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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Updated

DOG KNOCKS SUSPECT TO THE GROUND

• A wanted man who was spotted and then took off running from a Chehalis officer was tackled by police dog Reign and then taken into custody overnight. Officer Warren Ayers recognized 22-year-old Ammahad A. Bradley when he saw him walking in the area of West Main Street and Railroad Avenue about 1:30 a.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said the subject began struggling with Ayers and then fled, even as he was warned about the canine partner. “He popped the door, the dog takes off, tackles him, basically knocks the guy to the ground,” WIlson said. Bradley, who previously lived in Chehalis, was wanted by police in Snohomish County for a July 13 incident in which he rammed a car and then led police on a pursuit, according to authorities. An officer from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department came down and picked him up, Wilson said.

ASSAULT

• Centralia police took a report of a domestic assault alleged to have occurred about a year ago at the 2800 block of Russell Road, which was reported yesterday. The case is under investigation but appears there is no evidence and not much to follow up on, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called to the 900 block of South Pearl Street just before 3 p.m. yesterday about a burglary in which a shotgun, jewelry and money were stolen. The case is still under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WORKER ACCUSED OF STEALING

• An officer responded to the Sears store at the Lewis County Mall yesterday evening for a report of employee theft. The case is being referred to the Lewis County Prosecutors Office with a recommended charge of second-degree theft, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Further details weren’t readily available.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Two individuals from Tacoma were arrested for allegedly removing the wheels and tires from a vehicle that broke down and was left at a parking lot in Randle at U.S. Highway 12 and state Route 131, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. One of the suspects said he planned to sell them to get money for gas and food, according to the sheriff’s office. Arrested were David L. Glenn, 32, and 18-year-old Lee A. Green, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

VANDALISM

• Someone used chalk to leave graffiti on the side of a building in the 300 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespass, misdemeanor domestic assault; responses for alarm, minor collisions, disorderly subject, suspicious person, possibly suicidal subject; complaints of barking dogs and more.

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Body found in Chehalis River is 94-year-old blind woman

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 8:20 am

Updated at 5:07 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 94-year-old woman found dead yesterday in a river in the south end of the Boistfort Valley was legally blind and liked to walk along the river on her property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Alice Cripe was discovered down a steep embankment, resting against some rocks in the South Fork of the Chehalis River on her own property, according to authorities.

Her death was an accident, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said today. Alice Cripe fell down, hit her head and drowned, according to McLeod.

The sheriff’s office doesn’t know exactly when it happened.

Family members from California visited her house on the 1000 block of Wildwood Road on Monday night, leaving around 9 p.m.; and when they returned yesterday morning could not find her inside but subsequently located her body, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the bank was perhaps 10 to 15 feet down, although detectives don’t know for sure how far she fell.

Fire Chief Gregg Peterson said she is a long time resident of the Boistfort Valley and she lived alone.

It was just a little more than a year ago at the north end of the Boistfort Valley that 8-year-old Nicholas Matchett drowned after he apparently slipped off the steep bank behind his home into the river.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

ANGRY DAD

• A 47-year-old man was arrested yesterday morning in Pe Ell after he allegedly went to his daughter’s residence uninvited and threatened a 21-year-old man who was there. Deputies called about 7:35 a.m. to the 100 block of East Fifth Street were told the man had been asked to leave but returned and at some point called the younger man out to fight saying he was going to get a gun and shoot him and put him “six-feet under,” according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Brandt D. McKenna, a Chehalis area resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to the sheriff’s office. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said she didn’t know what he was upset about.

POLICE: SHOPLIFT TURNS BAD

• A 20-year-old Centralia man who allegedly attempted to steal beer from the grocery on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue was arrested after he reportedly pulled the bottle from his pants and tried to hit a store security person with it last night. Officers called about 9 p.m. report Erik L. Bushnell was “subdued” by the employee and bystanders. He was arrested for second-degree robbery and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TALL TALE LANDS ‘VICTIM’ IN JAIL

• A 20-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for false reporting after she allegedly went to the hospital and told a story that her ex-boyfriend had assaulted her. A deputy called about 9:30 p.m. yesterday to Providence Centralia Hospital was told by the young woman that it occurred at the Mount Adams Apartments in Randle, and that the ex punched her in the eye and sprained her wrist, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A skeptical deputy who saw no injuries warned her of the seriousness of making a false statement to an officer, and she allegedly confessed to making it up because her new boyfriend was going to break up with her for seeing her old boyfriend, according to the sheriff’s office. Donna H. Sisk was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRUGS

• An 18-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine about 1:30 p.m. yesterday at the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Detectives went to the apartment complex to talk with someone about suspected drug activity and ended up finding drugs in Jose A. Escamilla’s backpack, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Another person was picked up on an outstanding warrant at the same time, Sgt. Carl Buster said.

