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News brief: Man brings home dynamite found in Ethel-area woods

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Washington State Patrol was to remove a crate of dynamite this morning discovered partially buried in the woods on a man’s property southwest of Ethel.

The man called the sheriff’s office last night after taking eight “bricks” home with him, of approximately 300 yellow bricks in a box marked U.S. Military, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown suggested it could have been part of a large supply of explosives hidden around the nearby farm of a 56-year-old man who was killed by an explosion in December of 1998.

The man worked in the explosives industry and was known to use dynamite to blow up stumps on his property on the 200 block of Classe Road, Brown stated in a news release.

“It was believed at the time of his death, he had placed the dynamite in the back of his tractor-trailer, and was traversing his property when the dynamite exploded,” Brown stated.

At the time, authorities searched for and disposed of several boxes of dynamite, but there was concern there could be more hidden, according to Brown.

Last night, a bomb technician responded to the 100 block of Spotted Doe Lane examine the new find and concluded the explosives were stable, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield in the news release indicated the outcome of this incident could have turned out bad, and served as a reminder for folks not to touch or transport items they find and suspect are explosives, but to instead call 911 immediately.

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Dispute, gunshot draws law enforcement to state Route 6 intersection

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm
2013.0416.76dispute_2

Detectives, deputies and Chehalis police patrol vehicles gather at the north end of Highway 603 near Chehalis this morning.

Updated at 2:31 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputies are congregating around Highway 603 at state Route 6 west of Chehalis after an incident outside the 76 gas station there.

“I heard a ‘bang’,” clerk Chelsea Hamilton said.

Her co-worker said he walked outside when someone hollered for him to call 911 around 10:15 a.m.

Pete Holmstedt saw a small gray car like a Kia trying to get out of the ditch, and heard a lot of yelling before a gray Jeep sped south down Highway 603, he said.

Holmstedt said he didn’t see which way the small car went.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Bruce Kimsey said he was still trying to piece together what occurred. The call was for a dispute, Kimsey said.

Deputies were initially called about shots fired, but have no victim, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses have said they saw someone throw a gun, and also saw someone flee on foot, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

A K-9 was brought out to conduct a track.

A guy who appeared to be hiding has been spotted by the river, Brown said about 2:15 p.m.

“There’s somebody running from us, we don’t know if it’s a suspect or a victim,” she said. Or possibly even a witness who is scared, she added.

Initial reports are that three vehicles were involved. Brown said a trooper and deputies stopped a gray Jeep Cherokee on state Route 6 at milepost 38, but the two men and one woman said they were not involved.

They said a shot was fired and they left to go home to South Bend, Brown said. The three were briefly detained and then let go, she said

 

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

THEFT

• A 47-year-old Wal-Mart employee was arrested last night for first-degree theft, for allegedly stealing iPods at her workplace. It was an internal investigation with suspected losses of about $3,000 in merchandise, Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Theresa L. Carter, 47, of Salkum, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Wilson.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning by a Shelton resident who said they found their stolen boat offered on Craigslist, for sale in Chehalis. Officers are waiting for further information to determine if it the same boat and if it is actually in Chehalis, according to police.

•  Chehalis police were called about 4:40 p.m. to Wal-Mart for an individual who allegedly stole a Sonicare-type toothbrush and exchanged it for a gift card. Officers chased down a 23-year-old man  and discovered he had an outstanding warrant, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Fernando Aguilar, a homeless person from the Centralia area, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to detective Sgt. Gary WIlson. The toothbrush incident will be passed along to prosecutors for a possible charge of second-degree theft, Wilson said.

FIGHT

• Chehalis police were called last night to Green Hill school to take a report about multiple assaults between inmates. Further details are not readily available.

DRUGS

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of heroin after his warrant arrest about 1:50 p.m. yesterday at West Cherry and South Pearl streets in Centralia. An officer saw a couple walking, knew the woman had an outstanding warrant, stopped and found David J. Lyon had a warrant as well, according to police. Lyon had a trace amount of suspected heroin on his person, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Samantha H. Jackson, 21, also of Centralia, was booked for her warrant, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report about 11 a.m. yesterday from the 1300 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia that someone shot at a window with what appeared to have been a BB gun.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for family disturbance, suspicious circumstances; complaints of someone sleeping in an apartment complexes common area, loose dog chasing cars, vagrants walking between retail stores … and more.

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News brief: Another Centralian wakes up to flames

Monday, April 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A smoke detector may have saved the life of Centralia man who was alerted to a fire inside his home late yesterday afternoon, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The single adult male occupant was sleeping – or maybe cat napping – when a fire broke out inside the older, single-wide mobile home he rents at the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue, Acting Capt. Jesse Berry said.

“I think he tried for a split second to extinguish it, and then got out,” Berry said.

Firefighters called just after 5 p.m. attacked the blaze through a side door and had it knocked down within 10 minutes, Berry said.

The man was not injured, but Red Cross was contacted to help him with a place to stay, according to Berry.

There was smoke damage throughout the home and fire damage in the kitchen, also extending into the living room, he said.

Berry said it helped that the call was just blocks from the fire station, so the response time was short, but said the importance of the working smoke detector was “phenomenal.”

