Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 29th, 2015
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•••

Updated at 7:59 p.m.

VEHICLE PROWLER HITS JACKPOT

• Someone rifled through a truck while its drivers dined at Gee Cees Truck Stop southwest of Toledo early on Saturday morning, removing $9,602 cash from the glove box, $200 from a wallet, a Rand McNalley GPS unit from the dashboard and also taking clothing including T-shirts and blue jeans. A deputy responding about 12:30 a.m. learned another truck driver had seen two males trying to break into the truck and the prowler or prowlers left the door open when they were done, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy asked the business to review images on its security system, Chief Stacy Brown said.

POLICE DOG HITS JACKPOT

• Chehalis Officer Warren Ayers and his K9 partner, Reign, assisted Centralia officers with capturing two car prowl suspects who ran as officers arrived on the scene at the 100 block of Jalyn Street in Centralia early yesterday morning. Zachory J. Schultz, 18, of Centralia, and a 17 year old were found hiding nearby and arrested for vehicle prowl following the approximately 2:50 a.m. call,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORE CAR PROWLS

• A GPS unit and a Blue Tooth device were stolen from a vehicle at the 1800 block of Collins Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Chehalis police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday when an individual out on a walk found some items that should have been in his vehicle, which was parked in its driveway on the 200 block of Southeast Adams Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Officers took a report about 9 a.m. on Saturday of a rope taken from the bed of a pickup parked in the 300 block of Division Avenue in Morton. The rope was later located, tied to the Tilton River Bridge, according to the Morton Police Department.

COMMERCIAL STORAGE BUSINESS THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a deputy took a report from a 27-year-old Rochester woman that someone broke into her storage unit at the 2400 block of Harrison Avenue and stole numerous items including a Craftsman table saw, a gas heater, a saddle and a toolbox. Shavings found on the ground at Keepers Storage indicate the thief drilled through the locking mechanism on her padlock to get in, according to the sheriff’s office. It happened sometime between 10 a.m. last Monday and 10 a.m. on Thursday, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The loss is estimated at $1,100, Brown said. An investigation is underway.

DUERR WOOD SPLITTER MISSING

• A five-ton wood splitter was stolen from an 87-year-old man’s property in the 200 block of Gershick Road in Silver Creek. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning it went missing sometime between 3 p.m. on May 4 and 1 p.m. the following day. It’s brand is Duerr, according to the sheriff’s office. The value is $1,600, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

MOWER MISSING

• A lawnmower was stolen from a yard during the night at the 100 block of West Chestnut Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Saturday morning.

BUS YARD HIT UP FOR FUEL

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that sometime before yesterday but after last Wednesday, someone broke into the Toledo School District bus garage compound and tried to siphon gas from the storage tank by cutting the fuel hose at the pump. The sheriff’s office thinks they were interrupted because they left their own gas can behind, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. They got in to the facility at the 100 block of Collins Road by cutting a hole in the chain link fence, Brown said. No fuel was stolen and the school district will attempt to review security images to see if a suspect can be identified, Brown said.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were contacted yesterday morning by an individual who reported losing a credit card the day before, and then learning it had been used at several area businesses.according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ASSAULT

• An officer was called at about 12:45 a.m. on Friday regarding an alleged assault at Green Hill School in Chehalis. It is being investigated, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• An officer was called to the 1000 block of Southwest 20th Street on Saturday afternoon regarding pain medication that was either stolen or misplaced, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

•  An officer was called to the 1000 block of Southwest 20th Street on Saturday evening after a 15-year-old boy was found with unspecified pills. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for a possible drug charge, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of South Cedar Street in Centralia regarding someone spray painting the back of someone else’s truck.

• Police took a report around 10 p.m. yesterday of windows getting broken at a home on the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia.

WRECKS

• A pair of Vader residents were hospitalized as a precaution after their semi truck left the highway and rolled this morning in Eastern Washington. Julie A. Hedglin, 55, was driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 12 at the Dayton city limits when it happened just before 10 a.m., according to the Washington State Patrol. The passenger James L. Hedglin, 57, was not wearing a seat belt, the state patrol reports. The driver is to be issued a citation for second-degree negligent driving, according to the investigating trooper.

• Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Gregg Peterson said he believes two people were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday evening following a collision on northbound Interstate 5 just north of the Rush Road interchange at Napavine.

• A 23-year-old motorist from Missoula, Montana was injured when his Dodge Ram pickup left the roadway and struck a large tree head on yesterday afternoon east of Packwood. Troopers responded to the approximately 3:30 p.m. call to state Route 123 before milepost one, according to the Washington State Patrol. Bryce L. Greenfield was transported to Morton General Hospital and then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the state patrol. Greenfield wasn’t wearing a seat belt, the investigating trooper reports.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, resisting arrest, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting, protection order violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly persons, harassment, trespassing, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, dogs left alone in parked vehicles in Chehalis at Safeway, at Wal-Mart and at Valley View Health Center, a pair of dogs walking around without an owner, kids in a neighbor’s pool at night when neighbor is gone … and more.

