Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Packwood mom off to prison for her behavior after school bus mixup

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
2014.0519.cheryl.strong6483

Cheryl A. Strong listens as lawyers, judge, decide her sentence.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 7-year-old boy was crying, soaking wet and knocking on stranger’s doors asking for help, according to Jacob Clark.

The child was dropped off by a school bus driver in a neighborhood not his own in Packwood and his 48-year-old mother found him after an hour and a half of searching, Clark said.

Cheryl A. Strong left an angry voice message at White Pass school, so alarming the building was placed in lockdown for three hours the following morning when it was heard. So alarming, she was charged and convicted of two felonies and then sentenced this week to three years plus two months in prison.

“The school screwed up; so did my client,” defense attorney Clark said. “She never intended to hurt anyone. If this wasn’t the school she called, we never would have been in court.”

It took a jury less than three hours to find the former grocery store clerk guilty earlier this month of one count each of felony harassment, threats to kill, the school secretary and Rebecca Miner, the district superintendent.

The words that got her jailed: “Sorry Chris, but I’m going to f****** shoot everybody that goes to your f****** school, works there,” according to court documents.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said he understood the frustration but the phone call led to a lot of fear and trepidation for elementary school children, who don’t understand what’s happening or why.

Brosey said he didn’t understand how the boy was let off at an address other than his new address, but that schools do the best job they can.

“School staff should not have to put up with that kind of abuse,” Brosey said to the mother as she awaited to hear her fate.

He sentenced Strong to 38 months, the middle of the standard sentencing range for her offenses.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain asked for two consecutive terms of 43 months, the top of the range. Because of the jury’s special finding the crime affected more than the two victims named, the judge was free to give her the maximum of two five year sentences, one to be served after the other.

Clark had told the judge the circumstances didn’t justify that much time, and noted if his client didn’t have some convictions from when she was younger, the case may have merited about six to 12 months in jail.

It happened in March when the household was in the process of moving from a home on U.S. Highway 12 to another about seven miles away up in the High Valley neighborhood.

Christy Collette, the school secretary, said Strong had changed their address with the school and told them they were going to be moving.

Collette said never was she worried that day the boy was not on the right bus, and that she spoke to Strong that afternoon telling her he was on the other bus and said if Strong didn’t find him, to call her back.

Strong told her son to tell the bus driver he was to get let off at the old bus stop that day, according to the judge.

According to Clark, the child was let out in the High Valley neighborhood at a third address, and wandered around, asking strangers for help until his mother located him.

Strong left the phone message that got her into trouble.

The following morning, school employees ordered a lockdown as soon as they heard it; sheriff’s deputies responded about 7:45 a.m. to the East Lewis County school.

Just before 11 a.m., after Strong had phoned and asked about picking up her son since it was in lockdown, she was told to come on in and  she was taken into custody by a waiting deputy. She was not armed.

Her lawyer asked the judge at sentencing on Monday afternoon to consider what his client had experienced the afternoon prior.

“The day before, no one was around to let Ms. Strong know where her child was,” he said. “Apparently no one’s around at 3:41 (p.m.), so Ms. Strong panicked.

“Did she say something stupid? Absolutely.”

Clark agreed the following day it had an impact on a large number of people, but said law enforcement knew Strong was not at the school, he said.

He noted how over the past dozen years, three large scale traumatic events have occurred involving schools and guns.

“If this wasn’t a school, we probably wouldn’t be here; but it was was,” he told the judge.

White Pass School District Superintendent Miner declined to explain what occurred with the bus ride home that day, noting that she’d given her testimony during the trial.

“I would just say, the school district has the safety of all our students in mind,” she said in a brief telephone interview. “We are always looking to improve.”

Miner said she wouldn’t comment any more specifically, when asked if anyone was reprimanded.

Strong was taken into custody immediately following Monday’s hearing; the judge allowed for a $250,000 appeal bond.

The little boy is with his father having gotten picked up soon after his mother’s arrest and taken to Tuscan, Arizona. A family court hearing is set for tomorrow, and Strong has indicated she wants her family members to step in, as she doesn’t feel that’s a safe place for him, according to the deputy prosecutor and the judge.

Before she was led to the jail, she told the court she was sorry.

“I’d like to apologize for the results of my actions,” Strong said. “I was afraid for my son, I was scared.

“I didn’t mean or intend to hurt anyone.”
•••

For background, read “Packwood bus mixup: Mad mom will get to simmer off behind bars” from Tuesday May 6, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Updated at 11:17 a.m.

