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Onalaska arrests: Big medical marijuana enterprise funded African safaris, say police

Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police seized cars, trucks, firearms and a den full of mounted animal heads from an Onalaska couple who allegedly admitted using proceeds from an overgrown personal medicinal marijuana operation to generate approximately $136,000 per year.

When James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold were contacted last week at their home on the 200 block of Griel Road, they told officers they’d been growing it for more than 15 years, but during the past five have been selling it for profit, according to the Centralia Police Department.

A search warrant was served last Thursday morning, with Centralia police, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the SWAT Team.

They turned up more than 40 pounds of marijuana processed and packaged  for sale with a street value of at least $2,000 per pound, according to police. In a shop building, they located what police described as an elaborate indoor garden with 614 plants, according to police detective Patty Finch.

The state medical marijuana law allows for up to 15 plants or 24 ounces for a qualifying patient.

According to court documents, the couple initially agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, but a detective learned James Arnold was warning people he had said he’d help apprehend, and they were arrested on Tuesday.

The Arnolds were charged in Lewis County Superior Court with manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to to deliver and with money laundering on Wednesday. Prosecutors contend it occurred within 1000 feet of school grounds and while armed with deadly weapons.

Detective Finch says the case will also be referred to the Internal Revenue Service for investigation of possible tax fraud and to state authorities for business tax evasion.

Bail was set at $25,000 for James and at $10,000 for Laveta. Their arraignments are scheduled for next Thursday at 3 p.m.

According to police and court documents, James, 55, owns Alpha Marine Installations based at the home, is a vice president of a medical marijuana dispensary in the Olympia area called Urban Medicinals as well as another location in the Tacoma area.

Among the five vehicles seized were a 1948 Ford hot rod pickup and a 1969 Chevy Corvette, according to Finch. The 33 guns included hunting rifles, assault rifles and handguns, Finch states.

Finch says Arnold admitted to purchasing all or part of the vehicles with proceeds from his marijuana growing operation, as well as financing numerous hunting safari trips to Africa to hunt large trophy animals.

Approximately 30 mounted animal heads were also taken from the home.

Law enforcement officers collected computers, personal and banking records and growing equipment along with some personal property and cell phones that all appear to be proceeds from the growing operation, according to Finch.

Court documents state Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the sheriff’s office opened a money laundering operation regarding the couple in between December and January, related to the sale of marijuana. Finch said in a news release last week’s search warrant followed several months of investigation.

The couple has no previous criminal history, according to their court files.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm

ASSAULT

• A 17-year-old Chehalis boy was arrested after a deputy responded to W.F. West High School on Wednesday afternoon where they talked with his ex-girlfriend who said he’d taken her to his house, and assaulted her because he was angry she had been hanging out with another guy, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The teenager said she’d gotten into his truck by the football field and she asked him to take her back to the school but he didn’t, according to the sheriff’s office. She said she locked herself in the bathroom and escaped out the window, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The 17-year-old was contacted and arrested for third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, Brown said.

THEFT FROM YARD

• Someone stole a yard cart from a fenced backyard on the 500 block of South Cedar Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Wednesday.

THEFT FROM PORCH

• Police were called to the 100 block of West Plum Street in Centralia on Wednesday afternoon regarding the theft of various items from a porch, including a candle holder, a table top fountain and a gas can.

THEFT FROM VEHICLE

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 200 block of East High Street regarding a stolen license plate.

VANDALISM

• An officer responded about 2 o’clock this morning to the Bank of America at the 100 block of South Pearl Street about slashed tires.

LOST AND FOUND

• Chehalis police were called about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday to Rite Aid on the 500 block of South Market Boulevard where someone had left a bag of marijuana in the store. No need to try to claim it, it was brought back to the police department for destruction, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, report of child molestation, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets … and more.

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Pinotti goes to prison, for drugs

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 8:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The 22-year-old Adna man who dodged a real bullet less than two months ago got a deal from prosecutors in his drug cases that subsequently arose, but will be going away for awhile.

Phillip A. Pinotti was initially charged with first-degree assault for allegedly trying to run down a security officer who chased him out of a Centralia courtroom and down to the next block where he was parked. The officer, who had been trying to take him into custody for a misdemeanor warrant, said he fired his gun once because he thought the escapee was trying to hit him.

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Phillip A. Pinotti, file photo

Investigations and evaluations by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the county prosecutor, an internal review board and the Centralia police chief since the events of Dec. 16 led to a very different understanding of what occurred.

Prosecutors concluded Pinotti wasn’t attempting to harm Centralia Municipal Court Security Officer Stephen Howard, so instead of an offense with a maximum penalty of life in prison, Pinotti was allowed to plead guilty to three misdemeanors and was sentenced to time served.

Howard resigned after the police chief released a report criticizing him for his actions and decision making.

But in the midst of the various reviews, and while Pinotti was out on bail, he was arrested and charged with drug crimes, one new and one from last summer.

Pinotti pleaded guilty to two felonies, both involving heroin, and he appeared before a judge yesterday to be sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court.

He faced a standard sentencing range for delivery of heroin of 12 to 20 months in prison.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher and defense attorney Don Blair both agreed to recommend to the judge that Pinotti serve 12 months and one day.

Blair told Judge Nelson Hunt his client didn’t dispute he delivered heroin, that he was a drug addict and hopefully will remain drug free.

“When he gets out, he can start getting cleaned up,” Blair said.

When asked by the judge if he wanted to make a statement on his own behalf beyond what his lawyer had shared: “No thank you, your honor,” Pinotti said. “I have nothing to add.”

