Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Updated at 7:08 p.m.


• Centralia police were called about 11:25 a.m. yesterday regarding two televisions stolen from the 600 block of Nick Road. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning a Vader resident was cited for allegedly restoring his water service himself by cutting a lock after he had been blocked from the service. A deputy responding on Monday to the 500 block of B Street learned that Jason Rayfield benefitted by getting possibly as much as 500 gallons of water, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said Rayfield admitted he did it but said he didn’t know it was a crime. He was issued the citation and then released, according to Brown. The loss is estimated at $178, Brown said.


• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday morning regarding a possible telephone scam involving the IRS. Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said the department has been getting a lot of those kinds of reports lately.


• Chehalis police were called about 1:10 a.m. today about a power pole making river otter noises for the previous two hours. Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said he had no information on what the officer may have found. The Chehalis Fire Department said it apparently was one of three old emergency speakers around town and public works went out and turned it off, as perhaps its battery was dying.


• Benjamin E. Hearn made an Alford plea – not admitting guilt – yesterday to third-degree rape of a child, in connection with allegations of a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. The 35-year-old Curtis resident was arrested in January for events that allegedly began in 2012 involving a 14-year-old friend of his daughter. He was taken into custody yesterday on a no-bail hold until his sentencing, which is scheduled for the morning of Sept. 17 in Lewis County Superior Court, according to court documents. His lawyer David Arcuri has said Hearn faces a year and a day in prison. The standard range for the offense for a defendant with no criminal history is 12 to 14 months.


• Troopers were called last night after a Chehalis police car traveling on the 2300 block of Jackson Highway collided with a deer at about 10:20 p.m. Nobody was injured except for the deer and the damage to the vehicle was fairly minor, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 45-year-old Onalaska man sustained a possible concussion when he totaled his car on the 800 block of Middle Fork Road at about 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning. Darren S. Carmen was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence and with a suspended license, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 25-year-old Pe Ell woman and a 1-year-old child both suffered possible head injuries when she lost control of her Ford Bronco and rolled it last night on Lost Valley Road in Curtis near milepost four, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called about 10:45 p.m. was told by the driver she was going too fast down a hill, according to the sheriff’s office. The baby boy had been strapped into a car seat, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. They were both transported to the hospital, she said. The driver was cited for speeds to fast and no insurance, according to Brown.

• Three adults and a 3-month-old infant were hospitalized last night after a three-vehicle wreck on Interstate 5 in Centralia that began with a deer on the roadway. Firefighters called about 10:50 p.m. to the northbound lanes north of the Wal-Mart exit found all lanes were blocked and all victims had gotten out of their cars on their own. Troopers report a couple from Edmonds swerved to avoid the deer, lost control and rolled their four-door Saturn before hitting the center barrier. A 29-year-old woman driving a Ford Focus stopped so she wouldn’t hit them, and a 21-year-old Onalaska resident in another Focus ran into the first Focus, according to the Washington State Patrol. They were all (except for the 29-year-old) transported to Providence Centralia Hospital in stable condition, according to Riverside Fire Authority. According to a hospital spokesperson, treated and released were Dennis M. Campion, 57, Donna J. Jensen, 59, both of Edmonds; and Phaedra S. Witzel, 21, Onalaska. The state patrol described  the baby boy as uninjured.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, disputes, misdemeanor theft, hit and run, collisions on city streets, suspicious circumstances; complaint of dog on a walk leaving poop in yard … and more.

Former Centralia auto business owners avoid jail cells

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Keith A. Birdwell watches as the judge decides how much time to give his wife after his own sentencing this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He clearly didn’t like it, but a judge agreed today to give Keith A. Birdwell one year of house arrest so he could work and pay back $1 million to a local bank.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler was told by attorneys on the case that Security State Bank was on board with their deal that in exchange for a $100,000 downpayment on his restitution, the former used car dealer could avoid a lengthy prison term for his conviction on first-degree theft and three counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg suggested the alternative of Birdwell sitting in prison and being ordered to pay back what he owes at $25 a month meant the bank would not likely get back much of its money.

Lawler called it a dilemma and said he didn’t want to victimize the Centralia-based financial institution again.