PUFF PUFF, TAKE THAT

• When a pair of grown brothers who were not getting along called Centralia police to the 1100 block of Cobra Avenue very early this morning, one of them allegedly ripped a cigarette out of his brother’s hand in front of an officer and proceeded to smoke it, prompting his arrest for theft … first-degree, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say 48-year-old Robeson T. Marvin, from Hoquiam, had earlier been told by police to leave the property and not to return or he would be arrested. However, he went back, confronted his brother and officers responded to a dispute call there at about 2:30 a.m., according to police. Officer John Panco said if one takes something off another person, it is considered theft in the first degree. Unless you use force, then it’s robbery, he said. It’s a a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and / or a $20,000 fine. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

POLICE PURSUIT CENTRALIA

• Centralia police looking for a person on South Silver Street late yesterday afternoon came across a wanted person who led officers on a short chase around city streets at about 5:30 p.m. Officer John Panco said Jose A. Escamilla is a fugitive with multiple felony and misdemeanor warrants. An officer recognized him in the area and not long after, a pursuit began near South Ash and West Cherry streets, finally being terminated near Summa and Woodland Avenue because of the danger posed to the public, according to the Centralia Police Department. The 19-year-old, also known as Angel, remains at large but now faces a possible charge of eluding, according to police.

TWO SELF STORAGE BUSINESSES HIT WITH THEFT

• A 54-year-old Chehalis man reported yesterday someone got into his unit at Chehalis Mini Storage on the 200 block of Interstate Avenue in Chehalis and stole numerous items, including a compressor, a chainsaw, electric hedge trimmers, a leaf blower and a heater. Forced entry was made and evidence at the scene was collected, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The break-in occurred sometime since last Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A deputy was called yesterday to Reynolds Avenue where someone had broken into a storage unit and left various valuable property untouched, but made off with paperwork containing financial and personal information. The lock was cut at Centralia Self Storage and no other units were affected, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened between 11:30 a.m. on Monday and 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRUGS

• A 33-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested yesterday evening or possession of methamphetamine and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Michael R. Chown was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with police at the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MESSAGE ON CAR DRAWS POLICE

• Chehalis police were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to the parking lot at the Lewis County Mall on Hampe Way regarding a threatening note left on the windshield of a vehicle. The message included the phrase, ” … karma is a bitc*,” according to police. Police have no firm suspect so a report was taken for informational purposes only, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THREE-FER

• A Rochester resident and two homeless individuals all wanted on various warrants were arrested last night when they were found hiding in a garage on the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue. Booked into the Lewis County Jail after the approximately 9:15 p.m. discovery were Jacob R. Woods, 39, Alyssa E. Taylor, 26, and then Max A. Lyons, 24, from Rochester, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, resisting arrest; responses for suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, to assist a pregnant homeless woman with no place to sleep, to help a pedestrian on a trek long enough there were foot blisters and then a trip to the hospital; complaints of teens smoking pot  … and more.

Logging accident claims Winlock teen

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock teenager working in the woods with his father and a small crew was killed this morning when he was crushed by a piece of logging equipment south of Boistfort.

Aid and deputies were called about 11:42 a.m. to the scene, about 14 miles off Pe Ell McDonald Road, on property owned by Green Diamond Resource Co.

The sheriff’s office said the 18-year-old was setting chokers for a logging operation when a carriage was accidentally lowered onto him, killing him instantly.

“When Fire District 13 showed up, there was nothing we could do,” Lewis County Fire District 13 Assistant Chief Rick Eades said.

Eades described the carriage as a metal piece probably six feet long and not very wide that travels along a cable to assist in retrieving logs. He estimated it weighed two tons.

The terrain was very steep where they were working, Eades said.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod identified the young man as Cole Bostwick.

It happened on the 4700 Line, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He was working for ENB Logging and Trucking, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

The state Department of Labor and Industries was notified and presumably will be conducting an investigation.

It’s the fourth logging death in Lewis County this year.

In mid-January, 63-year-old Alex Oberg, of Toledo, was killed while cutting timber alone in the Toledo area. The sheriff’s office said a tree fell onto Oberg as he was employing a “domino” tree falling technique.

A month later, 21-year-old Tyler Bryan, also from Toledo, was working north of Morton when – according to the initial information from the sheriff’s office – a log being pulled up a slope by a cable began spinning and struck him.

Then in March, John B. Leonard, 69, died after he was struck by a long limb while logging in Salkum.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

HAZARDOUS LITTLE HEIST

• Someone managed to break into a Lewis County PUD-owned electrical junction box in Randle and pilfer parts while the wiring was still hot. Three adaptors stolen from inside the metal box along the 1300 block of Falls Road are believed to have been removed around 3 a.m. on May 11, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown indicated it is not known how the feat was accomplished – or how it only now came to light –  but the culprit may have possessed special tools. The loss is estimated at $500, Brown said.

HOMEMADE BANK NOTES

• Chehalis police were called about noon yesterday to a bank on the 400 block of North Market Boulevard when a customer trying to cash three money orders for $875 each got “a little belligerent” when he was told they didn’t appear real. He wanted them back, the teller said no and he left, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

HANDBAG TAKEN

• Centralia police took a report about 9 a.m. yesterday of a purse stolen from the 1300 block of Alexander Street.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, protection order violation; responses for alarms, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft such as tailgate from truck, cell phone; complaints of customers failing to return rented items, chickens wandering loose in their neighbor’s yard, parent late dropping off children to other parent … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

MAN HEADS OFF OWN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIME, SORT OF

• A 32-year-old Centralia resident was so angry, he asked a neighbor to call 911 as he argued with his girlfriend yesterday, but then he brought out a knife. Police responding about 7:35 p.m. to the home on the 1900 block of Honeysuckle Lane learned she had confronted him the night before – something regarding a disagreement about her mother, police said – and then late yesterday they fought about it some more. He was intoxicated, Officer John Panco said. At one point he requested that police be summoned, because “he was about to murder her,” police said. Christopher L. Fee reportedly said he gave up and went inside, only to return to the front yard with a large kitchen knife, pulling it on his girlfriend, her daughter and two others, according to Panco. When officers arrived, Fee turned around and threw down the weapon, Panco said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for four counts of second-degree assault, according to police.

