Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

News brief: Thurston deputy shoots suspect attempting to flee in deputy’s patrol vehicle

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016
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Investigators from outside agencies will gather information on the fatal shooting south of Tumwater. / Courtesy photo by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives, including from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, are investigating a fatal shooting by a deputy in Thurston County yesterday.

It happened shortly after 4 p.m. south of Tumwater on 93rd Avenue S.E.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office reports the deputy was standing on the running board of his backwards-moving patrol vehicle, trying to pull the suspect out from behind the wheel.

The deputy tazed him which had no effect and after colliding with a vehicle on 93rd Avenue, the deputy shot the suspect, fearing for the safety of the public and himself, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect had jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to drive off in reverse after punching the deputy in the face numerous times, according to the sheriff’s office.

The un-named deputy is a 19-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and has been placed on administrative leave, according to Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.

The man who died at the scene has not been identified, Ziesemer reported last night.

The investigation is being conducted by the Regional Critical Incident Team comprised of detectives from Lewis, Mason and Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Offices.

Ziesemer indicated the encounter occurred because the deputy stopped to investigate after a pedestrian saw him passing by and ran onto some private property. Ziesemer said the two spoke for a few minutes before the man attacked the deputy.

Sentencing delay looms again in Vader toddler death case

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors have asked a judge to postpone the sentencing for Brenda A. Wing, who pleaded guilty last year to first-degree manslaughter for her role in the death of a 3-year-old boy.

Wing and her husband both entered into plea agreements that required them to undergo polygraph tests.

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Brenda A. Wing

It appears from court documents filed by Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer that a polygraph examination was given to Wing on Dec. 11, but while Meyer has received the report from her lawyer, he also wants a recording and charts from the polygrapher which he hadn’t yet received.

Meyer stated he needs them to prepare for the sentencing hearing, which is currently on the court calendar for Jan. 22.

Jasper Henderling-Warner died on Oct. 5, 2014 from what the coroner called chronic battered child syndrome. The couple was taking care of him and moved from Clark County to Vader not long before his death.

Meyer also asked the judge in his motions, filed Dec. 31, to set a deadline for defense attorney John Crowley to turn over the materials. He’s requesting the judge hold Crowley in contempt and pay monetary penalties if he misses the deadline.

The motion also makes mention of the need for an additional polygraph, given the “issue” with the one administered.

Meyer sought and secured a hearing on the matters, before Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Crowley today in a brief phone call indicated he has a court hearing in another county at that time.

Brenda Wing, 27, and Danny Wing, 26, were arrested Nov. 7, 2014 by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Jasper’s autopsy showed abrasions, bruises, facial trauma, healing fractures and listed skin infections, MRSA, as secondary to his cause of death.

Danny A. Wing was sent to prison in September for 34 years and eight months.
•••

For background, read “Vader toddler: Lawyers argue instead of proceeding with sentencing hearing” from Saturday November 21, 2015, here

Centralia driver has explanation for roughly 100-mile police chase

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 29-year-old man who led police on a pursuit from Centralia to Portland over the weekend reportedly told an officer he fled because he had a suspended driver’s license.

Henry Herrera-Montealegre was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday afternoon, charged with one count of attempting to elude. The offense is a class C felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Judge James Lawler ordered the Centralia resident held on $20,000 bail. His arraignment is tomorrow.

Centralia police reported on New Year’s Day that an officer tried to pull over a suspected drunk driver at North Pearl and First streets about 2:20 a.m. but the vehicle sped away.

Charging documents in the case indicate Officer Angie Humphrey first spotted him at the 100 block of East Cherry Street about 1:50 a.m. and followed him up North Tower Avenue where she activated her overhead lights.

The documents state the car pulled to the curb and slowed, but then immediately pulled away, crossing both lanes of traffic and turning westbound on to Second Street.

From there, the car allegedly traveled in excess of 60 mph onto Harrison Avenue and ran a red light to enter southbound Interstate 5.

Law enforcement officers from the Chehalis Police Department, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol joined in the chase, with the driver traveling as much as 80 mph and avoiding spike strips once in Lewis County, the documents relate.

Officer Humphrey disengaged and the vehicle was pursued in to Portland where it was stopped.

The affidavit of probable cause offers no information about what occurred in Cowlitz or Clark counties.

Herrera-Montealegre, the sole occupant, was apprehended and booked into the Multnomah County Jail for attempting to elude by vehicle. They released him the same day on his own recognizance.

The following day, local officers located him near his home in Centralia and questioned him before making the arrest on the local charge.

” … (H)e admitted he drove away from Officer Humphrey because he had a suspended license,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in the court documents.

Centralia police initially indicated Herrera-Montealegre could be facing also a charge of driving without a required interlock device. His license was suspended in the first degree.

