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Centralia’s drug team scores big; mass meth, cash

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm
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More than $12,000 in currency is taken into evidence from Second Street drug case. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Updated at 3:47 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 28-year-old man who was a primary suspect in a case four years ago in which local police and the Drug Enforcement Administration recovered more than 12 pounds of methamphetamine was arrested today at his Centralia home, where officers seized about five pounds of meth, three passenger vehicles and more than $12,000 cash.

A half dozen members of the Centralia Police Department served a search warrant this morning at the 200 block of West Second Street.

Miguel Perez-Espinoza was arrested without incident and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver, according to police.

Sgt. Jim Shannon said this morning’s events were very low key. They waited until the children went to school, and then just knocked on the door and asked to talk with their suspect, he said.

The original investigation into Perez-Espinoza’s activities began in September 2010, when officers of the Centralia Anti-Crime unit working in cooperation with the DEA turned up in excess of 12 pounds of methamphetamine from a location in the 100 block of Elma Drive, according to Shannon. Police believed after that seizure, Perez-Espinoza fled the United States, presumably to Mexico to avoid prosecution, according to Shannon.

Toward the end of last year, the Anti-Crime team got information he had come back to town and resumed his drug trafficking, Shannon stated in a news release.

“Through surveillance, interviews and data mining we identified several members of his organization,” Shannon stated.

In August, officers served a search warrant in the 3100 block of Ives Road and ended up arresting three suspects, thought to be co-conspirators with Perez-Espinoza: They are Christian Ayon Felix, 30; Diego A. Vazquez, 22; and Erik M Nava, 35; all of Centralia, according to police. Shannon said slightly less than one pound of methamphetamine and $2,300 in cash were found at that location.

“I think the takeaway, is when we conduct a drug investigation in this city, it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how far you go, we will eventually catch up to you,” Shannon said.

He said they plan on making more arrests in the case.

Perez-Espinoza’s wife was present when police arrived, but has not been arrested, according to Shannon.

The vehicles they impounded include 2007 Chrysler Sebring, a 2010 VW Jetta, and a 2004 Ford Expedition.

Shannon said whatever becomes of the case from Elma Drive in 2010 in under the purview of the DEA.

The estimated current price of meth, by the pound, is $8,000 to $10,000, he said.

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Roughly five pounds of methamphetamine found today following search of Centralia home. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

AUTO THEFT

• A blueish gray 1991 Cadillac Seville was stolen from the 500 block of South Silver Street sometime between 6 p.m. yesterday and early this morning, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A stolen black Honda car was recovered yesterday at the 200 block of Walnut Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT FROM YARD

• Police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Mikayla Lane in Centralia regarding the theft of tires and wheels from outside a residence. The items went missing sometime after 9 a.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT FROM STORE

• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday in connection with allegedly making fraudulent returns to a store on the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia. Rodney P. Bednarik was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  no driver’s license, underage possession of alcohol; responses for alarms, dispute, vandalism, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, hit and run, suspicious circumstances; complaint of kids skateboarding on sidewalk  … and more.

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Teen’s logging death results in fine to Chehalis employer

Monday, October 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis logging company has been cited for two serious violations in connection with the death of an 18-year-old employee who was crushed by a piece of equipment south of Boistfort last May.

Cole Bostwick of Winlock was setting chokers for a logging operation when a carriage was accidentally lowered onto him, killing him instantly.

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Cole Bostwick

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office identified the employer as ENB Logging and Trucking, but the state Department of Labor and Industries reports it was ENB Logging and Construction Inc.

An investigation conducted by L&I found the employer did not ensure the chokerman was in the clear as the Danebo drift carriage was being lowered for slack and also that the business’s accident prevention program was not tailored to the needs of the operation, specifically that it didn’t explain or address the differences in the hazards of using a drift carriage and a motorized  carriage.

An assistant fire chief who responded to the scene on May 21 described the carriage in question as a metal piece roughly six feet long and not very wide that traveled along a cable to assist in retrieving logs. He estimated it weighed two tons.

The penalty assessed is $7,800, according to the inspector’s report dated Oct. 1.

ENB has appealed the citations, according to a spokesperson from L&I.

The accident occurred about 14 miles off Pe Ell McDonald Road, on property owned by Green Diamond Resource Co. The teen’s father was on the job with him.

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Tyler Bryan

A Mossyrock logging company was cited for a serious violation earlier this year, after the death of a 21-year-old employee, who was struck by a log being pulled up a slope with a cable. Tyler Bryan, of Toledo, died on Feb. 10 at the site north of Morton.

Brintech Technical Logging Inc. did not appeal and paid the $2,600 fine, according to L&I spokesperson Elaine Fischer.

