Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Centralia teens hurt when truck leaves roadway

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
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Pickup truck rests on its top. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two young men were extricated from a small pickup truck that was nearly split in half from the force of its collision into a tree in Centralia last night.

Firefighters called about 9:20 p.m. to the area off North Gold Street at Ham Hill Road found the truck at the bottom of an embankment on its top. The occupants had been wearing seat belts, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews used hydraulic tools to remove the 18-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger, according to authorities.

Fire Capt. Scott Weinert said because of suspected internal injuries, the pair were airlifted to Harborview Medial Center in Seattle.

Centralia police report this morning it appears that speed and inexperience were factors in the collision. The police department describes their injuries as non-life threatening.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
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•••

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Bail was set at $15,000 this afternoon for a 19-year-old Rochester resident accused of showing up at the Centralia home of a female he was prohibited by court order from contacting and reaching into her sweatshirt pocket and taking her wallet before fleeing. The alleged incident occurred on Sept. 8, but charges were filed on Sept. 13 in Lewis County Superior Court. Jacob J. Killian was picked up on warrants last night and booked into the Lewis County Jail, facing charges of first-degree theft and violation of a court order. The wallet was said to contain identification, an EBT card and about $10 cash, according to court documents. His arraignment is tomorrow.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, probation violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, third-degree theft, disorderly person, trespassing, suspicious circumstances, homeless person sleeping on a covered porch, male living in a bus stop for over a week … and more among 178 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Former Mossyrock city official sorry for theft, gets prison time

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
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Doneia A. Santiago turns to hug family members goodbye following her sentencing hearing this morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 6:25 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The now-former Mossyrock city clerk-treasurer is heading to prison with a five year sentence for embezzling what the mayor says comes to more than $67,000.

Doneia A. Santiago, 53, came to Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis today, free on a signature bond since her June arrest, and was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.

Defense attorney Don Blair didn’t ask the judge for a particular amount of time for his client, but noted she was cooperative after the mayor approached her and left her job without taking her final paycheck. She even borrowed a large sum of money from a friend in an attempt to begin repaying the loss, but prosecutors wouldn’t accept it as part of a deal for less time, he said.

“She got into a situation where she was short on funds and started using the city’s bank account to pay her mortgage,” Blair told the judge. “Clearly she regrets that.”

The defendant told the court she was very sorry.

Santiago was charged initially with first-degree theft, for what at first looked like less than $8,000 taken over a less than three-year period. By mid-July, documents were filed indicating investigators found evidence more than $37,000 was taken. A deal was struck in which she pleaded guilty to nine counts of first-degree identity theft earlier this month.

Mossyrock Mayor Tom Meade addressed the court, on behalf of the town’s 750 residents, he said, about how Santiago breached the public’s trust.

“She failed completely in her duties,” Meade said. “It’s an example of why people have lost faith in government.”

Meade spoke of stolen credit cards, late night transfers, false invoices submitted to the council and a scheme so complex even three audits by the state missed it.

“She was that clever, she was that good at it,” the mayor said.

Mayor Meade said some of her family members should be ashamed of themselves for what he claimed was participation in the wrongdoing.

More than a dozen apparent supporters sat in the benches behind Santiago, including family. Roughly the same number, including city council members, were on the other side of the courtroom with the mayor.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello recommended to the judge Santiago get five years, plus community custody following her release and pay various fines and fees. Restitution will be determined at a future date, he said. Masiello looked to the mayor for the preliminary number of $67,079.95.

“With the conduct in this case and the length of time it went on, we think 60 months is appropriate,” he said.

Judge Nelson Hunt agreed with the state, saying it’s his experience that almost everyone caught embezzling comes up with excuses and then apologizes.

“The jail time starts right now,” Hunt said.

Outside the courtroom, Masiello said the particular charges to which she was convicted helped the state get the amount of time it sought, and because of the sentencing guidelines, keeping the theft charges would not have resulted in a longer sentence.

Santiago started working for the central Lewis County city in August 2013 and was terminated in June.

The deputy clerk, Daydra Stewart, was confirmed by the council as acting city clerk-treasurer in July. Mayor Meade suggested they are in no hurry to make a final decision about a new clerk-treasurer.

“We’re going to let some time pass,” he said.

•••

For background, read “Former Mossy city clerk pleads guilty to putting city funds in  personal account” from Wednesday September 7, 2016, here

News brief: One seriously hurt in Adna wreck

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Updated at 6:35 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One person in critical condition was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after a collision between a dirt bike and another vehicle yesterday in Adna.