• A 26-year-old Centralia woman was arrested last night following a traffic stop for driving with a suspended license and then also for possession of methamphetamine. Courtney R. Blurton was contacted by an officer about 9 p.m. at Southwest McFadden Avenue and Ninth Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “The officer asked if she had anything illegal on her person and she said yes,” Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. Blurton was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

THEFT

• Police were called to a home on the 1100 block of Roosevelt Avenue in Centralia about 11:10 a.m. yesterday regarding several hundred dollars missing. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE VERSUS BIKE

• A 14-year-old boy was knocked off his bicycle by a vehicle at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia about 3:25 p.m. yesterday. Centralia Police Department Sgt. Carl Buster said he understood it was by a car pulling out of a driveway and the teen was unhurt.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor domestic assault; responses for alarm, misdemeanor theft; complaints of a male who looks high and is asking people for money at the Twin City Town Center, barking neighbor dog … and more.

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News brief: Woman found dead in South Fork Chehalis River

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The body of an elderly woman was discovered in a river in the south end of the Boistfort Valley this morning.

Firefighters and deputies were called about 10:15 a.m. to the area off Wildwood Road, about a mile from Jones Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 13.

Fire Chief Gregg Peterson said the South Fork of the Chehalis River is about a foot and half deep in that area.

“I don’t really know any of the details, we turned it over to the coroner’s office,” Peterson said.

Detectives are investigating, but the death didn’t seem suspicious, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said she expected she would have more information in the morning.

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Man suspected of killing fiancee had assaulted her before, lawyer says

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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Corey R. Morgan listens to lawyers discuss his bail amount in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 32-year-old man accused of strangling his girlfriend and trying to cover it up with a story of wrecking his truck after three assailants beat her on a logging road near Morton was ordered held on $500,000 bail yesterday.

Exactly what did happen between Corey R. Morgan and Brenda L. Bail remains mostly a mystery, but Morgan is charged with second-degree murder and Bail is dead after a night of drinking, according to his story.

Prosecutors say Morgan had been sentenced two days earlier for an incident of domestic violence from last fall when he punched her in the face.

Morgan was identified as a Randle resident by the sheriff’s office, but prosecutors indicate the two lived together south of Chehalis. He told law enforcement the 48-year-old was his fiancee and they’d been dating for a number of years.

“When interviewed, the defendant’s cousin, who was aware of the prior domestic violence case, said it was only a matter of time before the defendant did something like this,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents.

His version of events, which authorities have made clear they don’t entirely believe, begins with the couple drinking at the Market Street Pub in Chehalis until about 10 p.m. last Thursday.

He had a few drinks, she had more than five, he said.

According to charging documents filed yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, he said they left for Wendy’s to get food and dropped some off for her daughter at their home on Pier Road south of Chehalis. Bail’s daughter told law enforcement her mother never came inside the residence.

Morgan said at about 11 p.m., the couple headed out to drink more alcohol at their “special spot” on a logging road about 30 miles away, according to charging documents.

Fast forward to 1:30 a.m. when a resident who lives on state Route 508 not far from the start of the logging road calls 911 to say a man came on foot to her door saying he and his fiancee had been in a wreck and she wasn’t breathing.

Aid crews from Lewis County Fire District 4 responded, along with a Morton police officer, according to the sheriff’s office. They detected no pulse, began CPR and transported Bail by ambulance to Morton General Hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.

Bail was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 2:25 a.m.

Charging documents state that multiple law enforcement officers were dispatched at about 2:30 a.m. after word of the death.

Morgan was questioned.

His truck was found in a ditch along Forest Service Road 73 with minimal damage, although he’d said he’d been traveling at almost 70 mph while being pursued by a Dodge Neon, according to charging documents.

Charging documents state Morgan maintained the same general substance to his story, but there were multiple inconsistencies between interviews with various law enforcement officers.

According to the documents: Morgan said he noticed another vehicle followed them after they turned onto the logging road. He said when they reached their destination, Bail got out to urinate while stayed inside his truck.

He said the car came speeding up at them, made a wild spinout and came to a stop whereupon three males – including his former roommate – jumped out and began repeatedly striking Bail with a Maglight flashlight and a baton.

Morgan said he used his marital arts training to fend them off, even knocking his former roommate out cold.

He said he picked Bail up, put her in the vehicle, sped down the logging road but then crashed into the ditch and got stuck.

He said he’d been hit in the head with the flashlight; law enforcement described the injury on the back of his head as more like a scratch.

The former roommate voluntarily spoke with law enforcement on Friday night and indicated he had “absolutely no idea” what the defendant was talking about. He had no injuries, charging documents state.

The cause of Bail’s death, according to the Lewis County Coroner, was asphyxiation caused by manual strangulation. Blunt force trauma to her head contributed to her demise, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

The report from the medical examiner noted it would have taken about four to six minutes of strangulation for the death to occur, charging documents state.

In court yesterday afternoon, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke asked for high bail, telling the judge it was a particularly violent homicide.

Morgan sat quietly beside defense attorney Bob Schroeter, with a half dozen individuals in the benches behind him.

Schroeter countered saying his client was a long term resident of the county with a “good” vocational history, commuting to Longview where he worked in an auto detailing shop for three years.

