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News brief: Harley Davidson wrecks at Bear Canyon

Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 65-year-old motorcyclist was injured this afternoon when he was going too fast around a curve and struck a guard rail along state Route 508 about 10 miles west of Morton, according to the Washington State Patrol.

David R. Weaver, from Lacey, was westbound at Bear Canyon when it happened, according to the state patrol. He suffered a concussion, scrapes and bruises, the responding trooper indicated.

Troopers were called to the scene just before 4 p.m.

The 2006 Harley Davidson sustained an estimated $1,000 damage and was towed.

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Community invited to burial of unclaimed persons; Harry Fields won’t be attending

Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner’s office will have one less set of unclaimed remains to bury next month, thanks to publicity generated from publishing a list of the urns that are stored at their office.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said a family member came forward and picked up her relative yesterday after news stories appeared.

Harry Edwin Fields Jr., 58, has been in the custody of the coroner since he died at his Chehalis home in October 2004.

McLeod didn’t say what the relationship was, just that the woman was local.

Over the past 14 years, each unclaimed person has been cremated and kept by the coroner.

McLeod thought they had exhausted all avenues for finding family members, and is making plans for a burial next month in a donated plot at Claquato Cemetery.

The 15 remaining urns will share a spot in a part of the cemetery known as the county section.

A non-denominational memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend.

Claquato Cemetery is about two miles west of Chehalis at 142 Stearns Road.
•••

For background including the list, read “The unclaimed dead of Lewis County” from Sunday July 29, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, August 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

Updated at 12:02 p.m.

INTERRUPTED BURGLARY

• Two men were arrested after a resident checking on a relative’s residence on the 1900 block of South Schueber Road yesterday morning found an intruder inside the home. The female had seen a pair of males carrying a gas can in the area – which is west of the Centralia-Chehalis AIrport – and when she went over to the residence, found an open window, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Then she went inside, and she saw an individual who dropped the electronics he was holding and ran out the back door, according to the sheriff’s office. She heard an ATV start up and drive off. A subsequent track by a police dog turned up 18-year-old Nathan A. Cheney and 33-year-old Geoffrey L. Carpenter, both of Centralia, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Jewelry, a shotgun and the ATV were recovered and the pair were booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary and related offenses, Brown said.

INTERRUPTED SALAL GATHERING

• A Chehalis man called 911 yesterday when he detained a man after he discovered a truck stuck in the mud in the woods on his property. A deputy called about 9 a.m. to the property off Brockway Road west of Chehalis was told the 21-year-old man from Aberdeen was there to collect salal, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Eriberto Zamacona-Barrios, 21, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for trespassing, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. A female and another male who had been with him were not located, Brown said.

CAR PARTS MISSING

• A deputy took a report last night of a burglary on the 100 block of Osborn Road in Ashford in which a box of parts for a 1964 Falcon were stolen.

DRUGS

• A 22-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine following a traffic stop by a deputy about 8:45 p.m. yesterday. Sara M. Abbott was found to be driving on a suspended license and a pipe was spotted on the floor of her vehicle behind the driver’s seat,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A small baggie of suspected meth was found in her wallet, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Abbott was booked into the lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

GUESSING GAME ENDS WITH ARREST

• David L. Hamilton, 41, of Centralia, was arrested last night for obstructing a public servant when he reportedly lied to police about his name. Officers were at a trailer in the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia about 9:45 p.m. looking for an individual with an outstanding warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department. When they found two people in a back room who were smoking marijuana, the male gave a fake name, twice, Sgt. Carl Buster said. He was taken to the Lewis County Jail where he was identified as Hamilton, Buster said.

VEHICLE VERSUS BIKE

• Centralia police were called about 2:40 p.m. yesterday to South Gold and East Locust streets where a vehicle struck a bicyclist who ran a stop sign. Police indicated the bicyclist was not injured.

VANDALISM

• Police were called just before 6:45 a.m. today about a window being broken out of a vehicle at the 100 block of Jefferson Street in Centralia.

‘GET BACK HERE’

• Lewis County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 47-year-old homeless man yesterday because although he registered as a sex offender who was living in Centralia, he moved to Longview to stay with his parents. Robert J. Baxter had moved to the 1300 block of Crescent Avenue in Centralia in April but when a deputy went to check on him in early July, it was learned he hadn’t been there for three weeks, according to the sheriff’s office. After a lengthy investigation, they found him yesterday at a bus stop in Chehalis and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for failing to register and a misdemeanor warrant, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

‘YOU TOO!’