Firefighters and medics called about 3 p.m. to the 100 block of Spooner Road arrived to find bystanders performing CPR on a man on the roadway, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

Medics stopped CPR when the patient regained consciousness, according to fire department spokesperson DJ Hammer.

The man, in his early 70s, was transported to the Adna High School stadium where he was picked up by a helicopter, according to Hammer.

It appeared the 72-year-old Chehalis resident pulled out of his driveway on his motorcycle and failed to yield, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was hit by a GMC2500 pickup truck, which sustained major damage, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

The 40-year-old Chehalis man driving the pickup was reportedly unhurt.

Breen said the victim had been wearing a helmet, but it was ripped off from the wreck, leaving him with head trauma.

His 1986 Dual Sport Honda XL250 motorcycle was licensed for the road, but was a total loss, according to Breen.

Drugs, guns and an arrest in Chehalis

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
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Drannon B. Smythe sits with his temporary defense attorney this afternoon in from of judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He said he came to the door with a loaded AK-47, but put it down when law enforcement outside verified who they were, court documents state.

Twenty-three-year-old Drannon B. Smythe was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The criminal charges follow his arrest at his Chehalis home yesterday on the 200 block of Newaukum Valley Golf Course Drive, according to the documents.

Drug detectives served a search warrant there, seizing thirteen firearms from around the apartment, several of which were loaded, including a TEC-9 that was on the wall, the documents relate.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello writes law enforcement collected approximately one ounce of heroin, roughly a quarter ounce of meth, digital scales and just over $3,000 cash as well as several prescription pills. They found thousands of clean, unused baggies, according to Masiello.

Smythe allegedly told detectives the guns belonged to him and he’d obtained them through drug transactions.

He reportedly said if law enforcement had served the warrant the previous day, he’d have had pounds of methamphetamine, but he was robbed.

The case was handled by the local Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team. Further details were not readily available this afternoon.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge this afternoon her client was currently unemployed and has only one previous conviction.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio requested bail be set at $25,000. Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Smythe held with $100,000 bail.

News brief: Lewis County sheriff’s office investigating logging road crash, death

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputies and firefighters were called out early this morning when passersby came across a truck that was wrecked and burning on a remote road south of Glenoma. The occupant was deceased.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said the state patrol estimated the Ford F150 was traveling as much as 70 mph on a long straight stretch before striking a tree and catching fire.

The impact was so great it severed the tree, part of which fell back on to the vehicle, according to Breen.

It happened on the Champion 200 Line, a gravel road off of Champion Haul Road, he said.

The sheriff’s office was dispatched at 6:23 a.m. Members of Lewis County Fire District 18 were joined by personnel from Lewis County Fire DIstrict 14 and extinguished the fire.

Breen said they believe it occurred sometime around 5:30 a.m. or 6 o’clock.

The victim’s identity is being definitively established by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office, but the sheriff’s office suspects he is a 27-year-old Glenoma resident.

Chief Breen said as of this afternoon, they didn’t really know how or why it happened.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
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•••

FIREARMS MISSING FROM RESIDENCE

• Someone broke into an Onalaska home yesterday, stealing a 25 caliber pistol, a 30-30 lever action rifle, two laptop computers and a tablet, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arriving just after 6 p.m. to the 3700 block of Centralia-Alpha Road canvassed the area and found some of the victim’s belongings down the road, as though discarded by an intruder, according to the sherif’s office. Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said the break-in occurred between 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and they got in through the back door.

AUTO THEFT

• Police were called just before 1 p.m. yesterday to take a report of a maroon 1988 Toyota Camry stolen from the 300 block of Yew Street in Centralia. The four-door car went missing sometime during the previous two days, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called about 9:45 a.m. yesterday for a fraud case associated with the 900 block of South Scheuber Road. The victim’s credit card was used to make purchases over the Internet and have items shipped to an address where another suspect took possession of them, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BROKEN GLASS

• A 26-year-old Chehalis man allegedly running into stores, yelling and asking for money at the 500 block of North Market Boulevard ended up injuring himself and getting arrested for a felony yesterday afternoon in Chehalis. Officers caught up with Drake A. Lorber at the 400 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue and discovered he had an outstanding municipal warrant, according to the Chehalis Police Department. As Lorber was being placed into a patrol vehicle, he used his forehead to break out the window, according to police. While they waited for aid to arrive, Lorber allegedly spit blood onto an officer, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. He was  booked into the Lewis County Jail for the warrant, for malicious mischief and third-degree assault, Bailey said.