Judge Richard Brosey appointed Centralia attorney Don Blair to represent Morgan and scheduled his arraignment for Thursday morning.

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Brenda Bail: Fun at the river in August 2010. / Courtesy photo

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, July 22, 2013 at 7:26 pm

SMOKE HOUSE

• Firefighters were called about 9:15 p.m. yesterday to Park Hill Drive in Chehalis when a house began filling up with smoke. Nobody was hurt, it was an issue with a self cleaning oven. Crews shut off the power, pried the oven door open and used a big fan to evacuate the smoke, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. Firefighter Jay Birley said he didn’t think it was a malfunction, just an oven in great need of cleaning. “Typically when you run the self-clean cycle, smoke doesn’t pour out the front,” Birley said.

STAFF MEMBER HIT BY INMATE

• Chehalis police were called to Green Hill School regarding an assault at about 7:15 p.m. on Saturday in which a 17-year-old inmate allegedly punched a male staff member in the face and arm. The case was referred for a possible charge of custodial assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ALLEGED TOUCHING ARREST

• A 44-year-old homeless man was arrested after a deputy was told on Saturday night by a 26-year-old homeless woman that approximately a week earlier, when they were together and she laid down in the grass at the cemetery in Mossyrock and passed out, he touched her in a sexual way. The man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for indecent liberties but was was released today with no charges pending further investigation.

ANGRY BOYFRIEND SOUGHT

• Deputies are looking for a 48-year-old Packwood man who allegedly used his truck to shove another vehicle into a garage door on the 200 block of Cannon Road in Packwood causing about $2,000 damage. It happened about 12 a.m. on Friday when he was angry at his estranged girlfriend who would not come out of the home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CASH AND TVS TAKEN IN CHEHALIS BURGLARY

• Someone broke through a back door at a home on the 800 block of Duffy Street in Chehalis and made off with $3,800 cash, two televisions, a bottle of Valium and a jewelry box with 11 rings and two watches inside as well as other items, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer called about 3:20 a.m. on Saturday was told it occurred sometime after 10:30 p.m. the night before, according to the Chehalis Police  Department.

POLICE: ALLEGED SHOPLIFTER TRIES TO LOSE DRUGS

• A 39-year-old Seattle man was arrested yesterday at the Twin City Town Center for allegedly stealing a pair of shoes and then ditching them under a vehicle as well as dropping a bag of drugs at Wendy’s before he was detained. Officers found suspected cocaine and heroin in a makeup bag near Everett S. Scott and arrested him for possession with intent to deliver, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Officer Linda Bailey said that on the way to the jail, Scott said he’d ingested two grams of cocaine in plastic bags so he was taken to the hospital. However, he refused to follow the procedure hospital staff attempted so he was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

THEFT

• Sometime between Friday and Sunday, someone stole four industrial batteries from the Alexander Lumber Mill on the 1600 block of state Route 508 near Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $1,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Someone stole 50 steel fence posts from the 2500 block of Seminary Hill Road outside Centralia sometime between Friday and Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also missing were a dozen wooden posts, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 17-year-old girl turned herself in and was arrested over the weekend for trafficking in stolen property after allegedly stealing an expensive baseball card and selling it for $20. The $800 item is described as a 1991 autographed Mickey Mantle rookie card and was taken from a home on the 100 block of Elloway Oaks Drive outside Chehalis in April but reported on Friday, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Chehalis police were called about 4:20 p.m. yesterday to Safeway about four individuals who allegedly stole hard liquor and ran away.

• Centralia police took a report of the theft of a license plate yesterday afternoon from the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.

• Police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 900 block of B Street.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called about 6:50 p.m. on Saturday about someone spray painting black squiggly marks across a sign on the back of a beige 1980 Toyota pickup truck parked at South Market Boulevard and 12th Street. The sign, addressing Chehalis lawyer John Panesko, was covered in plastic, so the damage was not permanent, according to police. A note left on the windshield said, “Get a life. You’re an F*in loser.” according to police.

WRECKS

• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested for driving under the influence after he rolled his pickup truck on Saturday night on the 1600 block of South Schueber Road outside Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The truck sustained major damage, the driver sustained minor injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. He was taken to the hospital and then released, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• A 26-year-old motorist broke his pinkie finger when he drove into several mailboxes and rolled his truck on Friday evening along the 400 block of Newaukum Valley Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Chico, Calif. resident was arrested for driving under the influence and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. The truck was totaled, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• A 27-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for driving under the influence after a collision that left her 1992 Lexus with minor damage on Friday evening long state Route 508 at Gurrier Road near Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the driver was unhurt.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, violation of protection order, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, possibly suicidal subject, disorderly subjects, suspicious circumstances; complaints of barking dog, neighbor’s loud music … and more.

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Chehalis woman didn’t die from wreck, she was strangled, sheriff’s office says

Monday, July 22, 2013 at 9:44 am
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Corey Morgan’s wrecked truck on Forest Service Road 73 west of Morton. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 1:26 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives didn’t buy the story about how Corey Ross Morgan’s fiancee suffered her fatal injuries in a wreck on a logging road outside Morton and an autopsy indicated she died from strangulation, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Morgan, 32, of Randle, was arrested on Friday for second-degree murder.