The cause is under investigation.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Updated at 2:57 p.m.

DRUGS

• A 38-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested when police served a search warrant an apartment on Southwest Chehalis Avenue on Friday afternoon. Heather L. Smith was booked into the Lewis County Jail for delivery of drugs based on an ongoing investigation, according to Chehalis police. Officers found pills and suspected heroin they are getting tested, detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said. One 11-year-old child was taken into the custody of Child Protective Services and another female spotted in the area was arrested in an unrelated matter; for an outstanding warrant, Wilson said.

NAPAVINE BURGLARY ARREST

• Napavine police said today they arrested a suspect in last week’s Frosty’s Saloon and Grill burglary in which thousands of dollars were stolen. Lonzo W. Lawson III was arrested on Friday at a motel in Chehalis on Southwest Interstate Avenue, Napavine Officer Silas Elwood said. Elwood said they had some cooperating witnessing, tips, that led police right to him. Elwood described Lawson as a transient with no known connections to Frosty’s. However, Elwood said, it sounds like Lawson had information from someone who knew the building and its possible another arrest could follow. Lawson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, theft and trafficking in stolen property, Elwood said.

ATTEMPTED BREAK-INS

• Centralia police report the back door to a vacant residence was found kicked in yesterday at the 900 block of North Washington Avenue. Nothing appeared to b missing and no other damage was discovered, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called to to Southwest Fifth Street on Friday morning where it appeared someone tried to pry open a garage door, according to police.

WRECKS

• A 26-year-old Chehalis man ended up with several broken bones in his legs when he allegedly blew a stop sign and struck a pickup truck at Highway 603 and Harmon Road northwest of Napavine on Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The unnamed motorist was cited for driving recklessly and with a suspended license after the two-vehicle collision just before 2 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. He was also flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with non-life threatening injuries, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said his 25-year-old passenger from Morton was transported to Provide Centralia Hospital with a possible broken leg and two men in the 2001 Dodge pickup which was involved were taken to Providence to be checked out. The causing driver’s Honda Civic was described as totaled.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a stuck accelerator is the cause of an 11 p.m. Thursday single-vehicle wreck in Onalaska in which a 26-year-old man ran into a utility pole. It happened at Leonard Road and Main Street, according to the sheriff’s office. The driver suffered scratches, bumps and bruises and totaled his Dodge pickup, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was cited for no insurance, according to Brown.

• Nobody was hospitalized but two vehicles sustained major damage  when they collided just before 11 a.m. on Friday at Jackson Highway and Bishop Road outside Chehalis. A 50-year-old motorist from Chehalis turned in front of a 38-year-old Chehalis motorist attempting to make a left turn, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

NOT A WRECK

• A 52-year-old Toledo man was jailed on Saturday evening when he was found passed out behind the steering wheel of his vehicle parked behind a gas station at the 400 block of state Route 506 in Toledo. A deputy arrested Keith F. Tabor at about 8 p.m. for being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, DUI; responses for non-injury collisions, people accidentally dialing 911; complaints of disorderly persons, complaints of noisy neighbors, complaints of people behaving strangely,  … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY VEHICLE ON U.S. HIGHWAY 12

• A 24-year-old Yakima man was hospitalized after he was hit by a car as he assisted a disabled motorist on U.S. Highway 12 near Packwood yesterday afternoon. The pedestrian, Jesse A. Stillwaugh, was struck by a westbound Subaru Outback that came around a curve and was unable to stop because of a hill and poor road conditions, according to the Washington State Patrol. A trooper called about 4:20 p.m. to the scene about 10 miles east of Packwood, noted that there was no shoulder where it happened. Stillwaugh was transported to a Yakima hospital, according to the state patrol. No citation was issued to the Subaru driver, a man from Tacoma, according to the investigating trooper.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 12:30 a.m. today to a burglary at the 1000 block of Mellen Street. An amplifier to a car stereo is missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police reported yesterday an officer was called about the theft of pain medication from the 300 block of East Magnolia Street in Centralia the day before.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, DUIs, driving with suspended licenses, calls for misdemeanor assault, non-injury collision … and more.

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News brief: Centralia household awakens to fire

Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called about 1:20 a.m. today to the 1800 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia found flames in the front of a house on the porch.

Two adults had seen a glow outside their bedroom window and evacuated four children after unsuccessfully attempting to douse the fire, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

A dozen firefighters extinguished the blaze, according to Capt. Scott Weinert.

“The fire was quickly knocked down, it looks like minimal extension into the house,” Weinert said.

The adult male said he’d disposed of debris from the fireplace into a garbage can on the porch; he believed it to be cool, Weinert said.

The damage is estimated at $32,000.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Updated

ASSAULTS UNDER INVESTIGATION

• Police are investigating after an individual contacted police in Olympia early this morning and reported he was beat up at a Centralia gas station on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. The victim said two unknown individuals approached him, knocked him to the ground and kicked him around, according to the Centralia Police Department. Centralia police noted the male drove to the Olympia area and called 911 from his girlfriend’s home, even though he had a cell phone with him.

• Centralia police yesterday morning began investigating a child assault, in which they are looking for a known suspect. No one had been arrested as of this afternoon, and further details are not available, according to Sgt. Brian Warren.