Fourth of July: Get out your garden hoses now

Sunday, June 28th, 2015
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Today’s so-called red flag warning for fire danger covers most of Western Washington. / Image from the National Weather Service

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – People are nervous.

Ongoing high temperatures and very dry conditions, with forecasts of more of the same have prompted outdoor burning restrictions, a ban on even campfires in state parks and for private timberland owners to close their gates to public recreation in recent days.

Unstable air over much of Western Washington with the risk of scattered lightning added to the fire danger threat today.

And, sales of consumer fireworks from state-licensed stands began at noon today. They are already being sold on reservations.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement strongly urging people not to use fireworks this year.

“The fire danger now is unlike any we’ve seen in a long time, if ever,” Inslee said in a press release. “We need to be prepared for the possibility of an unprecedented fire season.”

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza is asking the public to be careful, be responsible and to take their neighbors and their neighbor’s property into consideration when lighting off fireworks.

The Lewis County Public Fire Educators Group is strongly urging area residents and their families to consider enjoying a professional display, such as the one at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds the evening of the Fourth of July.

Forecasters predict temperatures in the 80s and 90s in the coming days, and although there is a slight chance of showers tomorrow, unseasonably warm weather is anticipated well into the week, according to the National Weather Service.

The sheriff wants this year’s celebrating to be as fun and festive as any, but points out there are criminal penalties for possessing and using illegal fireworks.

“If you choose to use or have illegal fireworks in your possession you may be cited and charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable up to a year in jail and a fine up to $5,000,” Snaza stated.

State officials had a more ominous warning to consider:

A person found responsible for starting a wildland fire with fireworks can be required to pay restitution for the fire suppression costs and damages caused by the fire. This could be in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, the state fire marshal’s office noted in a press release late last week.

Fireworks are not allowed in Lewis County parks. Fireworks are illegal on all state properties protected by the Department of Natural Resources. They are prohibited in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Last year, there were 155 suspected fireworks-related fires around the state. This year, the wildfire season has begun earlier and with greater intensity.

However, for those who choose to celebrate our nation’s independence in the customary way, local public safety officials offer numerous tips to help prevent tragic accidents, especially regarding youngsters.

“First, set family boundaries―only adults should light fireworks. Supervision is paramount in keeping children safe,” Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack and Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue’s Lt. Laura Hanson stated in their list of tips.

From local and state public safety officials:

• Purchase only legal fireworks, only in the quantity you will use.
• M80’s, M100’s, or Cherry Bombs are not fireworks – they are illegal explosive devices and can cause severe injuries. Sparkler bombs are considered improvised explosive devices, and are illegal.
•  Never consume alcohol or drugs and use fireworks at the same time.
• Never use fireworks inside your home.
• Always set them off outdoors on a driveway or sidewalk.
• Clear a level area, away from combustible materials.
• Have a fire extinguisher or hose handy.
• Keep a bucket of water nearby for discarding all used fireworks.
• Have a responsible adult present to supervise their use.
• Do not allow young children to discharge fireworks.
• Keep spectators at a safe distance.
• The shooter should wear eye protection.
• Light only one device at a time and move away quickly.
• Never attempt to re-ignite a “dud” firework device.
• Follow the directions on the package label carefully.
• Never point or throw a firework in the direction of anyone.
• Never hold or throw a firework – light it and back away to a safe distance.
• If a firework comes into contact with a vegetated area, use a hose or a bucket of water to heavily soak the area, making sure that there are not any hot spots that could rekindle later.
• Clean up all debris when finished.
• Completely soak used fireworks overnight, then place soaked fireworks in a garbage bag and place in an outdoor trash can or take them to your local waste facility.

Teen driver for ecstasy drug deal-turned robbery booked

Saturday, June 27th, 2015
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Kayla A.S. Littlejohn, in red jail garb, awaits her turn to go in front of a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A police undercover attempt to buy $1,000 worth of ecstasy in the parking lot of the Safeway store in Centralia didn’t turn out as planned, but one teenager is jailed and a man with her who allegedly pulled a gun on a confidential informant remains at large.

It happened inside a tan-colored Pontiac on Wednesday evening, with Centralia police engaging in surveillance of the expected transaction, according to authorities.

Once the Pontiac left the grocery store lot, and the informant was observed getting out of the car, the informant phoned the officer and said they’d been robbed, according to court documents.

A brief summary of the incident from police the following morning described the robbery victim as a male, however court documents avoid using any gender specific pronouns in reference to the informant.

Law enforcement officers pursued the vehicle for a short time, but gave up the chase for safety reasons, according to police.

According to charging documents, when law enforcement searched the area around the residence of the male they say was behind the wheel, they spoke with an 18-year-old woman at a nearby house; they were told she’d been with him the previous couple of days.

Kayla A.S. Littlejohn, 18, of Olympia, was arrested on Thursday, and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

According to charging documents in her case, she said she was asked by McRae Armstrong to drive him to Safeway.