The sheriff’s office said there is a history of domestic violence between Morgan and the victim, 48-year-old Brenda L. Bail of Chehalis.

Aid was called about 1:30 a.m. on Friday to Forest Service Road 73 after Morgan showed up at a house about two miles away and asked the resident to call 911 because he had wrecked his truck and Bail wasn’t breathing.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said apparently when aid arrived, Bail had no pulse, they began CPR and transported her to the hospital.

Detectives became suspicious of Morgan’s detailed story of what occurred, according to the sheriff’s office.

He said the couple was visiting their “special spot” when three men jumped them, according to the sheriff’s office. Morgan also told detectives they beat Bail badly but he was able to “thwart” them off because he knew Tae-Kwon-Do, the sheriff’s office said.

He said he put her in his truck and as he sped down the logging road, he lost control and crashed into an embankment, causing his fiancee to hit her head on the dashboard.

The sheriff’s office says Morgan named Roger Etter of Kelso as one of the attackers, but Etter contacted law enforcement over the weekend and has been cleared of any involvement.

Brown said there were no indications Morgan was hurt and even the state patrol didn’t see the collision as one with enough impact to have caused major injuries to Bail.

Brown states Bail was dead at the wreck scene, even though she was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Detectives began their investigation at Morton General Hospital and don’t know if Bail died before the wreck or while Morgan had gone for help, according to Brown.

An autopsy conducted on Friday showed Bail died from asphyxiation caused by manual strangulation, with contributing factors of blunt force trauma to her face, according to authorities. The sheriff’s office says they don’t believe she was injured from the wreck.

Morgan is scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court where his bail amount will be set.

 

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News brief: Two sent to prison for Peppertree Motel assault

Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The two men charged in last month’s beating and stun gun attack of a 32-year-old Chehalis man who thought he was with them to buy drugs in Centralia have both been sentenced after plea deals were made.

Joseph M. Hanks, 30, of Rochester, pleaded guilty on Thursday to felony harassment and third-degree assault. Elijah M. Garibay, 25, from Elma, pleaded guilty the week before to second-degree assault and made a so-called Alford plea to intimidating a witness.

The reason for the modified plea for intimidation is Garibay said he was high and just really didn’t remember the reason for what he was doing, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke said.

The men were arrested the night of June 18 after fleeing the assault which occurred inside Hanks’ car outside the Peppertree Motel.

The victim told police Hanks picked him up to go buy some heroin, and then unexpectedly picked up two other men.

Charging documents state once they arrived at the motel, they called the victim a snitch and Garibay from the backseat put his arm around the victim’s throat and choked him and then zapped him with a Taser; Hanks punched him in the face.

O’Rourke was convinced it was simply a beating in the guise of a drug deal. The victim had testified the week before against a man subsequently convicted of burglarizing a Napavine bar, although O’Rourke said he felt it might be related to some other individuals.

O’Rourke never acknowledged if Thomas Pennypacker was a confidential informant.

Pennypacker’s $60 was handed over to a third unidentified man who walked away from the vehicle and has not been named or found, according to O’Rourke.

Garibay and Hanks each ended up with sentences of 27 months in prison.
•••

For background, read “Prosecutor: Intimidation appears to be motive behind attack on man at Centralia motel” from Thursday June 20, 2013, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Updated at 9:18 p.m.

NOT SPIDERMAN MATERIAL

• A 26-year-old Chehalis man lost a game of hide-and-seek with Centralia police early yesterday morning. It happened in the area of the 400 block of West Main Street. Officers called about 2:30 a.m. to a dispute report Trevor D. Chase ran away but was tracked by officers until he was cornered in a yard. Chase reportedly climbed on top of a garage and tore away sheet metal to get inside, but eventually returned to the roof, according to the Centralia Police Department. Chase was removed from the roof and booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to police.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report of a burglary to a storage building at the 1400 block of South Gold Street on Friday.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 35-year-old man about 3:30 a.m. today for several warrants and possession of methamphetamine at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue. Jason A. Landry, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 45-year-old Centralia man as arrested for possession of heroin about 10 p.m. on Friday after contact with an officer at the 1300 block of Kulien Street in Centralia. Paul A. Siskin  was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• A 20-year-old Vancouver woman was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after a single-vehicle wreck this afternoon on Interstate 5 near the U.S. Highway 12-Avery Road interchange. Troopers called about 3:50 p.m. to the southbound lanes found a Ford Expedition on its top, according to the Washington State Patrol. The driver, Jerry E. Brower, 45, of Vancouver, changed lanes at about the same time as did a vehicle in front of him and when it braked, Brower swerved to avoid hitting it, according to the state patrol. He and a 13-year-old boy in the vehicle were reportedly uninjured. Madison Brower, 20, was taken to the hospital with unspecified injures, according to the investigating trooper.