• Chehalis police are investigating a report that someone held a gun to someone else’s head, following a report made yesterday in connection with an address on McFadden Avenue. The incident is still being looked into, Officer Linda Bailey said today.

BOAT’S CONTENTS PLUNDERED

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 1200 block of Eshom Road in Centralia where so someone had stolen numerous items from a boat parked there, including a motor, a marine radio, crab pots, fishing knives and nets as well as four deep sea fishing poles and other marine equipment. The loss is estimated at about $5,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The owner, a 58-year-old Rochester man, said it happened sometime since March 31, according to the sheriff’s office.

THEFT FROM MOOSE SHED

• Police were called yesterday morning to the Moose lodge on the 1400 block of Grand Avenue in Centralia where someone had broken into a storage shed and stolen a pressure washer and a hand held leaf blower, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE THEFT

• A Honda ATV was stolen during the night from the 400 block of Ash Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday.

MEDS MISSING

• Centralia police took a report about 7:25 p.m. yesterday from the 1400 block of Lum Road about the theft of a woman’s medications.

VEHICLE PROWLER ESCAPES IN SEMI TRUCK

• Chehalis police were called about 8 o’clock last night to the Wal-Mart parking lot when a witness saw a woman break out the back window of a car and steal unknown items before getting into a semi truck and leaving the area. The truck wasn’t found, according to police. The vehicle had been left in the north end of the parking lot a few hours earlier because its owner was arrested for being disorderly. Officers had been called to the store at 5 p.m. by a 38-year-old man from Utah who said he needed help because a female had drugged him up, Officer Linda Bailey said. The man was jailed due to his paranoid behavior and because he could be a risk to himself or others, Bailey said.

MORE DISORDERLINESS

• A 58-year-old Centralia man was arrested and jailed for trespass last night when he reportedly refused to leave a friend’s home on the 300 block of West Magnolia Street in Centralia. Centralia police, responding about 8:30 p.m., noted Nicholas F. Henderson wasn’t welcome because he was reportedly drunk and belligerent. He was scheduled to be released from jail this afternoon.

DRUGS

• A 32-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after police contacted her about 5:50 p.m. yesterday on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis. Officers were assisting another agency on another case at that location, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Lili N. Holster was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

WOMAN SERIOUSLY HURT WHEN POWER WHEELCHAIR FALLS ON HER

• A 55-year-old Napavine-area woman was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle yesterday to be treated for injuries she sustained when she was pinned beneath her power wheelchair. Lewis County Fire District 5 was called about 4 p.m. to the home along Berry Road where it appeared the chair had gone off the side of a low deck, according to Chief Eric Linn. “Unfortunately it almost severed one leg,” Linn said. The chief said the chairs weigh upwards of 350 pounds and it took about six responders and a good amount of time to get the patient untangled from the chair. The area was rural so the helicopter picked her up from the front yard, according to Linn.

WRECK

• A 40-year-old Onalaska motorist escaped injury when he failed to negotiate a curve on state Route 506 near Vader late yesterday afternoon and a trailer broke loose from behind his 2009 International dump truck and rolled. Clifford R. Nowels was traveling eastbound about two miles outside of town when it happened around 5 p.m., according to the Washington State Patrol. The trailer came to rest in the ditch, the state patrol reported. The investigating trooper blamed it on speed.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrest for warrant, calls about suspicious circumstances, tips on the whereabouts of wanted people … and more.

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Driver inattention, not brakes, blamed for school bus wreck near Toledo

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Washington State Patrol has found that inattention on the part of the driver caused the accident on Tuesday night that sent a school bus loaded with teenagers across a two-lane highway and 50 to 75 feet down an embankment into a swamp near Toledo.

Driver Ronnie H. Withrow, 53, will be ticketed for running the stop sign at the top of the Interstate 5 freeway off ramp, state patrol spokesperson Trooper Will Finn said this morning.

Withrow initially stated the brakes on the bus failed, but an inspection found no problems with the brakes, the state patrol reported yesterday.

None of the passengers were seriously injured, and Withrow has been praised by responders for guiding the bus through a narrow space between a sign and a guard rail as it traveled downhill.

Finn said this morning he had no information on what Withrow was distracted by.

“I just know the investigation has come to a conclusion and that’s what the trooper has decided,” Finn said.

Finn said hoped to learn more from the investigating trooper when the trooper comes back on duty this afternoon.

Withrow had been placed on administrative leave from the Winlock School District. He has not returned a phone call seeking comment.

Finn did say no skid marks were found at the scene, and it appeared Withrow shouted for everyone to hold on after he’d already gone through the stop sign. He added it was concluded the driver did not fall asleep, as he took the exit.

After a commercial vehicle inspector found no mechanical failures or defects with its braking system, the investigating trooper had to go back and ask more questions, Finn said.

Withrow began driving a school bus for Winlock in September, and drove for other schools before that, according to District Superintendent Shannon Criss.