• A 23-year-old Chehalis woman who ran out of a courtroom yesterday after a judge decided she should be taken into custody was found later at the Eugenia Center on Chehalis Avenue and booked into jail for first-degree escape, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Destiny C. Lloyd was in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday afternoon, scheduled for a review on a drug offender sentencing alternative. Chehalis police had arrested her in early April with suspected methamphetamine and marijuana. Sheriff’s Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said deputies and Chehalis police searched for Lloyd yesterday, but it was a drug court corrections officer who found her. She’ll go before a different judge this afternoon, escorted by jail staff.

COYOTE CARCASS

• Chehalis police were called just before 11 p.m. last night about a dead coyote found sitting on a truck parked on Northwest New York Avenue. Further details were not readily available as no written report was made.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

BURGLARY AT CHEHALIS AREA HOME

• A 34-year-old Chehalis-area man called deputies about 3 p.m. yesterday when he returned home to find someone apparently came through a back door which had been left open and made off with approximately $4,500 of valuables. It happened at the 200 block of Lake Creek Road. Among the missing items were a diamond ring, a jewelry box, two watches, an X-box, a PlayStation and a military coin, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CHEHALIS APARTMENT BURGLARY

• Chehalis police were called about 12:30 p.m. yesterday about a burglary to storage units and an apartment at the 100 block of Northeast Boistfort Street.

GUN STOLEN IN WINLOCK BURGLARY

• A Taurus .38 Special revolver, a steel box of documents, and other valuables were stolen from a shop building at the 1400 block of King Road in Winlock sometime between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office yesterday.

CENTRALIA BURGLARY

• Centralia police were called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at a residence on the 2800 block of Fords Prairie Avenue. A wallet an items from a purse were taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Jewelry was reported missing from an apartment yesterday morning at the 900 block of South Schueber Road in centralia, according to police.

IDENTITY THEFT

• A 59-year-old Mossyrock man told a deputy yesterday he learned someone used his identity to open up credit card accounts and spend approximately $4,100 at retailers in California. The victim learned of it through a credit report, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man cancelled the cards and is disputing the purchases at Wal-Mart, Sears and Kohls, according to the sheriff’s office.

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News brief: Centralia man airlifted off Interstate 5 after wreck

Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia man is in serious condition after a motorcycle accident last night on Interstate 5 north of Grand Mound.

Christopher L. Fee, 30, was traveling northbound near milepost 95 at Maytown when he made a lane change and  struck a pickup truck, according to the Washington State Patrol.

It happened just before 9:40 p.m.

The freeway was closed down so a helicopter could pick the motorcyclist up. He was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Responders from West Thurston Regional Fire Authority described the victim with an “altered level of consciousness” who suffered multi-system traumatic injuries.

The state patrol attributed speed to causing the wreck and noted drugs or alcohol were involved.

The pickup truck was not damaged, according to the state patrol.

Fee is in serious condition this morning in the intensive care unit at Harborview, a hospital spokesperson said.

West Thurston Fire Lt. Lanette Dyer said during the event, crews got a 911 call from a pregnant woman stuck about 40 cars back in the backup.

She was treated by medics and then released, Dyer said. They were false contractions and she just felt safer having someone check her out, Dyer said.

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News brief: Power pole, lines detached in Centralia vehicle wreck

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A small pickup truck hit a power pole on the 1000 block of South Gold Street in Centralia this afternoon, sheering it off at its base and causing several lines to detach all the way down to Floral Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

It happened just before 1:40 p.m. and the roadway was shut down until about 4:30 p.m., according to authorities.

An older gentleman had a medical problem that caused the wreck and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

One lane is still closed and utility crews are expected to be out there for quite awhile making repairs, Officer John Panco said.

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Read about Longview couple convicted of mistreatment regarding 49-pound teen …

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Vancouver) Columbian published a story about a Longview couple convicted yesterday for nearly starving their 13-year-old adopted son to death and withholding food from their other children.

The boy weighed only 49 pounds – about half the expected weight of a normal 13-year-old, according to the account.

Read more here

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Read about Thurston County judge retires …

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Thurston County Superior Court’s longest serving judge has retired after 30 years on the bench.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes about Judge Paula Casey in The Olympian.

