is something they won’t release, Aust said.

Ausland had been at work in recent days, and Collier was unemployed, according to Aust.

“We’re still investigating who was the last person to have seen him and when,” he said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

DRIVER OF ABANDONED JEEP ARRESTED

• The motorist who slid off Bunker Creek Road yesterday morning and got a ride to work, leaving her Jeep Cherokee partially submerged in a creek was arrested for third-degree driving with a suspended license as well as hit and run with property damage. Deputies and the fire department responded about 7:30 a.m. to the scene, and spent quite a bit of time trying to find and rescue any possible victims, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She should have called and reported it, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. “You’ve got people in the water, worried about her, a halfway submerged vehicle, firefighters jumping in trying to see if she’s in there,” Snaza said. “You know, taking all these life saving measures, and she’s at her workplace and didn’t think to call.” Elyse A. Skeen, 55, of Chehalis, who was located finally at the Adna store, had slid on black ice, according to responders. “When asked why she didn’t call, she said she just didn’t,” Snaza said. The damage portion of her alleged offense was to a culvert, according to Snaza. Skeen was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Her vehicle, which had come to rest on its driver’s side in four to six feet of water in Prairie Creek sustained major front end damage and was impounded.

BREAK-INS AND THEFT

• Centralia police say a 34-year-old Toledo man was arrested about 12:30 a.m. today after he was identified as being the person inside a storage unit at the 1100 block of Brotherson Road trying to steal property. Joshua J. Williams, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called just before 11 a.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of South Pearl Street about a burglary to a residence. Officer have possible suspect information and the case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone stole more than $1,000 worth of equipment from a boat parked at the 100 block of Boshart Lane near Mossyrock during a nighttime prowling incident, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. A deputy responded yesterday and learned someone came onto the property around 4 a.m. on Tuesday and left with a flare gun, a depth finder, a two-way marine radio and four fishing poles with reels, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

• A 41-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday in connection with an ongoing trafficking stolen property case and was found to be in possession of methamphetamine when he was detained, according to the Centralia Police Department. Eric J. Bates, contacted just before 2 p.m. at the 2600 block of North Pearl Street, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

WIRING BLAMED FOR HOUSE FIRE

• The source of the fire that broke out in an Onalaska home last home last week turned out to be a short in an electrical outlet in an upstairs bedroom. Crews called on the evening of Feb. 12 to the two-story house at the 1800 block of state Route 508 found most of the damage in between the ceiling on the first floor and the floor of the upper level, according to the fire chief. The owner was away. Fire Investigator Jay Birley said he was able to track down the owner fairly quickly; he has a second home in another state, he said. The wiring in the master bedroom outlet had begun smoldering and ignited the blaze, according to Birley. He estimated the loss at about $25,000.

COLLISION

• A 52-year-old Chehalis woman was hospitalized after a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 5 just north of Napavine yesterday. It happened around 1 p.m. when there was quite a bit of hail on the ground, according to responders. Troopers called to the northbound lanes near milepost 74 learned a pickup truck slowed for traffic and Julie A. Chavez’s Ford Focus ran into its rear end. Both vehicles had to be towed and Chavez, 52, was transported to providence Centralia Hospital because of potential serious injuries, according to responders. She was to be cited for following too closely, according to the Washington State Patrol.

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Centralia police: Drug house cleared out by SWAT team

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:11 am
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Two people are arrested when police visit home on South Pearl Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Rachael Estrada

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police and their SWAT team served a search warrant looking for drugs yesterday afternoon at a house on the 800 block of South Pearl Street and arrested a resident for maintaining a building for drug purposes.

Rebecca J. Higgins, 41, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. A second person was arrested for an unrelated felony warrant.

About a dozen officers descended on the home about 4:30 p.m., along with their armored rescue vehicle, according to police. Sgt. James Shannon.

The armored carrier is is used with all their SWAT operations, Shannon said, for an extra measure of safety because they never know who might be present. Shannon said there were about six people in the home, but described the events that unfolded as ordinary.

“We knocked on the door, asked them to come out and they did,” he said.

Detectives recovered a small amount of suspected methamphetamine during their search, according to Shannon.