In that case, the same inspector found the employer did not ensure the three-man rigging crew was in the clear when a “turn” of logs was moving to the landing, according to the inspector’s report. The crew was within 40 feet of the skyline when the tail hold failed, causing the logs to fall towards them, according to the report.

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John B. Leonard

And a March death from a logging injury in the Salkum area brought a citation for an Winlock logging business, according to Fischer.

A fine of $1,800 was assessed against TJB Enterprises Inc. for a serious violation.

John B. Leonard, 69, airlifted to a Seattle hospital on March 27 after he was struck by a large limb while working on acreage just north of the 2200 block of U.S. Highway 12.

The L&I report contends the employer did not ensure before falling that various conditions did not create a hazard.

TJB has appealed.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, October 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

STABBING INVESTIGATION

• Chehalis police are investigating a reported stabbing incident from Saturday night. Officers were summoned around 10:20 p.m. by the fire department who were on a call at the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue when a male walked up and said he’d been stabbed a couple of times, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said the individual was treated and his wounds were not so serious that he needed to be hospitalized. Police are still looking into it, according to Bailey.  “We’re still investigating, so it’s not clear what occurred,” Bailey said.

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS DRIVE DRUNK

• A 34-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening following a ruckus behind a downtown Centralia tavern. Officers responding around 6 p.m. to the 100 block of South Railroad Avenue were told friends were trying to stop Michael P. Burnell from driving drunk and he was fighting them, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say he also tried to fight with officers and was “subdued” with the use of a Taser. Burnell was booked into the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to police.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report about 10:30 a.m. yesterday of stolen mail from the the 500 block of Courtland Street.

• Chehalis police took a report from the 400 block of Southwest 14th Street on Friday of a battery stolen from out of a sport utility vehicle there sometime during the previous two weeks.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, noisy neighbors … and more.

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Judge gives six-plus years to Ricky Riffe, already serving more than 100 years

Monday, October 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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Ricky Riffe, in red, addresses his lawyer as his hearing winds down in Lewis County Superior Court this morning.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Convicted murderer Ricky Riffe will be headed back to prison now after he was sentenced today in a 30-year-old child sex crime case involving a young relative.

Riffe, now 56, was convicted almost a year ago in the 1985 kidnapping, robbery and shotgun deaths of Ed and Minnie Maurin, of Ethel. While awaiting trial, prosecutors filed charges that during the same time period, he had sexually abused his young stepdaughter.

The former Mossyrock man made an Alford plea last month, pleading guilty to indecent liberties, but admitting no guilt after a deal was struck between the two sides.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and Riffe’s lawyer John Crowley both recommended this morning that he should serve six years and three months, the top of the standard sentencing range for the offense.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt agreed.

Riffe is already serving nearly 103 years in the Maurin case, but has appealed.

Clad in red jail garb, Riffe never turned his heavily whiskered face toward the victim as she spoke. He declined an opportunity offered by the judge to speak on his own behalf.

Riffe denies any guilt in both cases.

“It is disturbing to the state that he cannot accept responsibility for anything he has done in his life,” Prosecutor Meyer told the judge. “But that’s on him.”

The now-grown woman, the daughter of Riffe’s long ago wife Robin, who is since deceased, took a chair next to Meyer when she told the judge what she hoped for.

“If there’s any chance of asking of him never, ever getting out,” I will,” she said, reading from notecards. “And please do not allow the monster of my past to be housed anywhere in Western Washington.”

With intermittent sniffles, and glances to her right where Riffe sat facing straight ahead, she said she knows and he knows what happened that November night in 1984. She was nine years old.

“You, my mother and your brother will rot in hell,” she said.

The judge also signed a lifetime no contact order between Riffe and the victim.

From among the handful of individuals in the audience, came a parting shot as Riffe was led away by jail guards.

Robin Riffe’s sister Tammi Graham raised her voice loudly: “Rick, I hope this label goes with you for the rest of your life.”

He was initially charged also with statutory rape, but that charge was dropped in the deal, part of which included Riffe agreeing not to appeal. The crime of indecent liberties, as it existed in the mid-1980s, involves sexual contact with a child younger than 14 years old.
•••

For background, read “Ricky Riffe makes Alford plea in 1980s child sex abuse case” from Saturday Sept. 6, 2014, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 9:08 am
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One teenager hurt when car hits bear on highway / Courtesy photo by Grays Harbor County Fire District 1

Updated

TEEN SUFFERS HEAD INJURY WHEN CAR HITS BEAR

• A 16-year-old boy was airlifted after a car in which he was a passenger hit a bear on U.S. Highway 12 about two miles east of Oakville last night. Troopers and aid were called about 9 p.m. to the area near Elma-Gate Road East and Stewart Street found the driver was unhurt but Connor B. Lovell of Aberdeen suffered a head injury. The black bear was standing in the middle of the highway and was struck by a 2000 Ford Focus driven by Brook L. Swarts, 16, of Oakville, according to the Washington State Patrol. She was able to safely pull off to the side of the road, even though the car’s airbags deployed, according to Grays Harbor County Fire District 1. The car was described as totaled. The bear wandered away from the scene, according to the state patrol. The investigating trooper reports the passenger’s seatbelt was in use, but failed to restrain him. Lovell was flown to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Shawn Burdett of the fire department reported Lovell’s condition as stable.

