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News brief: Five promoted at rural Chehalis fire department

Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm
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Lewis County Fire District 6 celebrated the end of probation for its full time firefighters

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Five individuals have been promoted to firefighter from probationary firefighter at Lewis County Fire District 6.

A badge pinning ceremony was held at the rural Chehalis fire station on Jackson Highway on Feb. 16, where Chief Tim Kinder administered the firefighter oath, assisted by Assistant Chief Pat Smith and Deputy Chief Steve Lux, according to a news release.

Offering encouragement and congratulations before an audience of family and friends were the district’s first chief Noel Cole, the president of the Lewis County Fire Chief’s Association Gregg Peterson and former District 6 Commissioner Greg Pulver, according to Kinder.

The fire district last March introduced to the community its five newly hired paid firefighters when it was transformed from an predominantly volunteer department to a “combination” department.

Those promoted were :

• Matt McCoy Firefighter-Paramedic
• Greg Folwell Firefighter-EMT
• Kyle Eiswald Firefighter-EMT
• Mike Goodwillie Firefighter-EMT
• Matt Foley Firefighter-EMT

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police were called at 7:40 p.m. yesterday regarding a female catching a suspected prowler inside her car on the 1100 block of Borthwick Street in Centralia. The male subject ran off after she confronted him, and nothing was missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about 7 o’clock yesterday morning about someone cutting the soft top of a Jeep parked at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia.

THEFT

• A debit card was stolen from a tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Centralia police began investigating an unspecified theft at abut 10 p.m. Friday in connection with the 1400 block of Johnson Road.

HEALTH CARE ISSUES

• Centralia police say they arrested an unidentified male about 10 p.m. yesterday at the 1200 block of Mellen Street for giving a fake name to obtain medical services. “John Doe” was booked into the Lewis County Jail for forgery, according to police. Further details were not readily available.

• A 58-year-old Longview man was arrested about 1:30 a.m. yesterday for allegedly interfering with a health care facility after contact with police at the 900 block of South Schueber Road in Centralia. Craig Weighall was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Further details were not readily available.

VANDALISM

• Police were called to graffiti spray painted on the sides of two buildings on Friday; both at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue.

PACKWOOD FIRE UNDER INVESTIGATION STILL

• The cause of a cabin fire in Packwood on Wednesday night is listed as undetermined, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters called about 7:30 p.m. extinguished a blaze that gutted an old Ohanepecosh cabin on the 500 block of Cannon Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 10. Fire investigator Derrick Paul said yesterday that’s all he could say about what he discovered.

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Attorneys dispute statute of limitations rules on surprise child sex charge for Maurin double murder defendant

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors alleged in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday that murder defendant Ricky A. Riffe raped his 9-year-old step-daughter 28 years ago, filing new charges for a crime that has a possible penalty of life in prison.

Riffe’s attorney is calling it a ploy to smear his client, in a small community that is closely following the news of Riffe’s upcoming double murder trial.

Riffe, 54, was returned to Lewis County from his home in Alaska last summer when Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer charged him in the December 1985 abduction and slaying of Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin, an elderly couple who lived in Ethel.

While not exactly a cold case because Riffe and his now-deceased brother were longtime primary suspects, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with a newly elected prosecutor stepped up a re-investigation, noting that fear of the brothers had kept many witnesses from coming forward when the crimes occurred.

The two men moved to Alaska in 1987, according to the sheriff.

The sheriff’s office has said it believes that on Dec. 19, 1985 the brothers somehow got into the couple’s home, and then forced them to drive to a bank in Chehalis to withdraw $8,500 before shooting them in the backs with a shotgun.

The bodies of the Maurins, Ed, 81 and Wilhelmina, 83, were found on Christmas Eve 1985 dumped off a logging road outside Adna.

Riffe is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary.

His trial is scheduled to begin in May and last as long as a month.

Yesterday, in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis, Meyer told the judge Riffe is now charged with two incidents of child sex abuse, one from 1984 and the other from 1986.

Judge Richard Brosey read the charges aloud, advised Riffe they are separate from the other matter and that he is presumed innocent. He asked Riffe how he pled.

Defense attorney John Crowley jumped up and objected to the late filing of charges beyond the statute of limitations.

Crowley asked the judge to enter not guilty pleas on behalf of his client, and all agreed to revisit the matter after the murder trial ends.

Meyer, outside the courtroom, said the statute of limitations doesn’t apply because Riffe had left the state.

The allegations were investigated by police at the time and no criminal charges were filed, according to both Meyer and Crowley.

“It was investigated then, it came up again during this investigation,” Meyer said. “We got some new information.”

In Washington, all crimes except murder have a statute of limitations, according to Crowley. It’s a limit on the amount of time that can pass beyond which prosecutors can’t file criminal charges against a person, he said.

Crowley, a Seattle-based attorney, said it’s true if a person moves out of state that stops the clock, as long as authorities don’t know where they went.