Criss was unavailable this morning, but issued a prepared statement in which she said she is reviewing with legal counsel on the matter. And, she noted: “Student safety is always our primary concern.”
•••

For background, read “School bus wrecks off I-5 into swamp near Toledo” from Wednesday April 10, 2013 at 7:28 a.m., here

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Vader man’s body recovered from creek after canoe overturns

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

Updated at 1:11 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 57-year-old man is dead after a canoe capsized in a creek near Vader last night.

Rescuers were called around 8:30 p.m. by the man’s wife who said they had been canoeing in Stillwater Creek when the two-person craft tipped over near the 1400 block of state Route 506, west of town, according to authorities.

“She was able to get to shore and he was missing,” Vader area Fire Chief Richard Underdahl said.

Underdahl described the creek as very full, very swift, about 25 feet across in places with steep brush-covered banks.

The 38-year-old woman said she last saw her husband hanging onto the canoe near the bank and then he disappeared, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Vader area volunteer firefighters – Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20, formerly known as Lewis County Fire District 7 – were assisted by responders, including swift water rescue technicians, from Lewis County Fire Districts 2 and 15, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and Cowlitz County Fire District 6 out of Castle Rock.

They found the partially submerged canoe and then about 10 minutes later, discovered the victim submerged, face down against a log about 100 yards upstream, according to the sheriff’s office.

The water temperature was measured at 43 degrees.

The victim is identified as John Handel. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.

The wife was taken care of by homeowners near the creek and checked by paramedics, according to Underdahl.

Chief Brown said the couple started out near their home on the 100 block of Brim Road and planned to travel to the Brim Creek Bridge.

Neither Brown nor Underdahl had an answer as to why the couple was in the water so late in the evening. Neither were wearing life jackets.

“We’re just sorry the outcome was what it was,” Underdahl said. “We volunteer to help our neighbors, it’s tough to deal with things like this.”

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Prosecutors told a judge today they’d like to postpone the murder trial for 30-year-old Centralian Weston G. Miller, because they are still waiting for some results from test conducted by the state patrol crime lab. It was set to start next week in Lewis County Superior Court but is now scheduled for the week of May 6. Miller is charged with first-degree murder for the March 13, 2012 fatal shooting of his house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson. Last week, Miller pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm that grew out of the same investigation – to clear up some issues before trial, his attorney said.

RAPE AREST

• Deputies arrested a 26-year-old Winlock man yesterday for third-degree rape. They were told by a Chehalis woman she’d met up with a friend at a local tavern the previous night, went out with him to a few more bars and they were taken by back to his home in Winlock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman said she awoke to Nathan A. L. Hope having sex with her, without her consent, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Hope was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

CHAPEL BURGLARY

• Deputies were called to a Chehalis area church last night where someone had forced their way into its chapel and left with an amplifier and a Fender precision bass guitar, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A man who had been doing repair work at Dayspring Baptist Church on the 2000 block of Jackson Highway with his brother said they’d left about 1 p.m. and returned about 5 p.m. when they discovered the burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.

WIRE THEFT

• Someone stole wiring from a storage building on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

GADREN TOOL, FUEL STOLEN

• Police were called to the 1900 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis yesterday where someone had pried the padlock on a businesses’ storage building and left with an old weed eater. Gasoline was also siphoned from a box truck, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Someone got inside an unlocked vehicle at the 1600 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis and stole the stereo and some paperwork, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

ILLEGAL WEAPON

• Centralia police confiscated a sawed off shotgun yesterday from a female at the 1200 block of Alder Street when contacting her on another matter. A shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches is illegal, unless one possesses a special permit, according to the Centralia Police Department. The case is being referred to the prosecutor for a possible charge, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. This gun was literally sawed shorter, Reichert said.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police responded to a residence in the 1200 block of Rhobina Street just after 2 p.m. yesterday where a window was broken, possibly by a BB, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such fender benders, arrests for warrant, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft … and more.

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Koralynn Fister: Dead toddler’s mother will plead guilty to putting little one in harm’s way

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – There will be no trial to shed light on what signs of abuse she saw or didn’t see in the weeks before her 2-year-old daughter died while in the care of her new live-in boyfriend.

Becky M. Heupel plans to plead guilty.

The 31-year-old Centralia woman was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon where attorneys told a judge they’d reached a “resolution” in the case.

2013.0322.heupel.closeupthree_2

Becky M. Heupel

The boyfriend James M. Reeder was sent to prison last month after pleading guilty to homicide by abuse, second-degree assault, two counts of first-degree rape of a child and possession of methamphetamine.

The toddler, Koralynn Fister, died from drowning and head trauma about 10 weeks after Reeder moved into the north Centralia household.

Lewis County prosecutors charged Heupel criminally, alleging she was warned Reeder was an abuser and chose to put her relationship with him before the well-being of her child.

Heupel is charged specifically with second-degree criminal mistreatment, allegedly recklessly creating an imminent and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm through her inaction.

Koralynn died on May 24 of last year.

The deal offered by prosecutors is that Heupel pleads guilty as charged and they will recommend she go to prison for a year and one day.

While the maximum penalty is five years, the standard sentencing range for someone with no criminal history is six to 12 months.

Her defense attorney, Paul Strophy, said part of the motivation is there are risks in going to trial. Prosecutors were threatening to upgrade the charges if they did, he said.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke said part of the agreement is Heupel must make a straight guilty plea, not a so-called Alford plea in which the defendant pleads guilty without admitting wrongdoing.