SUSPICIOUS FIRE BURNS UP SHED NEAR CENTRALIA HOME

• An overnight fire that destroyed a large shed behind a house on the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia is being investigated as an arson. Firefighters called at 2:30 a.m. found the flames were beginning to spread to the home, which was only about 20 feet away, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The home’s occupant had been awakened by a passerby and was outside already when crews arrived, according to Capt. Erik Olson. He described the wooden storage building as about 16 feet by 16 feet; the backyard is adjacent to the railroad tracks, he said. The exterior of the house sustained minor damage, according to Olson. Nobody was hurt. The cause is under investigation, in coordination with the Centralia Police Department.

MAN BOOKED FOR AUTO THEFT

• A Centralia man was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing a car from the 400 block of West Plum Street. Officers learned the Honda had been stolen and put out an attempt to locate message to other officers, according to the Centralia Police Department. Shortly thereafter when a deputy spotted the missing car in the area of Harrison Avenue and Johnson Road, the driver sped off, leading the deputy on a short pursuit, according to police. He pulled into a driveway on the 2500 block of Sharon Street and was beginning to hop out, but was detained, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. James J. Ayres-Brewer, 23 years old according to police and 22 years old according to the sheriff’s office, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude. The sheriff’s office described the stolen car as a 1992 Toyota Paseo.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police took a report from the 900 block of West Third Street yesterday morning of an overnight vehicle prowl.

HIT AND RUN

• Police were called about 12:50 a.m. yesterday to the 800 block of South Street in Centralia where a pickup truck drove across a lawn and slammed into a car parked in the driveway. Officers did not locate the truck, described as an older red pickup with a white canopy, according to the Centralia Police Department. It should have extensive front end damage, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license … and more.

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The aftermath on South Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Kevin Bookter

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Sheriff’s Office: First “attempted luring” was misunderstanding

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The mother of a student who saw news reports of attempted lurings in Rochester called the sheriff’s office last night to say she was the woman in the black sport utility vehicle from the incident on Monday morning at the school bus stop.

She was speaking to her son.

“There was another juvenile standing nearby and her son was a short distance away,” The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release. “She asked her son if he missed the bus and she was told by both boys that they had not missed the bus.

“When asked if they wanted a ride to school, both declined.”

Two more times this week, deputies took reports from different teenage boys who said a motorist stopped and offered them a ride to school, prompting alerts from the school district.

The first incident, involving the black SUV, was reported by a 13-year-old boy to his mother later that night, and to the sheriff’s office the following day.

Each happened between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Extra patrols were out and will continue to roam the areas, as the second and third instances remain under investigation, according to sheriff’s Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.

Another 13-year-old on Wednesday morning described how he was walking along the 7500 block of 198th Avenue Southwest when a black four-door car driven by a scruffy-faced man wearing a baseball cap pulled alongside him and asked if he wanted a ride to school.

“Student told him no and the driver asked a few more times until the student cut through the woods,” the sheriff’s office states.

And then yesterday, a 14-year-old was waiting for his bus at the 8500 block of 183rd Avenue Southwest when a black car pulled up and the driver, who sounded like a woman, asked if he’d missed the bus and offered a ride. He told her no and he walked away.

That car was described as having a loud muffler and annoyingly blue headlights.

The dark and fog prevented the boys from getting good descriptions, according to the sheriff’s office.

Ziesemer said that in his 30 years of experience, the vast majority of what are reported as attempted lurings turn out to be something innocent, involving a misunderstanding or miscommunication. And it’s often another parent just offering a ride, he said.

However, the sheriff’s office reminds students:

• If possible, stay in groups while at school bus stops.

• Do not approach any vehicle or person that you are unfamiliar with.

• If a vehicle stops near you and someone talks to you who you are not familiar with, walk in the opposite direction.