Prosecutors say Herrera-Montealegre has convictions for driving under the influence in 2007 and 2004.
•••

For background, read “Centralia resident arrested after roughly 100-mile police chase” from Friday January 1, 2016, here

Fire department leaders in Napavine want full-time chief again

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Fire District 5’s experiment with employing a part-time chief didn’t work out.

A year and a half after stepping into the role at the fire department that protects the greater Napavine area, Chief Gregg Peterson has stepped down.

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Chief Gregg Peterson

The change took place last month and district’s board of commissioners is planning now to hire someone full-time to lead the department.

Commissioner Lyle Hojem said part time just isn’t enough time, because the district has so many calls to respond to.

“It was amiable, he knew,” Hojem said yesterday. “It wasn’t something he objected to in any way; we had the highest regard for him.”

Peterson was sworn in last spring, with a contract that  called for him to work up to 32 hours, with an annual salary of $40,000.

The previous chief and his second-in-command had resigned two months earlier. Jamie Guenther, chair of the board of commissioners when Peterson was hired, said at the time that a lot of people didn’t like the high wages paid to former Chief Eric Linn.

Linn was paid $82,000 a year and benefits that totaled more than $19,000.

Lewis County Fire District 5, re-named Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, serves a population of about 12,000 over a 66-square-mile area south of Chehalis.

Hojem said  Peterson was actually the one who brought the issue to the attention of the commissioners, recognizing it “some time ago”, and the commissioners agreed.

“We found a part-time chief just didn’t work for Lewis County Fire District 5,” he said.

Peterson, who served the previous six years as the volunteer chief in the Boistfort Valley where he resides, retired in 2011 from a professional firefighter career in South King County.

His retirement plan doesn’t allow him to continue receiving payments if he works more than part-time as a chief, Hojem said, and the board wasn’t going to ask him to give up his retirement money to stay on with them.

Hojem said the board is beginning to get its “ducks in order”, preparing a job description and then advertising for the position.

They hope to bring on a new chief by April, he said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
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•••

NIGHTTIME INTRUDER AT CHEHALIS BUSINESS

• Chehalis police were called to a business on the 600 block of Northwest State Avenue about 9:10 a.m. yesterday after the discovery someone had broken a side window during the night, gone inside and stole small amounts of cash. It happened at Kaija’s garden, feed and pet store and police have no suspects, yet, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

UNINVITED GUESTS

• Morton police were called about 6:20 p.m. on Friday to a residence at the 300 block of Division Street where a female said someone had opened her front door. She described the suspects as possibly two younger males, maybe in their 20’s, wearing all black, with beanie hats, according to the Morton Police Department. She said they left on foot towards Third Street but an officer checking the area was unable to locate the suspects, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 7:10 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 1000 block of Elm Street. A laptop computer and paperwork were stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT MORTON

• Morton police were called to the 400 block of Third Street about 3:35 p.m. on Friday where an individual said they had put some items out by their car while they were trying to move and someone came by and stole the items. The case is under investigation, according to the Morton Police Department.

ROAD RAGE REPORT

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by a woman who said her estranged husband rammed her car, twice, the night before. An officer will look at the damage and further investigate, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VEHICLE BURNS

• Firefighters were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart about 2:40 p.m. yesterday where a truck was ablaze near the garden center. Nobody was hurt but the 1986 Ford pickup was ruined, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, misdemeanor assault, unfounded reports, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, county road, state highway, inquiry about privacy regarding a drone flying in neighborhood … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 4th, 2016
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•••

Updated at 8 p.m.

MAN USES “N” WORD, GETS BEAT UP OUTSIDE BAR

• A 30-year-old Mossyrock man was assaulted on a sidewalk outside a bar in Centralia last night by numerous individuals after using racial slurs toward them, including the “N” word, according to the Centralia Police Department. An officer called about 6:15 p.m. to talk with the victim found he had a scraped and swollen face as well as a cut lip, according to police. It happened on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue. The suspects were not identified, police indicated.

WAL-MART: ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION OR HONEST MISTAKE?

• Chehalis police got a phone call on Saturday afternoon from a father who said a woman tried to kidnap his 3-month-old baby, when she took off with his shopping car containing the infant at Wal-Mart. Police were told he yelled at the woman and threw his soda at her to get his daughter back, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The little one had been in a carrier and covered up, and the woman apologized, police said. The dad didn’t call 911 until he got home, according to police. Officers are waiting to view security footage to make a determination whether to proceed, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

DOMESTIC INCIDENT

• A 65-year-old Chehalis area man was arrested on Saturday after an alleged assault of his wife on New Years at their shared home in which she said he got jealous and held her up by her throat and punched her. The woman turned up at the Longview Police Department seeking shelter, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. When Richard R. Bailey was contacted, he had a different version of events, but was booked into the Lewis County Jail for violation of an order with assault, according to the sheriff’s office. He said he thought she had dropped the order and they had been living together for several months, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Prosecutors declined to file the charge and Bailey was released from the jail today.