She said he told her he was going to sell fake MDMA, which was really salt, to someone for $1,000.

The informant told police the male with the gun wasn’t the target of the so-called controlled buy.

According to Littlejohn and the informant, during the drug deal, after Littlejohn counted the money, Armstrong showed a bag of drugs, then reached under the passenger seat, grabbed a small caliber handgun and pointed it at the informant. The informant got out, and the two drove away.

The Centralia Police Department had provided the money.

Centralia Officer Adam Haggerty reported when he first saw the Pontiac, a female was in the driver’s seat, but when officers attempted to catch the car, a male was driving. The Pontiac has been located in Olympia, according to police.

Littlejohn was brought before a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court where she was charged with one count of first-degree robbery and one count of possession with intent to deliver an imitation controlled substance.

The 18-year-old has no criminal history, was cooperative and her father was in the courtroom for the hearing, lawyers told the judge.

“It’s very clear Ms. Littlejohn was not the principle actor in this event,” defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge.

First-degree robbery has a maximum penalty of life in prison. The other offense has a top lockup time of five years.

Judge James Lawler ordered her held on $25,000 bail.

Centralia police did not return phone calls seeking comment about Wednesday’ incident.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead informed the judge someone from the Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office would be handling the case, because of a potential appearance of a conflict.

The co-defendant’s father is Jim Armstrong, a private investigator who works for defense attorneys in Lewis County cases, Halstead said.

McRae Armstrong doesn’t appear to have been arrested, or at least not booked into the Lewis County Jail, as of this afternoon.

Littlejohn’s opportunity to make a plea in the case will come on Thursday, in Lewis County Superior Court.
•••

For background, read “Centralia: Suspect in armed robbery at large” from Thursday June 25, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, June 27th, 2015
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•••

Updated at 5:16 p.m.

ELDERLY CHEHALIS LOG TRUCK DRIVER DIES ON THE ROADWAY

• The truck driver who died yesterday on U.S. Highway 12 in Rochester was an 83-year-old Chehalis resident. Joseph P. Haunreiter was traveling eastbound when his 1979 Kenworth tractor and empty log trailer left the roadway, went through a guardrail and then hit a tree near Denmark Street, according to the Washington State Patrol. The cause of the wreck is under investigation, according to the state patrol. The approximately 4:30 p.m. crash shut down the highway for about five hours. Haunreiter died at the scene, his rig was destroyed.

INATTENTION ON I-5

• Four vehicles were towed and a Rochester woman transported to Providence Centralia Hospital after a 23-year-old driver from Ellensburg who wasn’t paying attention struck the back end of a car which was slowing for stopped traffic on Interstate 5 in south Centralia today, according to the Washington State Patrol. Shane A. Brady, 23, was issued a citation for going too fast, according to the state patrol. Teri L. Ramdsdell, 50, from Rochester, who was driving the Honda CRV he hit was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries, the investigating trooper reports. Troopers called about 1:20 p.m. to the northbound lanes near milepost 81 indicate the CRV was pushed into a Kia Sportage, which in turn was shoved into a 2002 Acura.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 3:40 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 2400 block of Cooks Hill Road. Money was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An officer was called to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue about 10 o’clock last night regarding a vehicle prowl. Someone broke a window to get inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, harassment, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for hit and run, misdemeanor theft … and more.

Saying goodbye to Officer Silva

Friday, June 26th, 2015
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Many came to Chehalis today to pay tribute to Officer Rick Silva.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It began with a procession of pipes and drums and ended with the mournful bugle call of taps.

And in between, the ceremony was attended to by an honor guard of innumerable law enforcement officers.

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Rick Silva
1954 – 2015

The main sections of bleachers on both sides of the W.F. West High School gym were mostly filled, as were row upon row of chairs holding family, friends, police officers and others mourners today for Chehalis Police Department Officer Rick Silva.

Silva, 61, of Chehalis, died last week after complications from surgery for an on-the-job injury. His line-of-duty death memorial service followed a 27-year career.

Among the speakers were his chief, the Lewis County sheriff and the Chehalis mayor, who told those gathered of a respected and well-liked officer who treated others with dignity.

“And one thing I’ll always remember is that ever-ready and completely genuine smile Rick had,” Chehalis Mayor Dennis Dawes said.

Dawes was deputy chief of police when he hired Silva in 2002, from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office where Silva started in 1988.

Attendees at the reception that followed were able to watch a video presentation, some with partially tear-filled eyes, even Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer.

“We’ll miss him,’ Schaffer said.
•••

For background, read “Chehalis police mourn loss of veteran officer” from Friday June 19, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 26th, 2015
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•••

LOG TRUCK WRECK KILLS DRIVER

• A driver was dead at the scene when a log truck ran off U.S. Highway 12 in Rochester and struck a tree late this afternoon. Firefighters called about 4:30 p.m. to the area near Denmark Road found the rig about 40 feet off the road, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Fire Chief Robert Scott said the empty log truck hit a full-sized tree. The Washington State Patrol is investigating. As of 6:45 p.m., the highway was still closed and a detour put into place, according to Scott. Responders were also waiting for a crew from the state Department of Ecology to clean up spilled diesel and motor oil, Scott said.