• Then, as soon as possible, tell an adult, such as a parent, school bus driver or teacher.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

ANONYMOUS DELIVERY

• Usually it’s a police officer that leaves something tucked under your car’s windshield wiper, like a ticket. But yesterday afternoon, Chehalis Police Department Officer Warren Ayers found a small surprise on his patrol car parked outside the department on North Market Boulevard. On the wiper was a small baggie containing a white crystal substance, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey. Was it meth? Maybe, Bailey said. The item was taken into evidence and slated for destruction, according to Bailey.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon of a maroon 1996 Dodge Caravan stolen from the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue.

ARRESTS FOR BURGLARY

• Chehalis police arrested two individuals yesterday in Rochester in connection with an interrupted burglary last month on the 1400 block of Southwest Kelly Avenue. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Sarah J. Taylor, 33, and Victor L. Hicke, 25, both from Centralia, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, suspected fraud, trespassing, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, noisy neighbor party … and more.

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Personnel with Riverside Fire Authority, both current and retired, went through 25 pounds of pancake mix when they grilled up breakfast for the public on Saturday. Firefighters with the Centralia area department hosted a thank you breakfast, in appreciation for the passage of their levy. / Courtesy photo by Assistant Fire Chief Rick Mack

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm

MASS CASH, PURSE STOLEN IN ETHEL BURGLARY

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they are investigating a burglary in which someone went into an Ethel-area residence and stole a pink camouflage purse and matching wallet containing $1,500. Also taken sometime between Sunday and Monday from the home on the 300 block of Brim Road are driver’s license, social security card, check book, bank card, first aid kit and such, according to the sheriff’s office.

ID, OTHER IMPORTANT RECORDS TAKEN IN CENTRALIA BREAK-IN

• Police were called about 4:40 p.m. yesterday to a home on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia where someone had pried open the back door, come inside and stole personal documents such as passport, social security card and identification, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BRIEF IMPERSONATION

• Jonathan W. Crofton, 38, from Chehalis, was arrested by Centralia police yesterday for allegedly signing a citation with his brother’s name, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for forgery and identity theft, according to Officer John Panco.

DRUGS

• Christin W. Isenhower, 44, a homeless person, and April R. Thielen, 36, of Chehalis, were arrested by Centralia police yesterday for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance after an ongoing investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department. They were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Officer John Panco.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, trespassing, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor assault, disorderly person, collision on city street … and more.

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Attempted lurings reported in Rochester

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three times this week, a different teenage boy waiting at a different school bus stop in Rochester has had a motorist stop and tell him he’s missed his bus and offer him a ride to school.

It happened most recently early this morning on 183rd Avenue Southwest by the bus barn, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office is asking the public to be vigilant.

All have occurred between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., but the vehicles  described are different; and the drivers have been said to be both male and female, sheriff’s Lt. Cliff Ziesemer said this morning.

The sheriff’s office has deputies in the areas in the mornings and expect to continue through at least Monday, trying to intercept another such incident, according to Ziesemer.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Brady said this morning a teen was waiting for a bus when a smaller black vehicle came down his driveway, and he was contacted.

Students and parents need to be alert and aware, and if possible wait in groups for the school busses, Brady said. And please call right way if something similar happens again, Brady urged.

“The faster these reports get to us, the faster we can get in the area,” he said.

The first one was reported to authorities on Tuesday, in which a 13-year-old boy told his mother that a woman in a black sport utility vehicle approached him while he waited for his bus about 6:30 a.m. on Monday at the 9700 block of 180th Way Southwest.

The Rochester School District has been passing along information on its Facebook page, as it has gotten reports from law enforcement.

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Authorities still mum on toddler’s death

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 5:21 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It could be as long as 10 weeks before the cause of death is figured out in the case of the 3-year-old boy who died under suspicious circumstances over the weekend.

The child was taken by ambulance from a Vader home to Providence Centralia Hospital on Sunday evening.

Very little information has been released.

Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 was called to the 400 block of Main Street where CPR was already underway. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said only that they were investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy with suspicious circumstances.

An autopsy was conducted today, but final determinations can’t be made until the Lewis County Coroner’s Office gets back the results of toxicology tests, as well as the findings of various studies conducted by the pathologist, Coroner Warren McLeod said this afternoon.

Toxicology tests can take eight to 10 weeks, he said.

McLeod did not release the toddler’s name, or any other information.

He said he was still waiting for final confirmation of the child’s identity, and would not release it until after the legal next-of-kin have had enough time to notify other relatives.

McLeod said he was taking the extra time to make sure all the family beyond just the next-of-kin is made aware, because of the more sensitive nature of the case; it’s a child and the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said late this afternoon she had no further information to release. The sheriff’s office has a briefing in the morning and if they choose to share anything more, it would be after that’s done, Brown said.