• Two separate motorcyclists were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital last night after one of them rear ended a 1928 Chevrolet Roadster which slowed to make a turn and the other ran into the first motorcycle. It happened on state Route 505 outside Toledo about 10:45 p.m., according to Washington State Patrol. The Roadster, carrying Lana M. Brundage, 32, and Douglas G. Eckstrom, 26, both from Toledo, was damaged but still drivable, according to the state patrol. Taken to the hospital were Kirk P. Knutson, 42, Fife, and James V. Peterson, 48, Tacoma, according to the investigating trooper.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, violations of protection orders; responses for theft, collision on Harrison Avenue … and more.

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Man booked for Lewis County murder

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A man was booked into the Lewis County Jail  yesterday for murder, however, the sheriff’s office won’t say anything about what homicide he is linked to.

Corey Ross Morgan was arrested for second-degree murder and booked at 3 p.m., according to jail’s roster.

A spokesperson for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office would not say if Morgan is connected with the suspicious death of 48-year-old Chehalis woman under investigation since early Friday morning or if detectives are working on another death in the county.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said yesterday morning a man went to a house on the 5900 block of state Route 508 west of Morton and told a woman there he and his fiance had gotten in a wreck on Forest Service Road 73, about two miles away, and she wasn’t breathing.

Aid found her dead when they arrived at the collision, according to Brown.

Detectives were questioning the un-named 32-year-old Randle man who said the couple had been “jumped” and the wreck happened while they were trying to get away, according to Brown. The sheriff’s office yesterday also said they were looking for 39-year-old Roger Etter, of Kelso, because he might have information in the case.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said an autopsy was conducted yesterday and he has determined the cause and manner of death for the woman, but he is withholding that information at the request of the sheriff’s office.

He also is not yet releasing her name as he has not confirmed who she is, he said. McLeod said he has tentatively identified her and notified the family of that person.

Brown indicated last night the sheriff’s office will release no further information on the man booked into the jail until after representatives from its office, the prosecutor’s office and the coroner’s office have a chance to get together for “briefing.”

That won’t happen before Monday, according to Brown.

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News brief: Four escape mobile home fire in Rochester

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 11:20 am
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Crews extinguish a blaze that destroyed Rochester mobile home, shop. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Investigators are looking into the cause of a fire in a Rochester mobile home park that displaced a father, his young daughter and two other adults early this morning.

“One of the occupants woke up and saw a glow outside,” Chief Robert Scott said. “He alerted everyone, got everyone up and by then the smoke was in their hallway.”

Crews responding just before 5 a.m. to the area at 185th Avenue Southwest near Marble Street found the single-wide mobile home fully involved in flames, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

The fire spread, also destroying a shop and heavily damaging a carport and two vehicles parked there, according to Scott.

The child, who Scott said is 4 or 5 years old, was evaluated for smoke inhalation. Nobody else was injured.

The cause is as yet unknown, but the investigation is focusing on a point of origin outside the structure, Scott said.

A total of 25 firefighters from five departments responded.

Scott said it was in the Tanglewood Mobile Home Park. An adjacent mobile home less than 20 feet away sustained some damage from the fire as well, he said.

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News brief: Campfire blamed for hillside blaze north of Cinebar

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Someone forgot about Smokey Bear.

When 911 calls alerted firefighters to a glow in the Cinebar Hills, members of Lewis County Fire District 8 set out in the dark up a logging road and discovered a wildfire covering about two acres on extremely steep terrain.

And, they found the remnants of a campfire someone didn’t fully extinguish, according to Chief Duran McDaniel.

What began about midnight on Tuesday didn’t end for another 16 hours, he said.

The scene was about a mile up Forest Service Road 71, on the way to Newaukum Lake, he said. The small area surrounded by forest had been logged about four years earlier, and the campfire had been built some 10 feet away from a well-seasoned slash pile in what McDaniel called a landing zone.

“It appears people have using the area for target practice,” he said.

Firefighters did what they could to contain what was burning on Weyerhaeuser property while they waited for crews from the state Department of Natural Resources, McDaniel said.

DNR summoned three “convict crews” and three engine teams, he said.  Members of the fire district assisted by hauling tanker trucks of water through the night and into the following afternoon.

The chief said the DNR investigation indicated the campfire – without even a ring of rocks surrounding it – was probably used sometime since Sunday.

A burn ban goes into effect on Monday in Lewis County because of how much the vegetation has dried out. Exceptions are made for recreational fires in approved receptacles.

A similar burn ban statewide began July 1 on all forestland and other property that is protected by the state Department of Natural Resources.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

MISSING TRUCK FOUND VIA GPS UNIT

• A 28-year-old Chehalis resident called 911 yesterday morning after he discovered  both his Dodge pickup truck and an acquaintance had disappeared from his apartment on the 100 block of North Market Boulevard. The vehicle had a GPS device in it which helped law enforcement locate it and the woman on Anderson Road at the Chehalis Reservation, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Oliva Flores-Purser, 20, of Centralia, was arrested and booked for possession of a stolen vehicle, according to Officer Linda Bailey.

