Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Employee charged in Toledo lottery ticket thefts

Friday, January 24th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Toledo convenience store employee blamed for a large drop in revenue at her workplace reportedly admitted to police she may have scratched as many as 500 lottery tickets during each shift without paying for them all.

Katrina M. Bowen was fired at the end of September. This week, she was summonsed to Lewis County Superior Court where she faces a charge of first-degree theft.

The loss is estimated at more than $175,000.

An investigation began on Oct. 1 when the owner of the Flying K store and gas station on the 100 block of Cowlitz Street contacted Police Chief John Brockmueller. Gordon Lovell said over the previous few months he and his wife had noticed a loss in sales and upon further analysis, he found a large number of lottery tickets had been played but not paid for, according to charging documents.

When he confronted Bowen, she told him she was keeping track of her ticket purchases in her head, charging documents state.

When confronted by the police chief, the 37-year-old Winlock woman cried, said she had a gambling problem, had worked there for nine years without a pay raise and needed money to live, according to the allegations.

Bowen estimated that during the previous six months she went through about 500 $5 tickets each day, the documents state. And, she allegedly admitted to pocketing money from beer sales.

Bowen went before a judge on Wednesday afternoon where she was allowed to remain free pending trial with a $10,000 unsecured bond.

It was less than four years ago when another Winlock resident was caught stealing lottery tickets at a local grocery store where he was a longtime trusted employee and store manager. Benjamin C. Macy was given 14 months in prison. The losses to Cedar Village IGA were said to be close to $1 million.

Bowen’s arraignment is scheduled for next Thursday.

Prosecutor: Mom allowed abusive punishment of 4-year-old

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The mother of the 4-year-old Winlock boy whose bruises and wounds led to child assault charges for her live-in boyfriend in December was arrested yesterday, just hours after the boyfriend pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Heather L. McNurlin, 23, was charged in Lewis County Superior Court today with third-degree assault of a child, as an accomplice.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke said McNurlin was present when the abuse was inflicted, and some of it was even her idea. She wasn’t charged earlier, because she was a witness for her boyfriend’s case, O’Rourke said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigation began when the child was brought by his grandmother to the hospital emergency room to be looked at on Nov. 30. Among the boy’s various injuries were bruises on the outsides of his legs he said he got from “knife hand” spankings because he broke house rules by stealing food.

The mother said she and 31-year-old  Ryon T. Connery had been in a dating relationship about four months. The little boy was taken out of the home McNurlin and Connery shared and placed with his grandmother.

Charging documents in McNurlin’s case allege Connery had her permission to punish her child by ordering him, for example, to do “wall sits” for approximately five minutes, sometimes with a weighted bag over his head. In one instance when the boy took bread without permission and also wet his pants, he was taken outside and hosed off with cold water, at night, according to the allegations.

McNurlin explained to a detective her son was on a very strict diet of only fruits and vegetables, the documents state.

The couple attend marital arts classes in Longview, and when queried by a detective, the instructor – a 20-year practitioner of martial arts – said he could not hold a wall sit for more than one minute.

When the boy was brought to the hospital, he had a broken finger he said occurred when he dropped a weight on it, a scraped nose he said was from falling on his face trying to get away from a spanking and he spoke of being dunked in a dirty outdoor pool, according to charging documents.

A doctor who reviewed the case opined the child was malnourished and was the victim of starvation as well as abuse, both mentally and physically, according to the documents.

Connery was initially charged with two charges of second-degree child assault, but O’Rourke told a judge yesterday the evidence didn’t include intention on Connery’s part, so she and defense attorney David Arcuri agreed to one count of third-degree child assault.

Judge Richard Brosey accepted Connery’s guilty plea during the short hearing yesterday morning.

The lawyers said they both will recommend 16 months of incarceration when Connery is sentenced next month.

This afternoon, when McNurlin was brought before Judge Brosey, O’Rourke and defense attorney Bob Schroeter both said McNurlin is working very hard at her parenting classes as required in the dependency action which is underway.

McNurlin’s bail was set at a $5,000 unsecured bond and the judge said she may only have contact with her son as allowed by the court in the separate civil action.