• Centralia police reported this morning a summons will be issued to a 43–year-old Chehalis man who allegedly punched an acquaintance’s windshield, shattering it. The incident at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue was reported just after 11 a.m. yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BROKEN DOORS

• Centralia police were called just before 1 p.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of Eckerson Road where an individual was seen kicking in doors at a motel, causing extensive damage. The person fled, reportedly crossing a river and taking a seat in a gazebo at Riverside Rotary Park, according to the Centralia Police Department. Anthony E. Brennan, 34, of Tumwater, was located in the gazebo, arrested for second-degree malicious mischief and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, probation violation, possession of marijuana, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, hit and run, third-degree theft, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more among 146 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Senior citizen inadvertently discharges firearm inside Chehalis store

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A customer at the checkout counter of a Chehalis pet supply store accidentally fired his 38 revolver, injuring himself yesterday.

Police called at 12:42 p.m. yesterday to the Twin City Town Center found the victim and his wife had already headed to the hospital, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The 79-year-old Onalaska resident shot himself in the foot, according to police.

He and his wife were at the counter at Petsense when he placed his hands in his pockets, and then witnesses heard a loud bang, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. The man, who was not named, then stated he shot himself, Bailey said.

An officer made contact with him, and he confirmed what happened, according to Bailey.

The victim was treated at Providence Centralia Hospital for the non-life threatening injury and has been released, according to Bailey.

Bailey said nobody else was injured. She didn’t know how many people were inside the business at the time.

The strip mall is just west of Interstate 5 on the 1400 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue.

The case will be forwarded to Chehalis Municipal Court prosecutors for a review of possible charges, according to police.

Three years ago, after a 40-year-old man holstering his firearm in the parking lot at Sunbird Shopping Center accidentally fired a round through his hand and into his wife’s thigh, he was charged with reckless endangerment.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 26th, 2016
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•••

Updated

WOMAN ATTACKED IN GARAGE

• Deputies were called about 4:40 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Gershick Road in Silver Creek where a woman said she walked into her shop building and was struck in the face by a white male with an unkempt beard. She fell to the ground, but said she saw the subject – about 5-feet 10-inches tall – and another male exit the building, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 45-year-old woman was dizzy and had a bruise and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be evaluated, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said a police dog searched the area but nobody was located. They think she might have interrupted a burglary, according to Breen.

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called about 6:50 a.m. today following the discovery of a burglary at a home being remodeled at the 1200 block of Bayne Street. Tools were stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

INTERRUPTED BURGLARY

• Deputies were called about 4 o’clock yesterday morning to the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia where a resident interrupted a prowler in his car port. The intruder fled and nothing was missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A stereo was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called just after 1 p.m. on Saturday to take a report that someone removed and stole a car’s battery, around the corner from a location on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police called just after 1:20 a.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of Southwest Parkland Drive about a male looking in the windows of vehicles in the parking lot discovered Jesse J. Wheeler, 35, of Chehalis, had an outstanding warrant and subsequently located residue of suspected heroin, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Wheeler was booked into the Lewis County Jail for a drug violation, according to police.

• An officer who made contact with a vehicle about a dispute at the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis at about 3 a.m. on Saturday discovered one occupant had an outstanding warrant and subsequently located suspected heroin, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Robert R. Green, 29, from Napavine, was booked into the Lewis County Jail  for a drug violation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BREAKING CARS

• A 27-year-old Centralia man detained for an assault investigation about 5:45 p.m. yesterday at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue was arrested after he allegedly kicked out the rear window of a Centralia patrol car. Wellington M. Waggener was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report about 11:30 a.m. yesterday from the 900 block of West First Street where someone vandalized a vehicle, causing severe damage to windows and a door, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report just after 1 p.m. on Saturday of someone breaking out the driver’s side window of a Ford Explorer parked at the 100 block of Southeast Adams Avenue in Chehalis.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for misdemeanor domestic assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, a pair of individuals wearing clown masks and dark clothing walking between houses near Southwest 20th Street in Chehalis after dark … and more among 149 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

More to come

Thousands of dollars removed from governmental association account, Centralia woman arrested

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Updated at 12:09 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 35-year-old Centralia woman has been arrested following an investigation into as much as $70,000 discovered missing from the account of an association she worked for while employed at the Lewis County Health Department.