“The bank is making a business decision, they’re the ones that are the victims in this,” Lawler said. “It’s because of their participation, I’m going to follow the agreed recommendation, but I’m not happy about it.”

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

He pleaded guilty this past spring. The deals were tied together. Lorinne D. Birdwell made a so-called Alford plea – not admitting guilt – last month, to attempted second-degree theft, a gross misdemeanor.

Tacoma-based defense attorney Keith McFie had told the judge he just today got a check for half of the $100,000 and didn’t say from who, but said the lender conditioned the money on Keith Birdwell being able to work.

The benches behind the defense table were crowded with apparent supporters of the Toledo couple.

Keith Birdwell stood when he addressed the court and apologized.

He said he’d never experienced the economy change so quickly and the that the value of the vehicles he offered for sale dropped rapidly. Rather than humble himself and admit troubles, he took advantage of his bank’s trust, he said.

“I used money to pay off vehicles already sold, I wrote checks before I had money in the bank,” he said. “I take full responsibility.”

Keith Birdwell noted he also lost $400,000 of his own money he’d put into the business over the years.

His lawyer told the judge he thought his client believed in himself too much, and now knows he ought to have shut down operations sooner.

“He ended up with inventory he couldn’t sell at the value of the flooring loans,” McFie said. “That’s when the desperation set in.”

Court documents described the flooring loans from the bank as like a line of credit, allowing the Birdwells to stock their dealership while maintaining capital to acquire new vehicles; they promised in their contract to notify the bank and pay off each loan within 10 days of selling the vehicle.

The troubles came to a head in July 2012 when a bank employee discovered 21 vehicles were unaccounted for, according to court documents.

Keith Birdwell is currently working three jobs and the details of how he will pay off the rest of the $1,005,779.65, McFie said he didn’t know; except he had anticipated the court might put his client under some sort of supervision.

His specific sentence is 364 days on electronic home monitoring, which must begin by Aug. 26.

Because Keith Birdwell also pleaded to the aggravating factors that the actions were major economic offenses with a high degree of sophistication, Judge Lawler was free to impose a penalty of up to 10 years in prison if he chose.

Lawler warned Birdwell if he missed his deadline, he would sit in jail the entire 364 days.

Before the hour-long hearing was over, Lorinne Birdwell took her turn at the defense table.

Eisenberg told the judge he recommended the same 364 days, as it was his and the bank’s position she was equally culpable, although as far as restitution, she would be jointly liable for only about $840,000 of the total.

“My understanding of the evidence was Mrs. Birdwell was the person in charge to contact the bank and let them know when a vehicle was sold,” he said. “There are indications of occasions when she didn’t do that.”

Seattle defense attorney Allen M. Ressler argued that would be a mistake, as the state allowed her to plead to a far lesser charge and the notion she was an equal participant was without any support in the evidence. He asked for 30 days of house arrest.

Lawler said he agreed with some of his logic, and imposed 90 days on electronic home monitoring. But the rest of her 364 sentence was suspended, essentially hanging over her head for two years, he said.

“You heard everything I said to your husband,” Lawler told her. “The same things apply to you.”

The judge set a review date of Nov. 7, to make sure the attempt to pay restitution have not been blown off, and addressed Lorinne Birdwell once again.

“You’re the one who could be sitting back in jail,” he said.

For background, read “Centralia used car business theft defendants get a break” from Thursday July 3, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


• Two people were arrested in an investigation that wrapped up yesterday involving a stolen excavator recovered on property at the 1400 block of South Schueber Road in Centralia. Deputies learned from the 44-year-old victim in Rochester he got a tip on social media where his missing machine might be and deputies found it on Saturday on property belonging to 52-year-old Terry M. Petrich, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Petrich told deputies that 50-year-old Michal R. Larisch from Rochester brought it there to do some work in exchange for a couple of vehicles, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies concluded Larisch used it for a job on the 3700 block of Cooks Hill Road and his own property, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Larisch happened to be driving by when deputies were at Petrich’s place and a bucket for the excavator was found in the back of his vehicle, according to Brown. Both men were booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree possession of stolen property and trafficking in stolen property, Brown said. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a truck and trailer which were stolen in Rochester and believed to be used to haul the excavator, which was stolen from a nursery.  The trailer was recovered yesterday and deputies suspect the truck was dismantled and its engine and transmission sold to someone in Oakville, according to Brown. Prosecutors were to release Petrich today without charges, pending further investigation.