Her arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 1 with a court-appointed attorney.
•••

For background, read “Child assault charged in case of 4-year-old Winlock boy” from Thursday December 5, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

STOVETOP MISHAPS SCARE APARTMENT DWELLERS

• A building in downtown Chehalis was evacuated yesterday morning when an egg carton left on a stovetop caught fire. Firefighters responding about 8:30 a.m. to the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue found a lot of smoke and sent about 20 inhabitants outside, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. The ground floor of the two-story structure is occupied by two restaurants and other tenants such as the Lewis County Gospel Mission while the upper floor has numerous apartments, according to Firefighter Kevin Reynolds. A woman had made breakfast and left for work, he said, and the residual heat from the turned off appliance ignited the carton. The damage was minimal, he said.

• Residents of an apartment building on the 300 block of Southwest Third Street in Chehalis were evacuated last night when a crock pot caught fire at dinner time, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. The pot was on the stovetop and the woman inadvertently turned on the stove instead of the crockpot, Firefighter Kevin Reynolds said.

FALSE ALARM

• Fire trucks and police responded to Cascade Mental Health in Centralia yesterday after a 64-year-old woman reportedly pulled the fire alarm in hopes of getting better service. Officers responding about 1:30 p.m. to the 2400 block of West Reynolds Avenue arrested Sherry L. Palmer for tampering with an alarm, according to the Centralia Police Department. The Chehalis woman was then released, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police began investigating yesterday afternoon a report of multiple tires being slashed at a home on the 800 block of Wayne Drive.

FRAUD

• A woman in her early 60s called police yesterday from the 2800 block of Russell Road in Centralia to report someone had attempted to file a tax return in her name. She got a letter from the Internal Revenue Service saying her claim had been turned down because she hadn’t paid in enough money, Centralia Police Department Sgt. Stacy Denham said. The woman hadn’t actually field a tax return, Denham said. The case is under investigation, he said.

COLLISION

• A 46-year-old driver who missed a 90 degree turn at the 100 block of Jeffries Road west of Chehalis last night was reportedly uninjured but was arrested for driving under the influence. Deputies responding about 7:30 p.m. noted the 2005 Ford Ranger sustained major damage. Kelly L. Olson, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, vandalism, disorderly conduct; responses for alarms, misdemeanor assault, disorderly person … and more.

News brief: Chehalis man’s truck involved in two-vehicle collision in Grays Harbor County

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Chehalis truck driver was uninjured but his semi was towed after a passenger vehicle ran into it this morning on Highway 101 in Grays Harbor County.

Troopers called just after 8 a.m. to milepost 77 near Cosmopolis report a Chevrolet Blazer driven by a 35-year-old Aberdeen woman was totaled after she lost control on a curve, struck a concrete barrier and then collided with the side of the tractor trailer.

Kimberly A. Fleury was injured and transported to the hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Karl R. Schaffer, 55, of Chehalis, was unhurt, but his rig sustained what the state patrol described as reportable damage.

The roadway was fully blocked for about 35 minutes, according to the state patrol.

News brief: Passenger car injures man inside Chehalis bistro

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A car drove through the front of a restaurant in Chehalis yesterday evening injuring a customer inside.

“There was a guy that was eating dinner on the other side of the wall,” Chehalis Fire Department Firefighter Kevin Reynolds said. “So the car bumped him and he went to the hospital.”

Responders called about 5 p.m. to the South Pacific Bistro on Southwest 13th Street found a car-shaped hole in the front of the building, Reynolds said.

It’s nose pushed the one table over, he said.

It appeared that the driver thought his vehicle was in reverse, but it was in drive when he hit the gas, according to Reynolds.

The cafe is owned by the same couple whose home just up the street has been struck twice by other vehicles, Reynolds said.

Three years ago, a wayward Twin Transit bus plowed through their fence and yard before striking a corner of their split level home.

A year later, a pickup truck drove through the fence into the driveway, where it shoved a parked vehicle several feet through the closed garage doors at the other end of the house.

Reynolds said the victim from yesterday’s incident suffered a knee injury.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

VADER WRECK FOLLOW UP

• It’s still unclear what caused the fatal wreck yesterday in Vader that left a 70-year-old driver from Oregon dead. Responders said the car coming down Winlock-Vader Road failed to stop at a stop sign, crossed state Route 506 and crashed into a concrete wall. The name of the man, from Cottage Grove, has not yet been released, as the coroner is still waiting to make positive identification. A 12-year-old cocker spaniel who was with him survived, and was taken to a veterinary hospital. The dog was traveling in a crate, but it was soft sided, according to Lewis County Animal Shelter Manager Amy Hanson. Hanson said unfortunately he has severe spinal injuries, serious enough that even with treatment from a specialist, his quality of life would be extremely poor. “We were able to get in touch with the gentleman’s ex-wife, and she’s not able to provide that care,” she said.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called to a burglary to a home on the 1800 block of Collison Street at about 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An officer was called about 3:50 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at the 2200 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police are investigating.

