Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Hash oil making operation suspected at Winlock property

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies found evidence hash oil was being manufactured when they searched a shed and home in Winlock yesterday, following an ongoing drug investigation.

Two people were arrested.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office had obtained a search warrant for the property on the 200 block of West Walnut Street following undercover purchases of marijuana and prescription medications, according to the sheriff’s office.

The house was under surveillance and at about 5 a.m. after a detective saw the residents leave, they were detained during a traffic stop at the intersection of state Route 505 and Interstate 5, according to a department spokesperson.

During their search, deputies and detectives turned up what was described as a large amount of prescription narcotics, a stolen firearm and 10 pounds of marijuana, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

In the shed, they discovered equipment and materials to make hash/honey oil, she said.

Arrested for multiple violations of the uniform controlled substances act and booked into the Lewis County Jail were Brett T. Watkins, age 37, and Gabriela Watkins, age 40, according to Brown.

A VUCSA case against a 21-year-old Winlock woman is being referred to prosecutors for evaluation of possible charges, she said.

News brief: Join in earthquake drill this morning

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Millions of people worldwide will practice how to drop, cover and hold at 10:16 a.m. today, in a drill to help prepare for ways to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield, director of Lewis County Department of Emergency Management, reminds the public that practice makes perfect.

“Practicing is what helps ensure you will quickly move to your safe place instead of responding to the instinctive urge to run,” Mansfield states in a news release.

Today is the “Great Washington Shakeout” earthquake drill.

Here’s what to do:

• Choose a safe place to go, in each room of your home or office.
• Practice quickly moving to that safe place.
• After the drill, come together with others and discuss where each of you went and why it was or was not the safest place to go.


For those looking for more information about safety during earthquakes, check the Washington Emergency Management Division’s website

Chehalis police car hits man in crosswalk

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Updated at 11:38 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pedestrian in a crosswalk was struck by a Chehalis police car last night, sending the 56-year-old Chehalis man to the hospital.

It happened about 7 p.m. on Northwest West Street near Front Street, near the Lewis County Historical Museum, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Kenneth L. Jacaway, 56, of Chehalis, was walking north crossing West Street and the patrol vehicle was traveling westbound, according to the state patrol.

Jacaway sustained a broken leg and an arm injury, according to a patrol spokesperson. He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.

His condition is described by a hospital spokesperson as fair.

Police Officer Rick Silva, 60, was driving a 2012 Dodge Charger and uninjured, according to the investigating trooper.

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer said they asked the state patrol to conduct the investigation.

Silva was on routine patrol, not on his way to a call with lights or sirens, according to Schaffer.

Trooper Will Finn said it was his understanding that a vehicle coming the opposite direction stopped and motioned for the pedestrian to go.

“The pedestrian did not see the patrol car coming and I’m assuming neither did the other driver,” Finn said.

Jacaway was struck by the front driver’s side quarter panel, he said.

Chief Schaffer said he will wait until the investigation is finished, to then look to see if there are any internal matters to be looked into, regarding policy and procedure.

There was no reason to place Officer Silva on leave during the investigation, Schaffer said.

News brief: Eight fire departments battle Adna area blaze

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Flames rise near Spooner Road. / Courtesy photo by Cyndi Lang

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called this evening to a garage fire near Adna found heavy fire extension into a 100-year-old two story house.

Lt. Laura Hanson of Lewis County Fire District 5 reports in a news release the structure is considered a complete loss, but nobody was injured.

Lewis County Fire District 6 was called just before 5:30 p.m. to the 300 block of Spooner Road and joined by members of seven other fire departments, according to Hanson.

Crews were still actively fighting the blaze as of about 7 p.m., she stated.