FAILED ATTEMPT TO STAY OUT OF JAIL

• A 29-year-old Yelm man with outstanding warrants – and suspected drugs on him – declined to pull over yesterday when a Centralia officer tried to stop him for a defective exhaust and a broken windshield, leading to a short pursuit at the north end of town. It happened around noontime and began near North Pearl Avenue and West Sixth Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. When they got to the 1400 block of Crescent Avenue, the driver bailed out leaving his vehicle to roll and bump into another car, Officer John Panco said. “The officer was able to catch him and found some suspected meth, and also (possibly) heroin,” Panco said. Andrew P. Rasmussen was booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempting to elude and possession of methamphetamine, and his warrants, according to police.

DAYTIME BURGLARY IN CENTRALIA

• The front door was found broken and an office ransacked at a building on the 1700 block of Van Wormer Street in Centralia yesterday evening. A responding officer was told it happened between 7:15 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department. It was immediately clear if anything was stolen, Officer John Panco said.

BREAKING GLASS

• Another window to a vehicle was found busted out, this one on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Someone shot a BB hole into a window and door of a home on the 1300 block of Rose Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police at noon yesterday.

• Chehalis police were called to a church on the 100 block of South Market Boulevard about 9 o’clock yesterday morning where nearly a dozen second story windows were found shot with BBs. It occurred sometime between Wednesday and Sunday morning, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, protection order violation; responses for disputes, collision on city streets, parking lot hit and run, misdemeanor theft such as lawn rocks, a mini bike; complaints of car egged … and more.

News brief: Does this look like a pipe bomb to you?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The streets around the Chehalis Fire Department are blocked off after a man showed up with what appeared to be a pipe bomb this morning.

He found it in his storage unit on Jackson Highway and took it to the downtown station, but left it inside his van, according to authorities.

Firefighters earlier this morning requested an officer respond and the arriving officer decided the device was a possible explosive according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The Washington State Patrol bomb squad is on the scene.

The man’s vehicle is parked outside the building on Northwest Park Street. The brick building is not evacuated.

Firefighters had already moved all their engines outside to a nearby intersection, so they are not prevented from answering emergency calls, Firefighter Kevin Reynolds said.

The state patrol is getting ready to dispose of it, Reynolds said shortly after 12 noon.

The incident began in the 9 o’clock hour, and there is no timeline for them to be finished, according to Reynolds.

School bus driver, children sickened by pepper spray on freeway in Chehalis

Monday, May 19th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A middle school field trip to Mount St. Helens today was delayed when the bus driver was overcome by pepper spray discharged by a 13-year-old on the bus as they traveled down Interstate 5 through Chehalis.

The 28-year-old driver began to have problems breathing and was able to safely pull the bus over near the Labree Road interchange before she became overwhelmed, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The bus was carrying 46 children from Tumwater, according to the state patrol. It happened about 9:30 a.m.

Five of them plus the driver were treated for exposure; she was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, Sgt. Doug Pardue said in a news release.

Pardue noted three of the students received medical attention, but it’s not clear what that was beyond being examined by first responders.

Troopers determined the 13-year-old who sprayed it gave it to a 12-year-old to hide, who passed it another 12-year-old, according to the state patrol.

The district sent another bus to retrieve the students who were able to continue on with the field trip, according to Pardue.

The three were taken back to Tumwater and released to school officials, he stated.

The incident remains under investigation.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE …

• Firefighters are gathering in the Boistfort Valley this morning to burn down a house. It’s a practice event, with a donated residence on the 100 block of Lost Valley Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 13. Chief Gregg Peterson says they expect to wrap up about 3 o’clock this afternoon.

PARKS, GUNS AND THE LAW

• Chehalis police were called about 7:25 p.m. on Wednesday to Recreation Park about a man with a gun. It turns out the city of Chehalis has a ban on carrying firearms in city parks, but it’s not enforceable. The officer was caught a little of guard, Chehalis Police Department Chief Glenn Schaffer said. When the officer arrived to the 200 block of Southwest 13th Street, a citizen had pulled up the city’s municipal code on their phone and showed it to him, Schaffer said. “We hadn’t dealt with it in so long, we didn’t realize it was still on the books,” he said. There was a time when it was prohibited, he said, but court rulings in a Seattle case a few years back made it clear cities don’t have the authority to ban guns in parks, he said. The chief said he was going to talk with the city attorney right away and get the ordinance repealed. In the past, the offense was a misdemeanor. “They didn’t arrest him, they did the right thing,” Schaffer said. “Just had a conversation.”

