Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Updated at 1:18 p.m.

BIG BURGLARY

• Numerous weapons, ammunition, a safe and a bank bag containing $1,000 were among the valuables stolen in a burglary at the 700 block of Chandler Road west of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called last night learned the thefts occurred sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is more than $4,500, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

TRACTOR TAKEN

• A 78-year-old Centralia man returned home after being out of the country to discover his 20-year-old Kubota tractor was missing. A deputy called yesterday morning to the 2700 block of Harrison Avenue was told the loss is about $10,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

MOPED MISSING

• A Yamaha moped valued at $1,000 was reported stolen from the 100 block of Union Avenue outside Centralia sometime between Feb. 24 and Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

SCREAMING MAN TASED

• A 48-year-old Longview man who was found last night screaming, shaking his fist and walking around a vehicle on property at the 100 block of Sargent Road in Winlock was arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest. A deputy called about 10 p.m. ended up using a Taser to zap the subject who wouldn’t obey commands, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown didn’t say why Carl R. Brickey was there, but noted he appeared to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs so was taken to the hospital to be checked out before the jail would book him.

TRYING TO SCRAP OUT ANTIQUE

• Two men were jailed yesterday evening after they were discovered allegedly trying to use a torch to cut up an antique iron lumber planer at the 100 block of Pine Tree Road east of Winlock. The 63-year-old property owner said he did not know the men, but the pair said they’d gotten permission from a neighbor across the street, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. David R. Shive, 52, of Chehalis and Troy M. Duryea, 44, of Ethel, were arrested and booked for trespassing and malicious mischief, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS FOUND IN CONDEMNED RESIDENCE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they arrested a 34-year-old Centralia man on a dangerous weapon violation Friday after he was contacted parked outside a condemned home on the 300 block of M Street in Centralia and admitted he had brass knuckles with him and a pistol stashed under the steering wheel. The call was related to a child custody issue and when deputies looked in the home for the children in question, they found methamphetamine, pipes, pills and “other contraband,” according to the sheriff’s office. Eric C. Bolstad was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

THEFT

• Morton police reported yesterday they are investigating a burglary to a business on the 100 block of Main Avenue that occurred sometime before the morning on March 4.

DRUGS

• A 33-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday afternoon near the Mellen Street freeway interchange for second-degree driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a dangerous weapon, according to the Centralia Police Department. Brian A. Lamb had a large knife with him, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police took a report about 7 a.m. today of a car prowl on the 300 block of South Street in which someone entered an unlocked vehicle and stole its stereo.

• Centralia police were contacted about 12:30 p.m. yesterday by a woman at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue who said her purse was taken from her vehicle while she was helping someone move.

WRECKS INTO TREES

• A deputy arriving about 6 a.m. yesterday to where a 1995 Ford Ranger had run off the road and into a stand of fir trees north of Toledo found no driver. It was west of Jackson Highway at Tucker Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 32-year-old Centralia woman was discovered on the verge of hypothermia and scratched up by brush when a deputy investigated an abandoned vehicle in a swampy wooded area off the 2100 block of Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia at about 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. A deputy found the engine to the 2006 GMC pickup was cold and after hearing branches breaking about 20 yards away, came upon the apparently intoxicated driver, according to the sheriff’s office. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and a charge of driving under the influence is pending results of a blood draw, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The vehicle appeared to have been traveling eastbound when it crossed the road and entered the brush, according to Brown. It sustained major body damage, Brown said.

• An 18-year-old Winlock man escaped injury but totaled his 1987 Mercedes 300 when he took his eyes off the road and ran into a tree on Friday afternoon at the 700 block of South Military Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MACHINE?

• Lewis County Crime Stoppers is looking for tips on the whereabouts of an excavator hauled away from a Centralia-area work site last month. A witness saw an individual wearing an orange safety vest and a hard hat load the yellow 2007 Komatsu PC160LC-7KA onto a trailer at approximately 5 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the intersection of Kuper and Foron roads and then drive north on Harrison Avenue, according to Crime Stoppers. The piece of heavy equipment has a serial number of K41426 and is valued at more than $100,000. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to the clearance of crimes. Anonymous calls can be made to 1-800-748-6422.

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Missing excavator. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Crime Stoppers

 

Prosecutors: Centralia father released, mother faces possible charge for alleged bong-smoking baby

Monday, March 11th, 2013
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Rachelle L. Braaten reportedly told police she knew she shouldn’t give her young son a hit of marijuana, but was peer-pressured by a group passing around a bong.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It was an anonymous cell phone video of a baby supposedly taking a bong hit that drew police to a Centralia home where they arrested the parents on Friday.