Meager asked that he be given four months to be served concurrently for possession of heroin from last August.

Judge Hunt agreed with all of it, including numerous fees and court costs as well as one year of supervision after he is released.

Also yesterday morning, Zachary J. Maurer pleaded guilty in connection with the August incident.

Police had the two of them under surveillance as they went to Longview to allegedly purchase heroin and subsequently impounded their vehicle finding drugs, according to court documents.

Like Pinotti, Maurer’s charge of  possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver was lowered to a charge of possession of heroin.

Meagher said the plea deal came about in part because they couldn’t get either one to testify against the other and also because police preferred they didn’t pursue it to protect the identity of an informant.

Maurer, 25, was given a middle of the range of sentence of 18 months. Meagher said it was longer than Pinotti’s for the same offense, because Maurer had some previous convictions on his record.
•••

For background, read “Centralia court security officer who fired upon escapee quits job” from Tuesday February 10, 2015, here

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News brief: Chehalis man admits arson

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 5:59 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The retired Chehalis logger accused of a starting a fire at the house where his ex-wife and best friend were sleeping is off to prison to serve a 14 month sentence.

James R. Johnson, 65, pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree arson, second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt also ordered Johnson to pay restitution.

Johnson was arrested in December following an investigation by police into the June 1 fire that heavily damaged the home on the 900 block of B Street in Centralia. Tamara Johnson and Clint Brown escaped without injury.

Investigators subsequently learned an accelerant had been used and there had been animosity between the parties. Authorities said a flashlight found at the scene carried DNA profile that matched Johnson’s.

When Johnson was first charged, his defense attorney said he and his ex-wife had reconciled, but Masiello said he was unable to reach her to talk with her about the sentencing.

After Johnson is released, he will be under the supervision, like probation, of the Department of Corrections for 18 months, Masiello said.
•••

For background, read “Flashlight at Centralia arson scene incriminates ex-husband” from Friday December 5, 2014, here

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News brief: Centralia getting close to choosing new chief of police

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The city of Centralia is inviting the public to come and meet the five finalists for the position of police chief.

The candidates come from as far away as Illinois and as close as the Hub City. Current police Cmdr. James Rich is among them.

The open house will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, at the Centralia train depot, according to the city’s human resources director, Candice Rydalch.

“It’s just an opportunity for people to see the people, ask questions if they want,” Rydalch said.

Centralia Police Department Chief Bob Berg is retiring in May, after 11 years as chief.

Rydalch said the nationwide search brought in 20 applicants.

The five individuals will be interviewed on Tuesday, she said.

She expects the city manager will then narrow it down to one or two of them and conduct background checks before making a final selection. An announcement could come a week or two after that, she said.

The evening gathering will take place in the conference room at the south end of the depot, at 210 Railroad Avenue.

The following are the finalists:

• Rod Baker, from Sammamish
• James Held, from Libertyville, Ill.
• Carl Nielsen, from Ripon, Calif.
• James Rich, from Centralia
• Maurice Richards, from Chicago, Ill.

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News brief: Trial for accused bicycling bank robber delayed

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 1:12 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The lawyer representing suspected bank robber Larry Gene Bailey told a judge today he needed to postpone his client’s trial, as he looks into a legal issue.

“There’s a legal issue, I need to basically interview the officers in the case,” defense attorney Chris Baum said today. “That would give us time to do the interviews and file the motion.”

Baum and Bailey were in Lewis County Superior Court  this morning for a scheduled brief review hearing.

Baum didn’t say what the issue was, only that he needed to speak with all the officers.

Bailey, 52, was arrested on the morning of Jan. 26, after ditching a BMX-style bicycle on the West Street overpass in Chehalis and trying to get away from a pursuing sheriff’s deputy through a barbed wire fence. Police found $36,000 cash in his backpack.

Chase Bank on South Market Boulevard had just been robbed about 45 minutes earlier.

When he was taken to Steck Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, Bailey allegedly told the nurse he had robbed a bank.

His trial was set for the week of March 23, but the court agreed today to move it to the week of May 18. Bailey has pleaded not guilty to first-degree robbery and possession of methamphetamine.

Prosecutors believe he has four previous convictions for bank robbery, in Kansas, Eastern Washington and Western Washington.
•••

For background, read “Chase bank robbery suspect facing possible third strike, pleads not guilty” from Thursday January 29, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm

HIDING FUGITIVE

• A 46-year-old Centralia woman was arrested yesterday for rendering criminal assistance after she allegedly told police a wanted person was not inside a home on the 500 block of East Maple Street and it turned out he was. Officers responded about 11:30 a.m. because of some kind of dispute and saw Timothy P. McCann through the window, according to the Centralia Police Department. Diana Y. Eyle however, told an officer he had left out a back door, Officer John Panco said. Panco said officers concluded McCann never left and warned Eyle if she didn’t open the door, they would break through the door. Finally, she left them in and McCann was found inside, he said. Eyle, 46, was booked into the Lewis County Jail as was McCann for his warrant, according to police.

ROAD RAGE

• Police responded about 5:20 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Harrison Avenue where a driver allegedly had threatened another driver with a knife. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Someone broke into a home on the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia yesterday sometime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and stole some $3,000 worth of jewelry and other property. A list of what’s missing is still being compiled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE THEFT WINLOCK

• A deputy was called to the 400 block of Jones Road in Winlock yesterday where someone stole a truck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The white 1999 Chevrolet 1500 single-cab pickup has a license plate of B40650W, according to the sheriff’s office, and was taken between 8 a.m. on Monday and 11 a.m. yesterday. It had a diamond-plate box in the back, the sheriff’s office says.