The cause is under investigation.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to a hair salon on the 700 block of South Market Boulevard after the discovery someone had set fire to some of the contents of their recycling bin outside next to the building. The damage was limited to the plastic bin and some magazines, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 36-year-old man has been arrested after he allegedly crawled through an unlocked bedroom window at his ex’s home south of Chehalis, engaged in an argument and then left, slashing two tires on a vehicle as he departed. The incident occurred about 6 o’clock on Monday morning at the 200 block of Labree Road, but deputies didn’t locate the suspect until yesterday at a home in Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Kevin C. Anderson, described as transient, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 1991 Cadillac Seville missing yesterday morning from the 500 block of South Silver Street was located about 3:15 a.m. today in the parking lot at Fuller’s Shop N Kart on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A stolen 2001 Dodge pickup truck was located yesterday abandoned at Walnut and Silver streets in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called about 3:30 a.m. today to a car prowl on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue.


• A 47-year-old man who reportedly became irate and swore at the judge during proceedings yesterday afternoon in Centralia Municipal Court was arrested for contempt of court. Brandon A. Young, from Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


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

Centralia’s drug team scores big; mass meth, cash

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

More than $12,000 in currency is taken into evidence from Second Street drug case. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Updated at 3:47 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 28-year-old man who was a primary suspect in a case four years ago in which local police and the Drug Enforcement Administration recovered more than 12 pounds of methamphetamine was arrested today at his Centralia home, where officers seized about five pounds of meth, three passenger vehicles and more than $12,000 cash.

A half dozen members of the Centralia Police Department served a search warrant this morning at the 200 block of West Second Street.

Miguel Perez-Espinoza was arrested without incident and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver, according to police.

Sgt. Jim Shannon said this morning’s events were very low key. They waited until the children went to school, and then just knocked on the door and asked to talk with their suspect, he said.

The original investigation into Perez-Espinoza’s activities began in September 2010, when officers of the Centralia Anti-Crime unit working in cooperation with the DEA turned up in excess of 12 pounds of methamphetamine from a location in the 100 block of Elma Drive, according to Shannon. Police believed after that seizure, Perez-Espinoza fled the United States, presumably to Mexico to avoid prosecution, according to Shannon.

Toward the end of last year, the Anti-Crime team got information he had come back to town and resumed his drug trafficking, Shannon stated in a news release.

“Through surveillance, interviews and data mining we identified several members of his organization,” Shannon stated.

In August, officers served a search warrant in the 3100 block of Ives Road and ended up arresting three suspects, thought to be co-conspirators with Perez-Espinoza: They are Christian Ayon Felix, 30; Diego A. Vazquez, 22; and Erik M Nava, 35; all of Centralia, according to police. Shannon said slightly less than one pound of methamphetamine and $2,300 in cash were found at that location.

“I think the takeaway, is when we conduct a drug investigation in this city, it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how far you go, we will eventually catch up to you,” Shannon said.

He said they plan on making more arrests in the case.

Perez-Espinoza’s wife was present when police arrived, but has not been arrested, according to Shannon.

The vehicles they impounded include 2007 Chrysler Sebring, a 2010 VW Jetta, and a 2004 Ford Expedition.

Shannon said whatever becomes of the case from Elma Drive in 2010 in under the purview of the DEA.

The estimated current price of meth, by the pound, is $8,000 to $10,000, he said.

2014.1014.bigmethbust copy

Roughly five pounds of methamphetamine found today following search of Centralia home. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


• A blueish gray 1991 Cadillac Seville was stolen from the 500 block of South Silver Street sometime between 6 p.m. yesterday and early this morning, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A stolen black Honda car was recovered yesterday at the 200 block of Walnut Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Mikayla Lane in Centralia regarding the theft of tires and wheels from outside a residence. The items went missing sometime after 9 a.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday in connection with allegedly making fraudulent returns to a store on the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia. Rodney P. Bednarik was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  no driver’s license, underage possession of alcohol; responses for alarms, dispute, vandalism, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, hit and run, suspicious circumstances; complaint of kids skateboarding on sidewalk  … and more.

Teen’s logging death results in fine to Chehalis employer

Monday, October 13th, 2014


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis logging company has been cited for two serious violations in connection with the death of an 18-year-old employee who was crushed by a piece of equipment south of Boistfort last May.

Cole Bostwick of Winlock was setting chokers for a logging operation when a carriage was accidentally lowered onto him, killing him instantly.