Higgins was arrested for also for possession of meth and delivery of a controlled substance in a school zone, according to police. The delivery count is related to what police called a controlled buy conducted within the past week at the house, according to Shannon.

Higgins also has other controlled substance violations pending in Lewis County Superior Court.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:13 am

RESCUE ATTEMPT YIELDS NO DRIVER

• Responders were called out about 7:30 this morning to a creek west of Chehalis where a Jeep was discovered on it side in four to six feet of water. Finding nobody inside after breaking out a window, a search was conducted for any victims, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Deputies had reason to believe there was somebody inside and the owner’s friends and family didn’t know where she was, the sheriff’s office said. Initially they were told she didn’t show up for work, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Steve Aust said. It happened at the 1200 block of Bunker Creek Road just north of Stearns Hill Road, according to Firefighter Terry Ternan, one of the responders who waded into Prairie Creek. The driver was subsequently located at her workplace in Adna, having somehow gotten herself out, Ternan said. Aust said it turned out she’d slid on black ice and gone into the water, then flagged someone down to get a ride, without notifying anyone of what occurred.

FIGHTS WITH KNIVES

• A 21-year-old Centralia man sustained a minor cut on his hand and was arrested for second-degree assault after a dispute at the 2600 block of Seminary Hill Road in Centralia on Sunday evening, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding about 7:30 p.m. was told Dylan T. Danforth displayed a knife toward his mother’s boyfriend but it was taken away from him and nobody else was injured, Cmdr. Steve Aust said. Danforth was booked into the Lewis County Jail but has been released without charges pending further investigation.

• Chehalis police yesterday said they were investigating an incident from about 2 p.m. on Friday in which during a dispute over a vehicle a male pulled out a knife and made a threat. it happened in the area of Southwest Sixth Street and McFadden Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Nobody was injured, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

PHYSICAL DISPUTE

• A 31-year-old Packwood man was arrested following a Friday morning incident in which he allegedly grabbed his girlfriend who was trying to leave their home during an argument and carried her back inside. Patrick D. Detwiler was booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful imprisonment but is to be released without charges pending further investigation.

• Police were called about 5:50 p.m. on Friday to Wal-Mart in Chehalis where an unhappy customer allegedly turned his motorized shopping cart around striking an employee. Larry D. Jones, 68, of Centralia, was arrested for misdemeanor assault and then released, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

• A 26-year-old Centralia area man was arrested early on Monday morning for second-degree rape in connection with an encounter with an acquaintance who was at his home early last week. A report was made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, according to Cmdr. Steve Aust. Aust said Jonathan B. Charley was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

DRUGS

• Samantha J. Estep, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after a small ziplock baggie containing the suspected substance was found as she was being booked into the Lewis County Jail early yesterday on a warrant, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday they were interested in a maroon mid1990s Dodge pickup with a matching canopy which was seen in the area of the 700 block of Independence Road outside Centralia around the time five aluminum wheels, 20 gallons of diesel and two brass gas caps were stolen. The theft was reported about 5 p.m. Thursday and had occurred sometime in the previous four days, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A yellow 1979 Toyota pickup was stolen from the area of South Schueber Road and state Route 6 sometime between 8 a.m. on Feb. 10 and 5 p.m. on Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday. It has a license plate reading B6783P, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were contacted yesterday regarding the theft of copper being stolen from one scrap metal dealer and sold to another. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report from the 2000 block of Johnson Road on Monday regarding the theft of a solar powered real estate sign.

• Centralia police were called about 9 p.m. on Monday regarding the theft of a purse from a shopping cart at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

INTRUDERS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday a deputy took a report of someone entering a residence last week on the 300 block of Manner Road west of Centralia and toppling a refrigerator as well as damaging a toilet and some sheetrock. It happened sometime between 11 p.m. last Wednesday and noon the following day, Cmdr. Steve Aust said.

• Morton police reported yesterday an officer found a garage door ajar but nobody inside when responding to an alarm about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at a residence on the 100 block of Adams Avenue.

• A 24-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 8 p.m. on Monday for reportedly breaking into an empty home to live at the 400 block of North Rock Street in Centralia. Travis C. Harris  was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department, but has been released without charges pending further investigation. Elizabeth J. Bowman, 30, of Centralia, was arrested during the same incident for criminal trespass, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assaults, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, shoplifting; responses for alarms, disputes, suspicious circumstances, possibly forged prescription, misdemeanor theft, collisions, daughter overdue home after a date, child custody issues; complaints of surly customer … and more.