BIG RIG BLOCKS I-5 AT CHEHALIS

• It wasn’t long after traffic started moving again on northbound Interstate 5 into Chehalis yesterday afternoon when a semi truck broke down in the middle of the freeway, and lost about 12 gallons of oil. It happened just before 6 p.m. at the 13th Street and Rice Road interchange and responding firefighters spent some time soaking up oil off the roadway, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

IMPAIRED DRIVER, CHILD OK AFTER CRASH

• A 23-year-old woman was arrested for driving under the influence after her vehicle left the roadway and wrecked into a tree at the 100 block of Hadaller Road in Mossyrock last night. A deputy responding just after 7 p.m. noted her 5-year-old son was traveling with her, although he was in a booster seat in the back, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. No injuries were reported, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Sabrina R. Sutton, from Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for DUI and for reckless endangerment, Brown said.

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning someone broke into a storage building belonging to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at the 700 block of Davis Lake Road in East Lewis County. Nothing appeared to be missing but the cost was about $400 to repair the damaged door, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called to the 100 block of North Pearl Street about 2 p.m. yesterday regarding the theft of money through a financial scam.

• An officers was called about 4 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of G Street to take a report of fraudulent charges on someone’s credit card.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for shoplifting, dispute, protection order violation … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
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Flames spreading through freshly cut hay are extinguished in Winlock. / Courtesy photo by Patrick Jacobson

FIRE WEATHER IS UPON US

• Firefighters from three departments responded yesterday afternoon when fire broke out during a haying operation on the 500 block of Jones Road west of Winlock. They found a portion of the field of freshly cut hay burning – an area of approximately 300 feet by 300 feet – and a crew trying to keep the rest of it from being consumed, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. “I believe it happened from probably the exhaust from a tractor,” Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson said. A small breeze tried to push it into a timber patch that had been logged probably two or so years ago, he said. Anderson said it was extinguished after about an hour and a half.

• Exceptionally dry weather and extreme fire danger means public access to more private timberlands is shut down temporarily. The Columbia Tree Farm, located near Morton, Riffe Lake, Swift Reservoir and north and south of Raymond is among those closed likely through the summer, Olympic Resource Management, a Pope Resources company, announced yesterday.

BARN BURGLED

• A 33-year-old Centralia area man called the sheriff’s office about 7:30 p.m. yesterday after discovering his barn door broken and his welder and bike missing. The resident of the 100 block of Goodrich Road said he’d been in there the night before and they were there, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The bike is described as a Fetish Cycles road bicycle with a white frame and a Nascar sticker. The loss is listed at $1,400, according to the sheriff’s office.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police yesterday morning responded a burglary at the 1200 block of Alder Street and ended up arrested Jacob D. Holmgren. The 25-year-old Centralia resident was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD IN CENTRALIA

• Police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday regarding fraudulent charges on a bank account, associated with a location at the 2000 block of Borst Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called about 11 o’clock yesterday morning regarding a vehicle prowl at Northeast Hampe Way.

DOG FIGHT

• A Mineral man was bit on the thumb when he tried to break up a dog fight that occurred as he and his leashed service dog came out of the Headquarters Tavern in Mineral last night, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding about 8:15 p.m. to the 100 block of Front Street learned from the 44-year-old a loose pit bull mix attacked his 3-year-old Malamute, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner of the suspect dog, a 36-year-old Mineral resident, was issued an infraction for prohibited activities by animals because the incident occurred off his dog’s property, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The malamute sustained three puncture wounds on its front leg, Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, disorderly person, threats on Facebook, missing TV remote, toddler sounding child calling 911, a vehicle without a placard parked in a handicap space; questions about possibly having purchased stolen goods, wondering if its okay to grow marijuana in a backyard … and more.

One dead and one critically injured after attempt to push car off freeway south of Chehalis

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
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Interstate 5 is closed for hours and traffic diverted as responders deal with multiple injuries and a death on the roadway in Napavine today. / Courtesy photo by Alicia Meehan

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

One person was killed, one seriously injured and four others hospitalized after a Ford Explorer struck a disabled car being pushed across Interstate 5 at Napavine today.

Troopers, firefighters and medics called at 12:40 p.m. to the northbound lanes found the disabled blue Mustang had come to rest in the ditch facing the wrong way, and the entire roadway blocked. The freeway was not reopened for three and half hours.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the 1988 Mustang driven by a 23-year-old man from Redmond experienced mechanical issues and stopped on the left shoulder, but was partially blocking the fast lane.

A yellow Ford Mustang pulled over in front of the car to help. The good samaritan – traveling with his family – and the 23-year-old were attempting to push the car to the right shoulder when the northbound Explorer struck the good samaritan and the back of the car, according to the state patrol.