Cole Bostwick

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office identified the employer as ENB Logging and Trucking, but the state Department of Labor and Industries reports it was ENB Logging and Construction Inc.

An investigation conducted by L&I found the employer did not ensure the chokerman was in the clear as the Danebo drift carriage was being lowered for slack and also that the business’s accident prevention program was not tailored to the needs of the operation, specifically that it didn’t explain or address the differences in the hazards of using a drift carriage and a motorized  carriage.

An assistant fire chief who responded to the scene on May 21 described the carriage in question as a metal piece roughly six feet long and not very wide that traveled along a cable to assist in retrieving logs. He estimated it weighed two tons.

The penalty assessed is $7,800, according to the inspector’s report dated Oct. 1.

ENB has appealed the citations, according to a spokesperson from L&I.

The accident occurred about 14 miles off Pe Ell McDonald Road, on property owned by Green Diamond Resource Co. The teen’s father was on the job with him.


Tyler Bryan

A Mossyrock logging company was cited for a serious violation earlier this year, after the death of a 21-year-old employee, who was struck by a log being pulled up a slope with a cable. Tyler Bryan, of Toledo, died on Feb. 10 at the site north of Morton.

Brintech Technical Logging Inc. did not appeal and paid the $2,600 fine, according to L&I spokesperson Elaine Fischer.

In that case, the same inspector found the employer did not ensure the three-man rigging crew was in the clear when a “turn” of logs was moving to the landing, according to the inspector’s report. The crew was within 40 feet of the skyline when the tail hold failed, causing the logs to fall towards them, according to the report.


John B. Leonard

And a March death from a logging injury in the Salkum area brought a citation for an Winlock logging business, according to Fischer.

A fine of $1,800 was assessed against TJB Enterprises Inc. for a serious violation.

John B. Leonard, 69, airlifted to a Seattle hospital on March 27 after he was struck by a large limb while working on acreage just north of the 2200 block of U.S. Highway 12.

The L&I report contends the employer did not ensure before falling that various conditions did not create a hazard.

TJB has appealed.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, October 13th, 2014


• Chehalis police are investigating a reported stabbing incident from Saturday night. Officers were summoned around 10:20 p.m. by the fire department who were on a call at the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue when a male walked up and said he’d been stabbed a couple of times, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said the individual was treated and his wounds were not so serious that he needed to be hospitalized. Police are still looking into it, according to Bailey.  “We’re still investigating, so it’s not clear what occurred,” Bailey said.


• A 34-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening following a ruckus behind a downtown Centralia tavern. Officers responding around 6 p.m. to the 100 block of South Railroad Avenue were told friends were trying to stop Michael P. Burnell from driving drunk and he was fighting them, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say he also tried to fight with officers and was “subdued” with the use of a Taser. Burnell was booked into the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to police.


• Centralia police took a report about 10:30 a.m. yesterday of stolen mail from the the 500 block of Courtland Street.

• Chehalis police took a report from the 400 block of Southwest 14th Street on Friday of a battery stolen from out of a sport utility vehicle there sometime during the previous two weeks.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, noisy neighbors … and more.

Judge gives six-plus years to Ricky Riffe, already serving more than 100 years

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Ricky Riffe, in red, addresses his lawyer as his hearing winds down in Lewis County Superior Court this morning.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Convicted murderer Ricky Riffe will be headed back to prison now after he was sentenced today in a 30-year-old child sex crime case involving a young relative.

Riffe, now 56, was convicted almost a year ago in the 1985 kidnapping, robbery and shotgun deaths of Ed and Minnie Maurin, of Ethel. While awaiting trial, prosecutors filed charges that during the same time period, he had sexually abused his young stepdaughter.

The former Mossyrock man made an Alford plea last month, pleading guilty to indecent liberties, but admitting no guilt after a deal was struck between the two sides.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and Riffe’s lawyer John Crowley both recommended this morning that he should serve six years and three months, the top of the standard sentencing range for the offense.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt agreed.

Riffe is already serving nearly 103 years in the Maurin case, but has appealed.