HANDGUNS STOLEN

• A 34-year-old Centralia woman was arrested yesterday following an investigation into the theft of four firearms from a home on the 2500 block of Howard Avenue. The handguns went missing last month and Melissa A. McAllister, a relative of the owner, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft of a firearm yesterday afternoon, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MONEY MISSING FROM GAS STATION

• Centralia police were called at 3:50 a.m. today after an employee arrived to work at a service station on the 1100 block of Ellsbury Street and discovered a burglary. An undisclosed amount of cash had been taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LAMPS AND ALCOHOL AMONG THE LOOT

• Someone removed an air conditioner from the window of an outbuilding on the 100 block of Kennicot Road in Chehalis and stole more than $1,000 worth of valuables including a Tiffany-style lamp, a vintage Japanese pagoda lamp, a vintage camera and case, and a stationary desk as well as four bottles of beer and four bottles of wine. It happened sometime in the two-week period before Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AUTO THEFT

• A 1996 Honda Civic reported stolen yesterday from the 3100 block of Ives Road in Centralia turned up later in the day minus its wheels and driver’s seat on property at the 200 block of Berry Road southwest of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor reported seeing another (black, four-door) Honda Civic in the area a few minutes earlier, loaded up with tires, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A van discovered missing from the 1500 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis on Thursday morning turned up on Saturday in Lacey, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

TAMPERING OR INTERRUPTED TIRE THIEF

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by an individual on Southwest Third Street who said he discovered all but one of the lug nuts missing from the wheels of his vehicle, something that had happened once before.

FRAUD

• A Chehalis resident contacted police on Friday after discovering a credit card she’d acquired only four days earlier showed several transactions at Wal-Mart she didn’t make, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 20-year-old Centralia resident whose vehicle smelled of marijuana during a traffic stop was subsequently arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver on Saturday afternoon, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy reportedly found nearly 55 grams of suspected marijuana, multiple plastic baggies and a scale. Dustin L. Fournier was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 3:20 p.m. on Saturday to the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue where someone had slashed four tires on the victim’s vehicle. There were no witnesses, there are no suspects, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BREAKOUT FEARED AT GREEN HILL

• Concern about a suspected escape plan at Green Hill School – a possible repeat of the cut-a-hole-in-the-fence-and-run incident from last May, authorities at the state-run juvenile incarceration facility in south Chehalis, asked for extra police patrols on New Year’s Eve.

ARSON CHEHALIS

• Investigators are looking into an incident in which a truck inside a shop was set on fire over the weekend east of Chehalis. A deputy called about noon on Saturday to the 200 block of Aubrey Lane learned it was a “project truck” which had a wood bed installed, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Cardboard boxes in the back of the truck had burned up and the wood bed was missing, according to the sheriff’s office. They believe it occurred sometime after 9 p.m. on Friday, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The fire was out, but a wood beam above the vehicle and some of the building’s insulation were charred, according to Brown.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, vandalism, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, someone getting cussed out after asking another if they threw a cigarette on the ground… and more.

 

News brief: Attempt to disarm deputy lands Toledo man in jail

Monday, January 4th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 41-year-old man who allegedly grabbed onto a deputy’s gun with both hands during an encounter in the Toledo-area was taken to the ground and then booked into the Lewis County Jail.

It happened after emergency medical responders asked for assistance with a combative patient at the 5300 block of Jackson Highway around 2:50 a.m. on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s not clear why medics had been called, but deputies were told Dale R. Smith had made statements to his family that made them very concerned for his welfare, according to the sheriff’s office.

Smith, who appeared heavily intoxicated, was persuaded to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but then he made a statement like, “Let me see that gun” and pushed the deputy in the stomach, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

When Smith put his hands on the gun, the deputy used defensive tactics to make him let go and then took him into custody, according to Brown.

The weapon was in the deputy’s holster, Brown indicated.

Brown said Smith also tried to strike the deputy. Smith, a Toledo resident, was arrested for third-degree assault.

News brief: Possible eye loss from New Year’s fireworks

Monday, January 4th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The fireworks that severely injured a 30-year-old man in Silver Creek over the weekend appeared to be small legal mortars and rockets, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning.

Deputies and firefighters responding to the approximately 12:20 a.m. call on Friday at the 2400 block of U.S. Highway 12 aren’t sure exactly what happened as no one saw it occur and the victim didn’t recall, according to the sheriff’s office.

An individual at the scene said he was intoxicated and left the residence to shoot off some fireworks, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Brown said the Silver Creek man lost a lot of blood and would likely lose at least one finger as well as possibly his right eye. His hearing was damaged as well, she said.