GUNS, PICKUP STOLEN FROM CURTIS

• A second person was arrested yesterday in connection with a burglary reported on June 30 at the 200 block of Hubbard Road in Curtis in which several firearms, power tools, jewelry, financial documents and a Dodge pickup truck were stolen, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Marcus T. Almanzor, 41, was picked up at his home in Olympia, according to the sheriff’s office. Twenty-nine-year-old Christopher Lopez, a homeless person, was arrested on Friday, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Some of the stolen goods have already been recovered from residences in Chehalis and Rochester, including the truck, Brown said. Still missing are an SKS rifle, a Ruger 22 pistol and four hunting rifles, she said. The case remains under investigation and other arrests are expected, according to Brown.

BREAK-IN IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called yesterday to an apartment which was broken into on the 200 block of North Rock Street after its tenant was evicted. Police say they do have a suspect and are investigating. It wasn’t noted if anything was taken.

CAR VERSUS BIKE

• Centralia police responded to a collision in which a passenger vehicle struck a small utility trailer being pulled behind a bicycle on the 1300 block of North Pearl Street just before noon yesterday. Police said the bicyclist suffered a minor injury.

HOUSE FIRE IN SALKUM

• A Salkum woman and her pets escaped without injury when a kitchen fire broke out at her home on Raydell Drive last night. Firefighters called about 7:15 p.m. contained the blaze to the kitchen, but they had to tear out part of the ceiling, according to Lewis County Fire District 8. She was in the living room reading when her refrigerator caught on fire, according to Chief Duran McDaniel. “I don’t know how many cats she had, 11 or so, but they all seemed to make it out okay,” McDaniel said. The home had smoke damage throughout but is fixable, he said.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The now former treasurer for the Morton Athletic Association appeared before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court who set her bail with a $5,000 unsecured bond. Sarah J. Erskine, 34, of Morton, was responding to a summons for her charge of first-degree theft. Prosecutors allege in court documents Erskine misappropriated M.A.A. funds that were kept in the Morton bank where she worked. She no longer works there. Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge Erskine plans to hire Centralia attorney Don Blair and requested her arraignment be scheduled for Aug. 1. Judge Nelson Hunt agreed and ordered her to visit the jail for a so-called administrative booking – get fingerprinted and get her photograph taken – before the hearing.

WRECKS

• A 34-year-old woman and a 7-year-old boy from Beaverton, Ore. were evaluated by medics after a rollover wreck on state Route 7 just north of Morton yesterday. Troopers called about 12:30 p.m. report Cory A. Maronay was traveling northbound when she lost control of her 2004 Kia Optima, according to the Washington State Patrol. She was taken to Morton General Hospital where she was treated and released, according to authorities. Both had been wearing seatbelt restraints, the vehicle was described as totaled, according to the patrol.

• A couple in their 70s traveling from Massachusetts on a tour of the country were struck by a pickup truck as they headed to see Mount St. Helens yesterday. Both vehicles were totaled and blocked the 50 mph undivided highway for a period of time, according to responders. It happened about 11:40 a.m. just east of Toledo on state Route 505, according to the Washington State Patrol. Injuries were all minor, according to a spokesperson for the state patrol. Troopers reported Daniel W. Fultz, 49, of Chehalis, was pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a car behind his pickup truck when the trailer began to fishtail and he crossed the centerline. All the occupants declined treatment, but as the couple was at the fire station making arrangements for a rental car, firefighters talked him into going to the hospital to be checked out, according to Lewis County Fire District 2. David Firmin, 76, Worster, Mass., was transported to St. John Medical Center in Longview, Chief Grant Wiltbank said. A firefighter took his traveling companion, Ruth A. Roginsky, 73, from Port Charlotte, Fla., to meet him there, according to Wiltbank.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor theft, suspected fraud, suspicious circumstances, parking lot fender bender  … and more.

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Responders assist at a two-vehicle collision near Toledo. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

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News brief: Chehalis woman dead, sheriff’s office investigating

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The sheriff’s office is investigating what it calls a suspicious death of a woman on a Forest Service Road near Morton.

Deputies were called about 1:30 a.m. by a resident on the 5900 block of state Route 508 who said a man came to her house to report he and his fiancee had been in a collision on Forest Service Road 73 and she was not breathing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Aid and deputies arriving to the scene a couple of miles away found the 48-year-old Chehalis woman dead, according to the sheriff’s office.

Forest Service Road 73 begins at state Route 508 about two miles west of Morton.

The 32-year-old Randle man is being questioned, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release. He stated the couple had been “jumped” and the wreck happened when they were trying to get away, according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office is looking for a Kelso man they think might have information related to the investigation, according to Brown. He is 39-year-old Roger Etter.

Brown declined to say what detectives think Etter might know about the case, but is asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers.