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 16th, 2014

TWO WANTED AFTER GUN PULLED ON WIFE’S BOYFRIEND IN PE ELL

• A 39-year-old woman escaped apparently unharmed when she intervened in an armed dispute involving her estranged husband and her boyfriend last night in Pe Ell. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says the couple arrived to pick up a child at the 500 block of Main Street when an enraged 43-year-old Jeremy J. Smith came walking across the yard carrying a baseball bat, but then produced a handgun which he pointed at her boyfriend who was about 20 feet away. He threatened to blow his “f’ing head off, according to the sheriff’s office. The woman was close enough to Smith she was able to push him to the ground and a brief struggle ensued, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Smith then left the area on foot, according to Brown. Brown said the dispute was regarding something to do with one of the children, and Smith had made a similar threat to the 41-year-old boyfriend earlier during a game at the baseball field in Pe Ell. Deputies called to the west Lewis County town at 8 p.m. weren’t able to find Smith, who is now wanted for two counts of first-degree assault. A deputy was told the weapon at one point during the struggle was pointed at the 39-year-old woman, who expressed she fear she would be shot, Brown said. The sheriff’s office is also looking for Smith’s girlfriend, Melissa A. Nacht, 37, also of Pe Ell, as they believe she hid his gun in a car for him. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Smith or Nacht to contact them, or contact Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to the 400 block of Jackson Street for an overnight vehicle prowl in which some change was stolen.

YARD ART THEFT

• A statue was stolen from a yard on the 200 block of Hemlock Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday. This follows two recent thefts from Centralia porches of a stone lion and a ceramic frog.

FIVE-VEHICLE COLLISION

• A 22-year-old Winlock woman was arrested last night after she was allegedly intoxicated and behind the wheel of a co-worker’s vehicle when she slammed into four parked cars at the 900 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Police responding about 7:15 p.m. arrested Ancelma Ramirez-Lamas and booked her into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police are recommending numerous charges including driving under the influence, with a suspended license and without a required ignition interlock device.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, driving without a license, misdemeanor assault, trespass; responses for alarms, disputes, possibly drunk drivers; complaint about unmowed lawn … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

THEFT FROM RELATIVES

• Police called about 8 a.m. yesterday morning to the 1900 block of Van Wormer Street in Centralia concluded that two young men had stolen valuables from a family member, which subsequently were recovered from pawn shops in Centralia and Chehalis. The items included jewelry, video games and a computer tablet, according to the Centralia Police Department. The 21-year-old and 25-year-old were not arrested, but the case is being referred to prosecutors for possible charges of theft as well as trafficking in stolen property, according to police.

THEFT FROM DRIVEWAY

• Chehalis police took a report about 3 p.m. yesterday of a large tool box missing from a driveway on Southwest Fifth Street near Market Boulevard. it had last been seen about 10 p.m. the previous night,  according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PORCH PILFERING

• An officer was called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to the 200 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia following the discovery that a large stone lion was missing from the front porch. The theft followed an earlier instance when a ceramic frog was stolen from the porch of a residence on the 1200 block of Pear Street.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

• A 35-year-old Morton man was arrested yesterday for second-degree assault in connection with an incident last month in which he allegedly argued with a woman at a residence in Randle and choked her until she went unconscious. The woman reported she woke up on the floor with a broken chair under her, which caused a puncture wound, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The chair was finally located and the suspect questioned, according to the sheriff’s office. Jeff M. Hill was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

LOTS OF WARRANTS, AND MORE

• Centralia police arrested four individuals for possession of methamphetamine yesterday, three of them during a warrant “sweep” in which 13 wanted individuals were picked up. Police worked with officers from the state Department of Corrections to arrest people into the evening, going as far north as the 20200 block of Old Highway 99 in Grand Mound.

FLOWERS DISCOVERED BY BOMB TECH

• Centralia police continue to investigate an incident at the 800 block of Hillview Road which drew explosives experts on Tuesday evening; a suspicious package with a derogatory message left in front of a home. Officers called about 6:15 p.m. requested the  Washington State Patrol bomb squad, according to police. “I can’t tell you what the message was, but inside were found cut flowers,” Officer Mike Lowrey said this morning.

COLLISION IN CROSSWALK

• A man in a wheelchair suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a car in a crosswalk yesterday in Centralia. Aid and police called about 5:50 p.m. to North Pearl and West Main streets. The patient was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The female driver was issued a citation, police said. Further details were not readily available.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, loud party, barking dog, suicidal person, possible heroin overdose, parking lot hit and run, shoplifting, and more misdemeanor theft, person at a park with a gun, suspected theft of dogs which were returned, request to remove a homeless person drinking coffee at a clinic at the Lewis County Mall … and more.

News brief: Suspected Oakville home invasion partner still being sought

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are continuing to look for the second suspect from an incident at an Oakville home two weeks ago in which two masked men carrying machetes kicked in the door and tried to rob a couple there.

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Leonard M. Young

Twenty-three-year-old Derrick D. Klatush was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Oakville and a warrant has been issued for his suspected companion, 28-year-old Leonard M. Young, according to the the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office.