He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, with possible plans for a transfer to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

News brief: Snow tapers off, but schools start late today

Monday, January 4th, 2016
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Check current conditions and the forecast from the National Weather Service, here

Updated at 8:03 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Most of the interior lowlands of Western Washington will see light snow or flurries this morning, but little to no accumulation is expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Roads will be slippery as temperatures will likely stay near freezing, the weather service says. This includes the Interstate 5 corridor from the north end of the Pierce county line southward.

White Pass schools are closed today, with most other school districts in Lewis County reporting they will start two hours late. School districts in Toledo, Winlock and Castle Rock are closed today as well.

Precipitation is expected to change over to rain by late morning.

Temperatures in Chehalis are 34 degrees this morning, having climbed from a low of 18 degrees yesterday morning.

Some, but not all, Lewis County schools share late start or closure information on the website Flash Alert, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
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•••

POLICE: DOMESTIC DISPUTE

• A 22-year-old man was arrested yesterday for unlawful imprisonment and other offenses after he allegedly blocked a door refusing to let his ex-girlfriend leave his Centralia home and took her car key off its ring and threw it in a creek behind the residence. An officer was flagged down just before 2 p.m. at the 400 block of Yew Street by a neighbor who pointed out the couple on the corner were arguing, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police contacted them and learned the female convinced him to go outside with her by lying and saying he could leave with her, according to police. Dakota S. Plaas was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for third-degree theft and violation of a protection order, according to police.

TIRE TAKEN

• An officer took a report of the theft of a spare tire from a utility trailer at the 300 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia after an 8:30 a.m. call yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday to a parking lot at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue where someone got inside an unlocked vehicle and stole various items including a purse.

• Centralia police were called about 11:35 a.m. yesterday about  vehicle prowl at the 1300 block of St. Helens Street in which someone got inside an unlocked vehicle and stole only the registration.

• Police were called yesterday to the 800 block of Park Way in Centralia about an overnight vehicle prowl.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, driving under the influence, domestic incident; responses for alarm, dispute, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016
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•••

Updated at 11:46 a.m.

PROWLER PULLS KNIFE

• Centralia police were called about 11:30 p.m. yesterday for an interrupted vehicle prowl at the 1100 block of Borthwick Street in which the suspect reportedly threatened the individual with a knife and then fled the area. The suspect is described as a white male in his 20’s, short with a slender build and wearing a grey hoodie sweatshirt, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was not located.

UNRULY PASSENGER

• A passenger who tried to intervene during field sobriety tests allegedly threatening an officer and grabbing his wrist was arrested last night for third-degree assault. It happened around 8:40 p.m. at Sixth and Pearl streets in Centralia. Michael D Cairns 47 of Onalaska, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. The incident occurred as Anthony M. Colson, 21, of Tumwater was being arrested for driving under the influence, according to police. Colson also was booked into jail.

DRUGS

• After Centralia police contacted a motorist on suspicion of driving under the influence just after 2 o’clock this morning, she allegedly struggled against officers as she was put in to a patrol vehicle, in an attempt to discard a bag of methamphetamine. Chrystal S. Zelazny, 47, from Chehalis, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of meth, according to the Centralia Police Department. The contact with officers occurred at Maple and Pearl streets, according to police.

FIREWORKS INJURY

• Deputies, firefighters and medics were called about 12:20 a.m. yesterday to Silver Creek where they found man on the ground with fireworks around him and injuries to his hand and eye. Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said he didn’t know the extent of the injuries himself, but they called for an airlift right away. It happened in a gravel parking lot adjacent to a restaurant on the 2400 block of U.S. Highway 12, he said. Because of the fog, a helicopter was going to be delayed, so the man, in his early 30s, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, McDaniel said. He understood they planned to transfer the patient to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, suspicious circumstances, theft, protection order violation, collision on city street … and more.

Centralia resident arrested after roughly 100-mile police chase

Friday, January 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A traffic stop in Centralia shortly after the bars closed last night led to a police pursuit that ended in Oregon.

Centralia police report an officer attempted to pull over a suspected drunk driver at North Pearl and First streets about 2:20 a.m. but the vehicle sped away.

Troopers took over at Interstate 5 and the suspect led law enforcement officers on a high speed chase that came to a stop in Portland, only after the vehicle hit spike strips, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Henry Herrera-Montealegre, 29, from Centralia, faces potential charges of eluding, first-degree driving with a suspended license and driving without a required interlock device, according to police.

Booking information for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office shows a 29-year-old Henry Herreramontealegre booked at 3:33 a.m. today for attempting to elude by vehicle and released on his own recognizance.

The Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies have officers working overtime for the New Year’s weekend, with an emphasis on taking impaired drivers off the roads.

KATU news got photos. See them here

Lewis County Jail to stop charging fee for visiting with inmates

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – For the past two years, going to the Lewis County Jail to visit an inmate has cost money, but that’s about to change.

The facility installed an Internet-based system for visitation that allowed for family or friends to avoid the drive to Chehalis to see their loved ones, by logging in and paying a fee.