BANK CARD ISSUE

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning regarding a report that a business credit card was used without authorization to buy a $450 gift card at Safeway. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

MISSING SS CARD

• Centralia police were contacted about 10 a.m. yesterday regarding the theft of a social security card in connection with the 500 block of East Maple Street.

DRUGS

• A 32-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night for possession of methamphetamine following a traffic stop at Main Street and Washington Avenue in Centralia. Terry S. Dunivan was found to be driving with a suspended license and a backpack in his vehicle was found to contain suspected burglary tools, drug paraphernalia and meth, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, reckless endangerment; responses for alarms, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, collision on city street … and more.

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News brief: Local builder faces theft charges for failing to remit sales tax to state

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 1:50 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Criminal charges have been filed against the co-owner of a Lewis County business who allegedly collected and kept at least $46,000 in sales tax.

Karina J. Rife, who is also accountant for the builder BK Rife Enterprises LLC, is accused of knowingly filing falsified tax returns from 2007 to 2013 to hide the company’s business activity from the state.

The Washington State Department of Revenue said in a news release today theft charges have been filed in Lewis County on its behalf.

The Department of Revenue collects retail sales sales tax and makes sure it is properly distributed to local and state government.

Agency spokesperson Kim Schmanke states Rife admitted the business used the money to pay its bills. The state agency says BK Rife Enterprises was also doing business without a valid business registration during that period, which is a felony. The registration had been revoked for unpaid taxes.

Retail sales tax is the largest source of state revenues, supporting vital services that benefit Washington’s residents and the economy, according to Schmanke.

Businesses that collect retail sales tax do so “in trust” for the state and must remit those taxes to Revenue by the due date of the tax return for the reporting period. Failure to remit the taxes constitutes theft, Schmanke states.

Rife has been summonsed to appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday afternoon.

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News brief: Voters: EMS levies in Ony, Toledo should continue

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 10:11 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Voters in the Onalaska and Toledo areas appear to overwhelmingly approve continuing their levies for emergency medical services for the fire departments.

Ballots tallied in yesterday’s special election show about 81 percent of those who voted in Lewis County Fire District 1, Onalaska, checked the “yes” box. That’s 525 people in favor compared with 122 opposed, according to the preliminary results from the Lewis County Auditor’s Office Election Department.

In Lewis County Fire District 2, Toledo, nearly 78 percent, or 755 people, voted yes compared with 214 voting no.

They only need 50 percent plus one vote to pass.

Elections Supervisor Mariann Zumbuhl estimates perhaps another 100 ballots will be counted before the vote-by-mail election is finalized.

More than 5,000 people cast ballots in the special election that also included money-raising measures in four school districts.

Each of the fire districts asked to continue for six years collecting property tax money for EMS programs at the same rate as the expiring levies.

For District 1, that is 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and for District 2, it is up to 50 cents per $1,000.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm

DRUGS, DRUGS, DRUGS

• A 66-year-old Randle resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine yesterday following an 11:15 a.m. call to Wal-Mart in Chehalis about a possible theft. John R. Baine was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 21-year-old Salkum woman was arrested for possession of heroin and methamphetamine as well as a warrant following contact with police about 11:15 p.m. yesterday at the 1100 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia. Katrina A. Howard was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Arrested and booked at the same time for a California felony warrant was Eden A. Lifesong, 30 of Olympia, according to police.

• A 27-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer about 7:50 p.m. yesterday at the 1100 block of West Main Street in Centralia. Caitlan C. Mason was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday by an individual burglarized in Thurston County who discovered their stolen credit card card was used several times in Chehalis. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THEFT FROM YARD

• Chehalis police were called about 11:40 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Southwest James Street by an individual who said he discovered the cargo doors open on his travel trailer and two people walking away. Missing were three marine batteries and a seven-gallon propane container, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about 10:40 a.m. yesterday to take a report of theft of lawn ornaments from the 1200 block of West Walnut Street.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone got into the glove box of a vehicle parked yesterday at Wal-Mart in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 1 p.m. yesterday. Missing were the registrations for the truck and a motorcycle, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

COLLISION

• Deputies think whoever was driving a 1999 Chevrolet truck found wrecked in the trees near Winlock yesterday had been heading southbound along the 300 block of  North Military Road and missed the corner. The truck is totaled, and it’s unknown who was driving it, according to the  the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, disorderly conduct, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street … and more.

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Centralia court security officer who fired upon escapee quits job

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Updated at 1:29 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia Municipal Court Security Officer Stephen Howard submitted his resignation effective today, just days after Police Chief Bob Berg issued his report indicating Howard’s use of deadly force on a person fleeing detainment on a misdemeanor warrant was inappropriate.

Berg’s findings released Thursday regarding the mid-December incident made clear Howard should not have unholstered his gun, nor even left his post to pursue the 22-year-old Adna man.

Phillip Pinotti was struck by the broken glass from his car window, but not by the bullet that was later found on his passenger seat.

In a news release distributed this morning, Berg states the resignation means any personnel issues regarding the shooting are now closed.

The chief noted that he appreciates Howard’s service to the community and his long term commitment to the law enforcement profession.

“In terms of moving forward, there are lessons the department has learned regarding policies and procedures as well as training and documentation for individuals assigned to this duty,” Berg stated.

Howard, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, had been employed by the city for just short of four months when the incident occurred. He worked one day each week, as a limited commission officer.

A review by the county prosecutor found Howard’s firing of his weapon was not unlawful, but an internal shooting review board concluded it was a violation of department policy.