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Federal suit against deputy in Napavine shooting dismissed

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Updated at 8:11 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The lawsuit against former Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt McKnight regarding the fatal shooting of an unarmed Napavine man was dismissed by a judge, meaning no trial will take place.

Steven V. Petersen, 33, died after a brief standoff on a city street on the night of June 20, 2011, when deputies responded to a report Petersen had tried to get inside a former girlfriend’s home and was armed with a knife.

A federal judge issued a summary judgment in favor of Lewis County and the deputy on Thursday. The Lewis County Board of Commissioners were notified this morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton wrote that even though the reasonableness of McKnight’s use-of-force could not be determined at this stage in the litigation, McKnight is entitled to qualified immunity and all Petersen’s other claims fail as a matter of law.

McKnight was cleared by an internal review and the county prosecutor concluded his use of deadly force was justified in mid-2011. He has since gone to work for the Chehalis Police Department.

The civil trial however, had been set to begin at the end of this month in Tacoma, although it recently had been postponed.

The civil lawsuit was filed in October 2012 by Petersen’s father, on behalf of the dead man’s 10-year-old son. His lawyers called it a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ approach to law enforcement, faulting McKnight for choosing to engage in a confrontation before backup arrived.

The attorneys representing the deputy and the county said it was a split-second decision to shoot out of fear for the safety of himself and neighboring residents during a rapidly unfolding situation.

It was about 2 a.m. when the deputy encountered Petersen near the intersection of West Vine Street and Second Avenue. The interaction lasted one minute and 11 seconds; the two were 20 to 25 feet apart, the judge wrote.

Petersen paced back and forth, ignored the deputy’s orders to take his hand out of his sweatshirt pocket and then refused to get on the ground.

It came to an end when McKnight shot him four times because he thought Petersen was charging towards him and was going to stab him, according to the judge. As it turned out, Petersen didn’t have a knife.

A summary judgement is appropriate when viewing the facts in the most favorable light to the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue of material fact which would preclude it as a matter of law, according to Leighton.

Judge Leighton writes an officer is entitled to qualified immunity unless the right he or she allegedly violated was clearly established at the time of the alleged misconduct.

“Plaintiff cited no analogous cases to support his assertion that the law was clearly established such that McKnight was on notice that his conduct would violate Steven’s (Fourth Amendment) rights,” Leighton writes.

Other claims that were dismissed as a matter of law, were the municipal liability, the child’s 14th Amendment right to the companionship of his father and negligence.

A counterclaim by the defendants of malicious prosecution was also dismissed, because Petersen had a good-faith basis for the lawsuit, according to Leighton.

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

Lewis County RIsk Manager Paulette Young told county commissioners this morning she thought the most that had ever been paid out on behalf of the county was a case involving about $365,000 many years ago.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield issued a statement calling the decision fortunate.

“I am pleased with the findings,” Mansfield stated. “Although I am truly saddened Mr. Petersen lost his life, the facts are what they are.”

Judge Leighton although he concluded he could not resolve a question of fact in his summary judgement outlined what a jury could have been faced with answering.

A reasonable jury could conclude it was unreasonable for McKnight to shoot the man that he thought was armed with a knife who was 20 to 25 feet away without first warning him he would be shot, Leighton wrote.

However, a reasonable jury could also conclude the McKnight reasonably perceived a threat to his own safety based on all the circumstances and that he had to react immediately before Petersen was close enough to attack, he wrote.

•••

Read the judge’s order granting summary judgement, here

For background, read “Lethal force case against sheriff’s deputy ready for trial” from Wednesday February 5, 2014, here

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Breaking news: Two found dead in Napavine home

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 10:54 am
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The sheriff’s office awaits a warrant to re-enter the home and begin investigating two deaths. / Courtesy photo by Teona Kinswa

Updated at 5:43 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is on the scene this morning where two individuals were discovered dead inside a home.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said a friend of the 50-year-old woman who resides at the house on the 100 block of East Stella Street came by to check because the woman didn’t show up for work.