Authorities say a number of people can be heard in the background laughing as the toddler approaches the marijuana smoking device which the mother is holding, and when his mouth gets close to its top, the little one rears back and coughs.

“At this point, the other people in the room begin laughing louder and the child looks at the camera taken aback, and the video ends,” prosecutors write in court documents.

The mother Rachelle L. Braaten, 24, went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge in Chehalis today where prosecutors asked for her to be held for up to 72 hours while they make a charging decision.

Her fiance has been released from the jail and isn’t expected to be charged anytime soon.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told the judge there is probable cause for the offense of delivery of a controlled substance by a person over 18 to a person under 18

Braaten, handcuffed and shackled at the waist, was represented by defense attorney Bob Schroeter this afternoon.

He pointed out how interesting it is that the home owner who was accused of a 40-plant marijuana grow is released yet his client is sitting in court.

One hand-held video, Schroeter said.

“Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it so,” Schroeter said.

Braaten is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. She has no criminal history.

O’Rourke said he expects to decide about charges tomorrow and bring her back into court.

Centralia police on Friday evening announced they’d served a search warrant  and confiscated 40 marijuana plants and firearms from the house on the 1400 block of Delaware Avenue in north Centralia.

Braaten and her boy’s father Tyler J. Lee, 25, were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for manufacture of marijuana. Braaten was additionally booked for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. Lee was additionally booked for three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

On Friday night, a police spokesperson said while there, officers were informed Braaten had been allowing the little one to literally inhale marijuana out of a bong.

However, O’Rourke’s court documents describe the anonymous video received earlier this month by a Centralia police officer as the primary reason for law enforcement’s visit to the home.

According to the documents, the call by officers upon the couple was cordial. Police obtained written consent to look around and were invited in, O’Rourke writes.

The two brothers, one 5 years old and the other, who turned 2 in early January, were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.

In subsequent interviews, Braaten allegedly admitted it was her in the video and that she and a number of other people were passing around a bong.

She said it happened four or five months ago.

Braaten said she knew she shouldn’t be giving her son a hit off the bong, but the others “peer pressured” her into doing it, according to the documents.

There may very well be no charges of growing marijuana for either of the parents, according to O’Rourke.

It turns out there is evidence Lee is validly prescribed medical marijuana and there is a second person he is validly providing it for, O’Rourke said this afternoon.

The declaration of probable cause describes “approximately” 40 plants. O’Rourke said it’s a close call and he needs to see pictures, as it seems 30 plants for two individuals would be acceptable.

He noted he didn’t see charging Lee with manufacture of marijuana in the foreseeable future.

“It’s just not something I’m comfortable charging today,”O’Rourke said.

Lee won’t be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm either, according to O’Rourke. There were three or four guns in the house, he said.

He does not have a felony background preventing him from owning guns, although he does have a pending municipal court case for fourth-degree assault domestic violence in which a judge ordered him not to possess them, O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke told Judge James Lawler he expects to bring Braaten back to court at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
•••

For background, read “Police: Marijuana smoking toddler taken from Centralia parents” from Friday March 8, 2013, here

Kirotv.com posted raw video from the Centralia Police Department, here

News brief: Flames ravage Rochester garage, apartment

Monday, March 11th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by Derek White

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a Rochester blaze that destroyed a garage and adjoining apartment yesterday is under investigation.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Lt. Lanette Dyer said crews were called about 3:40 p.m. to the structure on the 10400 block of 184th Avenue Southwest where flames were showing.

The resident, a retired gentleman, was not injured, she said. He did have a motor home in the garage, she said.

Dyer said the building is a total loss. Fire investigators are going out there this afternoon to look into the cause, she said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 11th, 2013

OOPS

• Two out-of-towners who came to bail a boyfriend out of the Lewis County Jail on Saturday night found themselves checked in to the lock up facility after a passing patrol car detected their vehicle was stolen. It was shortly after 10 p.m. when the officer’s automatic license plate reader noted a Toyota on Southwest Chehalis Avenue was listed as stolen from Renton, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson. Booked for possession of a stolen vehicle were 31-year-old Junette Short, of Tacoma, and 28-year-old Jennifer Ramirez of Renton, Wilson said. The automobile was impounded and items discovered inside have led to an ongoing investigation, according to police.  No charges will be filed pending further investigation.