• A deputy was called yesterday to a burglary at the 8800 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma in which a resident arrived home to find a bedroom curtain hanging out the window and a screen removed. Unspecified items from the carport and shed were found sitting in the yard but nothing was missing,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Chehalis police were called about 7 a.m. today about a possible vehicle prowl on South Market Boulevard.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, violation of no-contact order; responses for alarm, disputes, misdemeanor theft, collisions on city streets, suspicious circumstances … and more.

Thurston detectives investigate stabbing

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 25-year-old man who said he was stabbed by two strangers in Rochester when he and a friend ran out of gas is undergoing surgery this morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Thurston County deputies learned of the attack about 11:45 p.m. yesterday when they were called to an Olympia hospital for a reported stabbing.

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ray Brady said the man suffered had multiple stab wounds and was subsequently flown to Harborview with life-threatening injuries but is expected to survive.

The victim told deputies he was with a friend in the area of U.S. Highway 12 and Southwest 183rd Avenue when their Toyota Forerunner ran out of fuel. He said they were approached by two Hispanic males who started a fight with his friend, and when he intervened, they assaulted him, according to Brady.

He said his friend ran away and he phoned a family friend to come pick him up.

Brady said the family friend had to persuade him to go to the hospital, and he was taken to Capitol Medical Center.

His name was not released but Brady said he may be transient and at one time in the past held a Centralia address.

Deputies have scoured the area where he said the stabbing occurred but have not been able to locate a crime scene, or the light green Toyota Forerunner. They have not located the friend either, as the victim said he doesn’t know the friend’s last name, Brady said.

Detectives are continuing to investigate and are urging any witnesses to contact the sheriff’s office with information, at 360-786-5279

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014


• A motorcyclist and his female passenger were transported to Morton General Hospital yesterday evening after they crashed on Forest Service Road 25 in East Lewis County. They were traveling northbound near milepost 10 when they came upon a sweeping left curve and the 68-year-old Olympia man applied the brake; the 2002 Yamaha XVS stopped suddenly to its left side and slid to a stop, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He thought the front brake may have seized, according to the deputy’s report. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the full extent of their injuries were unknown, but the passenger ended up with abrasions and the driver had a possible collarbone injury.


• Police responded about 7:30 p.m. yesterday when a 33-year-old Chehalis man on a bicycle was struck by a van while crossing 13th Street at South Market Boulevard. The man had an injury to his foot or ankle, according to the Chehalis Police Department. No citation has been issued as of this morning, as there were conflicting stories about who had the right-of-way, according to police. The driver of the Ford Econline van is a 31-year-old Elma resident, Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said.


• A pistol was reported stolen yesterday afternoon from a travel trailer residence on the 3200 block of Galvin Road in Centralia.


• Centralia police were called about noon yesterday regarding a wallet stolen from the 100 block of South Silver Street and learned that someone had attempted to use the credit card.

• A wallet and an iPhone were among the property stolen from a vehicle on Southwest First Street near Market Boulevard in Chehalis yesterday.


• A 35-year-old Chehalis man was arrested yesterday in connection with a traffic stop back on April 8 in which a search of the vehicle turned up a white crystalline substance. Jacob E. Waldrop was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said he didn’t know specifically the reason for the delay.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, disputes, shoplifting, possibly suicidal person, possible theft of prescription meds, suspicious circumstances, dogs left alone in parked vehicles … and more.

Brush fire in Winlock sweeps toward homes

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

It took more than 50 firefighters to contain flames that spread through pastures into a tree farm. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 15

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Personnel from the state Department of Natural Resources are back on the scene today of a fire that scorched some 15 acres of farmland in Winlock yesterday.

Firefighters called at 5 p.m. to the 700 block of Nevil Road found an area of approximately 200 feet by 200 feet burning in a field that had been hayed, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

As many as 50 members of five fire departments plus DNR joined them as wind gusts from the west pushed the flames into a tree farm and adjacent fields, threatening homes and outbuildings, Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said.

He described the location as south of Nevil Road, roughly three-quarters of a mile west of North Military Road.