“This is one where we want her to take responsibility,” O’Rourke said.

Reeder’s plea was an Alford plea.

Attorneys on both sides have agreed to recommend a sentence one day higher than the top of the standard sentence range, so Heupel can serve her time in state prison instead of in the Lewis County Jail.

Strophy didn’t go into detail about why that was preferable, but mentioned the opportunity for his client to earn more “good time” to possibly get out early. O’Rourke said prosecutors don’t mind if Heupel does her time with the state Department of Corrections, as that benefits the county budget by avoiding jail costs.

The hearing at which Heupel is scheduled to plead guilty will be held a week from tomorrow in front of Judge James Lawler.
•••

For background, read “Koralynn Fister: Dead toddler’s mother pleads innocent to putting little one in harm’s way” from Friday March 22, 2013, here

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News brief: Wrecked school bus brakes look fine to investigator

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm
2013.0409.wspschoolbus_2

Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An examination of the Winlock school bus that ran off Interstate 5 into a ravine turned up no mechanical failures or defects with its braking system, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Driver Ronnie H. Withrow told troopers the brakes failed when the bus carrying a soccer team went through a stop sign at the top of the northbound off ramp at state Route 505 and traveled 50 to 75 feet down an embankment into a swamp. Nobody was injured seriously enough to be taken to the hospital.

State patrol spokesperson Trooper Will Finn said he spoke this morning with the state patrol officer who inspected the bus.

The officer conducted an extensive inspection, focusing greatly on the brake system, according to Finn.

The 2009 bus was carrying 32 players, mostly teenage boys, along with two coaches and two managers. It happened about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, as the Toledo-Winlock High School soccer team was returning from a game in Vancouver.

Withrow, 53, began driving a school bus for Winlock in September, but drove for other districts before that, according to District Superintendent Shannon Criss. He is currently on administrative leave, according to Criss.

Finn noted the cause of the collision is still under investigation.

•••

For background, read “School bus wrecks off I-5 into swamp near Toledo” from Wednesday April 10, 2013 at 7:28 a.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Updated at 7:23 p.m.

THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MISSING FROM NAPAVINE BAR

• Police were called to Frosty’s Saloon and Grill in Napavine yesterday morning where someone broke in overnight, got access to a safe and stole thousands of dollars. Police said an employee arriving to the business on West Front Street about 6:30 a.m. noticed an interior office door was open and called 911. The last person had left about 1 a.m., according to Napavine Police Department Officer Silas Elwood.  Forced entry was made through an exterior door and the office door, Elwood said. The intruder didn’t take any food, or liquor. He’s still waiting for a final tally from the owner, but they’ve estimated it’s a fairly sizable amount of cash, he said. Elwood is asking anyone with any tips, even if they want to remain anonymous, to call the police department at 360-262-9888 or the 911 non-emergency number at 360-740-1105.

THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MISSING FROM VADER TRUCK STOP

• Deputies are reviewing surveillance video after $8,000 cash went missing from a Vader-area truck stop restroom yesterday. A Gee Cees employee on their way to the bank with a bank bag filled with checks and cash accidentally left it sitting on the counter in the mens’ room, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The bag was retrieved 35 minutes later and everything seemed to be there, but when the employee got to the bank, he discovered an internal bag was unzipped, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said numerous men went into the bathroom between 1:15 p.m. and 1:50 p.m. and deputies will be looking for their suspect. Gee Cees is along Interstate 5, on the 100 block of Foster Creek Road.

FRY PAN ASSAULT

• Chehalis police arrested a 14-year-old by yesterday afternoon after he allegedly took a swing a is father with a frying pan. He missed, but officers called to the home on Southwest William Avenue booked the teen into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for second-degree assault, detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

• A 35-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday because he allegedly pinned a woman to a bed, covered her mouth and nose with his hands and threatened her. It happened at an apartment he shares with the 24-year-old victim on the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue, according to police. The woman fought back, went to the police department about 5 p.m. to report what happened, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. David P. Salas was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Wilson said.

ASSAULT AT SCHOOL

• A deputy was called to Toledo High School yesterday morning after a 15-year-old girl allegedly attacked a class mate in the library. The teen, who was said to be upset about what she thought the 16-year-old girl had been saying about her, reportedly walked into the room, punched the victim in the side of the head as she sat at a table, knocking her to the floor, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Witnesses pulled her away, according to the sheriff’s office. The girl was expelled and the case referred for a possible charge of misdemeanor assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

POLICE: WEED EXCHANGE IN THE BOYS ROOM

• A teacher walked into the boys bathroom today at Mossyrock Middle School and interrupted a “transaction” involving an exchange of marijuana. A 13-year-old student was arrested for delivery of marijuana and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to police. The other eighth grade who just turned 15 wasn’t arrested but Police Chief Jeremy Stamper is recommending a charge of misdemeanor possession for him. Stamper said he was really surprised in talking with students today just how ordinary smoking marijuana has become, before school, after school and even at school like in the locker room earlier this week. The boys were suspended, he said. Stamper confiscated a zip lock sandwich bag with 10 rolled joints and some loose marijuana; less than 40 grams, he said.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police yesterday morning found at least 11 instances of gang graffiti spray painted in blue around the 600 block of North Tower Avenue, including  buildings, fences and power boxes. Sgt. Kurt Reichert said he believes the taggings are the work of the so-called Tiny Dukes.