The same technology is used however, with inmates chatting from their cell areas to a video screen while their guests are viewing another screen in the lobby area of the same building. The cost is 50 cents per minute.

Jail Chief Kevin Hanson said he hopes free visits in the jail lobby can begin again in mid-January. It will take some programming changes by the vendor, he said.

Part of the reasoning for the switch, Hanson said, is he got advice during a course on incarceration legalities he attended that suggested charging money to people who come in to the jail to see inmates was a practice on somewhat shaky legal ground.

When he and other administrators of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office shared the news with the county board of commissioners earlier this month, Sheriff Rob Snaza said it was something they’d been talking about doing for awhile. The sheriff’s office runs the jail.

“It only makes sense,” Snaza said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Defendants can be sentenced to up to 364 days in the jail. For those awaiting trial, their stay in some cases has been even longer.

Hanson is aiming for the change to take place around the second full week in January.

•••

For background, read Northwest Public Radio’s Jan. 13, 2015 piece about the Homewav video visitation system as used in Lewis County, here

November accidental shooting ends with Alford plea from Centralia man

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia teenager who accidentally shot his girlfriend when his pistol in his pocket discharged while she was sitting on his lap is off to prison after pleading guilty as charged.

Austin C. Courtright was facing a standard sentencing range of nine to 12 months but made a deal with prosecutors in which they agreed to recommend he serve one year plus one day.

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Austin C. Courtright

The difference meant spending his time in state prison instead of at the Lewis County Jail, something he preferred, according to his lawyer.

His 21-year-old girlfriend was struck in her inner right thigh, and was treated at a hospital and then released the same day, Nov. 30. It happened in the basement of a home on First Street in Centralia.

Centralia police investigated and concluded it was accidental, but Courtright was charged with third-degree assault. He was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The then-18-year-old with previous convictions that prohibited him from having a gun told police he knew he wasn’t supposed to, but was afraid of being victimized by gang members who used to be his friends, according to prosecutors.

Courtright pleaded guilty last Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court and the judge agreed to the sentence. He made a so-called Alford plea to the charge of third-degree assault, not admitting guilt.

Defense attorney Chris Baum said he had a real issue with the assault charge, calling it a “stretch”.

It was a criminal negligence issue, his client didn’t know the gun was loaded, Baum said.

“I wasn’t suggesting he plead to that, but he did,” Baum said.

Judge Richard Brosey also ordered 12 months of community custody upon Courtright’s release and $1,400 in fines and legal financial obligations.
•••

For background, read “Accidentally shooting girlfriend brings criminal charge for Centralia teen” from Wednesday December 2, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
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•••

AUTO THEFT

• A woman who left her car yesterday evening in the parking area of a complex on the 200 block of Southwest 13th Street in Chehalis found it gone when she went outside to warm it up around 3 o’clock this morning. Missing is a yellow 2004 Toyota Celica, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The car had black rims, according to police.

POSSIBLE BURGLARY

• Chehalis police were called about 9:40 a.m. yesterday about individuals removing items from a business on North Market Boulevard after they were supposed to have been moved out. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

• An unknown suspect damaged a lock on a door, at the 300 block of North Diamond Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police at about 12:30 p.m. yesterday.

• Chehalis police were called just before 10 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Southwest Fifth Street about someone rummaging through a carport. No arrest was made, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

MISSING MEDS

• Police were called about 4:20 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Allen Street in Centralia regarding the theft of pain medication.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called about 4:15 p.m. yesterday to the 800 block of Southwest 21st Street where sometime during the previous week someone had broken out the passenger side window from a van.

DISAGREEMENT AT BAR

• Officers called to a tavern dispute about 1:20 a.m. today at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue arrested one person for warrants and another for obstructing and resisting arrest. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were James R. Beesley, 26, of Centralia, for two outstanding warrants and Reyana K. Israel, 30, of Centralia, for the other offenses, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for drugs, warrants, misdemeanor theft, disorderly conduct, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, suspicious circumstances, protection order violation, collision on city street … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
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•••

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• A 26-year-old was picked up last night at a local motel after relatives called police to say various valuables have been disappearing from their home on the 1300 block of South Scheuber Road and when they viewed surveillance video they recognized the suspect. It appeared to have been ongoing for a couple of months and the initial reports shows about $800 worth of items taken, including collectible coins, according to the Centralia Police Department. Kameron D.H. Wolden, from Centralia, was arrested for residential burglary and trafficking in stolen property and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