Both are Oakville residents, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate.

Young is described as about 5-feet 8-inches tall, and weighing 190 pound with brown eyes and black hair.

The sheriff’s office has said the suspected the motive was to steal recent casino winnings from the man and woman at  the 200 block of East Alder Street.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked the call the Grays Harbor Communications Center at 360-533-8765 or the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office at 360-249-3711.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
2014.0514.haybale

The hay bales which fell from a truck near Ethel are described as something like as much as five feet around and six feet long. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 8

Updated at 6:55 p.m.

TON OF HAY FALLS ON 21-YEAR-OLD NEAR ETHEL

• A 21-year-old was airlifted to a Portland hospital this afternoon after one or two giant round bales of hay fell on him east of Ethel. Lewis County Fire District 8 called about 3:40 p.m. to the property down a long driveway south of U.S. Highway 12 east of Pinkerton Road found the young man on the ground; he’d managed to get himself loose, according to Fire Chief Duran McDaniel. McDaniel said he’s told the big bales weigh 700 to 1500 pounds each, depending upon how tightly they’re packed. They had fallen from a truck, he said. A teenage boy was with him when firefighters arrived, he said. The young man, who is from the Vancouver area described pain from the middle of his chest to his pelvis, but was talking to responders the entire time, McDaniel said. He was transported by ambulance to the main fire station in Salkum and flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

PACKAGE WITH MESSAGE DRAWS EXPLOSIVE EXPERTS

• The bomb squad with the Washington State Patrol was called in to examine a suspicious package with a derogatory message left in front of a home on the 1800 block of Hillview Road in Centralia yesterday evening. Police said no explosives were found inside but the case is under investigation.

DECK CATCHES FIRE

• A fire investigator was called to look into a fire that broke out on the second-story deck of a home on the 600 block of Oakland Avenue in Centralia yesterday evening. Firefighters called about 6:25 p.m. learned the resident smelled smoke, went outside and saw what was happening. He grabbed a hose and had it nearly extinguished when crews arrived, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Fire Capt. It burned a hole clear through, roughly four feet by two feet, Fire Capt. Terry Ternan said. Ternan said there was no barbecue or anything like that on the deck.

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded about 11:10 a.m. yesterday to a burglary at an apartment on the 700 block of H Street. Because the owner was unavailable, what might have been stolen is undetermined, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BANK ACCOUNT LOOTED WITH FOUND DEBIT CARD

• Chehalis police said yesterday they are investigating after a customer reported he forgot his card in the ATM machine on the 400 block of North Market Boulevard and learned someone used it to withdraw $200 from his account. The 57-year-old Chehalis man reported the incident about 11:45 a.m. on Monday, which occurred at Wells Fargo Bank, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The man cancelled his card but found it was used 38 seconds after he left it, police said.

STEP RIGHT IN HERE, PLEASE

• A 21-year-old Chehalis man was arrested near the Lewis County Jail on Monday evening for possession of a dangerous weapon, a switchblade knife. Booked into the jail was Christopher D. Kruger, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

MANY MISDEMEANOR THEFTS

• A 55-year-old Packwood man told a deputy yesterday he stole three three hanging flower baskets from Four-U Realty on the 13000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in retaliation for a bad experience with the business, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Keith D. Schroeder was identified from security video as taking the flowers back on May 7, according to the sheriff’s office. He was contacted yesterday afternoon, arrested for third-degree theft, the flowers were returned and he was released, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• Chehalis police said yesterday they referred a case to prosecutors of multiple counts of misdemeanor theft in connection with a 15-year-old student at W.F. West High School and money missing from a locker room. An investigation began on Monday, according to police.

• Chehalis police were called at noon yesterday about a wheel stolen off a vehicle on Southwest James Street.

• Centralia police responded about 1:25 a.m. today when a ceramic frog was stolen from the porch of a home on the 1200 block of Pear Street. Officers learned the suspect was seen running northbound and brought in Chehalis police dog Reign. The K-9 tracked the suspect and located the frog, according to the Centralia Police Department. Aaron D. Malone, 25, of Centralia, was arrested for third-degree theft and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

WRECK

• One car was totaled and another sustained major damage when a 28-year-old Chehalis woman attempted a left turn into a driveway yesterday at the 300 block of Berry Road south of Chehalis. A deputy responding after the approximately 3:30 p.m. collision learned the 7-year-old passenger in her car complained of no injuries but the woman described chest pain, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 17-year-old Chehalis girl in the Honda Accord which was struck suffered dizziness and abdominal pain, according to the sheriff’s office. The 28-year-old was cited for failure to yield, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault, disorderly conduct; responses for alarms, disputes, collision on city street, cup of noodle thrown at someone, dog left inside parked vehicle … and more.

Investigation continues into deadly Salkum dispute

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office says an autopsy conducted yesterday found that 28-year-old Travis Shive died of massive internal bleeding from a gunshot wound, described as entering his abdomen and traveling into his chest without exiting his body.

The Salkum resident was shot twice, by a neighbor on Saturday night, according to the sheriff’s office.