Read more here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Updated at 4:14 p.m.

GUN TO WOMAN’S HEAD GETS MAN ARRESTED

• A 45-year-old Toledo man was arrested after he allegedly put the muzzle of a loaded rifle against his girlfriend’s forehead last night. Deputies called about 7:15 p.m. to the 300 block of Boone Road were told it happened during an argument. Travis B. Counts was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BOYFRIEND ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT

• A 39-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday after his girlfriend contacted police with so much bruising to her face her eye was nearly swelled shut. Police were told  she was choked and also burned with her cigarette when he grabbed it from her, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. It happened around 3 a.m. at their home on Northwest Chehalis Avenue and she called someone for assistance after he left briefly, Carrell said. Creede R. Harris was picked up later at a family member’s house elsewhere in town, Carrell said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

PARK AND RIDE THEFT

• A green Volkswagen Jetta was reported stolen from the park and ride lot on the 1400 block of Mellen Street in Centralia late yesterday afternoon. The car has a license plate of 298 YRM, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRAFFICKING ARREST FOR MISSING IPOD

• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly stole his ex-girlfriend’s iPod which turned up at an Oakville pawnshop. A deputy called yesterday to the 800 block of Maleah Lane in Centralia followed the victim to where she was going to meet the suspect and took him into custody, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Blake D. Hansen was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree trafficking in stolen property, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He is to be released with no charges pending further investigation.

FUEL THEFTS FROM LOGGING CO. MAYBE SOLVED

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office this morning said photos captured of a subject in connection with fuel thefts from the 200 block of Keasling Road south of Chehalis have led them to a 52-year-old Chehalis man. Someone stole 35 gallons of gasoline from B and M Logging early last weekend, which was the fourth such incident for the business in the past few months, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civl Deputy Stacy Brown said $1,450 in damage has been caused and $760 in fuel stolen. The case will be referred to the prosecutor’s office for three charges of third-degree theft and one of malicious mischief against the suspect, Brown said.

GRAY AND BLACK PATHFINDER SOUGHT IN SOUTH COUNTY BURGLARIES

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office are looking for a two-toned Nissan Pathfinder and a skinny, light brown shorter-haired male in connection with two recent burglaries in the Toledo area. The individual who appears between the ages of 22 and 35 is wanted for the early Monday theft of copper wiring from machinery on the 900 block of Jackson Highway, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown says he may be involved in theft of copper pipe from property on the 200 block of Walker Road near Toledo sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The vehicle is described as a two-door, late 1980s or early 1990′s model that is both black and grayish-silver, Brown said.

VEHICLE VERSUS TREES

• A 66-year-old Centralia resident was arrested  last night for driving under the influence after allegedly crashing her vehicle into several trees near North Saxon Street and Seminary Hill Road in Centralia and  leaving the scene. Police called about 7:05 p.m. subsequently contacted Marsha K. Main and booked her into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 10:25 a.m. yesterday o the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue about a window being broken out of a vehicle overnight.

CAMPFIRE AT STRIP MALL DRAWS POLICE

• Chehalis police were called about 3 o’clock this morning when a delivery person noticed a woman starting a fire in a planting bed at the north end of Twin City Town Center. Shelley A. Hartfield, 21, was arrested and jailed for reckless burning and malicious mischief, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Sgt. Gwen Carrell said she’s thinking the woman was chilly and had no place to go. The only damage was burned beauty bark, Carrell said.

HAY AND TRUCK BURN UP

• Nobody was injured but a Ford F150 pickup truck was left a blackened hulk when it and 20 bales of hay in the back caught fire yesterday afternoon south of Ethel. Lewis County Fire District 8 was called about 3:10 p.m. to Tucker Road quickly put out the fire, but the roadway was shut down as they sifted through and finished extinguishing smoldering hay, Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said. The driver was taking the hay to her goat farm, he said. It seemed as though some of the hay may have fallen in between the bed and cab of the truck onto the hot exhaust system, he said.

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Centralia police investigating rape

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police took a report yesterday morning a Centralia woman was raped.

An officer responded about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Alder Street to talk to the victim, according to a police spokesperson.

Officers are investigating and releasing very little information.

Where it occurred, when it occurred and what the circumstances were are still unclear, according to police spokesperson Officer John Panco.

“We don’t know if it was a stranger or a known person,” he said. “The lady was upset. We got as much information as we could and that’s something we can’t verify.”