Members of Lewis County Fire District 5, District 6 and AMR responded to treat and transport patients, District 5 Firefighter Brad Bozarth said.

Deceased at the scene was Miguel A. Melendez, 39, from Everson, according to the state patrol.

Bozarth said the victim’s wife, while not directly involved in the collision, needed to be evaluated and was among those taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

One critical patient, the driver of the disabled Mustang, was transported there as well, Bozarth said. He is Ezekiel T. Smith, 23, of Redmond, the investigating trooper reports.

The state patrol states the driver of the Explorer, 68-year-old Dale R. Demarais, of Marysville, was unhurt. However, three of his passengers, one of whom is an infant, were taken to Providence with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Bozarth.

No charges are expected, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Both vehicles were declared totaled. It happened just south of the milepost 72 interchange.

Update on Friday June 26, 2015 at 9 a.m.: Smith was treated and has been released from the hospital.

Centralia: Suspect in armed robbery at large

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A male was robbed at gunpoint inside a vehicle by a person with him yesterday evening, leading to a short police pursuit that began in the area of Harrison Avenue and Johnson Road in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Officers responding at 6:53 p.m. to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, just west of Interstate 5, report the suspect took money from the victim.

The suspect is described only as a person known to the victim.

Police located the vehicle, which refused to yield, according to a brief summary of the incident from the department.

The pursuit was terminated by police for public safety
concerns, according to police.

Centralia officers have positively identified the suspect, and recovered the vehicle in Olympia, according to the summary.

Further details were not readily available. The investigation continues, according to police.

Victim, impostor from Centralia driver’s test escapade meet in court

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He lost part of one leg and underwent skin grafts, but Edward Jerns survived the September explosion of his camper in Napavine.

He lost his mother on Christmas Day, was unable to return to his job at Chehalis Sheet Metal, but the 60-year-old was determined he would do what he could to regain the life he had.

After treatment at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for months, and more time convalescing in Seattle and then a Centralia nursing home, Jerns told his doctor he planned to drive again.

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Daniel L. Norby

He said the doctor refused to release him unless he took a driver’s test to renew his license.

Because of the prosthetic leg, he could only operate a vehicle with an automatic transmission. When he went to the Department of Licensing office on Kresky Avenue in Centralia on April 23, he was told to wait outside and an examiner would be right out to take him on the driving test.

Jerns had the misfortune to be the victim of a 47-year-old Chehalis man behind him in line who, for whatever reason, followed him outside, got into the passenger seat and impersonated a driving examiner.

Daniel L. Norby managed to direct Jerns to the Lucky Eagle Casino, talk him into trading him coats and steal some 1,000 to $1,200 cash from the pocket before Jerns realized something was very wrong.

“I just want you to know how it feels to rob a poor old crippled man,” Jerns said today as he faced Norby in a courtroom.

The 60-year-old had wheeled his new walker right up to the judge, and then turned sideways to speak to the defendant.

Jerns had just cashed his social security check that day, and the cash was every cent he had, he said.

“I had to go to ask friends, for help,” he said. “I hope you have a long time to think about this; don’t do it ever again.”

Norby pleaded guilty earlier this month to criminal impersonation and second-degree theft, as well as second-degree burglary from another incident that was combined for a plea agreement.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler could have sentenced him to as much as 68 months in prison, but the deputy prosecutor and defense attorney asked for 29 months. And they asked it be served as what’s called a prison-based drug alternative sentencing option.

Defense attorney David Arcuri went to great lengths to persuade the judge to go along.

His client first started abusing drugs at age 9, with his father, Arcuri said.

“It’s truly not an excuse, but if you look at Mr. Norby’s history, it’s all theft and drugs,” Arcuri said. He called his client’s actions an incredibly stupid way to commit a crime.

Norby would get roughly 29 months, but would be eligible for release after about 20 months, and then would be closely supervised afterward, with treatment and a chance to get clean, according to Arcuri.

“Residential prison DOSA’s, they monitor people,” Arcuri told the judge. “I think it’s the best thing DOC does.”

Norby took up the judge on his offer to speak on his own behalf, and apologized to Jerns.

“I’ve got grandkids now, this is my last chance,” he told the judge.

Judge Lawler reluctantly agreed, but warned Norby if he came back before him with another crime, the result would be as much time as he could possibly give him.

Lawler made a finding that chemical dependency contributed to the crimes, and he ordered Norby to pay $2,400 in fines and fees, at a rate of $25 per month. He would have to repay the victim for the money he took too.

Jerns was smiling when the hearing was over, as he described how he wasn’t scared by the ordeal, and how it fit in with the rest of the challenges he’s faced the past several months.

“I’m Catholic, you know,” he said. “God only puts on your shoulders what you can handle. He’s pushing a load.”

Jerns’ new driver’s license was issued on May 1, and he’s back at his home on West Branch Street in Napavine.