The 56-year-old neighbor man who has not been arrested admitted he armed himself with a .380 semi-automatic handgun and said he went outside to get Shive to leave his property.

The unnamed man told deputies he felt threatened because Shive had been on his front porch ranting, accusing him of shooting his dog and refused to leave.

The sheriff’s office says it learned a fight took place in the yard after Shive, who was unarmed, lunged at the older man and then he was shot.

Shive was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has said the shooter is cooperating with the investigation, and said they were awaiting the results of the autopsy.

This morning, the sheriff’s office indicated detectives now want to answer the question of the proximity of the shooter to Shive when the firearm was discharged.

They are sending Shive’s clothing to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab to be examined, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

Brown said both shots were from front to back, not in the back as two of several witnesses reported.

Coroner Warren McLeod said the other shot struck Shive in his left shoulder.

It happened about 8:10 p.m. on Saturday at the 200 block of Stowell Road, about a half block from the Salkum Super market.

Responding firefighters were told to wait at their station until deputies arrived to make sure the scene was safe.

Fire Chief Duran McDaniel estimated he stayed parked at the neighborhood store perhaps seven minutes, before he was given the okay to come in, something that was tough to do as a person lay injured.

Shive was able to walk off the property and was in the front yard of another property where bystanders were performing CPR.

The coroner said this morning the delay didn’t play a role in Shive’s death, the internal bleeding was so serious.

“Even if the medics got there (immediately) there is nothing, that I’m aware of, they can do all that much to stem the bleeding out in the field,” McLeod said.

Brown this morning indicated the investigation could take some time; such as getting the test results back because of a backlog at the state crime lab.

She said detectives learned the 56-year-old never opened his front door while Shive was there yelling, as he had it duct taped closed in connection with some kind of repair or renovation.

According to Brown, the man exited through a back or side door into the yard to see what was happening, and then the confrontation occurred.

The sheriff’s office believes Shive went to the man’s house in error, thinking it was he who shot the dog.

Detectives are still looking into who did it, as part of their inquiry, but Brown didn’t have high expectations they would find that out.

“I don’t know that person will ever come forward, at this point,” she said. “I don’t know that we’ll ever know.”

•••

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to clarify the 56-year-old resident never opened the front door, and only left his house one time to meet up with Shive in his yard, according to the sheriff’s office.

•••

For background, read “Deadly dispute over dog shooting still under investigation in Salkum” from Monday May 12, 2014, here

Thurston deputies looking for red bandana bandit

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Updated at 3:19 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A clerk working alone at the Grand Mound AM/PM store was frightened but otherwise unharmed when she was robbed at gunpoint last night.

Deputies headed to the business about 11:40 p.m. after at least twice someone called 911 from there but hung up without speaking, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A dispatcher finally made contact with the employee who reported what occurred, Sgt. Ray Brady said.

“She said she did that because she wasn’t sure if he was going to come back, and she was so scared,” Brady said.

Brady said the the 36-year-old Rochester resident was in a back room when a man wearing dark clothing and a red bandana over his face came inside pointing a handgun toward her. And he aimed it at her back as she retrieved money he demanded, according to Brady.

He then left and headed south toward the parking lot at Key Bank, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies suspect a vehicle may have been staged there, as that’s where a police dog track ended, according to Brady.

The store and gas station sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Old Highway 99 not far from Interstate 5.

Detectives today are working the case, and in contact with Tumwater police who are investigating a similar incident earlier in the evening farther north along the I-5 corridor, Brady said.

A Chevron store was robbed by a male wearing a red bandana over his face just before 8 p.m. at Trosper Road near Little Rock Road, according to police.  He fled the store and was picked up by a female in a green Jeep Cherokee, police said.

Tumwater’s subject is described as about 6-feet tall with a medium build, wearing a black hoodie, black baggie pants and blue high-top tennis shoes and as having a dark complexion, according to the Tumwater Police Department.

The Grand Mound clerk thought her robber was a white male adult and said he was wearing dark clothing, and a red or maroon baseball-type cap, Brady said, along with the bandana over his face.

The same store was just robbed in December, by a pony-tailed woman who threatened to shoot a clerk. A 20-year-old Montesano woman was arrested days later in that case.

Brady said the clerk last night did the right things.

“That’s what they teach employees, to cooperate and just be a good witness,” he said.

•••

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the correct time police were called to the robbery in Tumwater.

Birdwell theft case deal includes incarceration plus deadline to pay back funds

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former used car dealer Keith Birdwell yesterday admitted he wrote thousands of dollars worth of bad checks to Security State Bank and didn’t pay back loans to the Centralia-based financial institution, the first step in a plea deal to avoid a potential lengthy prison term.

Birdwell, 48, and his wife were charged early last year in Lewis County Superior Court with theft, for allegedly using various deceptions to dodge repaying what they owed for the vehicles at Birdwell Auto Sales in Centralia and their lot in Lacey. Both businesses are now closed.

The criminal case came out of a lengthy investigation by the Centralia Police Department, with losses claimed by the bank of more than $1 million.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said if Birdwell pays off a certain amount of what he owes before a sentencing hearing scheduled in July, Eisenberg will recommend to the judge a 12-month sentence.