ROOMMATE, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS, VANISH

• Police are looking for a 22-year-old Centralia man after his roommate returned home from out of town on Friday and discovered about $4,000 worth of valuables, plus his young roommate, gone. Deputies called to the 3100 block of Laurel Lane outside Centralia were told that nail guns, other tools and a five-piece antique silverware set were missing. A neighbor subsequently reported a generator disappeared from their garage at about the same time the young man was allowed inside it to retrieve his motorcycle gloves, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies learned the suspect had posted the generator for sale on the internet earlier in the week and then sold it for $500, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. They believe the missing man got on a train headed for the Seattle-Everett area, Brown said. Prosecutors are being asked to charge him with second-degree theft and trafficking in stolen property.

ROWDINESS DRAWS POLICE TO SCHOOL BUS

• Five students were arrested when they became so out-of-control a school bus driver pulled over and police were summoned to the 200 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis on Friday. Officers called about 1 p.m. cited the boys and girls ages 12 through 16 for disorderly conduct, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said the youngsters were very angry for a reason unknown to him, used foul language and there may have been a threat to break windows. Only one of them was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, in connection with a probation violation, Wilson said.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to a home on the 1100 block of South Pearl Street where a female said someone had gotten inside her home, rummaged around and stolen items such as jewelry, mail and a purse.

BURGLARY RANDLE

• A deputy called to a Randle-area cabin on the 100 block of Park Lane on Saturday was told someone cut around a window pane to get inside and stole numerous items such as two sets of binoculars, two windbreakers, a five-gallon can of gas and tools as well as a sealable container with graham crackers and chocolate.

ONE BEER SHOPLIFT

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday to a convenience store on North National Avenue in Chehalis and told a subject walked out with a beer. They didn’t want the shoplifter arrested, just told to never come back, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone used an Adna man’s lawn trailer to cart out to the road a generator stolen from an outside storage compartment on a fifth-wheel trailer parked at his home at the 200 block of Curtis Hill Road, according to a report made at mid-day on Friday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone stole credit cards and identification from a vehicle at the 1400 block of Logan Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police around 5:50 p.m. yesterday.

• A CD player and stereo equipment was reported missing on Friday from a vehicle parked in a field off the 500 block of Avery Road West outside Winlock.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report about 2:30 a.m. today regarding tires slashed on two vehicles at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue.

AND MORE …

• And, as usual, calls such as complaints of noise, trespassing, fender benders, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, warrant arrests, violations of no-contact orders and possible crimes that turned out to be unfounded … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Updated

CENTRALIA DRUG DEALING INQUIRY LEADS TO TENINO

• The Olympian reports a Tenino man on Friday was ordered held on $5,000 bail following a search of his girlfriend’s Tenino-area home in which Centralia police found four pounds of marijuana and 13 ounces of methamphetamine. News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that 29-year-old Antonio Gutierrez-Cervantes allegedly sold a half ounce of meth for $500 to a confidential informant on Feb. 19 during an undercover operation in south Thurston County, as part of an ongoing Centralia Police Department Anti-Crime Team investigation.

BURGLARY GARAGE

• Centralia police took a report about 8:30 p.m. yesterday regarding fishing equipment stolen from a garage on the 300 block of West Pear Street.

CAR PROWL

• A gym bag containing soccer gear was stolen in a vehicle prowl on the 200 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police at about 12:30 p.m. yesterday.

• At about 11:30 .m. yesterday, Centralia police were called about a car prowl on the 400 block of West Plum Street in which a DVD player, clothing and a gym bag were taken.

• Stereo equipment was stolen in a vehicle prowl on the 1300 block of Rose Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police just before noon on Friday.

VANDALISM

• Graffiti was spray painted on a garage door on the 1400 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday.

ANOTHER STOLEN VEHICLE DISCOVERED BURNING

• The Olympian reports a pickup truck found on fire early yesterday morning in a gravel pit off the 17000 block of Johnson Creek Road east of Tenino turned out to be stolen from a Tenino woman.

WRECKS

• A motorist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries after a single-vehicle wreck on Curtis Hill Road west of Chehalis late yesterday afternoon, and allegedly admitting to have downed a fifth of vodka before getting behind the wheel. Deputies and aid were called about 5 p.m. to the area near Sholes Road where a Ford pickup truck had gone out of control at a curve, traveled about 300 feet down into a ditch and flipped onto its top, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle was totaled and the 43-year-old driver from Chehalis had neck and back pain, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. He is believed to have been driving under the influence, Brown said, but the case is suspended pending the results of a blood test.

• A young woman was airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver after an ATV accident about noon yesterday off Wildwood Road in Curtis, according to Lewis County Fire District 13.

Police: Marijuana smoking toddler taken from Centralia parents

Friday, March 8th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia mother was arrested this afternoon for not only growing marijuana but also for allowing her small child to smoke it from a bong, according to police.

The little boy, who is just shy of 2 years old, and his 5-year-old brother were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services, according to police.