• Someone stole a purse from a vehicle parked at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police at about 1 p.m. yesterday.

FIRES

• Members of four fire departments responded just after 11 o’clock this morning to a report of a fire in a home on Second and Alder streets in Toledo. Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank said he wasn’t there but it sounded as though it was put under control fairly quickly. It was confined mainly to the laundry room and attic but did extensive damage, Wiltbank said. “There was a lot of property that was saved, they also managed to save three dogs,” he said. An investigator is expected this afternoon.

• Firefighters called about 7 p.m. yesterday to Ninth Street in Chehalis extinguished the flames in a chimney fire. The family will need a new chimney, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

• Firefighters were called about 9 a.m. yesterday to a chimney fire at a house on Pacific Road near state Route 505 in Toledo. There was buildup of creosote, according to Lewis County Fire District 2. It was contained to the chimney.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for protection order violation, misdemeanor theft; complaints of noisy neighbors … and more.

Lewis County deputy resigns, internal DUI investigation ends

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County sheriff’s deputy arrested for drunken driving two weeks ago quit today, rather than continue through the internal process that likely would have ended with him getting fired.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said he was notified this morning Chris Fulton was resigning, effective today.

Fulton 31, was pulled over by a trooper on Jan. 4 just before 1 a.m. for speeding southbound on Interstate 5 through Centralia. He said he’d had a few drinks at the casino and thought he was okay to drive, but found himself in the back of a patrol car even before blowing a blood alcohol content reading of .172.

He was placed on paid administrative leave from his job. He has pleaded not guilty in Lewis County District Court.

Mansfield said the nearly six-year veteran of his office was a top performer and a valued employee, but drinking and driving among his employees is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.

It was just four months earlier when another deputy was arrested for driving under the influence. Deputy Jeffrey S. Humphrey received some serious sanctions, but didn’t lose his job.

Mansfield said the internal review for Fulton was not yet finished, but in looking at the entire situation, the most likely outcome was going to be termination. And Fulton probably realized that, he said.

A significant difference in the two cases was how Fulton appeared to attempt to use his position as a deputy to influence the trooper who stopped him, according to Mansfield.

“If you look at the report, one of the things that stood out was his conversation with the trooper about who he was, there was an indication he was a police officer,” Mansfield said. “That’s substantially different from Humphrey’s case. Humphrey did not do that.”

Mansfield in a news release today attempted to share the philosophy behind the balance he tries to strike regarding his responsibilities to the public and to his employees.

“Your sheriff’s office is committed to serving the public and achieving our mission in a way that promotes trust, is responsible, respectful, fair and caring,” he wrote. “Employees who are unable or unwilling to uphold this commitment cannot work for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.”

In an interview, he spoke of the high priority society has placed – and for good reasons – on keeping impaired drivers off the roads and the procedures he has in place for getting assistance for substance abuse issues to employees who might need it.

Mansfield has admitted from the beginning what an embarrassing position he finds himself in.

“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s sad and tragic for a number of reasons. We’re going to work real hard to make sure the public doesn’t lose trust with us in doing our job.”

There is very high bar for a deputy to be able to continue working for him should they get arrested for something like this, according to Mansfield.

In Humphrey’s case, the sheriff imposed a two-week unpaid suspension, demoted the deputy and tied his continued employment to the conditions imposed by the court.

“A DUI is huge,” Mansfield said. “But if someone is hurt, or you try to use your influence, that’s basically a nail in the coffin.”
•••

For background, read “Report: Off-duty deputy seemed to want favorable treatment during DUI  stop” from Wednesday January 8, 2014, here

News brief: Toledo teen suffers head injury in ATV wreck

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
2014.0121.atvaccdeint.jpg

Medics prepare to transport ATV accident victim on Grimes Road / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 2

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 17-year-old Toledo boy whose ATV lost a tire and flipped several times earlier today has been airlifted to a Seattle trauma center.

Deputies are investigating the incident that occurred about 1:20 p.m. today at the 300 block of Grimes Road near Toledo, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release the teen was traveling on the roadway when a rear tire came off its rim, possibly due to low air pressure.

The young man’s head hit the pavement, according to Brown. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Lewis County Fire District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank said he was knocked out, but conscious when the fire department arrived.