But the sheriff’s office knew the brothers moved to Alaska, and contacted them in 1993, Crowley said.

“They interviewed him and his brother, it’s no secret where he was,” he said.

Judge Brosey has already said more than once the court plans to bring in an extra large number of potential jurors for the murder trial, to allow for the amount of pre-trial publicity the case has generated.

The most serious of the new allegations is that shortly after the victim turned 9, her mother was gone from the home and she was told to keep that “side of the bed warm.” Charging documents state she awoke to Riffe raping her.

The girl left the room with an excuse and then slept on the floor of her brother’s bedroom, according to the documents.

For that, Riffe is charged with what was then called statutory rape.

The second count, then called indecent liberties, is in connection with when she was 10 years old and Riffe allegedly fondling her.

Riffe denies any sexual contact, according to charging documents.

The hearing yesterday continued with tentative scheduling in April for two days of pre-trial hearings and deadlines decided for the submission of pre-trial motions.

Riffe remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail.
•••

For background, read “Man held in 1985 slayings of Ethel couple now accused of child sex abuse from nearly 30 years ago” from Friday February 22, 2013 at 11:24 a.m., here

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Seventy-five goats and horses removed from Centralia pasture

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 10:24 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia area couple who relinquished 25 horses and 50 goats last week were in court yesterday in connection with a charge of second-degree animal cruelty.

Gerald D. Specht, 65, and his wife Wendy Specht, 58, have both pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to return to Lewis County District Court on March 13 for a hearing.

It wasn’t so much the animals were thin, but they were living in horrible conditions, according to Lewis County Code Enforcement Supervisor Bill Teitzel.

Teitzel described the horses’ feeding area as littered with obstacles such as barbed wire and finding injuries to the horses’ feet and legs. When Teitzel visited the property, he found about 10 of the goats inside the darkened remnants of a house, he said.

The floor was covered with mud and animal waste, he said.

The Spechts themselves are living in a tent as their home burned several years ago, Teitzel said.

The property is on the 600 block of Teitzel Road east of Centralia.

“My take on this, is the people were overwhelmed,” Teitzel said. “But I think they ended up taking responsibility.”

The couple previously lived in a recreational vehicle, but code enforcement had found issues with their sewage set up, he said.

The county had been monitoring the situation since October and when they visited on Feb. 13, found two dead horses not properly disposed of, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Teitzel and sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust described visits last week which included the state veterinarian who found one horse so diseased it had to be euthanized.

A search warrant was served at the property a week ago Friday.

They didn’t have anyone to help to deal with the problems, according to Teitzel.

The Washington State Livestock Coalition persuaded the Spechts to give up the animals. The horses were removed to Pierce County where they were to be cared for. The plan was to keep the goats in Lewis County, where there are many options for finding takers, he said.

The couple were cited by code enforcement for solid waste issues, failure to bury a dead animal. Teitzel also was going to make a referral call to Adult Protective Services for the couple themselves, he said.

The Spechts yesterday after court said they had no comment, that any comment should come through their attorney.

They are each charged with one count of second-degree animal cruelty, alleging at the very least they knowingly allowed an animal to live under conditions that caused unnecessary pain. It is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine or both.

•••

Revised Code of Washington: Animal cruelty in the second degree (owner): RCW 16.52.207

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Plea deal reached for Burkett’s Auto Sales owner

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The case of a bar fight that led to charges of felony assault and witness tampering by the owner of a Centralia used car business ended today with a jail sentence of five months.

John I. Burkett, 40, was set to go to trial next week and decided to accept a plea offer instead.

Burkett said he was afraid he would lose everything if he ended up going to prison.

“She was asking for 22 months if I went to trial and lost, and I was scared, I’ve got kids,” Burkett said, referring to the deputy prosecutor.

The Winlock resident pleaded guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court to tampering with a witness and malicious prosecution.

Burkett indicated the malicious prosecution charge came about when he told police another man put his hands on the woman he was dancing with at Paradise in Chehalis in December of 2011.

The 25-year-old victim who suffered an injury to the back of his head was not present in the courtroom this afternoon.

The witness tampering charge, Burkett admitted in a written statement, was because he offered the man $3,500 in hopes he would absent himself from further court hearings.

Dismissed were charges of assault and bribing a witness.

Burkett owns Burkett’s Auto Sales on on South Gold Street in Centralia.

Defense attorney Chris Baum told the judge today he client was very sorry for what he’d done.

“This is a real unfortunate situation that was blown out of proportion,” Baum said.

The Chehalis attorney said his client tried to resolve the issue by attempting to offer restitution privately.

Judge James Lawler decided Burkett would have to spend 30 days in jail and would be free to serve the rest of his sentence on electronic home monitoring.