Howard said he fired his gun once because he thought Pinotti was trying to run him down with his car, but the prosecutor, the shooting review board and the police chief, in varying degrees, indicated they didn’t believe that’s what happened.

It was the morning of Dec. 16 when Pinotti slipped away as Howard was handcuffing him in Centralia Municipal Court and ran to the next block where his car was parked on Maple Street, got inside of it and locked his door. Witnesses described Howard striking the window with his gun, something Howard said he didn’t recall happening.

Chief Berg wrote in his determination last week, that based on the physical evidence, such as the trajectory of the bullet and statements from witnesses, it was quite possible the gun’s discharge was accidental.

Howard was put on administrative leave while the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer issued his conclusions on Jan. 7.

The internal review board – called both the Use of Force Review Board and the Shooting Review Board – met on Jan. 13 and forwarded its recommendations to the police chief on Jan. 23.

Berg said Howard returned to work on Jan. 20, following the completion of the criminal investigation by the prosecuting attorney.

Pinotti pleaded guilty to third-degree escape and two related misdemeanors on Jan. 14.

Last Thursday when the chief issued his determinations about Howard’s actions, he noted a personnel decision would be made after a discussion with Howard; it’s not clear whether the two talked before Howard submitted his resignation.

Berg says the department will begin the process of selecting a replacement for the position.

In his short statement, Berg included:

“It is paramount that the public we serve have confidence in their police department, both in terms of the actions we take in performing our duties, as well as the manner in which those actions are reviewed.”
•••

For background, read “Chief Berg: Shooting at fleeing man was outside police department policy” from Thursday February 5, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 9, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Updated at 3:25 p.m.

BAT THREAT ALLEGED

• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree assault last night after he allegedly threatened his girlfriend with a bat. Terry R. Griffis was booked into the Lewis County Jail following the approximately 11:30 p.m. incident at the 2400 block of Seward Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. He is being released without any criminal charge filed pending further investigation.

UNRULY PEOPLE

• Centralia police arrested a 42-year-old homeless man yesterday evening for allegedly trying to start fights with several people at the 1200 block of Alder Street. Michael A. Kauer was booked into the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 24-year-old Centralia man approached by a deputy responding to a report of a dispute reportedly used threatening language and clenched his fists so he was detained with the use of a Taser on Friday morning at the 100 block of Centralia-Alpha Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office reports that after Cruz D. Chamberlin was cuffed and put into a patrol car he spit on the door and elsewhere, causing it to be taken out of service for sanitation. Chamberlin was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief and other charges are being suggested, such as harassment, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said Chamberlin slapped a female who had been telling him to settle down and she was arrested as well for a warrant.

FELINE ATTACKED

• Chehalis police were called on Friday afternoon to  report a cat was killed by neighbor dogs on Southwest Chehalis Avenue. The incident is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BB DANGER

• A case involving two juveniles was referred to prosecutors for charges of reckless endangerment after they allegedly shot BBs through the window of a business at the 100 block of Second Street in Morton while customers were inside on Saturday.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police yesterday morning took a report of a vehicle stolen overnight and then learned it had been discovered abandoned and was impounded, in connection with an address on the 300 block of North Diamond Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 31-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for a warrant and also for possession of methamphetamine following contact with police about 3:35 .m. today at Tower Avenue and Main Street in Centralia. Aaron D. Skidmore was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 25-year-old Centralia man getting arrested for outstanding warrants about 1:30 p.m. yesterday was also arrested for possession of methamphetamine when a glass pipe with a crystalline substance was found in his pants pocket. Travis C. Harris was contacted at the 600 block of West Main Street in Centralia and then booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 19-year-old Kelso resident was arrested very early yesterday morning for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, according to the Centralia Police Department. Taven B Albright was booked into the Lewis County Jail in a case associated with the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to police. Prosecutors declined to file a criminal charge.

GOLDILOCKS

• Chehalis police were called to a vacant home where it appears someone has been staying at the 700 block of Southwest McFadden Avenue. Nothing appeared to be missing, following the Friday morning discovery, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called yesterday afternoon about a tire on a vehicle getting slashed while its owner was shopping at the 1200 block of Lum Road in Centralia.

COLLISIONS

• A 15-year-old girl on a dirt bike and a 15-year-old boy on an ATV collided at the 100 block of Lincoln Creek Road yesterday. They and a 14-year-old passenger were all ejected but were all wearing helmets, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was responding to a complaint of teens racing around Galvin at about 2:30 p.m. and learned they had been looking for a friend, according to the sheriff’s office. The three were taken to the hospital for possible injuries and their parent notified, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Both drivers were to be cited for reckless driving, Brown said.

• Police responded about 9:10 p.m. yesterday when a pedestrian was struck by a slowly moving vehicle at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue. in Centralia. The victim sustained a minor injury, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 54-year-old Toledo man was arrested early yesterday morning for driving under the influence after he caused major damage to his car when it left the roadway at the 5600 block Jackson Highway near Toledo and got stuck in a ditch, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports. Frank Bertucci was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, failure to transfer vehicle title; responses for alarms, dispute, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, possible overdose, misdemeanor theft … and more.

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News brief: Fire consumes farm house, pet presumed deceased

Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 5:27 pm
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Firefighters send a stream of water into the flames at the 200 block of Taylor Road. / Courtesy photo by Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A two-story farm house south of Chehalis burned to the ground yesterday; the cause is under investigation.

“The house is a total loss,” Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Gregg Peterson said. “We were there probably four hours on the scene, and returned throughout the night.”

Peterson said nobody was hurt and the residents were not home, but their dog was, and is presumed dead.