Members of the Centralia Police Department Anti Crime Team were tipped off they might find marijuana plants at the home on the 1400 block of Delaware Avenue in north Centralia and served a search warrant about 2:25 p.m. today, according to Officer John Panco.

Inside the house, they discovered 40 plants, which they seized, along with firearms, according to police.

While there, officers were informed Rachelle L. Braaten, 24, had been allowing the little one to literally inhale marijuana out of a bong, Panco said.

Braaten and Tyler J. Lee, 25, were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for manufacture of marijuana, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Braaten was additionally booked for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. Lee was additionally booked for three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 8th, 2013

REPORT OF STOLEN FUR COAT, SILVER

• Chehalis police were called to a home on Southwest Lewis Street about 3:30 p.m. yesterday where a woman said someone broke in to her house and stole a fur coat, silver coins and a silver serving platter. There were no signs of forced entry and officers are still looking into it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

POWER TOOLS TAKEN FROM CARPORT

• A deputy was called about 12:30 a.m. today to the 600 block of Lucas Creek Road east of Chehalis after the discovery numerous power tools were missing from a carport. The victim found civil-type paperwork attached to the door but it isn’t known if that is related, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The theft of two Stihl chainsaws, two Stihl grass cutters, a Makita saw and associated items occurred sometime after 4:30 a.m. yesterday, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said. The loss is estimated at $1,680, Breen said.

APPLIANCES HAULED AWAY

• Police were called about 6:20 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Hillkress Street in Centralia where someone had stolen a washer and dryer from a vacant home. The subject broke a pipe causing water damage to the residence, according to the Centralia Police Department.

OTHER THEFT

• Police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday regarding  burglary to a shed on the 1300 block of Crescent Avenue in Centralia.

• Centralia police took a report late yesterday afternoon of an unspecified amount of money missing from the 100 block of Virginia Drive.

DRUGS

• A 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of heroin after contact with police about 9:15 p.m. at the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia. Levi S. Ramirez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SMOKE SIGNALS

• Firefighters responded to reports of smoke off Kresky Avenue in Chehalis yesterday morning where they found a homeless person had built a cooking fire beneath a small bridge to heat a can of food. He put it out and was told no campfires were allowed there, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

News brief: Red flags regarding latest scams from new state attorney general

Friday, March 8th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Has anyone you know told of receiving a call telling them a beloved relative is jailed and desperately needs bail money, or that they’ve gotten an email notifying them they’ve won a foreign lottery?

Today’s scammers prey upon people’s desires for love, money or good luck with clever schemes in which only the fraudster wins, and a new web page from the state Attorney General’s Office dedicated to educating the public about their latest strategies can be found here.

The site highlights nine common scams and offers ways consumers can protect themselves, according to a recent news release from new Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office.

News brief: Rochester teen remains in serious condition following wreck

Friday, March 8th, 2013
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Pickup truck at 19100 block of Old Highway 99 near Nutmeg Street. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 19-year-old Rochester man rescued yesterday from beneath his wrecked truck in Grand Mound is listed in serious condition this morning.

Brett A. Tardif was traveling northbound on Old Highway 99 when his Ford pickup left the roadway, struck a power pole and rolled over, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Arriving firefighters found him pinned under the pickup.

He was picked up by a helicopter at South Sound Speedway and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A hospital spokesperson this morning said he is currently in the intensive care unit.

•••

For background, see “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – WRECK IN GRAND MOUND INJURES ONE” from Thursday March 7, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Updated at 4:18 p.m.

NECK SNAPPING COMMENT LANDS MAN IN JAIL

• Centralia’s former cemetery sexton John C. Baker was arrested last night after he allegedly grabbed the arm and head of a woman at his house and threatened to snap her neck for trying to use her phone to record a conversation with him. Sgt. Carl Buster said the 42-year-old woman, who also lives at the home on the 1900 block of Johnson Road, was filling out an application and had a math question for Baker. For whatever reason, she whipped out her cell phone and she was recording this, according to Buster. The woman, who is described in the police report as his employee, hid in a bedroom and called 911, Buster said. Baker, 69, was arrested for fourth-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD IN THE THOUSANDS

• Chehalis police are investigating a check cashed at a bank on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue for more than $4,000 on the account of a Florida resident whose identity had been stolen. Checks supposedly from the same man’s account were also written in Wenatchee and Gainsville, Florida, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson.

ALLEGED WINDOW SMASHER RELEASED

• A 23-year-old Toledo woman was arrested and jailed yesterday morning for allegedly taking a golf club a car belonging to a housemate, breaking out the windshield, and three other windows. The damage to the 1997 Oldsmobile is listed at $1,200, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman was arrested for second-degree malicious mischief after the approximately 10 a.m. call to the 100 block of Conifer Lane. She has been released without charges pending further investigation.