The case, according to police, is being investigated as a first-degree rape, meaning serious physical injury, threat with a deadly weapon, involving kidnapping or where the perpetrator criminally enters a building to assault the victim.

The police department describes it in a brief summary as a possible sexual assault.

Panco said there was some delay in the woman calling police. He did not know the woman’s condition.

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Maurin homicide: “He definitely did not do it”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm
2012.0731.ricky.riffe.appears_2

Ricky Allen Riffe sits as his lawyer addresses a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated a 6:10 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS -  After Ricky Allen Riffe appeared briefly in a Chehalis courtroom his afternoon, his lawyer said his client looks forward to clearing his name in the 1985 kidnapping and slaying of Ed and Minnie Maurin of Ethel.

“He definitely did not do it,” attorney John Crowley said.

Riffe, 53, was arrested earlier this month at his home in Alaska and brought back to Lewis County where he is charged in the decades old case.

Normally someone booked into the jail would have made a first appearance before a judge much sooner, but Crowley was out of town on another case last week.

Today’s appearance was only to set a date for arraignment and address bail conditions. Riffe’s attorney however did not ask for any reduction in his client’s $5 million bail.

Riffe did not speak.

His mother, father, brother and two other family members were in the courtroom, but chose not to talk with the news media.

Also in the courtroom was Elaine Amos of Toledo and her sister.

Her brother-in-law is a primary witness in the case, Amos said.

“I haven’t been able to sleep, worrying about my brother-in-law,” she said. “We’re worried he’s going to get off.”

Riffe and his brother John Gregory Riffe – both former Lewis County residents – moved to Alaska in 1987.

The Lewis County sheriff says they have long been suspects in the case. Sheriff Steve Mansfield has said detectives felt many witnesses did not come forward out of fear of the Riffe brothers.

Authorities believe the elderly couple was kidnapped from their home on U.S. Highway 12, forced to drive to their bank and withdraw money, before being shot in the backs and dumped near a logging road west of Adna. Their bodies were found days later on Christmas Eve in 1985.

Ed Maurin was 81 years old, his wife 83.

The Seattle-based defense attorney was adamant about his client’s position when he spoke outside the courtroom this afternoon.

“I want people to know whenever Ricky Riffe gets his opportunity to testify, he’s going to take that opportunity,” Crowley said.

Riffe wants to clear his name and will strongly deny any involvement or knowledge of the murders on his part or his brother’s, according to Crowley.

John Riffe died last month died just a week before detectives purchased tickets to travel King Salmon, Alaska to arrest the brothers. He was 50.

Sixteen pages of charging documents describe numerous people who were interviewed both after the deaths and over the years since. None of the witnesses are named.

A truck driver who was contacted in 1991 pointed to Ricky Riffe and offered several pieces of information, including how he gave a shotgun to Ricky Riffe which he asked him to cut down so he could carry it on the job, according to charging documents. He said he had trouble getting it back, until two or three months after the murders, the documents alleges. The gun was later tossed in Mayfield Lake, according to one witness.

The unnamed truck driver spoke of Ricky Riffe having no money and then suddenly buying a commercial-type fishing boat, as well as getting an odd call from Rick Riffe’s wife Robin Riffe, who said, “You wouldn’t believe what Rick’s done,” the document states.

Another man who came forward in 2004 told detectives he saw the Riffe brothers in a car with the Maurin couple near their Ethel home, but was afraid for his life because they threatened him if he told, charging documents state.

Crowley said today his client feels bad for the people who were killed, but to his knowledge, nobody has identified Ricky Riffe in photos to detectives.

There’s no physical evidence and no DNA evidence, Crowley said.

Riffe worked as a heavy equipment operator in the small fishing community, but hasn’t been able to work for about a year because of a breathing disorder. He has COPD and uses oxygen, Crowley said.

Lewis County Prosecutor Will Halstead said he wanted to set the arraignment the week after next, but Crowley won’t be a available.

That is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, at 3 p.m.

•••

For more background, read “Maurin homicide: Accused murderer’s lawyer says no new evidence in old case” from Thursday July 26, 2012, here

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Former Maple Lane worker goes back to prison

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm
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Gary A. Lohr is sentenced for possession of meth and bail jumping

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former longtime worker at Maple Lane juvenile detention facility for boys will appeal his drug conviction, saying the insignificant amount of methamphetamine and the jacket it was found in weren’t his.