She found the woman, and a man, 60 years old, deceased, he said.

“We don’t know what we have here yet, I can’t tell you if it’s a suicide or a homicide,” Mansfield said.

Deputies responded about 8:50 a.m. They are not out looking for any suspect, he said.

There were no signs of a struggle and nothing at this point to suggest the community is in danger because of what occurred there, Mansfield said.

Responders found no obvious signs of lethal injury or forced entry into the house, according to the sheriff’s office.

Across the street neighbor Teona Kinswa said the two moved into the house less than six months ago. She didn’t know them, she said.

Kinswa said she woke up about 9:15 a.m. and saw out her window 10 to 12 police cars and yellow tape around the property.

“A sheriff came and asked me if we heard anything last night or this morning,” she said. She didn’t.

Mansfield said arriving deputies checked inside and then stepped out to wait for a warrant to go back inside the premises. He wouldn’t say where in the residence the pair were located.

Detectives will be processing the scene and investigating to find out what happened, he said.

The home is inside the Napavine city limits, but the Napavine officer was not on duty, according to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff’s detectives are assisting local police by conducting the investigation because of its complexity, the sheriff’s office states.

Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday. Investigators will be waiting for their conclusions and the results of toxicology tests to determine the cause and manner of the deaths.

The names of the individuals have not been released, only that they are related and both lived in the home.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm

WATER OVER ROADWAYS, RIVERS RISING

• A flood warning is now issued for the Skookumchuck River near Bucoda affecting Lewis and Thurston counties, with minor flooding forecast this afternoon. Heavy rains overnight drove the Newaukum River in the areas of Chehalis and Onalaska over flood stage already this morning with cautions about water over roadways, according to the National Weather Service. Still on “flood watch” status are the Chehalis and Upper Cowlitz rivers. The watch for Lewis, Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor counties is in effect until Wednesday afternoon. Also, for eastern Lewis County and the mountains, the weather service says the most recent storm brought another 10 to 18 inches of snow since late Sunday; an additional 4 to 10 inches was expected to fall this morning; and the next storm could produce another 1 to 2 feet of snow tomorrow. Those who live in flood-prone zones are advised to keep an eye on the latest forecasts.

OUCH

• A woman who allegedly ordered food and walked out without paying and then kicked a responding Centralia police officer was booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday for third-degree assault. It happened about 1:20 p.m. at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. The arrestee is 48-year-old Eva A. Newton from Randle, according to police. Police say when she was contacted, she refused to give her name and wouldn’t cooperate and that the kick occurred during her arrest.

GARAGE INTRUDER

• Centralia police were called to the 400 block of South Rock Street about 12:15 p.m. yesterday where someone had gone into a a garage and rummaged through items, although nothing seemed to have been stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• A purse was reported stolen from an unlocked vehicle at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia yesterday evening.

VANDALISM

• Police responded about 7:10 a.m. today to a report of wires damaged to an outside heat pump at a business on the 400 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia.

DRUGS

• A 59-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver  about 8:15 a.m. yesterday at the 800 block of South Gold Street in Centralia. Michael E. Daicon was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; response for window broken out of an empty building … and more.

•••

Monitor “Weather Alerts, Forecasts” as well as “River Levels” from the National Weather Service with the links on the right hand column of this page. Lewis County Emergency Management offers a web page showing closures and blockages of county roads and in the cities of Chehalis and Centralia. LCEM has a link there for state roads, but it’s not clear if any weather-related updates have been added.

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Judge says no to attempt to take back molestation plea from Winlock man

Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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Reginald L. Juntunen, right, consults with his new lawyer about waiving the attorney, client privilege regarding his former lawyer who took the witness stand.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Winlock man imprisoned for 25 years to life following a plea deal regarding the sexual assault of a child at a Mossyrock campground was denied his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Reginald L. Juntunen was 19 years old when the 8-year-old girl was attacked in a restroom, but wasn’t arrested until five years later in July 2012 after he was identified as a suspect through DNA.

Three and a half months later, without a fair opportunity to make an informed decision because of ineffective counsel, his lawyer says, he pleaded guilty to a 25 year minimum sentence. He was convicted of first-degree child molestation.