“With the wind conditions, it was an extended firefight,” Anderson said.

Heavy equipment was deployed by DNR to establish a line around the fire, Anderson said. It was stopped probably 20 feet from structures on its south side, he said.

Nobody was injured. District 15 resources were on the scene until 11:30 p.m. and DNR personnel monitored the area overnight and have returned today, according to Anderson.

DNR is looking into its cause, he said.

Anderson asks the public to take extra care to limit any sources of ignition.

The moisture content of vegetation remains very low and with the temperatures forecast over the next week and half, fire danger remains high, he said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Updated at 9:54 p.m.


• A 22-year-old Napavine man told deputies that sometime during the week that ended on Saturday someone stole numerous valuables from a home and property he is looking after at the 200 block of Anderson Road in Glenoma. Among the missing items are a Honda generator, an industrial fan, a pop-up tent, a stereo component and two terra-cotta frog planting pots, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $1,300, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police arrested two men for fighting in public about 9:30 p.m. yesterday at the 1300 block of Crescent Avenue, following a physical altercation in the roadway, according to the Centralia Police Department. Arrested were Jacob A. Pattison, 28, and Chad D. Howell, 27, both of Centralia, according to police.


• An officer on patrol about 2:15 a.m. on Saturday came across three people reportedly dumping trash into a dumpster behind the Twin City Town Center off Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis and found two of them were wanted on warrants, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Mandi J. Holper, 37, of Vancouver, had a felony warrant from Clark County and was subsequently arrested also for possession of methamphetamine. She and the other individual were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.


• Chehalis police were contacted about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday about a car prowl at the 600 block of Northwest St. Helens Avenue in Chehalis. Several items including a GPS device were taken from the unlocked vehicle which had been parked in the driveway of a residence sometime between July 19 and 23, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called Friday about 12:40 p.m. about a window broken out of an employee’s vehicle at the 600 block of Southwest 13th Street.

• A deputy responded to a report of one tire slashed on a vehicle at the 100 block of Crescent Beach Drive in Packwood. It happened sometime between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday and there is a person of interest, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is listed at $250.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports the incident on the the Cowlitz River near Toledo on Friday evening when two children got caught by trees happened when the current took their small blowup toy rafts around the wrong side of an island. A deputy who responded with firefighters noted the 11-year-old and 12-year-old were wearing life jackets and were rescued at the tree-line. The adult with them ended up on the island and was picked up by a boater, according to sheriff’s office. Nobody was injured, but they were wet and cold, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Firefighters were called twice yesterday to the Toledo airport when parachuters missed the landing zone, but neither resulted in life-threatening injuries. Responders arriving after an approximately 5:10 p.m. incident learned a man in his mid-20s hit the side of an airplane hanger and was in and out of consciousness, according to Lewis County Fire District 2. Chief Grant Wiltbank said the patient declined to be taken to a hospital. Then just before 9 p.m., they were summoned again when an individual missed the airport entirely and landed near a residence on the 100 block of Buckley Road, according to Wiltbank. He dislocated his shoulder, Wiltbank said. It was just two weeks earlier when a woman who jumped from a plane collided with a tree as she landed about a half mile west of the airport. She was airlifted with serious injuries.


• A pair of individuals from Longview escaped serious injury when a 1999 Ford Mustang failed to negotiate a curve northbound along the 500 block of Jackson Highway South, struck a culvert and rolled several times on Saturday afternoon. Deputies and aid called about 5:40 p.m. found the car landed right side up but was basically destroyed, according to responders. Both suffered minor cuts and scratches, but the 23-year-old female passenger complained of back pain and was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver, a 23-year-old man said he was distracted during conversation, according to the sheriff’s office. He was cited for not having liability insurance and for wheels off the roadway, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 56-year-old motorist was arrested for driving under the influence on Saturday night after he left the Blueberry Festival in Mossyrock and took a corner too fast at the 100 block of Salkum Road, sideswiping a telephone pole, striking and destroying a telephone box, missing a parked vehicle and then impacting the east wall of the Brown Shack Tavern. A deputy called about 8:30 p.m. booked into the Lewis County Jail Edward D. Gones, of Carson City, Nevada, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. No mention was made if his intended destination was the tavern.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, disputes, aggressive cat, possibly suicidal person, dogs left alone in parked vehicles, collision on city street, girl transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure after a bicycle accident … and more.