He was flown from the Toledo Airport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Driver dies, dog lives in high-speed Vader wreck

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Updated at 5:48 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 70-year-old Cottage Grove, Ore. man was killed upon impact when his car traveling at a high rate of speed slammed into a concrete wall in Vader this morning.

Deputies and troopers responding about 11:30 a.m. found the vehicle was southbound on Winlock-Vader Road and failed to stop at the stop sign, crossing state Route 506 and hitting the wall in front of a former gas station, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the driver was ejected.

A dog that was with him survived with a possible broken back, and is being treated, according to Brown.

Brown said it’s not yet clear why the collision occurred. Law enforcement officers remain on the scene investigating, she said.

Trooper Will Finn, a spokesperson from the Washington State Patrol, said there were no signs of braking.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office will be attempting to locate next-of-kin, before which the man’s name would not be released.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

VEHICLE THEFT

• A resident at the 600 block of Northwest Center Street in Chehalis called 911 about 8 o’clock on Sunday morning to report his white 1998 Mazda pickup truck was stolen in the night.

• Chehalis police were called about 8:10 a.m. on Sunday to the 400 block of Northeast Adams Avenue in Chehalis where a 1991 blue Ford Ranger pickup had disappeared.

BARN THEFT ARREST

• A 40-year-old Napavine woman has been arrested in connection with an  early December theft of metal from a barn on the 800 block of Jackson Highway South near Toledo. Deputies following up on tips and vehicle information gleaned from a “trail camera” contacted Alicia J.  Gullickson in the Winlock area a week ago and then on Friday booked her into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported today.

ARREST IN ATTEMPTED BREAK-IN

• A 62-year-old Centralia man was arrested early Sunday morning in connection with an incident a week earlier in which he allegedly tried to break through the back door of a home on the 100 block of Union Avenue in Centralia. Deputies responding about 4:30 a.m. on that day were told the resident was in his kitchen when it occurred and yelled, causing the subject to flee, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said he believes the two were neighbors but didn’t know a motive. Billy J. Martin was booked into the Lewis County Jail for malicious mischief, trespass and attempted residential burglary, Snaza said.

SEX CRIME

• A 20-year-old Centralia area resident was arrested on Friday night in connection with alleged incidents two weeks ago regarding a 14-year-old female acquaintance. Jonathon R. Nickols was booked into the Lewis County Jail for five counts of third-degree child rape, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

COLLISIONS

• Deputies were called about 6:30 a.m. today when a log truck struck a horse near milepost nine on Bunker Creek Road west of Centralia. The horse was in the roadway and did not survive,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• An un-named motorist was cited after a van collided with a man in a motorized wheelchair yesterday afternoon in Centralia, an incident that sent the victim to Providence Centralia Hospital. Police and aid were called about 4:10 p.m. to the area on South Washington Avenue at Centralia College Boulevard where the victim had been crossing the street in a crosswalk, according to the Centralia Police Department. The man suffered a significant laceration to his foot and may have a broken ankle as well, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, parking lot hit and run, merchant receiving counterfeit bills; complaints of loud neighbor, barking dog … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

POLICE: TWO BARGE INTO HOME

• Two individuals were arrested after they allegedly forced their way into a Centralia apartment to confront tenants during a dispute last night. Police responding about 11:35 p.m. to the 1000 block of Centralia College Boulevard took into custody Jesse S. Johnson, 25, of Centralia, and Brandon J. Pina, 30, of Toledo, according to the Centralia Police Department. They were booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, according to police.

CONFRONTATION ON TOWER AVENUE LEADS TO ARREST

• A 24-year-old Centralia man is jailed after he allegedly punched two police officers during a struggle as he was being taken into custody at the 300 block of North Tower Avenue on Friday night. Wellington M. Waggener had been told by police not to come back to the business but when he returned a short time later officers responded and when advised he was under arrest, Waggener fought, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was subdued by four officers and a Taser, according to police, and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree burglary.

JEEP STOLEN

• Centralia police responded about 6 o’clock this morning to a report of a stolen vehicle from the 1300 block of Alexander Street. Missing is a silver 2006 Jeep Wrangler with a black soft top, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT OF FUEL

• Someone stole gas from several vehicles parked at the 1000 block of South Gold Street during the night, according to a report made to police on Saturday morning.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called to the 200 block of North Oak Street in Centralia yesterday for an overnight vehicle prowl. Nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LIVESTOCK AT LARGE CITATION

• Numerous complaints of horse getting loose from the 800 block of Yakima Street in Centralia led to a citation on Saturday morning to the 59-year-old owner.