•••

For background, read, “Police: Impostor arrested after driving test includes stop at Lucky Eagle” from Wednesday April 29, 2015, here

Heat wave: Emergency responders want us to avoid getting over-heated

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Drink up. Water, that is.

That’s the message from local fire departments who want members of the public to stay well as temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s.

“During hot weather it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water,” members of Lewis County FIre District 6 offer as their number one hot weather health tip.

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•••

Adults should plan to drink 10 to 15 eight ounce glasses of water to remain well hydrated, not including soda pop, according to the Lewis County Public Fire Educators Group.

Getting, and retaining, plenty of fluid can be your first and best defense against the affects of prolonged heat exposure, the group says.

The National Weather Service this afternoon warns that hot weather is expected Friday and into early next week in Western Washington. Saturday is likely to be the hottest day, they say. Even overnight temperatures are expected to remain warm.

The weather service issued an excessive heat watch today for counties south of us and in the eastern portion of  Pacific County, potentially hitting 100 degrees.

Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack and Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue’s Lt. Laura Hanson remind residents that staying cool – by avoiding heavy exertion and by remaining inside an air conditioned area – will help the body retain its needed fluid.

And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, they recommend.

These are steps people can take to allow their body’s natural cooling mechanism, sweat, to work, they say.

The Lewis County Public Fire Educators Group is newly formed by the Lewis County Fire Chief’s Association and working to educate as many Lewis County citizens as possible on common themes of fire and life safety prevention, according to Mack.

They suggest folks check on at-risk family members and friends frequently during the heat wave.

Firefighters of District 6 today additionally remind the public that temperatures inside parked cars can rise very quickly to deadly levels, so people should avoid leaving children and pets unattended in vehicles.

They all recommend wearing sunscreen outside.

It’s a health issue.

The Public Fire Educators want individuals to be able to enjoy the summer weather without the harmful effects of heat-related illnesses.

Here’s what they say to watch for:

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• Heavy sweating
• Weakness
• Cold, pale, clammy skin
• Rapid, weak pulse
• Nausea, vomiting
• Fainting

Heat exhaustion may require medical attention, but, if recognized early, can be reversed with hydration and cooling.

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
• High body temperature above 103 degrees
• Hot, red, dry or moist skin
• Rapid strong pulse
• Possible unconsciousness

Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that will most often require hospitalization.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
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•••

Updated at 6:51 p.m.

FRACTURED FACE

• A 33-year-old Morton area man turned himself in yesterday as deputies were investigating an assault in which he allegedly beat a woman, punching her repeatedly in the face. Deputies were called around 3 p.m. about the incident that had just occurred at the residence on the 900 block of state Route 7, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 52-year-old woman had already been taken to Morton General Hospital with suspected broken bones in her face, according to the sheriff’s office. When interviewed, she said she and the suspect were arguing and he got on top of her and struck her with his hands, but also with an unknown object, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown. The sheriff’s office subsequently got a call from the father of Brian D. Veach who said his son wanted to turn himself in and Veach was arrested for second-degree assault, domestic violence, Brown said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

OTHER ASSAULT

• Centralia officers responded to call from a doctor at about 3 o’clock this morning who advised that he had a juvenile assault victim that was being treated in the emergency room for minor injuries. The case is connected to the 900 block of E Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. An investigation is underway, according to police.

• Shannon L. Wachter, 19, of Centralia, was arrested for third-degree assault yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Further details were not readily available.

GARAGE BURGLED OF DRILLS

• Chehalis police were called at 11:40 a.m. yesterday to the 1400 block of Southwest Mills Avenue where someone had broken into a detached garage and made off with tools. Missing are three Milwaukee hand drills, two of which use a “slip chuck drive valve system” and the other which is a three-eighths inch chuck, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Also taken were two rechargeable batteries for the drills, according to police.

BARN BURGLED OF GUNS

• Someone got into a safe inside a barn on the 200 block of Evans Road outside Toledo and stole eight antique firearms, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The theft just reported occurred sometime since November of 2013, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Taken from the 82-year-old owner were a revolver, shotgun and rifles, Brown said. The loss is more than $5,000, Brown said.

CHEATED ONLINE

• A 44-year-old Chehalis woman appears to be out almost $2,000 after responding to an online offer of part-time employment from home. “(It appears to be) a typical, ‘we give you a cashiers check, you cash it and get money orders’,” Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. “She did that and sent them off.” Then the victim learned from her bank she was overdrawn because the first check was no good, Bailey said. It wasn’t clear exactly the reason given for the complex transactions, Bailey said.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called at 2 p.m. yesterday about a window getting broken on a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue.