WRECKS

• A 48-year-old woman was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after a rear-end collision yesterday evening at West Main and Yew streets in Centralia. Her injuries were non-life threatening, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Police also responded to another two-vehicle accident about two hours earlier at West Main and North Pearl streets in which nobody was injured, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NO TICKET FOR DRIVER WHO ROLLED AMBULANCE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation of the March 29 Adna-area accident in which an ambulance carrying a patient slid off the roadway and rolled and concluded it won’t issue the driver any infraction. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said today the decision is because the 26-year-old  driver is being disciplined by her employer, American Medical Response. The ambulance was traveling with three medics when it ran off the road in the dark at Twin Oaks and Cousins roads. An AMR spokesperson said the patient was not hurt, as he was strapped in and said the others escaped with just bumps and bruises. A District 6 firefighter-paramedic suffered a slight concussion. Brown explained the distinction by saying when the average citizen in a similar situation gets a citation, they’re not getting “double jeopardy per se” through their employer.”

WALL HEATER OFFICIAL CAUSE OF COUNTY SHOP FIRE

• Fire investigator Jay Birley said the cause of the blaze that destroyed the Kiona Road County Shop last month was the Cadet heater, although he couldn’t tell if it was one of the models which had been previously recalled for safety reasons. A private investigator for the insurer is taking a closer look at it, he said. The March 22 fire east of Glenoma destroyed the building, dump trucks and other heavy equipment used by the Lewis County roads department. Birley said he found the unit was left set on “high”. He concluded that over time it dried out the wood around it, lowering the wood’s ignition temperature. “It was probably running full bore,” he said. “It had been in the same spot on the wall for 10 years, with no insulation between the heater and the wall. Nothing to take the heat.” Although nobody knew how long it was set to high, the fire could have been avoided by not affixing a Cadet heater into the wall without insulation, Birley said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such calls for family and neighborhood disputes, found bicycle, suspicious people … and more.

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News brief: Onalaska resident dies from head injuries caused by tree

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Onalaska man hit on the back of the head by a tree being cut down on his property has died from his injuries.

John C. Hazen, 43, was flown to a Vancouver, Wa. hospital after the incident Monday morning off Allen Road.

Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner said he got word doctors took Hazen off life support on Monday night.

Hazen, who worked as a maintenance person for a local logging outfit, had his employer helping him his clear land, according to Conner. Conner said on Monday that Hazen, for whatever reason ran in front of an evergreen tree as it was being dropped.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death accidental, caused by blunt trauma to the head.

He worked for the company but didn’t have a hard hat on because he wasn’t part of the tree cutting crew, Conner said.

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School bus wrecks off I-5 into swamp near Toledo

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 7:28 am
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Responders wait for busses from Toledo and Winlock school districts to transport kids to their respective schools after determining none needed to go to the hospital. / Courtesy photo by Kevin Anderson

Updated at 6:22 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A school bus carrying the Toledo-Winlock High School soccer team ran off Interstate 5 last night, coming to rest about 75 feet away at the bottom of a ravine.

No serious injuries were reported, and responders found only superficial injuries, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson said the bus was carrying 37 individuals.

Firefighters called at 10:05 p.m. found the bus wheels down in a muddy, grassy area to the northeast of the exit 63 freeway interchange.

The bus was northbound and exiting the freeway, when the driver began shouting for everyone to hold on, according a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol.

The 2009 Thomas full-sized yellow bus traveled through the stop sign at the end of the ramp and continued on, according to the state patrol.

“The driver said he went to hit the brakes, there were no brakes,” Lewis County Medic One Paramedic Jim Akramoff. said. “They just went straight, over 505, there’s a pretty good embankment there.”

The team was returning home from a game in Vancouver, Anderson said.

Anderson noted in a news release it sounded as though the driver did a tremendous job helping keep the situation from being any worse than it was.

Driver Ronnie H. Withrow, 53, missed a sign and a guard rail, navigating a fairly narrow space between the two, according to responders.

About 25 firefighters from Districts 15 and 2, as well as Lewis County Medic 1 paramedics responded, using lighting from their rigs to illuminate the area.

Responders went seat to seat on the bus evaluating the patients, Akramoff said. It took just over an hour from the time they arrived until the youngsters were taken away by other school busses, he said.

“Believe it or not, it went very smooth,” Akramoff said.

The passengers were described as 32 players, mostly teenage boys, along with two coaches and two managers.

“Pretty much bumps and bruises,” Akramoff said. “I’m sure some will be sore today.”

Anderson said there was no obvious damage to the bus.

The bus is owned and operated by the Winlock School District, according to Anderson.

District Superintendent Shannon Criss issued a formal statement noting the district is fortunate to have competent, caring and professional staff who remained calm, and made sure the students remained safe.

The state patrol is investigating, inspecting the bus today.

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Courtesy photo Washington State Patrol.