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Breaking news: Two trapped after ceiling drops in Rochester auto shop

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Updated at 5:13 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A collapse of the upper level of a Rochester auto repair shop today drew firefighters who had to move about 1,000 pounds of structural debris and auto parts to rescue a 34-year-old man who was trapped and pinned against a wall.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott said two employees were working on the upper level which was used for storage, above the first floor office. When the ceiling fell, it sent the pair to the ground level, along with about a ton of material and various items, according to Scott.

“Engines, transmissions, engine blocks, there was a lot of weight up there,” Scott said.

Firefighters were called just before 3 p.m. to the building at the 19300 block of Elderberry Street Southwest.

A 40-year-old man was able to get himself out, according to the chief, but crews had to break through an exterior wall to get at the 34-year-old.

“The patient was conscious and talking to the responders during the entire operation which lasted just over 20 minutes,” Scott said.

The 34-year-old, whose name was not available, had leg injuries that Scott said he wasn’t sure were if they were fractures or crush injuries.

The other man, whose name was not available either, was ambulatory, but also had an injury to his leg as well as possibly his lower back, according to Scott.

They were both transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

Firefighters were assisted by Riverside Fire Authority from Centralia, the McLane/Black Lake Fire Department and members of the Thurston County Special Operations Rescue Team.

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Some of the additional materials that remain after patient extricated. / Courtesy photo by Robert Scott

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

SHORT-LIVED IMPERSONATION LEADS TO JAIL

• A 30-year-old man walking on North Fork Road outside Chehalis and contacted by a deputy about 10 o’clock yesterday morning was arrested for identity theft after he provided a fake name. Brian M. Hull was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for two warrants, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

RANDOM CHECKING LEADS TO STOLEN CAR

• A Chehalis police officer conducting random checks discovered a stolen, unoccupied vehicle parked at Southwest 16th Avenue and Thomsen Avenue about 10:30 p.m. yesterday. A wallet and credit cards found inside the 2009 Ford Focus, apparently missing from Thurston County, belonged to someone other than the registered owner, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FRAUD COMPLAINT WAS JUST BANK MISTAKE

• Centralia police reported they were called by a bank near Floral Street yesterday morning to investigate fraud by an older subject who allegedly cashed a check he had already deposited into his a account.  After further investigation, it was sorted out and found to be an error on the bank’s part, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning regarding an attempted burglary to a business on the 1500 block of Northwest State Avenue during the night. Further details were not readily available, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SMALL GRAFFITI

• Police were called at about 9:20 a.m. yesterday about graffiti on a fence on the 1200 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. It was a “couple of letters” not suspected to be gang-related, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND …

• And other calls and complaints such as fender bender, shoplift, warrant arrests, scratched paint on a car, vehicle gets egged, bike stolen from the Centralia library and more …

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Man held in 1985 slayings of Ethel couple now accused of child sex abuse from nearly 30 years ago

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said last month the case against accused double murderer Ricky Riffe is an unfolding case.

Riffe, 54, was charged last summer in the 1985 abduction and shooting of Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin, an elderly couple who lived in Ethel.

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Ricky Riffe

This morning, Riffe’s Seattle-based attorney was dealt a new twist.

“In an strange and surprising move, the prosecution has now chosen to charge Mr. Riffe, just 60 days before trial with charges of an alleged 1984 child rape which had been investigated at that time by the police,” John Crowley posted on his law firm’s website.

Riffe was already scheduled for a hearing this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court where attorneys have been regularly apprising the judge on their progress in the voluminous case.

Crowley said he doesn’t know many details of the new allegations, but said they were investigated by law officers in 1984 who did not recommend any criminal charges at the time.

“When CPS got involved, they did not remove the child from the home,” Crowley said.

The allegations involve a step-daughter, according to Crowley.

The former Lewis County resident has been held at the Lewis County Jail since his arrest in July at his home in Alaska.

Prosecutors contend Riffe and his since-deceased brother abducted the Maurins and forced them to withdraw money from their bank in Chehalis before shooting them and dumping their bodies near Adna back in December 1985. Ed Maurin was 81 and his wife was 83.

Crowley called the new charges a great development for his client.

“I think it’s a signal they’re trying to shore up a weak murder case,” he said.

Riffe’s hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. today in front of Judge Richard Brosey.

The trial is scheduled to start the week of May 6.
•••

For background, read “Maurin murders: Riffe’s defense includes an alibi” from Wednesday January 16, 2013, here

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News brief: Paratroopers retrieved from trees near Rainier

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:50 am
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Firefighter climbs to reach a paratrooper stuck 80 feet up a tree at JBLM near the town of Rainier. / Courtesy photo by Robert Scott

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three members of the Rochester area fire department trained in special rescues responded about 3 p.m. yesterday after winds carried three paratroopers into the trees near the town of Rainier.

Nobody was injured but one of the paratroopers, and his parachute, was tangled up 80 feet off the ground, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott.

The two-hour rescue operation included 30 members of Thurston County’s special operations rescue team, comprised of members from six area fire departments, according to Scott. Among them are some skilled at climbing trees and setting up a lowering system to retrieve such subjects.