Gary A. Lohr, 66, was fresh out of prison and getting back on his feet when Centralia police arrested him last December, his attorney told a judge yesterday.

Lohr has fought hard against his addiction, attorney Bryan Hershman said.

“He was born with whatever it is that makes people struggle with this curse, this plague of meth as he calls it,” Hershman said.

A Lewis County Superior Court jury last week found Lohr guilty of possession of methamphetamine and bail jumping. It’s his fourth drug conviction, Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke noted.

Lohr briefly addressed the judge when given the opportunity.

“Thank you for the court’s time,” he said. “I’m innocent and that’s all I can say.”

Hershman argued for the low end of the standard sentencing range, while the prosecutor argued for the high end.

Judge James Lawler chose the high end and sentenced Lohr yesterday morning to 29 months in prison.

His attorney filed a notice of appeal before Lohr was taken away.

Maple Lane was a state juvenile institution in Grand Mound that has since shut down.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

SUSPECTED LITTLE ARSON

• Firefighters called about flames last night at a vacant business on the 700 block of Main Street in Centralia found someone had lit on fire a no trespassing sign on the door. It basically burned itself out and the door was just scorched, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The two-story building was otherwise unharmed, Fire Capt. Terry Ternan said.

MALE ROBBED BY COUPLE IN PARK

• Centralia police say they have a suspect after a strong-armed robbery yesterday in Fort Borst Park. Officers called about 12:30 p.m. were told a 22-year-old male went to meet a female in a secluded area of the park for “relations”, but a male showed up with her, and grabbed the victim’s wallet before the two fled, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WOMAN TRIES TO CLAIM STOLEN CAR

• A 21-year-old woman was arrested when she arrived to claim what deputies thought was an abandoned vehicle last night. A deputy responding about 7:15 p.m. to the 3300 block of Jackson Highway learned the 2005 Nissan Sentra had been reported stolen on Friday from Seattle, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. While waiting for the tow truck, a taxi pulled up and a woman carrying a gas can informed the deputy it was her car, she was going to fuel it up and leave, the sheriff’s office said. Shelley A. Hartfield, 21, said she had purchased the vehicle from someone named Alex, according to the sheriff’s office. Hartfield was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree possession of stolen property, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

HIT AND RUN

• A 21-year-old Centralia resident was arrested overnight after allegedly crashing a vehicle into a light pole on the corner of Alder and Cherry streets and leaving the scene. Police called about 12:05 a.m. subsequently contacted Ancelina Ramirez Lamas, 21, a short distance away, according to the Centralia Police Department. Lamas was booked into the Lewis County Jail for hit and run as well as driving under the influence, according to police.

• Police were called about 9:35 a.m. yesterday when a log truck struck a light signal and kept on going. It happened at Southwest Second Street and Market Boulevard and will cost about $1,500 to repair because it’s one of the older-style lights, according to police.

TRUCK INTO BUILDING

• Police said it was apparently a mechanical malfunction that led to a pickup truck driving into the side of the Eagles building on the 1900 block of South market Boulevard on Friday evening. Nobody was hurt, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The driver put it in gar an it just took off, according to police. The engine was still “revving” when it did stop, according to police.

THEFT

• A short foot pursuit of an individual wanted in connection with vehicle theft ended with the arrest about 10:20 p.m. yesterday of Ruben A. Inman, 21, of Centralia. It happened in the area of South Silver and West Walnut street in Centralia, according to police. Inman was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for allegedly resisting arrest and escape, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was released from jail with no charges filed.

• A 72-year-old Ethel man reported yesterday afternoon that someone used his debit card to make an online purchase of $140 from Forever21.com, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 600 block of Rock Street of the theft of medication, a wallet and debit cards.

• Chehalis police were called just after 3 p.m. on Saturday when someone loaded a shopping full of various alcohol and liquor, pushed it out the door and drove off from Safeway on the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard.

• A 31-year-old Chehalis woman who wanted to report the theft of her mother’s ashes to police yesterday afternoon was told it was not a crime because apparently the father had told the daughters they could each keep the urn for a year a time, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Police were called just before noon yesterday about a boy with clippers cutting flowers out of a yard on the 200 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. The 13-year-old was told he couldn’t do that and his parents were talked to, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ANIMAL INNARDS ABANDONED NEAR CHURCH

• Police were called over the weekend about a cardboard box containing what looked like animal parts left on the sidewalk in front of St. Joseph Church on Southwest Cascade Avenue. It was like the guts from a cow – tongue, heart, kidney, the parts you may or may not want back when you get an animal butchered, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Police tossed them into the garbage, she said.