None of the officials authorized to speak have even stated where the child died, in Vader or at the Centralia hospital, nor have they said where the child lived.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm

VEHICLE THEFT

• A Chehalis woman called police at about 11:15 p.m. last night to report she had parked her newly purchased Honda Accord next to the residence on the 700 block of Southwest Moonlight Lane and two hours later discovered it was gone. Since the car was not yet transferred into her name, she was advised to have the registered owner contact police to report it stolen, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A motorcycle stolen from Olympia was recovered yesterday at the 400 block of Iron Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES AT SCHOOL BUS STOP

• The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office took a report yesterday of an incident involving an exchange between a 13-year-old boy and a woman in a black sport utility vehicle at his bus stop in Rochester. It was about 6:30 a.m. when he was waiting for his school bus on the 9700 block of 180th Way Southwest and the Ford Explorer-type vehicle pulled up, the female driver spoke to the boy and said, you’ve missed your bus, why don’t I give you a ride, sheriff’s office Lt. Cliff Ziesemer said. “The kid said, no I didn’t, and they actually started arguing,” Ziesemer said. An arriving high school student asked what was going on, then the  bus arrived and the woman drove away, he said. “The 13-year-old had no idea who this was and had never seen her before,” Ziesemer said. “So that’s kinda suspicious.” Extra patrol were expected in the area, he said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, collision on county road … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Updated

SCORES OF PAIN PILLS LIFTED FROM VEHICLE

• A deputy responded yesterday to a report of a vehicle prowl at the 100 block of Carlisle Avenue in Onalaska in which about miscellaneous medications including 150 hydrocodone pills were taken. It happened on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. The value is $100, according to the sheriff’s office.

BARGING IN, BAD

• Centralia police were called about 12:30 a.m. today to the 1200 block of Alder Street after a 41-year-old man reportedly kicked in the door at his estranged wife’s residence and went inside without permission. When he realized someone was on the phone with 911, he left and police were not able to contact him,  according to the Centralia Police Department. The case is being sent to prosecutors to decide on charges to file, according to police.

BIG BANG ALARMS COURTHOUSE WORKERS

• Chehalis police were called to the Historic Lewis County Courthouse about 2:45 p.m. yesterday after employees believed they heard a gunshot. It turned out the noise was from a table that fell over or was dropped on the third floor, according to police.

OFFICERS HELPING PEOPLE

• Centralia police spent an hour or two last night at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue in connection with a man who was distraught and wanted to harm himself. Officers spoke to him for some time before he eventually gave himself up and was taken to the hospital for treatment, according to the Centralia Police Department. Nobody was injured during the incident, according to police.

STOLEN RIFLE PART

• Chehalis police took a theft report yesterday from a seller at the gun show at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds who conducted an inventory after the weekend and discovered a lower portion from an AR15 rifle was missing. The gun part is valued at about $100, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

TOO MUCH BOOZE

• A 56-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested overnight after he was allegedly found passed out inside her vehicle at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Brian G. Nichols was arrested after contact with an officer around 4 a.m. and booked into the Lewis County Jail for being in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were summoned to a home on Northeast Washington Avenue in the middle of the night over the weekend after a call to 911 in which they were told a drunken male walked in after they opened the door when they heard something outside. Police were told he was passed out on their floor, at about 1:15 a.m. on Sunday. Nobody was arrested, but aid was called to check on him, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FIRE COMMISSIONER RESIGNS MID-TERM

• One of the three members of the board of commissioners that oversees the Napavine area fire department has resigned. Jamie Guenther was elected to a six-year term in November 2011. Guenther came into the station yesterday and dropped his letter of resignation from the board, Lewis County Fire District 5 Fire Chief Gregg Peterson said. He cited personal reasons, according to Peterson. Peterson said he was going to be contacting the Lewis County Auditor’s Office to find out the process for replacing a board member. The board’s next regular business meeting is at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor theft, hit and run, driving with suspended license, driving with no license; responses for vandalism, misdemeanor theft, collisions on city streets … and more.

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News brief: Vespa rider struck by oncoming van on U.S. Highway 12

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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The 1982 Dodge Ram wagon and what remains of a Vespa on U.S. Highway 12 near Morton. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Packwood man was seriously injured after his scooter-type motorcycle was involved in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 12 near Morton today.

Troopers called just before 1 p.m. to the area near Priest Road about two miles east of town say charges are pending.

Michael W. Dearborn, 59, from Packwood, was heading west when an eastbound van turned into him in the westbound lane, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Dearborn was transported to Morton General Hospital and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the state patrol.

Dearborn was riding a 2007 Vespa GTS250, and was wearing a helmet, according to the investigating trooper.

Ronald G. Goble, 83, of Mossyrock, was driving a 1982 Dodge Ram wagon which was impounded. He was injured as well and taken to the Morton hospital, the trooper reports.