His crews were joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 6 and 1 in answering the approximately 4 p.m. call to the  200 block of Taylor Road, he said. Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue is the new name for Lewis County Fire District 5.

They got numerous calls from neighbors and found the structure pretty well involved in flames when they arrived, Peterson said. Several explosions were presumed to be propane tanks and ammunition in the house going off, he said.

“There were no hydrants in the area, so it had to be done with tenders,” he said.

Peterson said he understood from the owner it was the original home on Taylor Road. The residents, who he believed to be three people, two of them brothers, lost everything, he said.

The residents and the Red Cross have been in touch with each other, he said.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm

CAR SHOT UP IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded about 2 o’clock this morning to a parked car that was fired upon at the 1200 block of Mellen Street. Police report the vehicle was shot five times by an individual they have identified. The case was referred over to detectives for further investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT IN CENTRALIA

• A battery and propane were stolen from an RV at the 800 block of West Third Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 3:30 p.m. yesterday.

FINGER RESCUE

• Chehalis firefighters stayed behind after a male was injured trying to jump a fence yesterday evening behind Home Depot to retrieve his index finger. It was around 6:20 p.m. when they were called and medics took the patient to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. They found it in the cyclone fence, used a saw to cut a section of fence around it, and then took it over to the emergency room so hopefully it could be reattached, Fire Capt. Rob Gebhart said.

STRUCTURE FIRE SOUTH OF CHEHALIS

• Firefighters responded to a house fire about 4 p.m. today south of Chehalis. Nobody was home and nobody was hurt, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. District 6 Firefighter Greg Folwell said they assisted District 5 with the blaze. The structure on the 200 block of Taylor Road was fully involved in flames when they arrived, Folwell said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespass, reckless burning, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor theft, collisions on Centralia city streets including a two-car minor accident around 12:30 p.m. yesterday at the 1700 block of South Gold Street; a three-vehicle accident about 12:45 p.m. at Harrison Avenue at High Street; and a two-vehicle accident about 3:20 p.m. on the 1100 block of South Gold Street … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Updated at 1:54 p.m.

GUN THREAT LANDS MAN IN JAIL

• A 22-year-old Chehalis area man was arrested last night after he allegedly said during a dispute with a woman outside a home on the 200 block of Clinton Road he was going to shoot her current boyfriend in the head. The 32-year-old boyfriend told deputies he was inside the residence, could hear the remarks and was in fear the threat was going to be carried out, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responding just before 9 p.m. were told by another individual they had seen John R. Estes III holding a 9 mm pistol in his hand, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning. Estes was located outside a home on the 400 block of Spooner Road, unarmed, and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Brown. Brown did not say why Estes was upset.

VIRTUAL THREAT LANDS BOY IN LOCKUP

• Centralia police arrested a teenage boy on Wednesday night for cyberstalking, after he allegedly threatened on the Internet to kill someone. Further details were not readily available, although the case is associated with an address on the 1500 block of Lewis Street in Centralia.

ATTEMPTED CONVERSATION GETS MAN JAILED

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning they arrested a 46-year-old man who allegedly early on Wednesday morning crawled through a window of a residence in Toledo where a woman and her six children had a protection order against him. Joel Harger, of Rochester, said he wanted to talk, a deputy was told. Harger subsequently turned himself in and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.

VIOLENCE AND THEFT

• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to a motel on the 1000 block of Eckerson Road where a boyfriend allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and took her debit card. The boyfriend is being sought for questioning for robbery, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 26-year-old homeless man was arrested for second-degree robbery yesterday after he allegedly fought with store security who attempted to detain him for shoplifting. Police responded about 5:35 p.m. to the 500 block of South Tower Avenue and subsequently booked Martin A. Ridinger into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT IN CENTRALIA

• A home on the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia was burglarized, according to a report made to police about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

• Police were called about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday to the 1200 block of Elm Street in Centralia where a garage was broken into.

FRAUD IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday by a cardholder alleging fraudulent purchases associated with a location on Northwest State Avenue. An officer is waiting for further information, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon of a vehicle prowl on Southwest Third Avenue in which medication and a CD case were missing.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A Centralia father accused of shoving his 6-year-old child’s head into a wall pleaded guilty yesterday to a lesser charge, in a negotiated plea agreement. Aaron R.J. Zucati will be sentenced on Feb. 11 in Lewis County Superior Court. Zucati made a so-called Alford plea to fourth-degree assault, not admitting guilt but agreeing if a judge or jury read and believed the prosecutor’s version of events, it would be highly likely he would be found guilty. Zucati, 33, was charged in November with third-degree assault of a child following an investigation by Centralia police. Prosecutors alleged he shoved the little girl’s head into the wall, angry because she and her four siblings were talking and not just eating dinner quietly. Police found a hole in the wall Zucati said came from the child’s elbow. Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge yesterday that while the other children’s version of what occurred remained pretty consistent, the 6-year-old said her head was slammed against the wall 10 times and later said it was one time. Halstead also noted numerous issues behind the scenes between Zucati and the mother with allegations of manipulation of the children. Fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

FIRE INVESTIGATION

• The cause of a fire last week at Winlock home remains under investigation. Firefighters called about 12:45 p.m. a week ago Wednesday to the 400 block of Northwest Columbia Avenue found fire in an area of a garage converted to living quarters, according to authorities. “We got a pretty good knock down and that helped, but there was a lot smoke damage,” Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said. Winlock Police Department Chief Terry Williams said he’s still waiting to hear back from the investigator as to what ignited the fire.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for misdemeanor theft; responses for alarms, misdemeanor domestic assault, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, collisions on city streets and county roads … and more.