It happened at the south end of Joint Base Lewis-McChord off Rainier Acres Road, Scott said.

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Recently shot Highway 603 intruder appears in court, with additional charge

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm
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Brian L. Creed waits to be escorted back to the jail after his bail is set in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The accused intruder didn’t look like a man who had been shot in the stomach less than two weeks ago when he appeared in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

Fifty-one-year-old Brian L. Creed, handcuffed and clothed in orange jail garb, projected a voice that was strong and clear when asked by a judge if that was his correct name. He was just released from the hospital yesterday.

Creed is charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree criminal trespass for events that occurred near where he was either visiting, staying or living on Nix Road on February 10.

Deputies called about 4:45 a.m. that morning to the 400 block of Highway 603 west of Chehalis were told by the 24-year-old resident he awakened and found a stranger inside his home who charged him even after being told at gunpoint to get out.

The young man wrestled away from Creed and held him at gunpoint until law officers arrived, according to charging documents.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke today asked the judge to hold Creed on $25,000 bail.

“He doesn’t have an extensive (criminal) history, but we have to acknowledge the seriousness of the charge,” O’Rourke said.

Judge James Lawler set bail at $50,000 instead, noting the defendant is a violent threat because of the entry into someone else’s house.

Authorities admit they don’t know what Creed’s intentions were; he’s not accused of burglary in the sense of stealing, but of unlawfully entering a residence and once inside assaulting the resident. Sheriff Steve Mansfield has said Creed was high on methamphetamine.

He apparently came through an unlocked door.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge his client was the unlucky one and asked for more reasonable bail of $10,000.

Creed qualified for a court appointed attorney, as his only income is $197 per month general assistance and food stamps, Schroeter told the judge.

Prosecutors initially charged Creed with first-degree burglary and fourth-degree assault, but changed the charges.

O’Rourke said the assault is an element of the burglary charge already.

He added a charge of second-degree trespass telling the court the state learned that about an hour and a half before the incident on Highway 603, Creed was seen rooting around on someone else’s property nearby, on the 100 block of Nix Road.

O’Rourke wrote in court documents he believes Creed was trolling the neighborhood to steal property and commit other criminal acts that night.

Creed’s arraignment was put on the calendar for Feb. 28.

•••

For background, read: “Wounded home intruder’s condition deteriorating, deputies relieved of guard duty to cut costs” from Friday February 15, 2013, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Updated at 3:23 p.m.

FIRE STRIKES OLD PACKWOOD CABIN

• Crews in Packwood spent about three hours last night battling a blaze that gutted a dwelling on the 500 block of Cannon Road. Lewis County Fire District 10 Chief Lonnie Goble said the wooden structure was an old Ohanepecosh cabin that had been relocated there from Mount Rainier National Park. He wasn’t sure if anyone was currently residing in the cabin, but nobody was present when firefighters arrived. Nobody was injured. “I don’t know what caused it,” Goble said. “A fire investigator is going to come out and check it today.” The structure is probably a total loss, Goble said.

CHIMNEY FIRE CAUSES MINIMAL DAMAGE

• Firefighters were called about 9:15 p.m. yesterday for a chimney fire at the 600 block of North Washington in Centralia. They cleaned out the firebox, checked for any extension into the walls and ceiling; and finding none, advised the resident not to use the chimney again until it is cleaned and inspected, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

THEFT IN CENTRALIA

• Police were called about 2:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a break-in to  storage building on the 1400 block of South Gold Street. An individual had recently moved out of their home and put their belongings there, according to police. It was immediately clear what all might have been stolen, according to Sgt. Carl Buster.

• Police took a report about 2 p.m. yesterday of the theft of a Wii game system from the 700 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING BOYFRIEND

• A 43-year-old Centralia woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly grabbing her boyfriend by the hair and “throwing him around” as well as obstructing a law enforcement officer because she reportedly struggled with police when they tried to question her. Officers called just after 10 a.m. to the 1100 block of Long Road in Centralia turned off the ignition to Polly A. McQuigg’s vehicle to prevent her from leaving but she grabbed the keys and wouldn’t get out, according to police. They took her out of the car, Sgt. Carl Buster said. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail for fourth-degree assault and obstructing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SNIFFING FOR GRAFFITI

• Police were called abut 10:40 p.m. yesterday when the owner of a laundry business walked outside, smelled the scent of fresh aerosol paint and saw a pair of individuals walking away. A small spot of black paint was found on the building on the 500 block of North Pearl Street but the two people who were contacted didn’t appear to have anything to do with it, according to the Centralia Police Department. The police department is offering up to $250 for tips that help them catch anyone posting graffiti.