ASSAULT ALLEGED

• An 11-year-old boy went to Chehalis police on Friday to report his father slugged and choked him the day before. The case is under investigation, according to police. There were no marks on the child, but he placed in protective custody by Child Protective Services, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

NAUGHTY PICTURES

• Chehalis police took a third-party report on Friday of someone sending inappropriate pictures to the phone of a 13-year-old Chehalis girl. Officers have not been able to reach the child’s parent to confirm the report, according to police.

KIDS LEFT ALONE IN CAR

• A 55-year-old woman was issued a citation after police were called Sunday afternoon about two children left alone in a vehicle parked at Yard Birds in Chehalis. The Port Orchard woman came out of the store with two other small children and was cited for leaving a 3-year-old and a 19-month old unattended in a vehicle, according to Chehalis police.

DRUGS

• An 18-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night for possession of methamphetamine, burglary tools and a dangerous weapon, according to police. Zachary K. Konoske was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 10:20 p.m. at the 1100 block of Elm Street,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis where someone had stolen an Alpine CD player from an unlocked vehicle parked at a residence.

VANDALISM

• A deputy was called last night to the 2300 block of Jackson Highway where someone had spray painted graffiti on the east side of an empty building.

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Chehalis man admits starting fire in his apartment, will go to prison

Monday, July 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm
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Chase Ettner, right, and his lawyer Ken Johnson appear in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 27-year-old man charged with arson after setting fire to his own Chehalis apartment two weeks ago pleaded guilty today.

Chase N. Ettner wanted to apologize for his actions, recognizing the potential seriousness of the situation, his attorney told a judge this afternoon.

“He has no prior record, he’s not criminally inclined,” Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson said. “He’s seriously embarrassed by this incident, and he’s remorseful.”

Police and firefighters called the night of July 16 to the 100 block of North Market Boulevard found residents had evacuated the brick building and a resident or residents working on extinguishing the flames.

Ettner had jumped out the window of the ground floor apartment he shared with his wife and was laying on the ground extremely intoxicated, surrounded by an unruly crowd, according to responders.

A gas can was found inside the apartment; the oven and stove were turned on, police said. The carpet and a futon were damaged by fire, according to the fire department.

Chehalis police initially said Ettner may have been trying to harm himself or possibly his wife. He also told police, according to charging document, he made sure everybody was out before he “torched the place.”

Ettner and his wife had argued, but she had left, according to attorneys.

Residents from five apartments in the 21-unit brick building had to find somewhere else to stay temporarily.

Both lawyers and Ettner agreed alcohol played a large role that night, and indicated because of that, it’s really not clear what his intentions were.

Johnson suggested the household had alcohol issues.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead recommended Ettner be sentenced to two years in prison following a plea agreement.

The standard sentencing range for the crime – first-degree arson domestic violence – for Ettner is 21 to 27 months.

Halstead additionally requested he be ordered not to consume alcohol.

Ettner’s voice broke when he addressed Judge James Lawler this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

He said it’s been years without hard drugs, but the alcohol came back and he wants to put it behind him.

“I never thought I would do anything to send myself to prison,” he said.

“I really don’t know what came over me that night,” he added.

Judge Lawler agreed with a two-year sentence.

“I hope you can make that change, because if you don’t, you know what’s waiting for you,” Lawler said.

A no-contact order was entered on behalf of Ettner’s wife, but Johnson said his client who’s spent most of his life in Tennessee may go back there and also thought it best if they went their separate ways.
•••

For background, read:

• “Police: Intoxicated Chehalis man arrested after starting fire in his apartment” from Monday July 16, 2012 at 9:22 a.m., here

• “Prosecutors: Drunken apartment resident tried to hurt self, get back at wife with arson” from Tuesday July 17, 2012 at 9:51 a.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, July 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Updated

WIRING CUT FROM MACHINERY, SUSPECTS FLEE

• Deputies were called about 1 o’clock this morning to a Toledo area heavy equipment storage lot when after an individual tried to stop a pair of thieves by firing a gun and yelling freeze. The 51-year-old Castle Rock resident at the property on the 900 block of Jackson Highway said because of ongoing thefts of copper wiring from heavy machinery the past few days, he hid out on the property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office. At about 12:30 a.m., he observed a male cut through the fence and begin cutting wiring, the sheriff’s office said.  He watched for about 30 minutes until a second subject arrived and then confronted them, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He yelled freeze and fired two shots into the ground as the men ran off, according to Brown. The loss to the rock crushers and conveyor belt is estimated at $24,000. Brown. Brown said the sheriff’s office would like to remind the public if they call 911 when they observe a crime in progress, deputies may be able to catch the culprits. Bolt cutters, wire cutters, a mountain bike and other evidence were collected, Brown said.