The amount agreed upon by the deadline is known only to the parties involved, according to Eisenberg.

The Toledo couple was charged originally with first-degree theft, as well as multiple counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check, all with special allegations the actions were major economic offenses with a high degree of sophistication, meaning if convicted, a possible penalty of 10 years in prison and / or a $20,000 fine.

Eisenberg said the reasons prosecutors made a deal instead of taking the case to trial will be easier to explain this summer, when they are back in court.

“(This) gets some of the punishment I wanted and it gets something for the bank,” he said.

Security State Bank was involved in the process and satisfied with the arrangement he said.

Tacoma-based defense attorney Keith McFie had little to say; only that his client pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 2.

Birdwell and his wife Lorrine D. Birdwell, 45, have been free on signature bonds since the beginning, although they did have to visit the jail to get their photos and fingerprints taken.

The circumstances involved a form of a line of credit with the bank, in which the unsold vehicles at the car lots were used as collateral for loans, and a day in July 2012 when a bank employee discovered 21 vehicles were unaccounted for, according to charging documents.

After an inquiry by phone from the bank’s president, Keith Birdwell allegedly over a period of three days wrote checks from their Twin Star Credit Union account to their Security State account. The first one was for $29,750, all but one of the others were larger.

The checks didn’t clear. Keith Birdwell indicated to police he expected them to be covered by a loan from an associate.

All but the one charge for first-degree theft have been dismissed in Lorrine D. Birdwell’s case. Lawyers are reportedly working on a plea deal with her which is tied to her husband’s.

Birdwell yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree theft and three counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

Eisenberg yesterday told the judge he expects to dismiss two remaining counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check at the sentencing hearing, if Birdwell has kept his end of the bargain.

If not, and Birdwell were convicted on all the counts, along with the so-called aggravators, the standard sentencing range is 14 to 18 months in prison, however the judge would be free to hand down as much as the maximum of a decade, according to Eisenberg.

Eisenberg said he’s not certain what may happen if the agreed upon amount is not repaid by then, except he noted he and McFie did have an alternate agreement they’d discussed.

He said he understands Birdwell is working, doing some kind of freelance auto sales.

Still to be determined is the total amount of restitution owed, an amount which is in dispute, he said.

Which portion which came from criminal behavior and how much came about simply because the business was doing poorly will have to be decided by a judge later on, according to Eisenberg.

•••

For background, read “Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges” from Wednesday January 23, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

WRESTLING IN THE ER

• A Centralia police officer was injured yesterday during a confrontation with a suicidal subject who reportedly suddenly became combative in the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital. Officers responded to a 911 asking for help from a 33-year-old Centralia man at Motel 6 on the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue and found him standing outside a room waiting for them, according to police. Because of indications he had mental health issues, the man was taken into custody and transported to the hospital, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. While in the emergency room, Reichert said, Kevin G. Blosser jerked away from the officer before turning as though he was going to head butt the officer. The officer was injured when he wrestled Blosser to the ground, Reichert said. Reichert didn’t know if Blosser was hurt, he said. Blosser was subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police took a report of a vehicle prowl about 11:40 a.m. yesterday at the 2400 block of Borst Avenue. A gym bag was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

• A 50-year-old Onalaska man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday following a single-vehicle collision on Gish Road near milepost four. A deputy responding after the approximately 8:05 a.m. wreck determined the man’s car had left the road and traveled an estimated 70 feet through a ditch, striking a culvert and a fence post, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was taken to the hospital to be checked out and because there were various signs he was impaired, a blood sample was taken to be checked for drugs or alcohol, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 12th, 2014

SMASH AND GRAB

• Chehalis police responding about 1:35 a.m. on Sunday to an alarm at Radio Shack in the Twin City Town Center found the glass front doors broken and several thousand dollars worth of merchandise missing. Stolen were numerous Dre Beats headsets, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The break-in is under investigation, according to police.

• Chehalis police are investigating following a discovery at Wal-Mart on Friday morning that someone broke into a jewelry case, making off with more than $4,000 worth of rings.

BURGLARY IN RANDLE

• A 61-year-old Randle woman who left for Packwood about 4:50 p.m. yesterday returned home around 6 p.m. to find someone had pried open her backdoor and stolen a cell phone as well as a blue small two-drawer chest containing various papers. Numerous unspecified items were discovered scattered around the living room floor of the residence on the 10,000 block of U.S. Highway 12, which seemingly were dropped by the intruder, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. An investigation is underway, according to the sheriff’s office.

ASSAULT

• An 18-year-old inmate at Green Hill school for boys was arrested on Saturday night for custodial assault, in connection with an incident involving a staff member. Devin M. Ryan was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report about 11:30 a.m. yesterday from the 1400 block of Windsor Avenue regarding someone painting graffiti on a building in the night.

RESCUE FROM THE SWAMP

• A 23-year-old man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital on Friday night after he was retrieved drunk and shivering uncontrollably from a swampy area about a quarter mile east of Yard Birds along North National Avenue in Chehalis. Police were called about 6:40 p.m. and told he had been lost for the previous three to four hours and had called his father to say he was somewhere in the “water hole” by Yard Birds, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer was able to get his attention and have him walk out, but he was very unsteady on his feet, according to police.