April K. Kelley was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree theft on Friday and is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said that Kelley was the treasurer for the Association of County Human Services between 2010 and 2014 while she worked at the county health department.

A new treasurer last year reviewed the books and found $60,000 to $70,000 missing, according to Breen.

The association takes in about $90,000 each year in dues from members, comprised of representatives from each of Washington’s 39 counties, according to Breen.

ACHS is a non-profit group with members who provide or administer programs related to chemical dependency, mental health and developmental disabilities. It is an affiliate of the Washington State Association of Counties, according to information on its web site.

Breen said this morning Kelley admitted to removing money from the account, saying she didn’t keep track but estimated around $90,000. She replaced $50,000 of it in 2011 with money borrowed from a family member, he said.

He said the amount stolen is currently estimated as between $40,000 to $70,000.

Kelley was hired at the Lewis County Department of Public Health & Social Services in July 2007. She is no longer employed there, as of this past Friday, according to Director Danette York.

She was the social services manager, with responsibilities for programs for housing, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and senior services.

It appears she may have bailed out of jail yesterday, from information on the Lewis County Jail’s online roster.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
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•••

AUTO THEFT

• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle in connection with a case associated with a location at North Tower Avenue and Susan Street on Friday night, according to the Centralia Police Department. David J. Eslick was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Someone broke into a vehicle parked on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and stole a Galaxy Note tablet computer, according to a report made to police just after 3 p.m. on Friday.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue about 10:40 p.m. yesterday where tires had been slashed on a parked vehicle.

AIRPLANE DOESN’T CRASH

• Chehalis firefighters stood by at the airport after being notified a small plane was going to make an emergency landing on Friday. Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Casey Beck said he got a phone call from Seattle air traffic control, asking for their assistance. “They said, ‘hey, we’ve got a plane having difficulty with their alternator, they think it will be fine, but they’re going to land in Chehalis’,” Beck said. He notified dispatch at about 11:30 a.m. the crew was heading to the Chehalis-Centralia Airport, he said. “Probably about 15 minutes later, it came down and landed without problems,” he said.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more among 280 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 48-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Lewis County ends summertime outdoor burning restrictions

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Board of Commissioners announced yesterday they would end their restrictions on outdoor burning as of 12:01 a.m. today.

A prohibition on outdoor burning was put in place in unincorporated areas of Lewis County on Aug. 2 when weather conditions created substantial fire danger. Even recreational campfires were prohibited for a period but were allowed again beginning Labor Day weekend.

Now, the board and the county fire marshal say conditions have improved.

Outdoor burning is restricted to natural vegetation from the burn site and is subject to an open burning application and permit.

Burning garbage, paper or other refuse is never allowable.

To obtain an Open Burning Application and Permit, apply on-line at http://lewiscountywa.gov/communitydevelopment/burn-permit-2 or in person at the Lewis County Fire Marshal’s office.

For further information, contact Doyle Sanford, Building Official/Fire Marshal, at 360-740-1146.  The fire marshal’s office is in the Lewis County Public Services building, located at 2025 NE Kresky Avenue, Chehalis.

Logging accident claims life of Centralia man

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office reported today that a 50-year-old man from Centralia was killed in an accident at a logging site yesterday.

William J. Leonard was deceased at the scene, inside the cab of a piece of heavy equipment that tumbled several hundred yards down a steep embankment of the Fossil Creek area of Pacific County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Deputy Pat Matlock wrote in a news release this afternoon that they were called about the incident about 12:25 p.m. yesterday.

It happened about 16 miles from the paved roadway, on Rayonier Forestry land, according to Matlock.

“Witness statements and evidence observed at the scene indicate that the victim was ‘shovel logging’ a steep side hill,” Matlock wrote. “It appeared that the shovel had been moving decks of trees up the hill when it tipped over and rolled to the bottom.”

Leonard was working for EDB Logging, according to sheriff’s office.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 23rd, 2016
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•••

Updated at 6:47 p.m.