FORMER COURT ASSISTANT SAYS BAD JUDGEMENT LED TO ALLOWING MARIJUANA ON HER PROPERTY

• The former Thurston County Superior Court judicial assistant charged with growing marijuana appeared briefly in court today where lawyers pushed her trial into the future while deputies continue to look for a key witness. Debbie Requa, 60, has pleaded not guilty to manufacturing marijuana. Because of conflicts, Lewis County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Brad Meagher was appointed a special deputy to prosecute the case and Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler is hearing it. Lawler was told today by both Meagher and defense attorney Saxon Rodgers they need to postpone the trial because the man hasn’t been found. Outside the courtroom, Rodgers said it is an individual who rented his client’s garage who said he had papers authorizing him to cultivate medical marijuana. Requa said she’s not guilty, except for a “stupid, stupid, error in judgement” that caused her to lose her job. She said she rented the space for $500 a month because she needed the money and thought what he was doing was above board. “I never went into the garage, even when the police were there,” she said. The trial is now scheduled for May 20, although it’s not clear if it might take place in Thurston or Lewis county.

AND

• And other calls such as possible runaway juveniles, arrest for violation of no-contact order and suspicious activity: Looks like a drug deal, looks like a drunk driver, looks like a man laying on his back on the ground and more …

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News brief: Intruder from Highway 603 healed from gunshot, to appear in court today

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 51-year-old man expected to be hospitalized for as long as a month with a gunshot injury from when he walked into a stranger’s home has made a “miraculous” recovery and was brought back to Lewis County yesterday to face criminal charges for the incident.

Brian L. Creed has been at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he initially was listed in critical condition.

Creed was shot once in the abdomen when he confronted a resident at the 400 block of Highway 603 west of Chehalis on Feb. 10. The sheriff said he was high on meth. Creed was charged three days later with burglary and misdemeanor assault.

The sheriff’s office last week released Creed from its custody, to avoid being responsible for paying the bills for his medical treatment and planned surgery.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told county commissioners yesterday that Creed’s condition then suddenly improved. Meyer said he estimated the county saved $500,000 by cutting him loose when they did.

Creed is scheduled to go before a judge today at 4:15 p.m. in Lewis County Superior Court.

Both the sheriff and the prosecutor have said it appeared the 24-year-old resident acted appropriately to protect himself and his wife.
•••

For background, read: “Wounded home intruder’s condition deteriorating, deputies relieved of guard duty to cut costs” from Friday February 15, 2013, here

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Breaking news: Dog missing after horrendous freeway wreck found in Chehalis

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

 

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Bret Bryan carries Steeler out from the briars where he was found this afternoon. / Courtesy photo by Harry Oakes

Updated at 7:08 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Steeler, the champion show dog who escaped his owners when their motor home crashed yesterday on the freeway through Chehalis, has been found.

“He was nervous, I think kind of like, what’s gonna happen now, but not frightened,” said Cathy Spears who slipped a collar around his neck this afternoon.

The whippet was tracked down in the brush behind Darigold off Main Street in Chehalis about 2 p.m.

The canine was located by search dogs.

Yesterday morning, Steeler was riding up front with Donald and Patricia Rodgers, of Shelton, as they returned home from a series of dog shows in California, according to Spears.

Donald Rodgers is a professional handler; the couple and their young assistant had as many as nine show dogs belonging to others crated up in the rear of their 1999 Freightliner motor home, she said.

But Steeler, a retired show dog, is their personal pet, she said.

It was just before 11 a.m. when their vehicle collided with the rear of semi truck on northbound Interstate 5 near milepost 78, leaving their cab crushed and all three injured. It was one of several wrecks in the same stretch that slowed freeway traffic for hours.

Steeler fled onto the freeway and vanished.

Spears, a Centralia woman, has known the Rodgers’ some 20 years, she said. She met up with fellow show dog handlers at the Chehalis Starbuck’s this morning to organize a search. They hired professional searcher Harry Oakes from Longview.

Oakes said it took only about 30 minutes, once they figured out where to start looking.

They learned one of the Chehalis firefighters had seen the dog running near Main Street when crews responded to the accident, Oakes said.

They used a blanket Steeler had slept on to give Oakes’ two Border Collies a scent to work with, he said. They found some tracks. A local man and his yellow lab helped lure Steeler out, according to Spears.

Bret Bryan works for the steam train and his dog is just a pet dog, not trained for such work, she said.

Oakes said he and Bryan spotted the whippet cowering in a briar patch about a half mile off Main Street.

“It took some time to calm him down and get him to come to us,” Oakes said.

The dog appeared to have just superficial cuts and minor bruising, Spears said.

Spears took him to her veterinarian, where he is expected to stay overnight for observation.

The other dogs traveling with the couple were uninjured, she said.

Donald Rodgers and 18-year-old Debra A. Carter of Lacey have been released from the hospital, according to Spears. Patricia J. Rodgers remains at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a crushed hip and knee, she said.

Ironically, Spears endured a similar experience herself about 20 years ago.