POLICE: MAN WITH KNIFE HOPS FENCES

• A 30-year-old man was arrested for possession of cocaine and other alleged offenses after police were called to a reported dispute about 10:15 a.m. on Friday at the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Police say they learned Rueben L. Gallardo, 30, of Burlington had threatened a female with a knife, a female who had a restraining order against him.  When officers arrived, he reportedly fled and jumped several fences but was found behind a mobile home trying to hide himself in a roll of tar paper. Centralia police say they used pepper spray on Gallardo because he would not comply with their demands. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the drugs, resisting and violation of a protection order, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BREAK-IN WHILE FAMILY SLEEPS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says somebody stole a laptop computer and a smart phone from just inside the front door of a Centralia home while a family slept. A deputy called just before 6 a.m. on Friday to the home on the 1200 block of Long Road noted the loss was estimated at $500.

UNWELCOME WINDOW SMASHERS

• Centralia police were called about 8:45 p.m. on Saturday to the 1000 block of West Chestnut Street where they were told a  group of males smashed out a window in the front door and then fled. The victim said he didn’t know the subjects or why they would do that, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR VERSUS LOG TRUCK

• A 47-year-old Chehalis woman was cited for second-degree negligent driving after her car crossed the centerline and struck the tires of an oncoming log truck at about noon on Sunday on the 2600 block of Jackson Highway south of Chehalis. The car was only moderately damaged when it landed in a ditch and nobody was injured, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman told a deputy she was extremely tired and may have fallen asleep or looked away from the road momentarily, according to the sheriff’s office.

DUI WRECK

• A 27-year-old Toledo woman was arrested for driving under the influence after her vehicle collided with a parked car on J and West SIxth streets in Centralia about 2:20 a.m. on Saturday. Kayla L. McDonald was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Someone stole copper pipe from property on the 200 block of Walker Road near Toledo sometime between 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor saw what was possibly a gray Toyota Forerunner near the property around 4 a.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Some 35 gallons of gasoline were stolen from a vehicle on the 200 block of Keasling Road south of Chehalis sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone stole an old Sthil chainsaw and two trout fishing poles from an unlocked shop building on the 100 block of Young Road in Mossyrock sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A Stihl weed eater was stolen from a yard on the 200 block of Taylor Road in Chehalis sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy was called Sunday morning to the 1900 block of Rice Road outside Chehalis where a resident said a neighbor had found 14 pieces of mail – some of it his – laying on the side of the road near Stan Hedwall Park. Mail was returned to two other Rice Road residents; it had apparently been stolen sometime between 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police yesterday took two reports of bicycles stolen; one from the 700 block of Euclid Way and another from the 2000 block of Borst Avenue. Earlier in the day an officer took a report of two bikes found in the area of the 1000 block of K Street.

• Centralia police on Friday afternoon took a report of unspecified items stolen from the back of a truck at the 500 block of Woodland Avenue.

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The unclaimed dead of Lewis County

Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm
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The Lewis County coroner displayed the urns of the unclaimed dead for the news media in hopes a bit of publicity might turn up relatives.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Anyone out there missing a grandmother? A cousin? Maybe a great uncle?

More than a dozen individuals who have died with no family to claim them for burial remain in the custody of the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Over the past 14 years, each unclaimed person has been cremated, their ashes placed in a a temporary plastic urn or even just a cardboard box, and then shelved.

Many of them were older when they died, although David J. Robertson, for example, was just 48 when he passed away at a Centralia nursing home in June of 2010.

Two local men who passed away earlier this year are among them.

Some may have been estranged from their family, or simply had no living relatives, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

“One gentleman we spoke to his neighbor, he said no, he doesn’t have any family,” McLeod said.