 

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Read about Centralia burglary case leads to SWAT search in Thurston County …

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a burglary investigation out of Centralia led to detectives and a SWAT team serving a search warrant in Thurston County today at a residence and large garage in the 8000 block of Ayer Street Southeast near the corner of 83rd Avenue.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes one man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and detectives located some of the stolen goods they were looking for including a battery charger.

Read about it here

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Centralia man pleads not guilty to accidentally shooting wife

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm
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Mark and Lisa Solomon are both recovering from gunshot wounds

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – They call it the devil gun.

Mark and Lisa Solomon were both momentarily stunned by a loud bang and ringing as they sat inside their Ford Ranger pickup.

She saw his bloody right hand and didn’t realize she’d been hit in the upper thigh by a 9 mm round.

He saw his wife of 15 years holding her left leg and realized she’d been shot.

“I was worried about her,” he said. “I was trying to put a sweatshirt on it.”

His hand was just numb, he said. Mark Solomon is left handed.

One bullet, two holes and injuries that are still healing.

It happened in late February, in the parking lot at Sunbird Shopping Center in Chehalis.

The 40-year-old Centralia man had just purchased a new holster for his handgun and was behind the wheel of his truck, his wife in the passenger seat, he said. Before they drove away, he was putting his pistol into what he called a paddle holster and the gun discharged, he said.

The bullet traveled through his right hand and lodged in her thigh.

Lisa Solomon spent five days at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Her femur was broken in three places, she said.

Doctors installed a titanium rod that extends from her hip to her knee. It will be about two more weeks before she’s allowed to put any weight on it, she said. For now, she uses a walker.

Mark Solomon’s right hand is still somewhat swollen, and it’s sore when he moves his fingers, he said.

He was only off work for a week. He’s part of a crew that makes bread for Subway restaurants at Millard Refrigeration in Centralia.

Both are grateful the other wasn’t hurt worse, but they’re puzzled about the criminal charge he now faces.

He is charged in Chehalis Municipal Court with reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and / or a fine of $10,250. He pleaded not guilty last week.

It was an accident, they said.

“What people don’t understand, is I’m legal to have a loaded pistol,” Mark Solomon said.

“The round never left the vehicle, so it’s not reckless,” he said. “It’s not like it ended up in Centralia, or blew through the windshield, or whizzed by a kid’s leg.”

He said he’s had a concealed weapon permit since 2008, as well as for a few years in the mid-1990s. He just got the 9 mm Kel-Tec three or four months ago.

He’s not impressed with the weapon, or the hard plastic holster he bought.

The pistol has an internal automatic safety, he said. It’s not like his other handgun, with an external safety he can turn on or off, he said.

“What I did, I grabbed the butt of the pistol and put it in, and something got the trigger,” he said. “I didn’t touch the trigger, it caught on something.”

Chehalis police have said they didn’t find any intent to do harm,  but that no one should be handling a loaded firearm in a public place like a busy parking lot, nor should a gun’s barrel be pointed at anyone  unless one intends to shoot them.

Given a chance to do that day over, Mark Solomon said he’d probably wait until he got home, and unload his weapon before checking out how it fit in the holster, he said.

“It was kind of like a new toy, I wanted to try it out,” he said.

But that doesn’t change, that what occurred was an accident, he said.

Lisa Solomon has a doctor’s appointment on April 24, when she expects to be told she can walk without the aid of a walker.

Mark Solomon will be back in court, with a public defender that same day.

They’re both anxious for the outcome of his court case.

What they do know for sure though, is they don’t want the Kel-Tec back in their lives.

“If I get the gun back, I’m gonna get rid of it,” he said. “I don’t want it around.”

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

STOLEN DRUGS

• A deputy took a report yesterday of three bottles of medication missing from a home on the 900 block of state Route 7 outside Morton, including oxycodone and muscle relaxers, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. They vanished sometime since the end of March, but there was no forced entry into the residence, according to the sheriff’s office.

GAME CAMERA TAKEN

• A $300 game cam went missing just days after it was installed on property at the 300 block of Kirpes Lane in Mossyrock, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning. The 69-year-old victim reported the theft on Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a deputy arrested a 43-year-old Randle woman on Friday for possession of methamphetamine after contacting her walking along U.S. Highway 12. The deputy was aware the woman was wanted for failing to appear in court in connection with a drug paraphernalia offense and detained her, according to the sheriff’s office. When she was searched, two pipes and two “bindles” of suspected meth were found, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Tamara L. Hoffman was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Brown said.

OUCH

• Chehalis police were called to the Lewis County Mall just before 1 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle versus pedestrian accident. The 3-year-old boy was not injured, according to police. “The child ran out of the mall, away from the parent and into the side of the (stopped) car; he bounced off,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such arrests for warrants, violations of no-contact order, calls about suspicious circumstances, and a call to the library in Chehalis regarding a man fishing through the outdoor fountain for coins. He was told to move along, according to police  … and more.

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Read more about firefighter, police pension plan draining funds …

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Parts two and three of an Associated Press investigative series about an old pension plan for law enforcement officers and firefighters describe how medical expenses for some retirees are stressing the budgets of local governments and disability payments continue with scarce scrutiny.