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Chief Berg: Shooting at fleeing man was outside police department policy

Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Updated at 9:24p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg has concluded it was a violation of department policy when Centralia Municipal Court Security Officer Steve Howard fired upon the 22-year-old Adna man who fled an attempted misdemeanor warrant arrest in December.

In his findings released this afternoon, Berg makes clear it was not reasonable to pursue Phillip Pinotti, or for Howard to unholster his weapon.

Howard said he fired his gun once because he thought Pinotti was trying to run him down with his car.

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Centralia Municipal Court

Berg writes that given Howard’s self-described position in relation to the car, it would have impossible for the vehicle to strike him.

Whether Howard keeps his job hasn’t yet been decided, according to the chief.

Berg made his determinations following receiving the  recommendations of an internal shooting review board. The Lewis County prosecutor already found last month that Howard’s actions were legal under the laws of the state of Washington.

The shooting review board concluded: “While Officer Howard’s discharge of his weapon may have been lawful, the board found that it was not an appropriate application of force.”

“Further it was clear that reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force existed,” the board wrote.

Berg agreed, and wrote the use of deadly force by a police officer is one of the most serious and potentially life-changing events an officer will ever face. That is why departmental policies are much more restrictive than state law, he wrote.

It was the morning of Dec. 16 when the Adna man was being handcuffed at the end of a hearing in Centralia Municipal Court.

Pinotti was there for arraignment on a charge of driving under the influence, and the judge had seen he was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appear in Chehalis Municipal Court, in connection with a third-degree theft and ordered he be taken into custody.

Pinotti slipped away from the court security officer and ran to the next block where his car was parked on Maple Street.

The accounts of what happened next come from court documents in which Pinotti was initially charged with first-degree assault – although that charge was subsequently dropped – and also from Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer’s analysis of Howard’s actions.

Officer Howard gave repeated commands to Pinotti to stop and surrender. Pinotti got into his car, and locked the door.

The car either lurched forward or it didn’t and Pinotti put the vehicle in reverse and backed down Maple Street at a high rate of speed. Only Officer Howard spoke of the car lurching forward.

Pinotti thought Howard had swung his gun twice into his window breaking it; he didn’t hear a gunshot and didn’t know the gun was fired until he spoke with others later.

Howard didn’t recall doing that; he stated he tried to open the door with his left hand, and as the vehicle began to move, he stepped back and fired, according to Berg.

Chief Berg wrote that based on the physical evidence, such as the trajectory of the bullet and statements from witnesses, it’s quite possible the gun’s discharge was accidental.

“This is not to question the veracity of Officer Howard,” Berg wrote. “Rather it is an acknowledgement that memory is not exact as evidenced by varying accounts of the incident from the perspective of witnesses interviewed.”

Chief Berg went on to describe how an officer striking a vehicle’s window with a gun is dangerous and inappropriate, as well as how trying to open a car door with one hand while holding a firearm in the other is also a questionable tactic.

The shooting review board also recommended to the chief a modification to an existing policy regarding foot pursuits, with which the chief agreed.

Berg wrote: “(W)hile it would seem to be a matter of common sense, there is no language to specifically indicate that officers should consider the seriousness of the predicate offense in deciding whether to initiate or continue a foot pursuit.”

Howard has a limited commission, handling courtroom security for the city. The retired California Highway Patrol officer had been working for the city for just short of four months when the incident occurred.

Current Centralia Police Department policy says whenever an individual is remanded into custody, the court security officer should whenever possible call upon another officer to do that.

Berg indicated he would modify that to expressly prohibit the court security officer from leaving the post to pursue an escapee.

The chief also wrote that Howard’s training for his assigned duties was sufficient, but acknowledged the sessions should be formally documented and made part of the training file.

He also wrote the court security officer ought to be required to complete the same written examination on use of force policies as the regular police officers.

In his summary, Berg noted Pinotti was a known misdemeanor suspect who posed no immediate threat to the officer or the public.

While stating it would have been impossible for the vehicle to strike Howard when it moved, Berg wrote that Howard’s belief, was probably sincere, but was not objectively reasonable.

Berg ended by writing the final disposition of the incident as a personnel matter would be determined after discussion with Officer Howard.

Pinotti wasn’t injured by the bullet that was found on the passenger seat of his car, but his face was cut from glass fragments.

He was found the following day hiding at a friend’s residence in Chehalis, and charged with first-degree assault – for allegedly trying to run down Howard – and with third-degree escape and with tampering with evidence, for having friends hide his car.

Elected Prosecutor Meyer subsequently dropped the first-degree assault charge, concluding there was no intent on the part of Pinotti to injure the officer, he was only trying to get away.

Pinotti pleaded guilty last month to three misdemeanors in connection with the case. He has since also pleaded guilty to two felony drug charges that arose after the shooting.

Read Berg’s findings and determinations here

•••

For background, read “Charge of assault that prompted officer to shoot, dropped for Adna resident” from Thursday January 8, 2015, here

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News brief: Service station worker interrupts attempted theft of ATM machine in Adna

Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A gas station employee arriving to open up early this morning outside of Chehalis discovered someone inside trying to bust open an ATM machine.

As she pulled into the parking lot, and noticed a broken window, a male jumped out the window and took off, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened just before 3 a.m., Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

A search of the area and a track by the Chehalis police dog failed to turn up the burglar, according to Brown. Deputies are working on getting surveillance images, Brown said.

The Hillcrest 76 Gas Station sits on the corner of state Route 6 and   Highway 603 in Adna.