It’s been somewhat distressing to McLeod and employees at the coroner’s office that so many have not gotten a proper burial.

“It’s frustrating,” McLeod said. “I mean, these folks have been stored in the back store room.”

“You gotta figure somebody somewhere loves them,” he said.

When McLeod took over as elected coroner in January 2011, there were many unclaimed sets of cremated remains being stored in the office.

Last year, volunteers worked with the coroner to take the military veterans among them to be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

Since then, McLeod’s deputy coroners have checked and re-checked and found relatives of just a few.

Just last week, they matched up an urn containing a woman’s remains with her son who lives in Olympia, according to McLeod.

“When he was contacted, he said, oh, I thought someone else in the family took care of her,” McLeod said.

Five families have been found in the past several months, he said.

Now that virtually all avenues have been exhausted, the 16 remaining individuals will finally go to their final resting spot.

Claquato Cemetery west of Chehalis has donated a plot. A burial service is in the planning for next month.

The 16 urns will be placed in a shared concrete liner in a part of the cemetery known as the county section.

McLeod said he was told that’s where the county buried people who were unclaimed from the 1930s until the mid-1990s. He said he didn’t know why that practice ended.

Just in case in the future, a relative turns up who wants to retrieve their loved one, each urn will be sealed separately with a copy of the death certificate.

Their names won’t be engraved on any headstone, but the grave will be marked, and the cemetery will keep a listing as well as copies of the death certificates on file, according to McLeod.

The burial and a non-denominational memorial service is tentatively set for the week of Aug. 20.

If any of them do have a family member who wants to claim them, there is still time. The coroner thought publishing a list could possibly turn up more relatives.

Some of them still have friends in the area, just not family who could legally claim their bodies, according to the coroner’s office.

“Once we have the date, if people from the public want to come, they’re welcome,” McLeod said.

The following individuals are scheduled to be buried at Claquato:

• Lawrence T. Erickson, Centralia: 7-10-1915 to 5-4-1998

• Richard Farrell, Randle: 3-31-1943 to 10-26-1999

• Delores Fletcher, Centralia: 10-11-1928 to 3-24-2000

• Mary Katherine Gibson, Chehalis: 5-17-1936 to 3-31-2000

• Gladys Vivian Pitts, Centralia: 10-5-1915 to 10-6-2003

• Hiram Mahlon Coleman, Pe Ell: 7-22-1935 to 1-18-2004

• Edward M. Dombrowe, Chehalis: 4-22-1924 to 7-15-2004

• Harry Edwin Fields Jr., Chehalis: 8-25-1946 to 10-17-2004

• Stella Richardson, Centralia: 3-7-1928 to 8-12-2006

• Michael S. Edin, Centralia: 2-20-1944 to 10-5-2009

• David J. Robertson, Centralia: 6-7-1962 to 7-27-2010

• Eugene Briese, transient Chehalis area: 7-1-1943 to 12-6-2010

• Gary M. Ward, Centralia: 8-23-1961 to 6-15-2010

• William Dane, Centralia: 8-17-1942 to 3-1-2011

• Richard Fisher, Centralia: 12-16-1938 to 1-14-2012

• Curt Lynn Allison, aka Curtis Hughes, Curtis: 11-17-1950 to 4-7-2012

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Breaking news: Passenger vehicle and train collide near Tenino

Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Aid was called this afternoon to a train versus vehicle collision near Tenino.

A family of four were in a pickup truck which was hit by an Amtrak passenger train just north of Tenino, according to responders.

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Courtesy photo by WSP

Trooper Guy Gill says they are very lucky to be alive.

Three were injured. Two individuals were transported by medics with advanced life support capabilities and one person was transported with basic life support personnel, according to Thurston County Fire District 12.

It happened in the area of McDuff Road near 143rd Avenue Southeast, according to Fire Chief Robin Duncan. Gill described the location as McDuff Road and Fenton Avenue.

It was a 2004 Ford F-150.

The train struck the front area of the pickup, Gill said on Twitter. “Three feet the other way and we would be dealing with multiple fatalities right now.”

The trooper said the two adults and two children are going to be fine. The driver is Thomas G. Hertter, 52, of Olympia, according to Gill.

The train was traveling approximately 79 mph.

Duncan said he thought the call came around 2:45 p.m., but couldn’t be sure as the fire department had three calls at about the same time.

The town’s Oregon Trail Days celebration is going on this weekend.