The roadway wasn’t cleared until after 3 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

The collision is blamed on failure to yield the right of way.

Update on Wednesday Oct. 8, 2014, at 4:30 p.m.: Haborview spokesperson reports Dearborn is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

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News brief: Chehalis fire chief search ends with nobody chosen

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – None of the finalists for Chehalis fire chief made the cut.

Chehalis City Manager Merlin MacReynold announced yesterday he appointed the city’s police chief as interim fire chief. Chief Glenn Schaffer will oversee the operations of both departments for the time being.

The city had identified three men as finalists for the position after a nationwide search and conducted extensive interviews early last month.

MacReynold said in a news release yesterday the process has concluded without him selecting a replacement.

“I am disappointed that we were not able to find the right candidate, but with a new city manager coming on board in a couple months it makes sense for them to determine how to proceed,” MacReynold stated.

The retiring city manager did not give a reason.

Recruiting efforts for a new chief came after the resignation about six months ago of half-time Fire Chief Jim Walkowski. Walkowski was also leading neighboring Riverside Fire Authority in Centralia, but moved to Spokane County to take a new job amid drastic budget cuts in Centralia.

The Chehalis Fire Department had a full time chief until April of last year.

MacReynold had said he believed it would take him a week or two to make a decision after Sept. 8 when the three finalists met with numerous panels and the city council. Two weeks later he said he was still waiting to hear from a couple of references.

The candidates were Gary Woodson, former fire chief for Pendleton, Ore. Fire and Ambulance Department who had been in the fire service since 1974; Joseph Sands, an engineer-paramedic in Billings, Montana, with experience as both assistant and interim chief; and Jeff Larson, who for 13 of the past 30 years of fire service was suppression battalion chief with the city of Lodi, California.

MacReynold had said finding the right fit for the community was his primary goal.

Schaffer’s new dual role begins Thursday, according to MacReynold.

Capt. Rob Gebhart who has been serving as interim chief since May will return to his captain duties.
•••

For background, read : “News brief: Meet Chehalis fire chief candidates” from Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, here

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News brief: Mossyrock firefighters save downtown building when fire breaks out

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:45 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire at a downtown Mossyrock business last night did several thousand dollars worth of damage but it seems as though the building can be saved, according to Lewis County Fire District 3.

Firefighters were called just after 9 p.m. to the truck repair business on the 300 block of East State Street.

“It was all locked up, we had to force our way in,” Chief Doug Fosburg said. “We got it knocked down fairly quickly, within 45 minutes to an hour; I finally left at about 1:50 a.m.”

The building is large, probably 80 feet by 50 feet, he said, and the fire was contained to an enclosed office area inside and storage loft above it.

None of their equipment or several vehicles parked inside the building were damaged, he said.

Mossyrock firefighters were joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 8, according to Fosburg. Nobody was hurt.

He estimated $80,000 to $90,000 worth of damage and the need for the roof to be replaced.

The cause is under investigation.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Updated at 6:47 p.m.

CHEHALIS MAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN MOSSYROCK CRASH

• An unbelted Chehalis resident who was launched from the back seat of a car into its windshield when it skidded into a tree over the weekend in Mossyrock was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for possible reconstructive surgery on his face, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It was about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday when a deputy found the car parked in the middle of the road at Mossyrock Road West and Birley Road with some individuals inside and two males standing outside, one with a bloody face, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy at first was told it happened at a fight at a party, but subsequently discovered the Volkswagen Golf had wrecked nearby at the end of the county road, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown indicated the driver was suspected of being intoxicated and was arrested for vehicular assault. Cody A.M. Trepanier, 22, Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Brown. She said his injuries were minor and didn’t know the extent of the injuries to the other two occupants. Everyone but the 26-year-old Chehalis man had been wearing seat belts, she said. The car was described as totaled.

GLASS DOOR SMASHED, SPIRITS STOLEN

• Two people were arrested yesterday after a night time burglary at a distillery on the 700 block of North Tower Avenue, one of them discovered hours later passed out with empty bottles nearby, a couple of blocks from the business, according to the Centralia Police Department. An officer called about 6:50 a.m. to Blind Pig Spirits recognized Gordon C. Powell Jr.’s image on surveillance video, according to Officer Patty Finch. The 44-year-old allegedly threw a large chunk of concrete through the glass front door, went inside and left with about $90 worth of liquor, according to police. Police say Powell told a friend about it and the friend went to Blind Pig and helped himself to about $180 worth of alcohol and flasks. Tyson D. Ball, 24, was discovered around noon sleeping near the railroad station, Finch said. Powell, from Chehalis, and Ball, from Centralia, were both booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TEEN FLEES STORE WITH HARD LIQUOR

• A 16-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly stole a bottle of vodka and a bottle of whiskey from a drug store in Chehalis on Saturday, and fled into a nearby backyard where the resident detained him. An officer called just before 1 p.m. to the 500 block of South Market Street learned the teen was missing out of Spokane with a juvenile probation warrant, and he was intoxicated, according to the Chehalis Police Department. His companion was not arrested, according to police.