INMATE ASSAULTED, GETS STITCHES

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning an inmate assaulted his cell mate, causing serious lacerations to his forehead and cheek on Wednesday afternoon. A deputy responding about 9 p.m. to the Lewis County Jail learned the incident was over an unpaid debt, according to the sheriff’s office. The victim is a 48-year-old man and the arrestee is 27-year-old Robert E. Chandler, of Centralia, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said. Chandler is being held on a second-degree assault case out of Centralia and was re-booked for an additional second-degree assault. Breen did not say what object might have been used to cause the cuts. When Chandler was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court, prosecutors wrote that the victim got eight stitches for his wounds. The argument was over a deal in which Chandler reportedly purchased the victim a deck of playing cards in exchange for portions of his meals, according to prosecutors. The victim recalled being pushed back into his cell and the door slamming shut and the next thing he recalled, he said, was waking up in the nurse’s office with a bandage on his forehead, Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote. Chandler said it was self defense, and his cell mate fell backwards hitting his head on the bed frame, according to Masiello. His bail was set at $20,000.

EMPLOYEE ASSAULTED BY INMATE

• Police were called to Green Hill School yesterday to take a report of a 17-year-old student-inmate who allegedly threw punches at a staff member. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for charging, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SMASH AND GRAB SPREE

• Centralia police were called about 6:35 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Pioneer Way where five different vehicles were broken into during a sporting event. Windows were smashed and purses stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department. In Chehalis, an officer was called to Stan Hedwall Park on Rice Road just before 7 p.m. where four people were similarly victimized, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by an individual who said that sometime between 11 a.m. and 12:25 p.m., someone stole a tool box from the back of their pickup truck while it was parked at the 1700 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police were called to the 100 block of West Fifth Street about 9:10 a.m. yesterday to take a report of the theft of a leaf blower.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called about 3 p.m. yesterday to a business at the 1600 block of North National Avenue, recently burglarized, to take a report that windows had been broken and someone came inside and caused property damage.

FRAUD

• Chehalis police were contacted by a resident yesterday morning who suspected their credit information was being used by someone else, leading to an address in Chehalis where packages had been delivered. The second person told police they were working as a quality control person for a business called Pure Delivery, which turned out to be a fraudulent business, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Police attempted to contact the company, with no success, according to according to a department spokesperson.

DRUGS

• A 32-year-old woman pulled over about 12:45 a.m. today at the 3100 block of Ives Road in Centralia because of an outstanding warrant was additionally arrested for possession of methamphetamine after some was found in one of her undergarments at the Lewis County Jail. Melissa A. McAllister, from Centralia, also had switchblade in her purse, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. McAllister was booked also for possession of a dangerous weapon, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, trespassing, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances … and more among 166 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Phone fraud involving sheriff’s office

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Someone is impersonating a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office employee, making phone calls and trying to scam people out of money.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen says several individuals have advised the sheriff’s office they’ve been contacted by a person purporting to be with the warrants division.

They’ve been told the call is about missing federal jury duty and the only way to avoid arrest is to come to the sheriff’s office after completing an initial procedure, according to Breen.

The “initial procedure” involves obtaining a “Green Dot” pre-paid card and providing the caller with security information so the caller can get the funds, according to Breen.

The sheriff’s office is actively investigating the source of the calls as originating from an Internet based application, according to Breen.

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant to the ever increasing amount of scams via telephone and internet,” Breen states in a news release. “If you are contacted by someone from a government agency and believe it seems suspicious, it is recommended you find independent contact information for the agency and contact them directly.”

The sheriff’s office also recommends the public not share any personal identifying information with anyone if they are not certain of their identity.

Former Chehalis Chief Hamilton dies in Mexico

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former Chehalis Chief of Police and Fire Services Randy C. Hamilton passed away on Saturday in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at age 65.

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Randy C. Hamilton
1951 – 2016

Hamilton retired from the city of Chehalis in March 2002, and went on to work for the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center traveling the country and teaching, according to his daughter.

“He taught a lot of classes, all over the U.S. really, and even Guam,” Kalessa Markham said.

The Chehalis native moved to the Tacoma area about 10 years ago and worked as a handyman and then, as general manager of a bar in Tacoma called The Mix, Markham said.

He retired for good in August and decided he would move to a place he enjoyed visiting so much, she said.

Markham said her father’s death was unexpected, but he died peacefully with family members around him.

“I’m realizing what an impact he had, not just in our community, but everywhere,” she said. “It’s so nice to know he’s missed by so many people.”

Hamilton began his law enforcement career as a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy, spending his last five years as the undersheriff. He ran for sheriff, and lost. Then in 1987 was hired by the city of Chehalis.

Hamilton leaves behind three children, three grandchildren and other family.