She was part of a 16-car pileup on Interstate 5 near Mellon Street in Centralia in which a 16-year-old boy died, she said. She was traveling with three show dogs and two of them ran off, she said.

“We found one the next morning and the other two days later,” she said.

But that’s not what motivated her, Penny King of Vader and Rachel Morris of Adna, to look for the Rodgers’ pet, she said.

“That’s what kept us going, but these are friends of ours,” Spears said.

•••

For background, read: “Multiple wrecks on I-5 tangle traffic around Chehalis, Centralia, show dog escapes onto freeway” from Tuesday February 19, 2013, here

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Steeler is crated up for a ride to the veterinarian after being rescued. / Courtesy photo by Harry Oakes

•••

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The Rodgers’ 1999 Freightliner motor home after Tuesday’s collision on Interstate 5. / Courtesy photo by Nathan Hays

KOMOnews.com caught video of when Steeler was located, see it here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Updated at 12:32 p.m.

FUEL THEFTS

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon that someone has been stealing gasoline from vans parked behind Safeway on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. The case is under investigation.

• Police were called about 6:30 p.m. yesterday to a service station on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia where a female pumped $37 worth of fuel and left without paying for it.

MISSING GENERATOR

• A Honda generator was reported stolen from the 800 block of Main Avenue in  Morton, according to a report made to police on Sunday.

DRUGS

• Police were called to Morton Junior-Senior High School on Thursday regarding a student allegedly in possession of marijuana. The case was referred to the Lewis County juvenile prosecutor for possible charging, according to the Morton Police Department.

VANDALISM

• An officer was called about 10:45 a.m. yesterday to look at graffiti left on rental property at the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia.

• Morton police arrested a 20-year-old resident after getting a call about 11 p.m. on Sunday someone had driven into a neighbor’s yard causing damage to the yard, according to the Morton Police Department. Mathew S. Collett was subsequently arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for hit and run as well as obstructing a police officer, according to police.

• The owner of a dog accused Thursday afternoon of tipping over garbage cans in the area of the 100 block of Pleasant View Drive in Morton was warned to keep their pet contained. The following day, police were called about a block away regarding animals knocking over cans and spreading trash around, according to the Morton Police Department. A responding officer didn’t locate the suspect animal, according to police.

WRECK

• Police and aid were called about 8:35 a.m. yesterday when the driver of a van left the roadway and struck a chain link fence and tree off Mellen Street near Military Road. It was an older gentleman who was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

WIRING ISSUE MAY HAVE SPARKED ADNA BLAZE

• A Monday night house fire in Adna that displaced a family appears to have started because of an electrical problem in the laundry room, Fire Investigator Jay Birley said this morning. Nobody was hurt but the interior of the home on Shannon Lane was severely damaged, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. Birley said the issue is possibly related to wiring on the hot water tank or maybe even security lighting.

ALSO …

• Also, fender benders, shoplifts, a couple of guys who look like zombies are prowling around at night looking for cigarette butts, someone without a placard is parked in a handicapped spot, request for Chehalis police to investigate a fourth-degree assault between two residents at Green Hill school for boys, question about why three unmarked helicopters are circling over Wal-Mart and more …

Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson: Nine times out of 10 if it’s a group of helicopters flying over Chehalis, it’s military training. We have an airport right there and they use it, he said.

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News brief: Pedestrian hit by vehicle on freeway was missing person

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 65-year-old man hit by an SUV as he was crossing Interstate 5 near Vader on Friday night turned out to have been reported missing from a motel in Cowlitz County, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A trooper didn”t know that, when he encountered Daniel E. Ranney on state Route 504 in Castle Rock near the freeway, Trooper Will Finn said today.

Ranney said he was trying to get to Toledo and was impaired so the trooper gave him a lift north and dropped him at a 24-hour truck stop, Finn said.

At about 8:30 p.m. that night, troopers and aid were called to the southbound lanes near Gee Cees truck stop where Ranney had tried to cross the freeway on foot.

Finn said Ranney is from Anchorage, Alaska and was on cancer medications. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was listed this morning in serious condition. A hospital spokesperson said he is in the intensive care unit.

Finn said Ranney suffered a compound fracture of one of his limbs.
•••

For background, read: “News brief: Pedestrian airlifted after hit by vehicle on I-5 near Vader” from Friday February 15, 2013, here

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Multiple wrecks on I-5 tangle traffic around Chehalis, Centralia, show dog escapes onto freeway

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm
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Grants Towing prepares to disengage one of four vehicles mashed when a motorist cut off other cars to pull over for a trooper stopping her for speeding. / Courtesy photo by Laurie Thorson

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 71-year-old Shelton woman was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and two other occupants of the motor home she was traveling in were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after a wreck on Interstate 5 in Chehalis today, one of four collisions in the same stretch all during about a 30-minute time frame, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Patricia J. Rodgers, 71, was a passenger in a northbound 1999 Freightliner motor home that struck the rear of a 2012 Kenworth semi near milepost 78, according to the state patrol. It happened just before 11 a.m. when the semi truck changed lanes, according to the patrol.