POLICE: MOSSY BURGLARY ARREST

• Morton police said they arrested a 34-year-old Joe P. Padrick of Mossyrock yesterday afternoon for second-degree burglary after he allegedly admitted breaking into a home on  Mossyrock Road West and stealing money and a credit card.

AUTO THEFT

• A Wal-Mart employee finishing his shift this morning discovered the car he’d parked in the lot last night was gone. Chehalis police called about 7:15 a.m. to the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue found security footage that showed the 1990 Acura Integra leaving the premises about 12:30 a.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department. The stolen car was subsequently found, minus all four tires and wheels, on the 100 block of Boistfort Road in Curtis, according to police. The stereo was missing as well, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

• A deputy took a report on Friday of a 1990 Ford Econoline van missing from the 12000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood. Its owner, a 44-year-old Lacey man, said he went to pick it up after leaving it there a year and a half ago, and it was gone,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The resident told a deputy he thought the owner picked it up, as it was gone back in June, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 11 p.m. on Saturday to a parking lot at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue where they were told by a woman that she stepped away from her vehicle for just a couple of minutes and when she returned, her purse was gone, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An iPod and a Canon Rebel camera were reported stolen from a vehicle parked on the 800 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

• Centralia police took a report about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday of a vehicle prowl at the 900 block of Vienna Lane. Cash was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they are looking for a 53-year-old Packwood resident for an alleged second-degree assault involving his girlfriend on Friday afternoon. A deputy responding to the 100 block of Saddle Horse Lane was told they had been arguing when he threw her onto a bed and used his forearm to pin her neck down, according to the sheriff’s office. The woman said she could not breathe until she bit him in the arm to get free, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said as Kevin L. Battrick was leaving, he shoved a 70-year-old woman at the doorway, causing her to lose her balance.

FIRE AT GAS STATION QUICKLY DOUSED

• Firefighters were called about 9:50 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle on fire at a gas station on the 1300 block of Rush Road in Napavine. Someone had already put it out with a portable fire extinguisher before they arrived, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

SPEED RACER WANTED

• Centralia police said yesterday they are looking for information about a reckless motorcycle rider who eluded officers on Saturday evening, speeding and running several stop signs. The dirt bike-style motorcycle was last seen in the area of North Tower Avenue and Sixth Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

YARD DRIVER WANTED

• A deputy was called about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday to the 3500 block of Jackson Highway outside Chehalis after a neighbor heard what sounded like an accident and the resident found tire tracks that left the road and went through his yard. On the way through, the vehicle struck a garbage can, a fence post and fir tree, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BUILDING HIT AND RUN

• Morton police reported this morning that about 11 a.m. last Tuesday an officer was called because a vehicle ran into a building during the night at the 100 block of Main Avenue. An exterior wall was damaged in an amount to be determined, according to the Morton Police Department.

DUI WRECK

• A 48-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested for driving under the influence after his 1993 Dodge truck went over a steep embankment and rolled onto its side on the 200 block of Pleasant Valley Road outside Winlock on Sunday night. A deputy responding to the approximately 8:45 p.m. incident booked Nicholas J. Rademaker into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, forgery, shoplifting, trespassing, resisting arrest, misdemeanor assault, negligent driving, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, misdemeanor theft, restraining order violation, possible suicidal person, dog in distress in a parked vehicle, collisions on city streets, wrecks on county roads including one with a deer … and more.

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Law investigating death of toddler from Vader residence

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 11:47 am

Updated at 12:32 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sheriff’s office is investigating a death after an aid call late yesterday afternoon to a Vader home where CPR was underway on a child.

Paramedics, firefighters and EMTs from five departments, plus deputies responded to the approximately 5:15 p.m. call at the 400 block of Main Street, according to Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20 Chief Richard Underdahl.

“I don’t have much I can say,” Underdahl said this morning. “Anything I can say, is the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation on it.”

Crews were told by a 911 operator that it was a 3-year-old with breathing difficulty and someone there was performing CPR, according to Underdahl.

After responders arrived to the house, they continued CPR and conducted other life-saving medical interventions, he said. The child was transported to the hospital, he said.

Underdahl referred questions about the child’s sex and if the situation involved an injury as well as who was present at the house when they arrived, to the sheriff’s office.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said only that detectives are investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy with suspicious circumstances.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

“It was a bad day” Underdahl said.