Clad in red jail garb, Riffe never turned his heavily whiskered face toward the victim as she spoke. He declined an opportunity offered by the judge to speak on his own behalf.

Riffe denies any guilt in both cases.

“It is disturbing to the state that he cannot accept responsibility for anything he has done in his life,” Prosecutor Meyer told the judge. “But that’s on him.”

The now-grown woman, the daughter of Riffe’s long ago wife Robin, who is since deceased, took a chair next to Meyer when she told the judge what she hoped for.

“If there’s any chance of asking of him never, ever getting out,” I will,” she said, reading from notecards. “And please do not allow the monster of my past to be housed anywhere in Western Washington.”

With intermittent sniffles, and glances to her right where Riffe sat facing straight ahead, she said she knows and he knows what happened that November night in 1984. She was nine years old.

“You, my mother and your brother will rot in hell,” she said.

The judge also signed a lifetime no contact order between Riffe and the victim.

From among the handful of individuals in the audience, came a parting shot as Riffe was led away by jail guards.

Robin Riffe’s sister Tammi Graham raised her voice loudly: “Rick, I hope this label goes with you for the rest of your life.”

He was initially charged also with statutory rape, but that charge was dropped in the deal, part of which included Riffe agreeing not to appeal. The crime of indecent liberties, as it existed in the mid-1980s, involves sexual contact with a child younger than 14 years old.

For background, read “Ricky Riffe makes Alford plea in 1980s child sex abuse case” from Saturday Sept. 6, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

One teenager hurt when car hits bear on highway / Courtesy photo by Grays Harbor County Fire District 1



• A 16-year-old boy was airlifted after a car in which he was a passenger hit a bear on U.S. Highway 12 about two miles east of Oakville last night. Troopers and aid were called about 9 p.m. to the area near Elma-Gate Road East and Stewart Street found the driver was unhurt but Connor B. Lovell of Aberdeen suffered a head injury. The black bear was standing in the middle of the highway and was struck by a 2000 Ford Focus driven by Brook L. Swarts, 16, of Oakville, according to the Washington State Patrol. She was able to safely pull off to the side of the road, even though the car’s airbags deployed, according to Grays Harbor County Fire District 1. The car was described as totaled. The bear wandered away from the scene, according to the state patrol. The investigating trooper reports the passenger’s seatbelt was in use, but failed to restrain him. Lovell was flown to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Shawn Burdett of the fire department reported Lovell’s condition as stable.


• An overnight fire that destroyed a large shed behind a house on the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia is being investigated as an arson. Firefighters called at 2:30 a.m. found the flames were beginning to spread to the home, which was only about 20 feet away, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The home’s occupant had been awakened by a passerby and was outside already when crews arrived, according to Capt. Erik Olson. He described the wooden storage building as about 16 feet by 16 feet; the backyard is adjacent to the railroad tracks, he said. The exterior of the house sustained minor damage, according to Olson. Nobody was hurt. The cause is under investigation, in coordination with the Centralia Police Department.


• A Centralia man was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing a car from the 400 block of West Plum Street. Officers learned the Honda had been stolen and put out an attempt to locate message to other officers, according to the Centralia Police Department. Shortly thereafter when a deputy spotted the missing car in the area of Harrison Avenue and Johnson Road, the driver sped off, leading the deputy on a short pursuit, according to police. He pulled into a driveway on the 2500 block of Sharon Street and was beginning to hop out, but was detained, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. James J. Ayres-Brewer, 23 years old according to police and 22 years old according to the sheriff’s office, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude. The sheriff’s office described the stolen car as a 1992 Toyota Paseo.


• Centralia police took a report from the 900 block of West Third Street yesterday morning of an overnight vehicle prowl.


• Police were called about 12:50 a.m. yesterday to the 800 block of South Street in Centralia where a pickup truck drove across a lawn and slammed into a car parked in the driveway. Officers did not locate the truck, described as an older red pickup with a white canopy, according to the Centralia Police Department. It should have extensive front end damage, according to police.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license … and more.


The aftermath on South Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Kevin Bookter