Physician says ‘shaken baby’ not to blame for Morton infant’s brain trauma

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A second doctor who reviewed the case of the alleged shaken baby from Morton in which a Mineral man remains jailed has found something else caused the 4-month-old’s injuries.


Kyle Davison

Kyle Davison, 22, was arrested in early October and charged with  first-degree assault of a child after a doctor at Marybridge Children’s Hospital concluded bleeding on the child’s brain was consistent with non-accidental shaken baby syndrome.

Davison and the baby’s mother told police he was watching her when she began choking and stopped breathing and he tried to revive the infant then carried her to a neighboring apartment to get help. The little one was airlifted to the children’s hospital and put on life support.

Defense attorney Sam Groberg had another physician examine the child’s medical records, 3,200 pages going all the way to its birth, and even before that. He recently got the report back.

He said the conclusions are helpful to his client’s case.

“Basically it’s the doctor’s opinion it’s not shaken baby, but the symptoms are indicative of previous problems, and what happened when the baby started choking,” Groberg said late last week.

Groberg said the child had a documented choking problem, from a birth defect in its throat area.

He indicated he’s somewhat optimistic, since his doctor is the only one who has looked at all the baby’s medical records.

Lawyers on the two sides have been waiting on the report so they can proceed. Davison remains held on $100,000 bail.

On Thursday, they went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court to set a new trial date. They chose the week of Sept. 8.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge he now will have to send the second doctor’s findings to his experts to look them over before they can go to trial.

For background, read “Lawyer seeks second opinion on brain trauma in Morton child assault case” from Monday April 14, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014


• A trio of travelers from Puyallup escaped with little to no injury when their pickup truck rolled and the trailer they were pulling detached on northbound Interstate 5 north of Centralia yesterday evening. Firefighters called about 6:30 p.m. to the area near the county line found the truck wheels down but with a crushed cab roof, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The man and woman in their 50s and a teenage boy had been wearing seat belts and were able to get themselves out on their own, according to Capt. Scott Weinert. “The driver stated that the travel trailer began swerving back and forth and he was unable to get it under control,” Weinert stated in a report to the news media. “The momentum became worse and caused the truck to swerve violently and rollover.” Two leaking propane bottles were secured on-scene by closing valves, according to Weinert. The incident blocked all but the far left lane for about 30 minutes, the state Department of Transportation reported.


• A 37-year-old Centralia man was arrested for disorderly conduct about 3:10 p.m. yesterday after he reportedly became combative with officers when contacted about painting and putting rocks in the road at the 1100 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Further details were not readily available.


• Police were called about 2 p.m. yesterday regarding $100 being stolen from a residence on the 400 block of North Ash Street.


• Centralia police took a report about 1 p.m. yesterday of someone growing marijuana on someone else’s property on the 1400 block of West Main Street.


• Centralia police are investigating a report from about 9 a.m. yesterday of a male in his 40s exposing himself to oncoming traffic at Cherry Street and Tower Avenue in Centralia.


• Someone slashed two tires at the 200 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 12:45 a.m. today.


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

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Updated at 11:48 a.m.


• Two women were injured when a 2014 Ford Escape crossed the centerline on state Route 508 about two miles west of Morton yesterday evening sending an oncoming Dodge Ram pickup sideways and rolling. The pickup carrying Heather D. Yost, 39, from Randle, came to rest blocking both lanes, according to the Washington State Patrol. Sara J. Webb, 33, of Morton, and her sport utility vehicle continued into a guardrail before landing in someone’s yard, the state patrol reports. Troopers called about 6:40 p.m. described both vehicle’s as totaled. The two drivers were transported to Morton General Hospital with unspecified injuries, according to the investigating trooper. The wreck is blamed on districted driving.