DOWNTOWN DISORDERLINESS

• Chehalis police called to a dispute about 9:25 p.m. Tuesday night at a downtown bar ended up arresting two people; one for allegedly driving away drunk and his girlfriend for allegedly trying to grab her car keys from an officer when she learned the vehicle was going to be towed. She was too intoxicated to have taken the vehicle, according to police. Genise L. Morgan, 39, of Rochester, was arrested for obstruction and then given a ride home, Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Christopher B. Mellon, 39, of Chehalis, was arrested for DUI, Wilson said.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called to Lakeside Industries yesterday morning at the 2000 block of Johnson Road where someone had broken into and ransacked a small storage building. Missing were vehicle keys and a black felt pen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• One thousand feet of copper wire, a cutting torch and a steam cleaner were stolen from the 3500 block of Harrison Avenue outside Centralia in a burglary sometime after Feb. 25 and before yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

MUSEUM THEFT PLEA AGREEMENT

• Deborah Sue Knapp and her lawyer were in court today to notify a judge they have a plea agreement in principle, in connection with charges she stole thousands of dollars from the Lewis County Historical Museum while she was its executive director. Knapp was arrested in December 2011 after the discovery the institution’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained and a police investigation was conducted. She will return to Lewis County Superior Court next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., scheduled for a change of plea, according to Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead. The now-53-year-old was hired in July 2006 and was paid a salary of $43,000 a year.

WRECK IN GRAND MOUND INJURES ONE

• A 19-year-old Rochester man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle this morning after a single-vehicle collision in which he was ejected and his pickup truck landed on him. Troopers and aid were called about 9:30 a.m. to Old Highway 99 just east of Interstate 5 near Nutmeg Street. The 1985 Ford pickup had struck a power pole and rolled over, according to the Washington State Patrol. The pole was splintered like a matchstick and hanging over the heads of crews who used their tools to extricate the driver, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott said. The patient had fairly severe injuries but no visible trauma, according to Scott. Brett A. Tardif was described as in stable condition this afternoon by a spokesperson for the state patrol. The cause of the crash is under investigation but Trooper Guy Gill indicated speed was a factor and Tardif had not been wearing a seatbelt.

Dead toddler’s mother to be criminally charged

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The mother of Koralynn Fister was informed yesterday she would be charged with a crime, following the court hearing for her former live-in boyfriend that led to his lengthy prison term in the death of the toddler.

James M. Reeder, 26, went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge yesterday morning where he was given a sentence of at least 37 and a half years and up to life for the rape, assault  and death of 2-year-old Koralynn last May at her Centralia home.

Becky Heupel was warned Reeder was an abuser and chose to put her relationship with him first, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

Meyer said Heupel wasn’t arrested, but informed she would be summonsed by mail to court to face a charge of second-degree criminal mistreatment. It’s a class C felony.

He, two of his deputy prosecutors and a law enforcement officer met with her after the 10:30 a.m. hearing, he said.

Meyer said the decision to charge Huepel wasn’t made until after Reeder pleaded guilty to the crimes in January.

Prosecutors wanted to make sure she was available as a witness in Reeder’s case, he said. Had she been charged and then called to testify against him, she could have invoked her fifth amendment right not to make statements that might incriminate her, according to Meyer.

The prosecutor said he also understands she is a grieving mother, and wanted to wait until she had a chance to make any statements yesterday at Reeder’s sentencing.

Prosecutors said yesterday Reeder moved into the household about 10 weeks before the child’s death, that the couple had not been together very long.

Meyer said she wasn’t warned Reeder was specifically a child abuser, but that they came to their conclusions after looking at all the evidence and talking with people.

“We believe she knew of the risk and chose to ignore it,” Meyer said this morning. “And obviously her inaction had tragic consequences.”

At the time of Koralynn’s highly publicized death, the state Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration issued a statement saying they had no record of history involving the child, nor any previous allegations of abuse or neglect against the mother, Heupel or her boyfriend.

However, Heupel’s 4-year-old daughter was taken out of the home as a protective measure, police said at the time.

Meyer said he doesn’t believe the Heupel has gotten the child back.

Koralynn’s father, David Fister, has described Heupel as always a loving mom, who would jump through hoops to do anything for her girls and never laid a finger on them.

•••
For background, read “Centralia man gets maximum prison term for sexual abuse, death of toddler” from Wednesday March 6, 2013 at 12:10 p.m., here

•••
Kirotv.com posted raw video of a jail interview with James Reeder. Watch it here