“When something like this happens, everybody comes out of the woodwork,” he said, explaining why responders from as far away as Chehalis joined them, indicating it was the type of situation that calls for a lot people power.

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Pedestrian survives getting hit by train in Centralia

Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police and aid were called just after midnight to the railroad tracks near East Summa Street after a woman was struck by a passing freight train.

Forty-four-year-old Brenda V. Jones-Gonzales survived with what the Centralia Police Department called non-life-threatening injuries. Jones-Gonzales was bending down when she was hit in the shoulder and head, according to police.

Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Terry Ternan said the woman was just next to the tracks about 200 feet south of the crossing when firefighters arrived, and able to talk.

“When we found her, she was sitting next to a pool of blood,” Ternan said. “She said she didn’t get hit, she thought she fell down.”

The patient had a serious laceration on her head, but her biggest complaint was her shoulder, he said.

Ternan said his understanding was the conductor on the northbound train had seen her bending over by the track and then stumble; they tried to slow down, they stopped and called 911.

They knew they hit her, he said.

Some hair found on the end of what’s sometimes referred as a cow catcher at the front of trains was believed to be hers, he said.

Jones-Gonzales was cited for criminal trespass for being on the tracks, according to police, and then released.

She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where she was treated and then was transferred to an undisclosed hospital.

It’s a good reminder of why it’s trespassing to walk along or cross train tracks in undesignated areas, Ternan said.

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Three in Randle family treated for burns following explosion

Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A father and his 12-year-old son were seriously injured when something exploded on their small family farm in Randle yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters called about 4:10 p.m. to the 100 block of Peters Road found the two burn patients and the mother at the house.

The two males were flown by a LifeFlight helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, which has a burn center, according to Lewis County Fire District 14.

Fire Chief Jeff Jaques said the mother, who is a member of the volunteer fire department, was taken to Morton General Hospital with burns on both her hands from trying to help them.

“I don’t know for sure what happened,” Jaques said last night about 9 p.m. after returning from notifying other relatives.

It appeared to have occurred outside near a shop building, as when they arrived, they also found a car burning, Jaques said. Jaques said he suspected they were working on or with some equipment or tools.

Eight Randle firefighters handled the patient care and they let a crew from Glenoma deal with the burning car, he said.

Jaques was informed by the hospital last night the males’ conditions were critical, he said. Someone was going to be taking the mother down to be with them, he said.

The chief said he planned to return to the scene once it was light again to continue his investigation.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office responded as well and said they believe the incident involved a plasma cutter, a power tool used to cut metal.

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Prosecutors: Bookkeeper, girlfriend of small business owner took thousands of dollars with secret debit card

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A lawyer representing the Chehalis woman accused of stealing more than $50,000 from a concrete business where she was the bookkeeper told a judge the alleged victim and the defendant were in a relationship and the allegations came up after they broke up.

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Angela D. Sawyer

Angela D. Sawyer, 39, was arrested and jailed on Wednesday after the Chehalis Police Department finished an investigation that began this summer, following a report from Jerry Nixon, the owner of Apex Mobile Mix.

Sawyer was charged in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday with first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher requested high bail, telling the judge Sawyer was suspected of wrongdoing involving a number of debit cards from other individuals.

Defense attorney for the day Joely O’Rourke countered that the allegation involved just one card belonging to one man and requested unsecured bail in the amount of $10,000. Meagher apologized and said he must have misread the filing, drafted by another prosecutor.

Judge Richard Brosey agreed with the unsecured amount.

Sawyer, who now works with the Area Agency on Aging, resides in Chehalis with her teenage son, according to O’Rourke.

According to charging documents, Nixon contacted police on July 27 after recently signing up to receive Internet bank statements and saw several transactions he did not make or authorize, including some for cash. He told the officer he learned from his bank they were made on a debit card he did not know existed.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said the owner of the business with locations in Napavine and Chehalis was asked to gather up financial records.

Charging documents go on to give the following account:

Nixon told police he found out the debit card had been mailed out and he learned Sawyer had the card. He said she admitted to having the card and returned it to him.

Late last month, Nixon brought the various documents to the police department and showed receipts he said had nothing to do with company purchases totaling $51,772.89.

“Also in the papers Nixon brought were questionable checks written by Sawyer,” prosecutors wrote. “These checks appeared to be paying for Sawyer’s personal bills and needs.”

The total comes to more than $72,800, missing from between July 2012 and the end of this past July.

Nixon told a police detective that Sawyer and he were in a relationship, but she was never a co-signer on the account.

He said Sawyer told him she got into drugs and was using the money to support her habit.

Sawyer has no criminal history, according to prosecutors.

Because she earns only $1,300 per month, she qualified for a court appointed attorney. Her arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.