About 20 minutes earlier, and two miles to the north, a 49-year-old Camas woman caused a four-vehicle wreck when a trooper tried to pull her over and she crossed all lanes of traffic and stopped on the left shoulder, according to troopers. No injuries were reported there, but a Chevrolet Silverado and a Mercedes C350 were totaled, the investigating trooper reported.

The only Lewis County driver in that wreck was Kristen M. Klein, 53, of Chehalis, who reportedly escaped without damage to herself or her Audi.

Klein was among the three vehicles that stopped to avoid the Camas woman and then a semi truck coming up from behind struck them, according to the patrol.

Trooper Will Finn said as this was going on, a southbound vehicle at milepost 83 in Centralia ran into a construction barrel; and then a box van and a dump truck collided near Centralia’s Mellen Street interchange.

All lanes were opened by about 1:20 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

The driver of the motor home, Donald E. Rodgers, 66, and a passenger, 18-year-old Debra A. Carter of Lacey, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with unspecified injuries.

The motor home was carrying about a half dozen show dogs, and a whippet that was not inside a kennel escaped onto the roadway and is missing, according to Finn.

The cause of that collision remains under investigation.

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Steeler, the missing whippet. /  Courtesy photo

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Updated at 7:19 p.m.

POLICE: PLAN TO RECOVER DRUGS BACKFIRES

• Two men were arrested last night after an alleged botched drug deal in which one of them called 911 trying to get police to get his pills back, according to the Centralia Police Department. The incident around 10:30 p.m. associated with an address on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia included a vehicle chase on Interstate 5 with speeds of up to 100 mph, according to police. Police said the pair agreed to meet so Anthony D. Nelson, 19, of Centralia, could sell some Oxycontin to Terrance B. Joshua, 20, of Vancouver. Joshua allegedly failed to pay and fled in his vehicle with the drugs and then Nelson gave chase, according to police. Officers say the seller, Nelson, called police and falsely reported the prescription medication was stolen out of his vehicle in an attempt to recover the drugs. Nelson was arrested for delivery of a controlled substance as well as malicious prosecution, according to police. Joshua was arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Both were booked into the Lewis County Jail. Or is that really what happened? Both men were released from jail today because the prosecutor declined to file charges. Lewis County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Brad Meagher said no Oxycontin was found. Meagher said police reports indicated the alleged buyer ate some of the pills and threw the rest out his vehicle’s window. Many of the details were vague, according to Meagher.

MORE THAN OUNCE OF METH SEIZED IN TOLEDO

• An extensive drug investigation in the Winlock-Toledo area led to the arrests of a father and son on Saturday and the seizure of one and half ounces of methamphetamine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office served a search warrant at a residence on the 100 block of Conifer Lane in Toledo where they confiscated the $1,800 worth of meth, scales, packaging materials, a loaded handgun, blasting caps, prescription drugs and a laptop computer, Cmdr. Steve Aust said. Arrested for three counts of delivery of meth and one count of possession with intent to deliver was Lake A. Gregson, 23, according to the sheriff’s office. David A. Gregson, 48, was arrested for possession of meth and possession of medications without a prescription, Aust said. Both the Toledo residents were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

BAD WEEKEND AT WAL-MART

• A 37-year-old Chehalis man who allegedly shoplifted a $59 amplifier from Wal-Mart on Sunday morning was arrested for second-degree robbery because he also allegedly kicked an employee in the groin before fleeing the area. Police called about 11 a.m. to the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue were told when the loss prevention worker tried to contact Jeremy R. Hamilton, that Hamilton assaulted him and ran away, according to police. Hamilton was subsequently located at the Chehalis Inn and then booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• An officer called to Wal-Mart on Saturday to look at security video from during the night showing someone push a shopping cart loaded with a 50-inch television out the door recognized the subject and later made an arrest, according to police. Fifty-eight-year-old Martin C. Lloyd, of Centralia, came to the police department later on another matter and was arrested for second-degree theft as well as trafficking in stolen property, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Among the $1,000 worth of stolen merchandise were also a security system and two telephones, Officer Linda Bailey said. The TV was recovered, Bailey said. Lloyd was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• A 41-year-old Centralia man was arrested for allegedly stealing a surveillance camera and other items from Wal-Mart and fleeing on his bicycle late Friday afternoon. Tom A. Reeves was located just down the road after the approximately 5:10 p.m. call to 911, according to police. Inside his backpack, an officer recovered merchandise which also included batteries, a Dremmel tool set and propane tanks, Officer Linda Bailey said. He was booked for retail theft with extenuating circumstances, Bailey said.