• A chain reaction rear end collision on state Route 6 yesterday about two miles west of Chehalis totaled three vehicles and sent three, including a 4-year-old girl, to Providence Centralia Hospital. Troopers responding about 6:25 p.m. report they concluded 21-year-old Kasey L. Strickland wasn’t paying attention when she hit a car ahead of her that was slowing for a car in front of it which was preparing to make a left turn. Strickland, a Chehalis resident, was reportedly uninjured. The middle car, a Toytota Prius driven by Kristin L. Strodemier, 30, from Centralia, was towed, according to the Washington State Patrol. She and her child were transported by aid to the hospital, the state patrol reports. Tiffany J. Toda, 18, from The Dalles, Ore., was taken by family members to the hospital, according to the investigating trooper. Her Honda Accord was also towed.


• Lewis County Fire District 2 was called just after 6 p.m. yesterday to a structure fire on the 5000 block of Jackson Highway, about three miles north of Toledo. Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank said he understood there was minimal damage to the outside of a building. Further details were not readily available.


• Firefighters called just before 6:30 p.m. to a report of three people stuck in the Cowlitz River near the 100 block of Mulford Road southwest of Toledo yesterday evening were told a man was stuck on an island and two females on a tree. Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank said he understood they had self-extricated or self-rescued before crews arrived. “We just talked about this last week,” Wiltbank said, referring to people spilling out of a raft near the bridge in Toledo. “Again, the Cowlitz may look slow, but it’s a very curvy river; and at every curve, those downed trees will snag rafts.”


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrest for misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license … and more

See you at the fairgrounds

Sheriff’s Office: Large scale gasoline stealing operation uncovered

Friday, August 1st, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 47-year-old man was arrested yesterday after deputies investigating a nighttime theft of about 1,600 gallons of fuel from a Silver Creek gas station searched his vehicle in Doty and discovered the bed of the canopied pickup truck held two large fuel tanks, a portable pump and a nozzle.

Detectives served a search warrant at the 100 block of Elk Creek Road in Doty and also found plug-in access key pads used to override gasoline pumps, according to court documents.

Jason A. Lewis was charged in Lewis County Superior Court today with first-degree theft, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg told the judge there were lots of firearms found at the residence and he would be seeking an arrest warrant for the property owner, Harold Lusk. He didn’t say specifically what for.

Charging documents describe the owner of the Texaco on the 2900 block of  U.S. Highway 12 contacting law enforcement on Monday after surveillance video showed three vehicles arrive and somehow pump about $6,000 worth of fuel without paying. Taken was regular unleaded gasoline, highway diesel and off-road diesel, according to charging documents.

Sherry Lyons called deputies again on Wednesday to report that new video showed the same people returned in the early morning hours, but were unable to activate the pump. The code had been changed after the first theft.

Detectives recognized the face of a passenger of one of the vehicles who then tried to move Texaco’s security camera so it no longer faced toward the pumps, charging documents state.

Detectives – using previous information they’d been told about Lusk and possible fuel thefts – compared his driver’s license photo with the video images and concluded he was one of the three, charging documents state.

More than a month earlier, detectives had been told by an unnamed person that Lusk and his associates had been stealing large quantities of gas from local stations, according to the documents. The same person said they were cooking methamphetamine at the property, but no mention was made in Lewis’s charging documents of meth-making materials located during the search.

However, found at the Elk Creek Road property were numerous containers of gasoline, including a 55-gallon drum of it stored in a barn where Lewis’s travel trailer was parked, according to the documents.

Two baggies of suspected methamphetamine were allegedly located in Lewis’s trailer.

Lewis reportedly admitted to detectives pumping gas at the Texaco, but said he used his credit card and said he’d purchased some fuel from the men in the video for $2 per gallon, according to the documents.

Eisenberg requested Lewis’s bail be set at $20,000, in part because it appears Lewis has an extensive criminal history in California, under a different name.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter said Lewis denies being the person with the different name.

He noted Lewis has been in the area about two years, and he was confident he would be looking for a different place to move his travel trailer.

Charging documents state deputies found a lot of gasoline of at the Doty property, but not 1,600 gallons, suggesting some had been sold or otherwise distributed.

Law enforcement had not yet located Lusk or the third man as of this afternoon.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Updated at 9:23 p.m.


• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree assault this morning after he allegedly pulled a knife on his wife while the couple was driving near Harrison Avenue and Interstate 5 in Centralia. He was accusing her of being unfaithful and when the weapon came out, the woman jumped from the slowly moving vehicle, then when he stopped, unbuckled the baby, grabbed the baby and took off running, according to the Centralia Police Department. Stephen Mitts was located in the area of Yew Street and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Sgt. Carl Buster.