Juntunen, now 25, was back in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday, as was his new attorney Mitch Harrison and the court-appointed defense attorney who first represented him in the case, Chris Baum.

Joely O’Rourke, who prosecuted him, argued on Friday against the request.

Harrison told the judge a key issue was his client’s agreement to stipulate to the aggravating factor the offense was predatory, which added at least 15 years of incarceration. Harrison argued O’Rourke and Baum believed the factor was mandatory, without the benefit of a Supreme Court decision which said it was not.

Baum neglected to do any of the typical investigation for a case involving such a lengthy punishment, and he didn’t challenge the aggravator, Harrison said.

“The process in getting to the plea is more important than the plea itself,” Harrison said.

Among other failures the Seattle-based lawyer contended in his written motion, Baum presented no mitigating evidence to persuade O’Rourke to make a better offer.

When it was O’Rourke’s turn to make her arguments to Judge Richard Brosey, she told him she used her discretion in charging the aggravator because she felt the case called for it. And then she called Baum as her witness.

Baum explained he spoke to O’Rourke repeatedly trying to get her to drop the aggravator.

He testified he found the victim to be a compelling witness he was concerned a jury would easily believe.

His choices were limited in the way he proceeded, because his client in the very beginning told him he’d done it, he said.

“I thought there was a high likelihood he would be convicted, and I couldn’t find a decent defense,” Baum said.

After the hour and three quarters hearing, Judge Brosey denied the motion.

Juntunen’s lawyer plans to appeal the denial.
•••

For background, read “Winlock High School grad gets 25 plus years for molestation” from Wednesday December 12, 2012, here

 

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm

PHYSICAL DISPUTE LEADS TO CUT FACE

• Centralia police say a fight involving three individuals at the 1200 block of Mellen Street last night ended with one of them sustaining a cut to his face. Officers responding about 9:40 p.m. found one subject had fled the scene and the two remaining males refused to cooperate with police, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 23-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and heroin as well as an outstanding warrant about 9 p.m. last night at the 2300 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. Ammahd A. Bradley was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Centralia police were at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road about 7:30 p.m. on Friday after an individual reported their babysitter took an Xbox and an iPad from their room. About two hours later from Eckerson Road, a male told police he let a female use his phone and she left with it, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• A portable heater was stolen from a vehicle at the 500 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• Centralia police took a report from the 900 block of South Schueber Road at about 6 p.m. on Friday regarding a purse taken from a vehicle

DUI WRECK

• A 46-year-old woman was arrested for driving under the influence after she was involved in an accident with a parked car at the 1000 block of North Pearl Street last night. An officer responding about 12:20 a.m. cited Laura J. Nelson, of Centralia, and then released her, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CHASE FOR STOLEN CAR

• A 19-year-old Centralia resident was arrested at the 1700 block of South Gold Street in Centralia at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday for eluding police and being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Steven N. Romero was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WORKPLACE ACCIDENT

• Lewis County Fire District 6 was called to another industrial accident late Friday night involving a worker’s limb getting caught in a machine. Responders just before midnight to Hardel Plywood on the 100 block of Maurin Road in Chehalis found the employee in his 30s had gotten his leg stuck in a conveyor but he was freed by the time they arrived, Firefighter Kyle Eiswald said. He had been dragged but fortunately a co-worker hit the stop button, Eiswald said. The victim was stabilized and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, he said. A week earlier, crews were called the Imperial Fabrication in the Chehalis Industrial Park where an employee’s arm was pulled into a piece of equipment with large rollers.

CAUSE OF HOUSE FIRE IN ONALASKA STILL UNDETERMINED

• Authorities are still trying to locate the home owner whose house caught fire in Onalaska last week. Firefighters were called about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the 1800 block of state Route 508 where they found flames inside the two story dwelling and nobody home, according to the Lewis County Fire District 1. “We were able to get to it and get it out before it did a lot of damage,” Chief Mark Conner said. The chief said the primary area was in between the ceiling on the first floor and the floor of the upper level. The interior doors were closed, limiting the spread, he said. A firefighter from Salkum sustained a shoulder injury, but took himself to the hospital, according to Conner. The cause remains under investigation, he said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, violation of protection order; responses for hit and run, misdemeanor theft, graffiti to a building … and more.