MAN FOUND HIDING IN BUSHES

• A 54-year-old Onalaska man was arrested after a deputy was called about an armed man peeking in a living room window on the 100 block of Alpha Way in Onalaska at about 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. David R. Kos was found hiding in some bushes on the property and a pistol was located nearby, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Kos reportedly kicked out a rear passenger window of a patrol vehicle after he was detained, the sheriff’s office said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree trespassing, second-degree malicious mischief and carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, Cmdr. Steve Aust said.

THEFT

• Chehalis police are investigating a report of theft of money from a purse from the 300 block of Southeast Washington Avenue, a report they got on Friday morning.

• Two pressure washers were stolen from a shed on the 1100 block of F Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

VANDALISM

• Someone broke a window of a car on Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 11 a.m. on Friday.

• Centralia police were called twice yesterday about graffiti on buildings, first to the 1100 block of North Tower Avenue and then to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.

CHILDREN BLAMED FOR KNOCKING RADIO STATION OFF THE AIR

• Police were called to a radio station on the 2400 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue in Chehalis just before noon on Friday after the discovery a cable feed line was severed. They noticed dead air instead of the usual national news, according to police. It turned out two boys, ages 8 and 10, who had been building a fort in the area somehow cut the line, Officer Linda Bailey said. No arrests were made.

WRECK

• A 20-year-old Winlock man was arrested for driving under the influence after he wrecked his 1994 Ford Thunderbird about 12:20 a.m. yesterday at the 800 block of Koontz Road near Napavine. The sheriff’s office says Luke L. Nordman ran a stop sign and ran into an embankment. He also reportedly told a deputy he was alone in the car but a 16-year-old passenger was located a short distance away, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Neither were injured, Cmdr. Steve Aust said. Nordman was booked into the Lewis County jail for DUI and making  false statement, according to Aust. The 16-year-old passenger was arrested for minor in possession / consumption, Aust said.

•••

CORRECTION: The news item regarding the man arrested for allegedly peeking in the window of an Onalaska home has been updated by adding three inadvertently left-out words that completely changed the meaning of the offense related to carrying a firearm.

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News brief: Adna house destroyed by fire

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11:51 am
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The front of the house on Shannon Lane fared better than the backside. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 6

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a fire that ravaged an Adna area home last night is under investigation.

Lewis County Fire District 6 responding about 10:10 p.m. to the 100 block of Shannon Lane found smoke and fire so heavy from the backside of the single-story house they were prevented from entering, according to Chief Tim Kinder.

A couple were awakened the sounds of the fire and subsequently by an alarm, Kinder said. They got themselves out of the house, the chief said.

“No injuries, everybody got out safe,” he said.

Firefighters were joined by members of the Chehalis Fire Department and Lewis County District 5.

Kinder said it took just over an hour to extinguish the blaze.

Much of the interior was “pretty much gutted” with severe damage in the utility room and smoke damage elsewhere, Kinder said.

The chief said he didn’t know yet what ignited the fire. An investigator is looking into it this morning, he said.
•••

CORRECTION: This news item has been updated. It previously incorrectly reported the number of occupants who were home when the fire broke out and mistakenly stated they had pets which were evacuated, based on erroneous information provided by Lewis County Fire District 6.

 

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

HIGHWAY 6 VEHICLE VERSUS POLE

• A 64-year-old Pe Ell woman was hospitalized after a single-vehicle accident yesterday afternoon on state Route 6 about five miles west of Chehalis. Troopers were called just before 2:30 p.m. when her eastbound truck crossed the centerline and ran into a telephone pole on the opposite side of the highway, according to the Washington State Patrol. Her Dodge Ram came to rest in a ditch and was described as totaled, according to the state patrol. LaDonna M. Turner was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital where she is listed in fair condition this morning, a hospital spokesperson said. The investigating trooper blamed inattention for the wreck.

ASSAULT

• Centralia police yesterday assisted taking into custody a man wanted for an assault the day before. Mic Banks, 27, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Banks’ arrest was associated with an address on the 2200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Further details were not readily available.

VEHICLE THEFT

• A red and silver 1986 Isuzu Trooper along with a trailer were stolen from the 200 block of West Oakview Avenue in Centralia sometime in the previous three weeks, according to a report made to police at about 4 p.m. on Saturday.

SHOPLIFTING ARREST

• A 27-year-old Chehalis man was arrested about 8:45 p.m. on Saturday for allegedly stealing $59.31 worth of men’s clothing from the Goodwill on the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The items were recovered and returned to the store, according to police. Christopher D. Buck was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for possession of prescription medication, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TV AND WII GONE

• Centralia police took a report from the 900 block of Marion Street on Saturday afternoon regarding the theft of a flat screen television and a Wii game system.

YARD ART MISSING

• Centralia police were called about 1:15 a.m. yesterday about the theft of a “mushroom lawn ornament” from the 1000 block of West Fourth Street.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 10:30 p.m. yesterday when a window was discovered broken out at an apartment on the 200 block of West Magnolia Street in Centralia. Apparently nobody got inside and nothing was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone slashed the tires on three different vehicles in the area of the 500 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.