• A 20-year-old Chehalis man is under investigation for kidnapping after he allegedly refused to let his ex-girlfriend out of his vehicle when they met at the skate park in Centralia to talk and then drove her on a short ride up Interstate 5 to Grand Mound and back to Centralia yesterday. It happened around noon and officers were called about 1:15 p.m. after the 17-year-old Chehalis girl had got out of the car near the 900 block of South Pearl Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Carl Buster said it was connected with jealousy over another male. The young man has been talked to by police and the investigation is ongoing, according to Buster.


• Two intoxicated males were detained last night after someone went joyriding through Oakville with a $15,000 construction man-lift.  It was shortly after 10 p.m. when a 911 call came in about someone with flashlights seen inside a building being renovated at the 200 block of East Pine Street and then firefighters returning from a call spotted the piece of equipment which had been driven to Main Street and three men with it, according to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office. A taller thin built male had been operating it and a heavy set man was seen pushing the man-lift by witnesses, Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate said. They fled, and it was abandoned in the middle of the street, with a dead battery, according to Shumate. A man-lift is a small scaffolding on wheels with an electric motor, and this one was worth enough, an individual identified as the thin man was arrested for first-degree theft. The 20-year-old Oakville resident was booked into the  Grays Harbor County Jail. The heavy set male – a 23-year-old Oakville resident – was interviewed and released pending further investigation. Investigators are also looking into the identity of the third suspect.


• A log truck changing lanes on southbound Interstate 5 near Vader this morning collided with a 1993 Lexus carrying three individuals, sending two of them to the hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol. A third occupant of the car from Mount Vernon, a male, fled the scene so it’s unknown if he was injured, according to the state patrol. The car was totaled. Troopers called about 8:40 a.m. to the area near milepost 60 found the Lexus had then run into the guardrail. The 1991 GMC log truck was not loaded, and was damaged, but able to be driven away, the investigating trooper reports. Donald Wiebold, 23, from Battle Ground, was unhurt and was to be cited for an unsafe lane change, according to the patrol. Veronica Maestas, 39, and Priscilla Maestas, 23, were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.


• A semi truck was totaled when it caught a guard rail on state Route 6 last night and then ran down a deep ditch on the roadside. Troopers called about 10:30 p.m. to the area near milepost 40, about 10 miles west of Chehalis, found the driver of the unloaded chip truck was not hurt, according to the Washington State Patrol. Clinton J. Franks, 27, from LaCenter, was to be cited for wheels of the roadway, according to the state patrol.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrest for disorderly conduct, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, parking lot hit and run, collision on city street,  dogs left alone inside vehicles; complaint of early morning jack hammer noise … and more.

Oxycodone dealer takes a deal

Friday, August 1st, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The accused prolific local trafficker of pain medications from both inside and outside prison pleaded guilty yesterday in a deal that could put him away for 12 years but avoid a third strike.

Forrest E. Amos, 31, was charged late last year in Lewis County Superior Court with leading organized crime and a multitude of other offenses following an ongoing investigation by the Centralia Police Department.

Law enforcement estimated that in 2011 when Amos was aggressively dealing Oxycodone, that he was the main supplier of the synthetic opiate within Lewis County, possessing and dealing thousands of pills a month.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said he dropped the charge of organized crime, something police said Amos did by orchestrating drug dealing even after he was incarcerated. Amos pleaded guilty yesterday to an assortment of other offenses, he said.

Halstead also dismissed four counts of intimidating a witness, in a case from this summer in which Amos was suspected of planning from inside the jail to have associates hurt or pressure witnesses against him.

Amos is formerly of Napavine and Chehalis.

Halstead and defense attorney Don Blair will recommend to a judge that Amos be sentenced to 12 years, he said. A date for that court hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Amos’s sister Sylvia Pittman was charged also in June with witness intimidation, for allegedly delivering a “hit list” to another so-called supporter-conspirator.

Pittman, 27, pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of attempted witness intimidation and was sentenced yesterday to intensive inpatient drug and alcohol treatment; though if she fails at anytime during the following two years while she is under supervision, she could be sent to prison for almost two years, according to Halstead.