A public viewing at Brown Mortuary in Chehalis is scheduled for tomorrow between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. A family graveside service will be held on Saturday.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Chehalis Middle School Commons. Everyone is welcome, his daughter said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
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•••

NIGHTTIME INTRUDER STEALS TP

• Deputies responded about 11 a.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Jones Road in Winlock where a 39-year-old man reported someone got into his basement while he was sleeping and stole medications, toilet paper and motor oil. A Foosball table surface was damaged as well, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime between 7 p.m. on Tuesday and 7 a.m. yesterday, according to the sheriff’s office.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called to the 800 block of Marion Street about 3:15 p.m. yesterday to investigate a burglary to a shop. Tools were taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AUTO THEFT

• A deputy was called yesterday afternoon to property behind a gate off of the 400 block of Teitzel Road outside Centralia where a car was found that appeared to be partly “parted out,” according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A cutting torch was located and the 1992 Honda Accord had been stolen in Centralia, according to the sheriff’s office.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 2000 block of Haviland Street in Centralia. A cell phone was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 31-year-old Centralia man picked up on outstanding warrants about 6:45 p.m. yesterday at the 1400 block of West Main Street in Centralia was also arrested for possession of methamphetamine as a sandwich baggie containing several bindles of suspected meth were located inside a backpack, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Steven D. Harko Couch was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Chief Deputy Dusty Breen.

TRUCK FIRE

• Firefighters were called abut 12:20 a.m. today to a fire in a semi truck on Interstate 5 southbound near milepost 65. The truck was destroyed and the 53-foot trailer transporting bottled water sustained minor damage, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. The driver said she’d seen smoke coming from the sleeping area of the cab, but the cause is undetermined, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson said. A crew was on scene for approximately an hour total for extinguishment and overhaul, according to Anderson.

HOUSE FIRE CAUSE STILL UNKNOWN

• Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said this morning the cause of the house fire at South Market Boulevard and 11th Street last Thursday morning remains under investigation, by the police and fire department. A man, a woman and a toddler were helped to safety out of a second-floor dormer window before the fire department arrived after the approximately 5 a.m. call.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police were involved with a short vehicle pursuit of a gray pickup truck at about 2:10 p.m. yesterday in the area of Mellen Street and Interstate 5. The officer attempted a traffic stop because of an equipment violation, but the driver headed south on the freeway and the officer terminated the pursuit due to safety concerns, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, request that a pair of homeless males with all their “stuff” on a bench outside a church be asked to move along … and more among 155 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Motorcyclist hospitalized after crash in Tumwater

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia man was injured when his motorcycle struck the rear of a car and he was ejected last night in Tumwater.

Jeffrey E. Westley, 51, was westbound at a high rate of speed on Tumwater Boulevard Southwest approaching Littlerock Road when he ran into the back of a Volkswagen Passat, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers called just before 9 p.m. report Westley landed in the entrance to the traffic circle and the roadway was blocked for three and a half hours.

His 2002 Honda VTR100 was described as totaled.

Westley was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, according to the state patrol. Investigators suspect he was under the influence and drugs may have been involved, the patrol indicated in a brief summary of the incident.

The driver of the Passat was reportedly unhurt and her car was damaged but still drivable.

Former Green Hill counselor gets jail, treatment in inmate sex case

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Erin Snodgrass is escorted out of the courtroom to jail after hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Green Hill School counselor who engaged in a sexual relationship with a student-inmate was sentenced today to 14 days in jail plus 46 treatment sessions.

Erin Snodgrass, also known as Erin Stiebritz, was arrested in January following an investigation that began after a letter was intercepted at the state juvenile detention facility.

The student, who turned 18 during the period of time in question, told detectives they had sex a few times in her office, according to court documents.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court he and her lawyer came to an agreement to recommend she be sentenced to a lower than usual amount of time.

Snodgrass, 37, pleaded guilty to first-degree custodial sexual misconduct in July, an offense with a standard sentencing range of six to 12 months in jail.

Halstead said the reason for less time included the fact that she has taken responsibility for it and also the interview with the student was not recorded and he later denied everything.

Snodgrass began working at Green Hill in June 2013. The events investigated occurred during the latter half of 2014. She has been free and out of custody with an unsecured bond since her arrest.

Defense attorney Blake Kremer told the judge his client takes all of this very seriously.

“She made a terrible mistake,” Kremer said. “That’s what she’ll be paying for forever.”

He noted her family stands by her, although she didn’t want them to come to the hearing. Kremer pointed out three friends in the courtroom who were there to support Snodgrass.

She addressed the court, her voice breaking.