Brown said the male ran west on state Route 6 and it is believed he may have jumped into the Chehalis River to get away.

Deputies found a sledge hammer and crowbar left behind, and concluded that when he could not break open the machine, he dragged it over to the broken window, on the state Route 6 side of the building.

That’s when the worker showed up, according to Brown.

Brown is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the sheriff’s office or Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

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Wrong “gang aggravator” gets Centralia man new, shorter sentence

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 7:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An appeals court reversed an exceptionally long sentence given to a purported Centralia gang member and remanded the case for resentencing within the standard range.

Joshua Rhoades was convicted by a jury of second-degree assault in the spring of 2013 for fight on a Centralia street in which a 17-year-old boy was knocked unconscious. Rhoades, then 32 years old, was given nearly the 10 year maximum, allowed because of a special gang finding by the jury.

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Joshua Rhoades at 2013 sentencing hearing.

The opinion issued yesterday states that prosecutors did not provide constitutionally sufficient notice of their intent to seek an exceptional sentence.

The standard sentencing range is 65 to 82 months.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler imposed  10 months less than 10 years, and ordered 10 months of supervision by the state Department of Corrections upon Rhoades’ release.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeals Division II found the language regarding the aggravating circumstance alleged in the charging document was different from that given to the jury in their instructions.

“The Washington and federal constitutions entitle criminal defendants to adequate notice of the nature and cause of the accusation, so that they may prepare a defense,” wrote Judge Thomas R Bjorgen who authored the opinion.

Rhoades and his appeals lawyer contended the court submitted to the jury an aggravating circumstance instruction, that Rhoades committed the crime with the intent to benefit a criminal street gangs, while the circumstance alleged in the information was that Rhoades committed the crime to obtain or maintain membership or advance his position in an identifiable group.

“On its face, then, the substitution of one aggravator for the other resulted in inadequate notice that likely prejudiced the defendant’s ability to prepare a defense,” Bjorgen wrote.

Judges Bradley A. Maxa and Rich Melnick concurred.

Prosecutors said during his trial that Rhoades jumped out of a car, flashing gang signs and asking the teen and his two friends if they knew who he was and if they were  rival “Nortenos”. The teenager Dustin McLean testified Rhoades held a closed knife in his fist as he struck him. Prosecutors told the jury Rhoades was well known to Centralia police, who said he was the leader of the LVL .

LVL stands for Little Valley Locos or Little Valley Lokotes a gang locally made up mostly of individuals who grew up in Centralia when it was particularly active in the summer of 2007. Police say Rhoades goes by the street name Spooker.

In his appeal, Rhoades submitted several additional claims for review which the appeals judges either rejected or declined to review.

The appeals document shows he is housed at Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Rhoades was represented at trial by Chehalis defense attorney Chris Baum, a former deputy prosecutor. The state’s case was presented by Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke who is now a defense attorney.
•••

For background, read “Centralia’s “Spooker” gets extra prison time for assault due to gang affiliation from Wednesday July 10, 2013, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 10:48 am

Updated at 11:58 a.m.

ANOTHER ELDERLY PERSON VICTIMIZED BY PHONE FRAUD

• A 91-year-old Toledo area woman was suckered out of $28,000 before a family member discovered someone had been phoning her and claiming she’d won a lottery worth a half million dollars, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the incidents took place between mid-December and yesterday, and the woman had been told she needed to send money, which she did five times. The family was able to intercept two checks for $10,000, Brown said. The family closed the woman’s checking account and changed her phone number, Brown said. Local law enforcement has been urging the public to be proactive and take time to educate and inform their older family members about the various schemes, as there has been an increase in such scams in Lewis County.

MORE FRAUD

• Chehalis police are investigating a possible fraud case in which a female has been getting notifications of purchases she did not make. It was reported yesterday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AUTO THEFT

• A white 1997 Honda Civic was stolen from the 600 block of M Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 4 p.m. yesterday. The car has a license plate reading AJN 9380, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by an individual whose cell phone was possibly stolen from their vehicle while parked at Wal-Mart.

CLOSE CALL ON BRIDGE

• Centralia police report that two vehicles struck mirrors while passing on the North Pearl Street bridge near Reynolds Avenue about 8 p.m. last night and one of them continued on without stopping.

MAN AIRLIFTED AFTER CRASHING INTO TREE

• A driver was injured when he was ejected in a single-vehicle rollover accident yesterday afternoon in Grand Mound. Firefighters called about 3:30 p.m. report the car collided with a tree near James Road and Denmark Street. The lone occupant, an adult male, was airlifted out of Rochester High School, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Department spokesperson Lt. Lanette Dyer said she believed the man was being flown to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, but they may have diverted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

ELK VERSUS PICKUP TRUCK

• Two men were reportedly uninjured when their vehicle collided with two elk yesterday on U.S. Highway 12 just east of Packwood. Deputies responded about 5:45 p.m. to the scene where the 2013 Toyota Tundra sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver, a 38-year-old Longview man, was traveling eastbound when the elk ran into the road, according to the sheriff’s office. Both men had been wearing their seat belts, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The driver was cited for no valid operators license.

LOG TRUCK LOSES LOADED TRAILER

• A 35-year-old log truck driver from Pe Ell man escaped with only minor injuries and a citation when his trailer disconnected from his truck yesterday afternoon north of Winlock. The 1993 Kenworth was traveling along the 300 block of Pleasant Valley Road when the coupling device malfunctioned, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The incident caused the loaded trailer to go into the ditch and the truck to rollover, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Firefighters responding around 2 p.m. report he had only minor injuries. The sheriff’s office reports he was uninjured. The man was cited for defective equipment and the truck and trailer, both totaled, were taken out of service, Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, collisions on city streets, motorcycle wreck on county road … and more.