JOY RIDE LEADS TO JAIL

• A 23-year-old Pe Ell resident was booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday for allegedly driving his Ford Bronco onto someone’s private tree farm, getting it stuck and causing an estimated $3,600 damage. Deputies were called on Saturday and told that sometime during the previous three days, someone damaged a locked gate, roads, fencing, some small trees and some mature trees at the 100 block of Cole Road outside Pe Ell, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office reports Joseph A. Schwartz was contacted and admitted to driving on the property. The investigation showed Schwartz had an 18-year-old passenger from Chehalis with him and also the next day, a 19-year-old Onalaska resident drove on to the property to help retrieve the Bronco, according to Cmdr. Dusty Breen. That vehicle also became stuck, Breen said. Schwartz was arrested for second-degree trespassing and second-degree malicious mischief. Cases for trespassing for the other two are being referred to prosecutors, according to Breen.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police were called just after 5 o’clock this morning by an individual who heard their car start up and drive away from the 2000 block of North Pearl Street. The missing vehicle is a 1996 Subaru Legacy with a cargo container on top, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFTS FROM YARDS

• Someone stole a dog house from the front yard of a home on the 600 block of South Gold Street in Centralia during the night, according to a report made to police yesterday morning. It was a plastic igloo-type, according to the Centralia Police Department. Also missing at the same time was a bicycle, according to police. Another bicycle was reported stolen later in the day from the 600 block of Jefferson Street and a third bike – with a trailer – disappeared from the 1700 block of Military Road, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called about 4:40 p.m. yesterday to the 1700 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia to take a report that items were stolen overnight from a parked and unlocked vehicle.

• Police were called about 3:40 p.m. yesterday regarding an overnight vehicle prowl at the 800 block of Elm Street in Centralia.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 7:40 a.m. yesterday regarding an unknown person cutting the soft top of a vehicle during the night at the 700 block of Yew Street in Centralia.

DERAILED IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police said at least two rail cars “jumped the tracks” on a service line yesterday evening near the 400 block of Railroad Avenue in Centralia. None of them tipped over and officers assisted personnel from BNSF who had to uncouple some cars to unblock streets, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Kurt Reichert said it appeared it may have been caused by a loose rail.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, shoplifting, trespassing, malicious mischief, open container in public; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, barking dog, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, violation of no contact order, someone “camping” in a doorway, report of a male destroying a television in the middle of a road … and more.

Car shot at, chased down Interstate 5 in Lewis County

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Updated at 6:53 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Troopers continue to look for the driver of black Jeep said to have fired upon another motorist on Interstate 5 north of Centralia this morning.

One shot shattered the rear window of the victim’s car, hit the rearview mirror and exited the windshield, according to authorities.

The 25-year-old man from Spanaway exited the freeway in Chehalis, after traveling away from his assailant at speeds of 85 to 90 mph, according to the Washington State Patrol. He was uninjured.

Initial information suggested the incident occurred near the Lewis-Thurston county line, when the Jeep did a brake check, meaning he tapped on his brakes for the driver behind him, Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

The victim driver decided to go around the Jeep and that’s when the subject in the Jeep pulled out what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, Bailey said.

The incident was reported by the un-named victim driver at 11:04 a.m.

It actually began farther north, around the Scatter Creek Rest Area, and included some aggression from both participants, according to a spokesperson for the state patrol.

“(The 25-year-old) is running late for something in Centralia or Chehalis, is driving in the fast lane and comes up on a black Jeep Cherokee and got brake checked,” Trooper Will Finn said. “He gets angry, he gets around this Jeep and brake checks him.

Then he looked in his mirror and saw the barrel of a gun come out the driver’s side window, Finn said.

“He says two rounds were fired off,” he said.

A chase ensued continuing southbound, with the silver 2012 Mazda hatchback darting in and out of traffic and the Jeep pursuing him, Finn said.

The last time the victim saw the Jeep was around milepost 80, and the victim got off the freeway at exit 77, according to the state patrol.

Finn said troopers and deputies were stationed south of the incident waiting for the Jeep, but they never saw it, leading them to believe the Jeep exited the freeway in that area.

“Right now we’re asking anyone who witnessed this or saw this to call us,” Finn said.

Chehalis police reported it was a Jeep Wrangler, but Finn said it was a black Jeep Cherokee, perhaps a 2005 model or as new as a 2010. It was described as a “stock” vehicle, with nothing extra that stood out on it, and it had Washington plates, he said.

The victim said the shooter was an elderly white man with a white beard and somewhere between 60 and 70 years old.

He said there was a female passenger who looked as old as 80, wearing an oxygen mask, Finn said.

Finn said it’s possible someone knows a couple like that, or has had a similar experience with the driver of the Jeep.

He urged anyone with any information to call the state patrol’s non-emergency number of 360-449-7999.

News brief: One opening on Chehalis Civil Service Commission

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The city of Chehalis is looking to fill a vacancy on its Civil Service Commission.

The commission holds regular meetings once each month and its members are unpaid.

The Civil Service Commission basically oversee the examination process, appointments, promotions, transfers, reinstatements, demotions, suspensions and discharge of police and fire department employees, according to City Clerk Judy Schave.