BUSHES IGNITE NEAR LAKE

• Firefighters called about 12:10 a.m. today to a report of a fire on the north end of Plummers Lake in Centralia found mixed grass and brush burning over an area of approximately 30 feet by 20 feet. it was extinguished without difficulty, according to Riverside Fire Authority. It appeared the fire may been started in or around a camping area, or where garbage had been dumped, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

RAILROAD TRACKS ON FIRE

• Rural Chehalis firefighters called regarding smoke seen by someone working at Stan Hedwall Park at 12:30 p.m. yesterday were dispatched to the 800 block of Shorey Road for what turned out to be two railroad ties burning. A lot of times a fire on railroad tracks like that can be from a spark off a train, Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter Matt McCoy said. They used a water can to extinguish it, and asked for BNSF to be notified, McCoy said.

WRECKS

• An 86-year-old driver was hurt when his truck ran off the road and into a power pole yesterday at the 800 block of Middle Fork Road in Onalaska. Deputies responding about 12:10 p.m. noted major front end damage to his 2005 Dodge pickup, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The patient had cuts to his hands and other unknown injuries, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment, according to Brown.

• The Washington State Patrol blames inattention on the part of a 19-year-old driver for a two-vehicle wreck yesterday on state Route 508 that sent an older couple to the hospital. It happened about 12:30 p.m. just east of Interstate 5, according to the state patrol. Zachery R. Braun, of Chehalis, was southbound at Roberts Road in a Dodge pickup and stopped for the stop sign but then entered the highway without checking traffic and struck a Toyota Prius which was eastbound, the investigating trooper reports. Responding firefighters evaluated all three persons and found one needed to be transported with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, formerly known as Lewis County Fire District 5. Linda R. Ferson, 71, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and her husband Galen D. Ferson, 75, went along with her, according to the state patrol. A citation for failure to yield the right-of-way was to be issued to Braun.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, harassment, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street; complaint of neighbor with too-tall grass … and more.

Chehalis high school to host memorial for fallen officer

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A line-of-duty death memorial service for Chehalis Police Department Officer Rick Silva will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, and is open to the public.

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Officer Rick Silva

Silva, with more than a quarter century of law enforcement service behind him, died Thursday of complications following surgery to repair an on-the-job hip injury.

“Rick’s family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the community for the outpouring of love and support they have felt over the past week.” Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown stated in the announcement today.

Brown stepped in to assist with public information officer responsibilities for the Chehalis Police Department.

Silva, 61, worked at the sheriff’s office before moving to the Chehalis Police Department in 2002.

On Friday, a police procession will depart from the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds on North National Avenue at approximately 9 a.m. and travel to W.F.West High School where the service is to be held.

A public reception will follow immediately afterward in the commons area of the high school.  W.F. West is located at 342 SW 16th Street, Chehalis.
•••

For background, read “Chehalis police mourn loss of veteran officer” from Friday June 19, 2015, here

News brief: More limitations put into place to prevent wildfires

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Worries about fire danger have prompted a timber company to close their properties to the public as well as caused an expansion of last week’s burn ban on state-protected lands in Eastern Washington to now cover the west side of the mountains.

Both announcements were issued today.

The majority of Port Blakely Tree Farms property in Lewis County is in the Morton area.

Their closure applies to foot, horse, motorized and any other form of access, according to a company spokesperson.

“With the recent weather so warm and dry, and even higher temperatures expected in the coming days, we are doing what we can to keep our forestlands safe,” Teresa Loo stated. “As soon as the fire danger subsides, we will re-open our lands for public access.”

The state Department of Natural Resources reports westside forests are drying out so outdoor burning is now prohibited in state forests, state parks and other property protected by DNR, with the exception of recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected property, according to DNR.

Last week, outdoor burning restrictions were put into place in unincorporated Lewis County.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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•••

Updated

PERSON FOUND IN PASTURE BOOKED FOR STOLEN TRUCK

• A 36-year-old Olympia man was arrested this morning after he allegedly wrecked a truck into a utility pole along Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. The vehicle was stolen out of Thurston County, police said.  Officers responding about 6 a.m. were pointed in the direction the suspected driver had headed on foot, according to the Centralia Police Department. A police dog conducted a track and found 36-year-old Richie L. Sreap hiding in a cow pasture near Swanson Drive, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of stolen property, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

• A 49-year-old Chehalis area man was arrested after allegedly loading a shotgun with two shells in the bedroom with his wife while they were arguing, and then turning and pointing the weapon at her. Deputies called to the home on Literal Road east of Chehalis at 12:03 a.m. yesterday booked Robert G. Ernst into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FAKE BILL

• Police were contacted by a convenience store at the 600 block of South Tower Avenue overnight about a counterfeit $5 bill received.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called just before 11 p.m. yesterday after an individual on the 800 block of Northwest West Street watched a vehicle pull up by their vehicle and break out the window. No suspect was found, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon that an unknown person broke a window with a rock at the 200 block of North Washington Street.

• Someone put graffiti on a garage on the 700 block of H Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Saturday.

• AND, FROM MORTON

• A juvenile reported the theft of his bicycle from the 200 block of Main Avenue in Morton, the evening of June 12. A responding officer discovered his parents had taken the bike because he was not being responsible for its care, according to the Morton Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault, malicious mischief, drinking in public, protection order violation, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, hit and run, misdemeanor theft, injured deer on roadway, collision on city street, collision on county road, child left alone in a parked car, dog left alone in parked vehicle; complaints of tall grass at neighboring vacant house, someone lighting off fireworks … and more.