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News brief: State patrol concerned about crash photos posted online

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 10:43 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Troopers are asking social media users to think twice before sharing pictures or information about tragic incidents on the roadways.

Social media has become an important part of everyday life, but in the case of serious collisions the consequences of posting photos include the possibility someone may learn of the death of a family member under less than ideal circumstances, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Trooper Will Finn last month wrote of a case in which a Randle woman arrived at the scene of her husband’s fatal collision with a semi truck on U.S. Highway 12 after reading about the wreck on Facebook.

Troopers were stunned and extremely concerned for her emotional well being, according to Finn.

“Troopers were faced with the difficult task of telling Mrs. Sume her husband had died while she looked at the wreckage of the scene,” Finn wrote.

Trooper Finn is the designated spokesperson for the state patrol in Southwest Washington.

Finn says the task of notifying family members of a loved one’s passing is already difficult and painful and under ordinary circumstances, part of their job includes working to help bring comfort to a grieving family in various ways.

“The comfort may be given by staying with a wife who is home alone until a friend or family member can be with them,” Finn  writes. “The comfort may also be given by answering a specific question about the investigation.”

If a family learns of their loss via social media, those opportunities can be lost, according to Finn.

The Jan. 4 wreck near Randle in which 52-year-old Jay E. Sume was killed isn’t the first time social media has made a bad situation worse, according to Finn.

Roughly a year earlier, a Vancouver woman unknowingly tweeted her own husband’s death and subsequently began asking questions through social media to confirm her suspicions, Finn writes.

Last spring also in Vancouver, a motorist trying to capture images of troopers investigating a deadly wreck for social media caused a second accident that resulted in serious injuries.

Finn acknowledges the important role social media has, in informing the public of impending dangers and offering critical information during significant events. But he asks people to think before posting, to think of the family that could be affected by the words or photos shared.

His suggestion is that tweeting or posting just bare facts is sufficient, such as “Road closed, use alternate route.”

Finn says the state patrol at times shares pictures with the public via social media. He says they don’t post photos until families have been notified.

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Read about former Montesano police chief off to prison …

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 9:30 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Aberdeen) Daily World reports a one-time finalist for the position of chief of police in Chehalis has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Ray Sowers, one of four finalists in Chehalis in 2006, resigned as the police chief in Montesano in 2010 in connection with theft of public money, according to news reporter Corey Morris.

Morris writes Sowers was removed from Pierce County Drug Court last fall, following his conviction for stealing liquor from a grocery store and his arrest when large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine were found in his apartment.

Read about it here

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Grand Mound: Five hour standoff results in arrests for stolen vehicle, warrants

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two Thurston County men were taken into custody after an hours long standoff in Grand Mound today that began with a stolen vehicle spotted in a driveway by a deputy.

Steven D Pierce, 37, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant out of Centralia Municipal Court and has been booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to authorities.

Harry I. Richcreek, 42, was booked into the Thurston County Jail for possession of a stolen vehicle, and was said to have a felony warrant out of California for auto theft, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident began about 8:30 a.m. when a sheriff’s deputy responded to a call from a neighbor who reported seeing activity throughout the night at a home thought to be vacant, according to the sheriff’s office.

When the deputy arrived to the 19100 block of Apricot Street Southwest, he saw a man get out of a vehicle and go inside and a check on its license plate showed it was stolen in Lacey on Saturday, according to Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.

Ziesemer said in a news release that other deputies responded to assist, and after numerous attempts to contact the people inside, two women came out.

The sheriff’s office learned the man was wanted for car theft in California, was armed with a pistol, and a second man was with him, according to Ziesemer. They also learned the women were a mother and daughter who rented the home, and the men were friends of the daughter, according to Ziesemer.

“Repeated attempts were made to have the two remaining people exit the house but (we) received no response,” Ziesemer stated.

The Thurston County SWAT team was activated, and after many more tries to coax the men out, the team made entry at about 1:25 p.m., the lieutenant wrote.

Pierce was found hiding in a bedroom and Richcreek refused to come out from the crawl space beneath the mobile hime, according to the sheriff’s office. Ziesemer said a police dog went in and forced him out.

Richcreek ended up with bite wounds to his buttocks, and although he struck the police dog Rex while they tussled, the dog was unhurt, according to Ziesemer.

No gun was located, he said.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm

RECKLESS WRECK

• A 32-year-old Centralia man was cited for reckless driving after he reportedly struck an oncoming car while trying to pass along the 2200 block of Harrison Avenue yesterday evening. in Centralia. Deputies called at 6:20 p.m. were told that James M. Sedrick was making unsafe passes and may have sideswiped another vehicle before the accident, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A witness said when Sedrick tried to pass another vehicle he attempted to get back into his lane, but there wasn’t enough room, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said his 1996 Suzuki Swift and the 1999 Honda Accord were both totaled. He, as well as the three occupants of the Honda, were all wearing seat belts, Brown said. All four went to the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Brown. None of the injuries were described as serious.

BURGLARY

• Centralia police were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a break-in to a business not currently occupied at the 800 block of North Tower Avenue. The owner is compiling a list of missing property, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Suspected methamphetamine was found in the pocket of a shoplifting suspect last night at a Centralia Outlet store on the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia, according to police. JoAnne C. Ackley, 31, of Elma, was contacted about 6:50 p.m., found to have a stolen item and was subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence; responses for suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft, broken windows, a vehicle getting “keyed” … and more.