Appointments to the commission are made by the city manager, subject to the approval of the city council, and are generally six-year terms.

Applicants must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of the city of Chehalis for at least three years.

Application forms are available on the city’s website, or can be picked up at City Hall located at 350 N. Market Blvd. Rm 101.

The city will accept applications until the position is filled.

Top cop job in Morton changing hands

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The passing of the baton at the Morton Police Department will take place on Thursday, as 2015 comes to a close.

Longtime Chief Dan Mortensen is retiring, although when he wakes up on New Year’s Day he will be mayor of the small East Lewis County town.

He ran unopposed in the November election. Mayor James Gerwig didn’t run for another term.

Mortensen describes his feelings as “anticipatory.”

“I’ve done this job a long time and I certainly will miss it,” he said. “The mayor position presents some new challenges for me.”

The mayor manages the city and runs the council meetings, but does not have a vote on the council.

Mayor Gerwig hired a new police chief, Roger Morningstar, who begins work on Jan. 1.

Mortensen and Morningstar were sworn in to their new positions by Mayor Gerwig at last night’s city council meeting.

The outgoing and incoming police chiefs have been working for a couple of days together, for a smoother transition at the department, according to Mortensen.

The police department employs a chief and two full time officers. Mortensen has been with the department since 1985.

Morningstar has law enforcement experience in Washington and a criminal justice certification, Mortensen said. He comes from the state Department of Corrections in Aberdeen, though he hails from Nevada.

“He comes with a pretty good repertoire of experience, I think he’s a good fit for the community,” Mortensen said.

News brief: Llama attacked and killed in Glenoma

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Wildlife officers are trying to catch a cougar suspected of killing a llama in the Meade Hill area of Glenoma.

Authorities were contacted yesterday after the discovery of the dead animal, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We do suspect it could be a cougar, we did put out a live trap,” department spokesperson Craig Bartlett said.

Bartlett said the big cats’ chief prey are deer and elk, but they don’t hibernate and they’re out and about, and hungry this time of year.

He said it appeared whatever attacked the llama had gone back to eat on it a couple of times.

If it’s captured, and could be tied to the llama, it will probably be euthanized, he said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
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•••

CHEHALIS INTRUDER APOLOGIZES, PEDALS AWAY

• Chehalis police were called about 8:20 a.m. yesterday after a resident at the 400 block of Northwest Pennsylvania Avenue said a stranger walked into an open garage, apologized when he was confronted and then left on a bicycle. Nothing appeared to be missing or disturbed but an officer was asked if the individual was found, to let him know he’s not welcome back, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The intruder was described as in his 20s, wearing baggy pants and rubber boots and carrying a backpack.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 9:20 p.m. yesterday to take a report of a purse stolen from a vehicle parked at the 700 block of Marsh Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 1:40 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 800 block of Northwest Maryland Avenue. The owner was sure it had been locked the night before but found it unlocked and rummaged through, according to the Chehalis Police Department. A gift card was missing, according to police.

• Centralia police were called to the 1000 block of Mellen Street about 8:30 a.m. yesterday where someone had stolen a garage door opener from a parked vehicle.

DRUGS

• A 47-year-old Rochester woman turned over to a deputy yesterday by another agency at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia was further arrested for possession of methamphetamine when a search turned up a small baggie in her pants pocket containing a white crystal substance. Donna S. Cline was wanted on an outstanding warrant and subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to take a report that an individual found the passenger side window of a vehicle busted out at the 800 block of J Street.

ON THE ROAD

• Responders to a single-vehicle collision about 3:10 a.m. today south of Chehalis found a man believed to have been a passenger with a significant head injury but didn’t locate the driver. Deputies found two sets of footprints leaving the 2010 Honda Accord – in a ditch – in the area of Rush and Maurin roads, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 34-year-old man from Goldendale was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with plans for a transfer to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the sheriff’s office. Cmdr. Dusty Breen is asking anyone with any information to call the sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers of Lewis County.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, malicious mischief; responses for stray dog, runaway teen, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

Toledo man accused of touching two girls in “bad places”

Monday, December 28th, 2015
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Clavin P. Brockman waits in the courtroom to be escorted back down to the Lewis County Jail this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 38-year-old Toledo man brought before a judge today to face two charges of first-degree child molestation, is facing – if convicted – a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

Clavin P. Brockman was arrested at his home on Christmas Eve day by a detective with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court, where prosecutors asked that he be held on $500,000 bail.

Judge James Lawler agreed, and also ordered that Brockman could have no contact with any minors.

Brockman was convicted at age 21 of first-degree child molestation, according to authorities.

Another conviction for a serious sex offense would count under the state’s two strikes law for serious sex crimes.

According to charging documents, the mother of two 9-year-old girls called police in August stating the girls told her they didn’t like Brockman because he touched them in “bad places.”