An autopsy will be scheduled for the victim, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Roger Etter

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Lawyers: Mentally disturbed Packwood man kidnapped woman friend

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm
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Zachery H. Bynum appears with a defense attorney in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 41-year-old Packwood man being held in the Lewis County Jail allegedly took a 22-year-old woman up a logging road and threatened her with a machete, telling her either she was going to kill him or he was going to kill her before she managed to talk him into going to the Glenoma grocery, where he then forced her to drive him away as deputies arrived.

Zachery H. Bynum was arrested after an approximately four-mile police pursuit, during which he held the large knife alternately to the young woman’s ribs and neck, according to court documents.

Authorities say she tried to jump from her pickup truck while it was still traveling in excess of 45 mph after its front tires had been punctured by spike strips; it was only after it struck a guard rail and further struggling that she broke free and ran to the safety of a nearby patrol car.

Tuesday’s events were triggered because the woman met with Bynum to tell him she could not see him any more, court documents state.

Bynum, a homeless person, is charged with kidnapping and a multitude of other offenses.

He appeared before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court, with shackles around his waist and his ankles. He refused jail officers’ attempts yesterday afternoon to bring him into court.

“My client could not be here yesterday because he suffers from significant, I mean significant, mental health issues,” defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge.

Prosecutors asked for bail to be set at $1 million, citing the danger to the victim and the community.

“Short of a violent sexual assault or homicide, I can’t think of much else more he could have done,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told the judge.

Prosecutors said the Morton woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of cuts on her neck and other places on her body as well as scrapes.

Bynum has a prior felony conviction for second-degree assault from 1994 and several misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence and harassment, according to prosecutors.

Judge Nelson Hunt set bail at $250,000 and scheduled Bynum’s arraignment for next Thursday.

Charging documents are somewhat vague about the relationship between the two and don’t identify the location of the logging road or how long she and Bynum were there before they got to the grocery store at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

O’Rourke said he didn’t yet have a detailed timeline but got the impression from police reports the whole thing may have taken place over a period of a couple of hours.

She told deputies she is married and has had a romantic relationship with Bynum and they were also friends, according to court documents. She said she and her husband were reconciling and her husband no longer wanted her to see Bynum, the documents state. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said the two were dating.

Charging documents based on Lewis County Sheriff’s Office interviews with participants and witnesses allege the following account:

When the young woman met with Bynum on Tuesday to let him know she couldn’t see him any more, he became upset and asked her to give him a ride to a friend’s house. Along the way, he became hostile, calling her names and even spitting on her.

When they neared the destination, he ordered her to pull up a logging road, screaming at her.

Bynum grabbed her by the hair and dragged her up the logging road and away from her vehicle and her dogs which were inside. He took out the large machete and held it in his hand.

Bynum repeatedly shoved her to the ground and ordered her to keep walking and when she struggled, he  grabbed her by the throat and said “if she was going to talk like a man, she would fight like a man.”

He told if she didn’t comply, he would kill her dogs.

Finally, when they were stopped, as he stabbed his machete into the dirt near her, he told her it was her or him and he wasn’t going back to prison.

“(S)he knew she was going to die,” charging documents state.

The young woman convinced him they should go somewhere and continue talking, and she drove them to the store on the 8000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma.

O’Rourke charged the defendant with one count of kidnapping for events up to this point and a second count of kidnapping for what happened at the small grocery after they arrived.

Bynum warned her not to do anything stupid, but once inside, she jumped over the checkout register, stood next to the clerk and begged her for help.

“The checker appeared scared and told (her), I’m sorry.”

Bynum pulled the screaming, struggling woman by her hair out of the building, choked her into unconsciousness and then ordered her back into the truck, smashing her face into the steering wheel.

That’s when a deputy arrived. She pulled away and the pursuit began.

The sheriff’s office spoke of him holding a large knife – described as a mini machete – to her neck. Charging documents refer both to a knife and a large machete.

The truck finally stopped near Kiona Creek Road.

Deputies said Bynum refused to comply with their demands, even at gunpoint, walking toward a deputy and telling him to shoot him in the head. It took a sergeant approaching with a Taser for him to get on the ground.

The defendant fought and resisted arrest, even with multiple officers attempting to detain him.

Bynum is charged with 12 counts, including first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, felony harassment, misdemeanor assault, attempting to elude and resisting arrest.

Schroeter told Judge Hunt Bynum has no income or assets. He was given a court-appointed attorney.

•••

For background, read “News brief: Morton woman assaulted, forced to flee arriving law officers” from Wednesday July 17, 2013, here

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News brief: Outdoor burning to be further restricted

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local officials have decided it’s becoming too dry for outdoor burning in Lewis County.

Beginning on Monday at 12:01 a.m., a burn ban goes into effect until further notice, according to the Lewis County Fire Marshal.

Exceptions are made for recreational fires either in approved campfire sites or approved burning receptacles, according to Fire Marshal Fred Chapman. Answers to related can questions can be sought by calling Chapman at 360-740-1146.