News reporter Mike Baker writing in the Yakima Herald-Republic offers an examination into the LEOFF-1 – Law Enforcement Officers’ and Firefighters’ Retirement System Plan 1 – a plan closed to new members after 1977, but which continues as a huge financial burden.

Read part two here, and part three here

•••

Read part one here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

KNIFE SCARE

• A 45-year-old man was arrested for second-degree assault on Saturday for allegedly earlier threatening his adult son with a knife. When officers arrived to the son’s apartment on the 500 block of North Iron Street in Centralia, Ronald J. Gleason had left, but was subsequently located and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

BREAK-INS

• Police were called about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to an antique store on the 800 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia where someone had broken the glass on the door and gone inside. Nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 26-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night after he allegedly broke a window at his former girlfriend’s apartment and crawled inside to visit his children. Officers called about 11:45 p.m. to the 2600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia booked Hugo Flores-Suarez into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Two people were arrested when a call for a suspicious vehicle parked off U.S. Highway 12 near Interstate 5 on Friday morning and a couple seen walking with a backpack led deputies to a vacant house with  the front partially open door. Elizabeth A. Radford, 52, and Wayne R. Radford III, 28, were found inside and told a deputy they were trying to find who owned the home so they could clean it up, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Coins found in the woman’s pocket turned out to have come from the house. The Chehalis pair were booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.

BAD DOG

• Morton police were called on Saturday evening after a black lab chased a woman trying to get a bite of the bag of gas station Jojos she was carrying and accidentally nipped her in the leg instead. An officer contacted the woman at Morton General Hospital and learned one tooth broke the skin on the 23-year-old’s limb, according to the Morton Police Department. The dog was not located, according to police.

CALL FOR HELP ON LAKE LANDS MAN IN JAIL

• A rescue on Saturday night of a disabled boat on Riffe Lake ended on Sunday with nobody injured but one of the craft’s occupants booked into the Lewis County Jail for outstanding warrants. The boaters called 911 about 11:30 p.m. and said they were anchored but stranded about a mile and half from the Taidnapam Boat Launch at the southeast portion of the lake, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Lewis County Fire District 3 responded but their boat became disabled as well, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Sheriff’s deputies towed the fire boat but it got too risky to retrieve the original boat, according to Brown. The following day deputies returned and found the boaters about 15 miles from where they said they were, Brown said. Jeremy Doll, 32, of Black Diamond, was arrested for his warrants, according to the sheriff’s office.

WRECKS

• A hail storm led to spinouts and collisions involving five cars and a pickup truck on state Route 508 near milepost 4 on Saturday morning, although nobody was injured, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened about 11:15 a.m., leaving two cars with major damage, according to the sheriff’s office. Nobody was ticketed as it was determined to be caused by the sudden heavy downpour, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• One car was totaled and another sustained major damage but no one was hurt in a two-vehicle collision about 11 a.m. on Saturday on state Route 506 near Telegraph Road in Vader, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A 28-year-old motorist who was westbound on the highway struck a car driven by a 78-year-old woman who was stationary at a stop sign, according to the sheriff’s office. The 28-year-old man was cited for speeds too fast, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• At about 4:40 p.m. on Saturday, a 17-year-old boy from Winlock escaped serious injury but totaled his pickup truck when he fell asleep while driving southbound along a straight stretch at the 400 block of North Military Road near Winlock. The 2004 Ford Ranger veered left off the roady, glanced off a tree and came back onto the road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was cited for second-degree negligent driving, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 49-year-old Onalaska woman whose car hydroplaned, went sideways and was struck by an SUV on Interstate 5 in Chehalis is blamed for sending a trooper to the hospital on Saturday morning, according to the Washington State Patrol. It happened just before 10:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes near the Chamber of Commerce Way interchange. Trooper Brian L. Ashley, 54, was in his patrol car parked on the right shoulder, and was struck in the rear by Josie A. Ryan’s Pontiac Grand Am, according to the state patrol. The trooper was taken to the hospital with neck and back pain and has been released, spokesperson Trooper Will Finn said. Ryan was cited for speeds too fast for conditions, according to the state patrol. Neither Ryan nor the SUV driver, Randy Bonagofski, 40, of Centralia, were injured, according to the patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as calls for shoplifting, family dispute, false alarms, suspicious people who might be buying drugs, selling drugs, or using drugs, bar patrons trying to pick fights with people on Northwest Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis, and a female who said she saw someone peeking up from beneath a dressing room door at Sears at the Lewis County Mall … and more.

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News brief: Logging accident injures one near Onalaska

Monday, April 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 44-year-old Onalaska-area man was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital after he was struck in the back of the head by a falling tree on his property this morning.

For an unknown reason, he had run in front of an evergreen tree being dropped by a local logging outfit, according to Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner.

Firefighters called about 9:35 a.m. to Allen Road, off Middle Fork Road, found the victim unconscious but still breathing, Conner said.

The fire chief described the tree as about eight inches in diameter.

“It looked like he was hit and thrown clear,” he said.

The tree faller attempted to swing the tree away from the man, but unfortunately it had already begun to drop, Conner said.

The man was flown from a private airstrip off Forest-Napavine Road to Southwest Washington Medical Center, according to Conner.