Sheriff’s detective Tom Callas interviewed the alleged victims in September, in November and he was present for a medical interview on Dec. 2.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred between May 1 and Sept. 1.

When Callas contacted Brockman at his home on Thursday, he asked him if he knew why he was there, and Brockman said he did, according to the allegations.

Before Brockman was placed in the patrol vehicle, he asked if he could place something in his barn, and Callas agreed; as they walked toward the barn, Brockman stated, ‘I’m going to prison for life’, the documents allege.

According to Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher, Brockman was also convicted in 2008 of failing to register as a sex offender.

He is currently unemployed and qualified for a court-appointed lawyer. Brockman’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 28th, 2015
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•••

MAN BOOKED FOR BREAKING FRONT DOOR

• A 50-year-old Centralia man armed himself when someone tried to break down his door around 3 o’clock on Saturday morning at the 600 block of State Street and arriving deputies detained a 28-year-old man leaving the porch area, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Matthew A. Poston gave an explanation for why he was there that didn’t make sense, according to the sheriff’s office. Poston was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempted second-degree burglary, but prosecutors declined to file the felony charge. He is being seen in Lewis County District Court today for a possible charge of malicious mischief. The front door and its jamb were damaged, the sheriff’s office reports.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 400 block of Reinke Road outside Centralia where a resident reported having found items out of place upon returning home from out of state, and initially thinking it was his children, but finding out it wasn’t. Sometime between Nov. 23 and Dec. 15, someone stole or damaged about $1,000 of valuables, including gas cans, propane tanks, books, CDs, food and clothing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Deputies called to a residential burglary at the 300 block of East Roanoke Street in Centralia on Thursday found that a BB pistol and a toolbox were stolen from a room in the back of the home and a Mongoose bicycle taken from its front yard. It happened sometime after 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BURGLARY CHEHALIS

• Someone threw a rock through the front window of a convenience store on the 1900 block of South Market Boulevard about 2 a.m. on Friday, drawing a response from police and a police dog. K-9 Lobo and his partner conducted a track that ended at a home a few blocks away and found a 55-year-old Chehalis resident and a bag containing about $800 worth of cigarettes, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Ricky McVay was arrested for second-degree theft and burglary and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

VEHICLE THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 8:15 a.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of North Market Boulevard in Chehalis where a 2002 Honda 600 motorcycle had been stolen overnight.

• A white 2002 Ford Crown Victoria was reported stolen on Thursday from the parking lot at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center. The car was taken sometime since Dec. 9, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police called about 10:40 a.m. on Thursday after someone broke a building’s window on West Main Street near Market Boulevard subsequently arrested a 42-year-old Centralia man for possession of methamphetamine, malicious mischief and resisting arrest. Booked into the Lewis County Jail was Peter D. Harris, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

• Centralia police were called about 12:15 p.m. yesterday by a resident at the 2500 block of Howard Avenue who said someone had spread roofing nails in their driveway.

ON THE ROAD

• Deputies responding about 9:45 p.m. on Friday to a single-vehicle collision at the 800 block of Silverbrook Road in Randle arrested the suspected driver for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. Tracy S. Dopp, 55, of Randle, sustained scrapes to the face and the 1995 Chevrolet van sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Dopp was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, minor in possession of alcohol, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, failure to register as a sex offender; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, dog on a roof, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street … and more.

Raccoon hunter rescued out of forest near Boistfort

Monday, December 28th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A hunter was rescued yesterday after spending the night stuck in a creek bed in the woods southwest of Boistfort.

The man was found by a couple who called 911 about 9 o’clock in the morning and met up with firefighters at Boistfort Lions Club Park on  Pe Ell-McDonald Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 13.

“They took us to his location, we found him conscious and able to speak,” Fire Chief Gwen Turner said, noting it was along the 4000 Line. “He just couldn’t get himself out on his own.”

He said he had fallen and hit his head, Turner said.

Turner said it was quite a deep ditch and while the man was not in the water, he didn’t have a coat. Someone had tossed one down to him before he was brought up, she said.

Temperatures overnight in the area dropped into the mid- to high 30s.

He was very lucky, she said.

Seven members of the fire department carried him out, about three-quarters of a mile to the road.

The man, who is from Roy but owns property in Pe Ell is either 57 or 58 years old, she said. He said he was hunting raccoons.

He was put in an ambulance and taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, to be checked for hypothermia and possibly a bit of dehydration, she said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, December 27th, 2015
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•••

‘I SAW WHAT YOU DID’

• Police were called to the 100 block of High Street in Centralia about 3:30 p.m. yesterday for a hit and run to a parked vehicle. The incident was witnessed by another individual who left a note describing the running vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department. The suspect car is described as a dark blue or black Dodge Challenger with a Washington license plate reading AVJ 5681, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, drinking liquor in public, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license … and more.