YIKES: AMBULANCE STRIKES CAR

• The roadway near Providence Centralia Hospital was partially blocked about an hour around noontime on Friday when an ambulance collided with a car, leaving both vehicles needing a tow. Alicia Steffens, 31, of Grand Mound, said she had just turned eastbound onto Cooks Hill Road near where it changes to Mellen Street when she stopped for a woman to cross the street. The pedestrian had nearly reached the other side when Steffens noticed an alarmed look on her face, and looked in her rearview mirror. She saw an ambulance coming at her, she said. The woman jumped to the curb, she said. “I got hit, it was pretty full speed,” Steffens said. “I had enough time to cover my head and brace for the impact.” Steffens said it shoved her Subaru Outback about two car-lengths forward. Nobody was injured and the AMR rig was occupied only by two medics, no patient, Steffens said. But both bumpers were crushed into their wheels, leaving them unable to drive away, Steffens said. It’s not clear what ticket or tickets might have been issued.

OUTBUILDING BURNS IN WINLOCK

• Firefighters called about 9:45 p.m. on Friday about a fire on the 700 block of Rhoades Road in Winlock found a small, dilapidated old pole barn burning. “It was basically on the ground (already,” Lewis County Fire District 15 Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said. They extinguished it and nobody was hurt, Jacobson said.

BIG CHEHALIS BURGLARY REVEALED

• Nearly $8,000 worth of valuables including five antique Smokey Bear figurines and six boxes of comic books still in their plastic sleeves were stolen in a burglary last month at the 100 block of Kennicott Road south of Chehalis, according to a Lewis County Crime Stoppers announcement today. They and the sheriff’s office are looking for tips regarding the April 17 break-in that took place between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Among the missing items are also hardshell suitcases, various Japanese and US coins, black Americana figurines and 1960s-era flower pins, according to Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to the clearance of crimes. Anonymous calls can be made to 1-800-748-6422 or information may be shared online at www.lewiscountycrimestoppers.org

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, three underage adults with three bottles of hard liquor in their vehicle, a teenage boy who reportedly punched out his mother’s tail light at a truck stop; issuing a ticket for “vehicle off the roadway”; responses for alarms, disputes, counterfeit bill, loud music at 2 a.m., collisions on city streets, wreck on county road, dog on a playground, a report of a drunk woman showing off her breasts in a bar, a report of someone leaving a rat’s head on a Chehalis resident’s front steps … and more.

Forty-two-year-old victim of fatal weekend crash identified

Monday, May 12th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office says the 42-year-old man who died in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning on Tucker Road north of Toledo is Bruce Larson, of Onalaska.

The sheriff’s office reports he is from Morton.

Aid and deputies called about 3:20 a.m. found Larson deceased in the driver’s set of a Toyota Corolla station wagon and found his passenger, a 39-year-old Morton woman sitting on the ground next to the car, according to responders.

It appeared the car was eastbound and left the roadway at a slight curve, continued on and then crossed back over the road jumping a ditch and came to rest in the grass where it collided with two trees, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It was described as a total loss.

Lewis County Fire District 2  Chief Grant Wiltbank said the passenger was airlifted to  Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver to be evaluated. The sheriff’s office reported this morning she was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said she had no information this morning on the passenger’s condition.

The Washington State Patrol is assisting in the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deadly dispute over dog shooting still under investigation in Salkum

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Updated at 12:05 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

No arrest has been made but detectives continue to investigate after a 56-year-old Salkum man fatally shot his neighbor over the weekend, apparently over a neighborhood dog getting shot.

Travis Shive, 28, was shot twice in the man’s front yard and was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on Saturday night.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office this morning said they still don’t know who shot the dog, but it is still alive.

“It is believed the 28 year old had gone to 56 year old man’s house in error, thinking he was at the house of someone who had allegedly shot the neighborhood dog,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

The 56-year-old, who was not named, is not in custody and is cooperating with law enforcement, according to Brown.

The man told deputies he armed himself with a .380 semi-automatic handgun after Shive came to his front porch ranting, accusing him of shooting the dog and refused to leave, Brown said.

The sheriff’s office says a fight took place in the yard after Shive lunged at the older man and then he was shot.

Brown said there is no indication Shive had a gun.

Detectives continue to talk to the numerous witnesses of the incident and the investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives are also awaiting the results of the autopsy, Brown indicated.

It happened about 8:10 p.m. at the 200 block of Stowell Road.

The sheriff’s office says Shive was able to walk off the property before collapsing. CPR was performed by others in the area until medics arrived, according to Brown.

Stowell Road was closed while detectives examined the scene and interviewed the shooter.

Brown describes the shooter’s version of what occurred:

He told deputies he told Shive repeatedly to leave but Shive continued to yell at him.

He said he felt threatened so he got a gun and went outside to tell Shive again to leave.

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

•••

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to clarify the 56-year-old resident only left his house one time to meet up with Shive in his yard.