Child killed when ATV wrecks on Salkum area trail

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporte
r

An 11-year-old girl is dead after an ATV driven by her step-sister flipped on a trail at a private campground near Salkum.

She was a passenger on the quad, and after it wrecked, the sister ran back to camp as much as a mile away to get help, according to responders.

It happened around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Cowlitz Timber Trails on the 1900 block of Spencer Road along the Cowlitz River, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the 11-year-old driver said they had come to a sharp corner, and though they weren’t going very fast, she knew the ATV was going to flip and told her sister to jump. She didn’t jump and the ATV ended up on its side with the passenger’s head pinned beneath one tire, fender and rail, Brown said.

The 11-year-old driver ran back to the campground to get help and when a resident of the campground arrived to the victim, the child wasn’t breathing, according to Brown.

Both had been wearing helmets, Brown said.

Multiple members of Lewis County Fire District 8 responded to the 5:08 p.m. call to the scene, found adults performing CPR on the girl and took over, transporting her to Morton General Hospital.

Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said they called for airlift, while other responders retrieved the 11-year-old driver from the camp for her suspected injuries.

Both girls ended up at the Morton Hospital. Airlift wasn’t needed. Brown said the driver’s injuries were very minor.

The girls are from Graham, according to Brown.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, June 20th, 2015
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•••

WRECKS

• A 55-year-old man riding a motorcycle was injured this morning east of Packwood when he traveled off the roadway and hit several rocks in a ditch. Gregory P. Kessel, of Olympia, was headed east when he wrecked near milepost 139 of U.S. Highway 12, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers responding at 8:30 a.m. found his 2012 Yamaha XVS was totaled, according to the state patrol. Kessel was transported to Morton General Hospital, the investigating trooper reports.

• The Washington State Patrol reported yesterday a Centralia man has died following a June 11 two-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 near the Nisqually Bridge. Louis G. Moore, 81, was transported to Tacoma General Hospital after the early morning wreck in which his car rear-ended a GMC Terrain, according to the state patrol.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to the 800 block of Sunrise Lane about an identity theft. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SHOPLIFTING

• Centralia police were called at 2:07 p.m. yesterday after a female pushed a cart full of groceries through the self checkout line and out the door at Safeway without paying. She was seen loading them into a turquoise colored Saturn – driven by a male with a beard – which fled the area of the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called yesterday afternoon by an individual who said their vehicle was prowled on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia a week earlier.

AND MORE

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

Chehalis police mourn loss of veteran officer

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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Chehalis Police Officer Rick Silva

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis Police Officer Rick Silva died last night, after complications from surgery for an on-the-job injury.

“Officer Silva’s passing leaves us all without his infectious smile, his playful sense of humor, his passion for justice, and his generosity, as he was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need,” the department announced today. “Our lives have been enriched just through the joy of knowing him.”

The veteran officer died at Providence Centralia Hospital one day shy of his 13th anniversary with the department, according to department public information Officer Linda Bailey.

Silva sustained a hip injury on duty and this past February the injury was exacerbated when he made contact with a retail theft suspect who resisted arrest, according to Bailey.

Bailey stated Silva was beloved not just by his family, fellow officers and co-workers, but also by the many, many people in the community whose lives he touched.

His law enforcement career began in 1988 at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and in 2002, he went to work for Chehalis.

At the Chehalis Police Department, he served in multiple capacities over the years, including field training officer, emergency vehicle operations course instructor and detective.

His body was escorted at 3 o’clock this morning from the hospital to a local funeral home by a motorcade that included officers from Chehalis and other local law enforcement agencies as well as fire department and aid crew personnel, according to Bailey.

Details regarding a traditional, public line of-duty death funeral service to honor Officer Silva will be released next week as soon as they are available.

The Chehalis Police Department thanks those who have reached out.

“We are so grateful for the support already shown to us by nearby first responders and the Chehalis community at large,” Bailey wrote. “We will miss our brother in blue. 117.”

The department notes that United Way has set aside a Fallen Hero’s Memorial Fund at Security State Bank for those wishing to make contributions in honor of Officer Silva.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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•••

Updated at 4:15 p.m.

BOOM

• The state fire marshal advises that sales of consumer fireworks from state-licensed stands begins June 28 at noon and ends on July 5 at 9 pm.  Also reminding the public that  purchasing fireworks over the internet is illegal. As usual, the office suggests that attending a public display is a safe and fun way to enjoy fireworks. To learn about a community fireworks display in your area, visit their website.

EUUUUW

• A Chehalis officer was called over to Green Hill School yesterday afternoon after a 16-year-old student-inmate allegedly threw a milk carton of urine at two staff members. The case will be referred to prosecutors for two charges of custodial assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting suspicious circumstances … and more.