“This has really done a lot of damage to my family and my friends,” Snodgrass said.

Judge James Lawler said he’d read the pre-sentencing report and the sentencing memorandum, and it was obvious to him the defendant felt remorse. He adopted the recommended sentence.

On paper, she was given 60 days in jail, however all but 14 of those days were each converted to one treatment session.

Neither Halstead nor Kremer mentioned, nor would they say outside the courtroom, the nature of the treatment.

Green Hill in Chehalis is run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services. It’s a secure facility in Chehalis that provides older, male offenders education and vocational training.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Health suspended Snodgrass’s counselor credential for at least four years.

The judge also ordered that she serve 12 months of community custody and have no contact with the victim.

Snodgrass was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.
•••

For background, read “Guilty plea accepted in Green Hill counselor-inmate sex case” from Wednesday July 27, 2016, here

Centralia 2012: One defendant in rape of 13-year-old gets a plea deal

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Tyler M. McKee and his lawyer face a judge this morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former Chehalis man admitted today he took advantage of a 13-year-old girl at a Centralia party when he was 19 years old.

Tyler M. McKee has been held since the end of July on $100,000 bail in the Lewis County Jail in connection with the 2012 case.

He and his lawyer made a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child molestation, while a charge of second-degree rape of a child was dropped.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt asked McKee if the words printed on his admission were what happened, that on May 4, 2012, he had sexual contact with a person under 14 and encouraged, aided and abetted another to also have sexual contact with the same victim.

McKee agreed and the judge asked if McKee knew her age.

“No, I didn’t know,” McKee said.

Earlier this summer, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office secured an arrest warrant for one of three males the 13-year-old girl believed engaged in sex with her at the party, when she was so drunk she could not walk. DNA collected from her pants and McKee were a match, according to court documents.

The now 22-year-old was living in Las Vegas and returned to Lewis County at the end of July.

After this morning’s court hearing, the judge imposed a no-bail hold and scheduled a date to return to court for Oct. 20.

His sentencing can’t take place until after the state Department of Corrections completes a pre-sentencing investigation in which the state agency will make its recommendation for how long he should be locked up.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said the standard sentencing range for McKee is 31 to 41 months and the state will recommend 41.

McKee is represented by Centralia lawyer J.P. Enbody.

Another 22-year-old was arrested last week in connection with the same incident. Geffrey A. Duncan of Chehalis is charged with second-degree rape of a child.

He told the judge when he appeared in court on Friday he has no idea who the victim is. His bail was $25,000.
•••

For background, read “Suspect in rape of girl at 2012 Centralia party arrested in Vegas” from Monday August 1, 2016, here

Pe Ell parents convicted of striking, bruising child

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Diana M. Rogerson consults with her lawyer Chris Baum today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 37-year-old mother entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced today in a case in which she spanked her 7-year-old daughter so hard it left a bruise.

Diana M. Rogerson was given 60 days in jail and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment as well as treatment pertaining to domestic violence, according to Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt told Rogerson her right to possess firearms is revoked, following her plea of guilty to fourth-degree assault domestic violence.

Rogerson was charged in June with third-degree assault of a child shortly after her husband was charged with the same offense for a different incident involving the girl, his stepdaughter.

Joseph W. Rogerson was arrested after the girl told a school counselor her step-father punched her in the arm when she tried to get him to stop hitting her mom, while the family was target shooting in the woods near Pe Ell.

The family lived in Pe Ell.

Because of the arrest, Joseph Rogerson, 37, lost his deferred prosecution in a case of driving under the influence, from an arrest last summer after a head-on crash in Onalaska that killed three teenagers. The investigation by the Washington State Patrol concluded he was traveling in his own lane and not to blame for the wreck.

Joseph Rogerson has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and is awaiting sentencing in Lewis County District Court.

The case was assigned to Child Protective Services. The children went to live with their father in Toledo.

Diana Rogerson will be allowed to serve her time with electronic home monitoring, if she qualifies, according to Halstead. Otherwise she will have to check in to the Lewis County Jail by Oct. 11. The judge also ordered her not to have any contact with her daughter, until she fulfills her obligations, he said.