A similar burn ban statewide went into effect July 1 on all forestland and other property that is protected by the state Department of Natural Resources.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

ASHTRAY DEVICE BLAMED FOR HOUSE FIRE

• A two-story Centralia home was damaged by fire last night because of a cigarette butt disposal unit that was supposed to be filled with water but wasn’t, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Firefighters were called about 8:30 p.m. to the 800 block of E Street when someone smelled smoke, according to Capt. Tim Adolphsen. “Neighbors came with a garden hose to keep the fire in check until we arrived,” he said. A man and a woman who were house sitting for a relative got themselves and several dogs out safely and no one was hurt, according to the fire department. Adolphsen said the ashtray device was outside on a wooden shelf next to the home. There was smoke and soot damage throughout but the fire damage was contained to a portion of one wall, he said.

MAN BOOKED FOR SLASH FIRE THAT SPREAD

• One person has been arrested in connection with unauthorized outdoor burning that spread to a camp trailer outside Mossyrock in May, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened on May 6 at the 100 block of Swigert Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said Lucas Davis was slash burning and left the scene. Davis was arrested yesterday and booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree reckless burning.

ASSAULT

• Centralia police were called abut 9:15 p.m. yesterday after a 33-year-old woman allegedly kicked a caregiver at the 900 block of South Schueber Road. Jamie L. Craig, was arrested for third-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called to Green Hill School this morning to investigate an an incident that occurred on July 4 in which an inmate allegedly was out out of control and kicked one staff member and spit on another.

MISSING MONEY

• A woman called police yesterday regarding about $2,800 cash missing from her purse while at an office on South Market Boulevard in Chehalis the day before. No arrests have been made, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said it apparently was the proceeds from the sale of a vehicle.

HIT AND RUN

• Centralia police are looking for the vehicle that knocked over a fire hydrant early this morning on the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue. It was reported about 6:40 a.m. Officers have a possible suspect identified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NO CAT-NAP

• Police were called to an apartment complex on Southwest Third Street in Chehalis yesterday to a complaint a neighbor had stolen another neighbor’s cat. There was no crime, according to police. A 6-year-old resident thought the feline was cute and took it home with her, according to detective Sgt. Gary WIlson.

WRECK

• The sheriff’s office says a 75-year-old motorist was uninjured in a rollover wreck yesterday morning on the 300 block of Pleasant Valley Road outside Chehalis. It happened about 11 a.m. and it appeared the Toyota Camry rolled twice, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. A responding deputy determined the man lost control of his car when one of the tires went off the edge of the road and then the driver over corrected, according to Brown. The vehicle was described as totaled.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor domestic assault; responses for alarms, disputes, non-injury collisions; complaints of fireworks, barking dogs  … and more.

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Cause of yesterday’s apartment building and house fire unknown for now

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm
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Workers begin boarding up the west side of the apartment building that burned yesterday morning on the corner of Northwest West Street and Rhode Island.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It could be awhile before the cause of yesterday’s fire that woke the occupants of a four-unit apartment building and an adjacent house in Chehalis can be determined.

Fire Chief Jim Walkowski said investigators can’t go back inside the bigger structure until its deemed safe to enter.

Both buildings were heavily damaged, he said.

He estimated the loss to the structure and contents was as much as $400,000 to the older apartments on the corner of Northwest West Street and Rhode Island. The house to its west may be fixable, he said.

Walkowski was at the scene of the 4:30 a.m. blaze again late yesterday afternoon as workers boarded up the windows.

The northwest corner of the apartment building suffered the greatest damage, he said. The exterior on the west side is completely charred.

He said he wasn’t sure what the residents might be able to recover of any belongings left undestroyed.

“Probably not a lot,” he said. “Once it’s stable, we’ll see what we can salvage.”

Ten adults were displaced by the fire that appears to have begun in the aging apartment building and spread to the one and half story house next door. A missing cat had not yet been found by yesterday afternoon.

The local Red Cross is providing emergency shelter, food and clothing to the occupants.

Nearly 50 firefighters from eight departments battled the blaze. A 55-year-old man who lives there was hospitalized briefly for smoke inhalation.

The fire chief said he hasn’t yet determined if there were operational smoke detectors, and got a report none activated inside the apartments. He was told by the owner they were in place, he said.

Walkowski said one of the challenges was the type of construction back in 1918 or 1924 when the big building was new. Once any flames got into a wall, there was nothing in place to stop them from spreading all around inside each wall, he said.

The other big issue was a natural gas line on the west side of the building broke, so the gas fueled a flame that was pointed directly at the neighboring house, he said.

It wasn’t an option to just extinguish the fire around the line, as then the gas would still be coming out, which would have been dangerous, he said.

It was about an hour and half before the gas company could get it shut off, he said. It involved digging and more complexity than just turning a valve, he said.

Walkowski said he’s heard the “hub bub” about the fire igniting from a meat smoker or related to explosions, but said it’s too early to know the cause.

The owner of the apartment building is being asked to hire a structural engineer to certify it is safe to enter, and then fire investigators will be able to conduct their examination, he said.
•••

For background, read “Blaze at Chehalis apartment building spreads to neighboring house” from Tuesday July 16, 2013 at 8:53 a.m., here