She admitted taking a folded belt to her daughter, something the girl’s older brother told deputies happened after the child  refused to say prayers at dinnertime.
•••

For background, read “Pe Ell mother faces charge of assault of her child” from Tuesday June 21, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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•••

NIGHTTIME INTRUDERS NEAR BARN

• Deputies were called just after 9 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Lincoln Creek Road west of Centralia when a resident investigating flashlights in his field seen headed toward his barn encountered two males who shoved him against a wall and fled. A neighbor had called to report hearing yelling and vehicles driving behind a residence, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 43-year-old victim tried to pursue the males on foot, but nobody was found, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said it’s not yet known if anything was stolen, but they are investigating.

BURGLARY

• Chehalis police were called at 1:50 p.m. yesterday to take a report of a second-degree burglary at the 300 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. Further details are not yet available, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called to a business on the 1600 block of North National Avenue where someone made a hole in the exterior wall at the back of a business and had been removing unspecified items.

• Centralia police were called about 7:25 a.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of North Pearl Street where someone had broken into a storage shed and made off with a shotgun, a rifle and two archery bows.

THEFT

• An officer was called to the 500 block of Southwest 18th Street in Chehalis about 3:15 p.m. yesterday to take that mail had been stolen.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 20-year-old Oakville resident for possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant last night.  Natasha C Henderson was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 9:45 p.m. at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 61-year-old Silver Creek man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence after he totaled his 1997 Ford pickup truck last night, colliding with a guard rail on Stowell Road near Gore Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responded to the approximately 11:48 p.m. single-vehicle collision, noted the driver had failed to negotiate a curve and arrested Ted C. Hamrick, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, probation violation, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, trespassing, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, barking neighbor dog … and more among 194 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
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•••

TOOL HEIST

• Chehalis police were called about 11:10 a.m. yesterday about a break-in to an outbuilding on the 1500 block of North National Avenue. Among the items taken sometime over the weekend were a Milwaukee sawzall, a Ryobi 18-volt charger, a Ryobi impact driver, a Stihl hand-held blower, two more Stihl blowers and a 20-inch power saw chain, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There are no suspects, according to police.

• Centralia police were called to the 900 block of West Pear Street about 5 p.m. yesterday to take a report of a burglary to a garage. A generator was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ATTEMPTED BREAK-IN

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 600 block of Nevil Road in Winlock to take a report of a possible attempted burglary. The resident found screens removed from two windows and a key broken in a lock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

DRUGS

• When police were called by an individual who said there were three males trespassing on his property at the 1000 block of Northwest Prindle Street in Chehalis just before 2 p.m. yesterday, one of them was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant and subsequently suspected methamphetamine was found in his jacket pocket, according to authorities. Joseph K. Hansen, 23, from Centralia, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A 24-year-old Chehalis woman went before a judge today, charged with first-degree theft in connection with more than $24,000 allegedly missing from her workplace, a liquor and wine store at the Twin City Town Center where she was employed from December until March. Amberly M. Morehead reportedly told police she got behind on her bills, took money from work and intended to pay it back but kept getting further behind. Chehalis police began investigating on March 26 when the manager reported he had suspicions of internal theft, according to charging documents. The manger told police the cash reports came up short nearly every time Morehead worked, but it didn’t happen with other employees, according to the documents. He showed the officer video images that indicated her selling bottles of whiskey, but not scanning them or printing a receipt and provided paperwork that showed $1,850 cash taken from the store, refunds of $4,756.29 Morehead allegedly made to herself and $17,987.33 in alleged fraudulent returns to herself, according to the court documents. Charges were filed on Sept. 1 and Morehead was summonsed to appear this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. A judge allowed her to remain free on a $10,000 unsecured bond and set her arraignment for Sept. 29.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, probation violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, malicious mischief, driving under the influence, driving with no license; responses for alarm, dispute,  hit and run, third-degree theft, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances … and more among 167 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: DNR eases outdoor burning restrictions

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Continued fall weather conditions have led the state Department of Natural Resources to lift its outdoor burning ban on the forest lands it’s responsible for protecting from wildfires in Western Washington, as of 12:01 a.m. today.

A prohibition on outdoor burning put in place in unincorporated areas of Lewis County on Aug. 2 has yet to be rescinded, but in the past the county has followed the lead of the state agency, often within a day or two.

Recreational campfires were prohibited for a period but were allowed again beginning Labor Day weekend.

““The fall weather pattern shows us it’s time to lift western Washington’s burn ban,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark stated in a news release. “It will also permit us to ease the burn ban east of the Cascades by allowing campfires in some locations.”

County burn bans may still be in effect in various locations throughout Washington, and residents should check with local fire districts for information.

DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forest lands in Washington.