EXPLOSIVE FOUND ON SIDEWALK

• A bomb technician with the Washington State Patrol was called to the area of South Oak and West Plum streets in Centralia yesterday to take possession of a homemade explosive device found on a public sidewalk. Officers responding about 11 a.m. report someone had tried to light it but it failed to detonate.

REWARD FOR INFO ON ATTEMPTED ROBBERY

• Lewis County Crime Stoppers is looking for tips regarding the attempted car jacking in Chehalis late last month behind the library. It was about 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 when a male acting as though he had a firearm confronted a motorist who was sitting in his car looking at his phone at Northeast Washington Avenue. The would-be robber demanded the vehicle but the 22-year-old victim pulled a pistol from his hip and the subject fled. The wanted person is described as a white male, about 5-feet 8-inches tall, with long dark hair and wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans. 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 or information may be shared online at www.lewiscountycrimestoppers.org

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for violation of protection order, misdemeanor theft … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: A news item regarding the incident on North Tower Avenue has been updated to correct the first name of the arrested person and the day it occurred.

News brief: Memorial fund established for Toledo man Alex Oberg

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A donation account has been set up for the family of Toledo resident Alex Oberg, the 63-year-old who lost his life falling trees last week.

Diane Wallace, the longtime business manager of Lewis County Fire District 2, said the numerous phone calls and inquiries about what might be done prompted her to visit Timberland Bank on Friday.

“When something like that happens, such a tragedy, so sudden, in your small town, it helps for people who want to help,” Wallace said. “They just want to do something.”

And, it will help with any expenses that arise with the loss of the long time community member, according to Wallace.

Oberg was working alone on Thursday cutting timber for a property owner on the 200 block of Maw Road when a tree fell on him. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said he was employing a “domino” tree falling technique in which saw cuts had been made to multiple trees.

As expected, the Lewis County coroner concluded it was an accident. Oberg died from multiple internal injuries due to blunt impact to his head and chest, Coroner Warren McLeod said on Saturday.

Donations can be made to the “Alex Oberg Memorial Fund” at any Timberland Bank branch, or may be mailed to Timberland Bank, PO Box 245, Toledo, Wash., 98591.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

MAN INJURED IN CENTRALIA TRAILER FIRE

• A man using a heat gun for warmth in a travel trailer is hospitalized after he woke up to fire this morning in Centralia. Firefighters responding about 7:20 a.m. to the blaze in the 400 block of Madison Street found the approximately 16-foot trailer fully engulfed in flames and threatening an adjacent two-story house, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The individual is very fortunate he made it out, Assistant Chief Rick Mack said. He had fallen back asleep but woke up to thick, black, choking smoke and flames, according to Mack. The victim managed to exit the trailer, but sustained minor burns on his hands and his head, Mack said. He was transported by aid to Providence Centralia Hospital. “He also inhaled quite a bit of smoke so he’ll be in there till they can ascertain the extent of his injuries,” he said. The trailer was destroyed and the house sustained damage to its exterior side, according to Riverside. The loss is estimated at $14,000. Mack said the heat gun was a hand held device typically used in construction.  He said he believed the victim was in his 30s or 40s.

ASSAULT

• A 44-year-old Centralia man was arrested this morning for second-degree assault for allegedly striking an individual in the head with a metal object. Officers responding about 7:30 a.m. to the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue booked Glenn D. Williams into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police began looking for a 28-year-old Tumwater man following an assault reported about 12:20 p.m. yesterday at the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Adam P. Chapman is wanted for second-degree assault in connection with an incident involving his brother, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRAIN HOPPING

• A 46-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested about 11 a.m. yesterday for criminal trespass after allegedly climbing onto a train while it was stopped near East Maple Street in Centralia. Apolicarpio Mares-Maldujano was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting … and more.

Rochester cold case homicide warms up

Friday, January 17th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

New information has surfaced in the unsolved death of a 37-year-old Thurston County woman whose nude body was discovered alongside a Rochester road seven years ago, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Karen L. Bodine died of homicidal violence and it is believed she may have fallen victim because of her association with people in the drug sub-culture, according to the sheriff’s office.

She was found the morning of Jan. 22, 2007 at a gravel pit adjacent to Littlerock Road Southwest.

While early on, it appeared there were people with knowledge about Bodine’s death, the trail quickly went cold, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said in a news release this morning.

Recently however, new information has come up that leads investigators to think the trail is once again hot, according to Elwin.

All aspect of the evidence are being reviewed, and interviews will be re-conducted.

“(D)etectives continue to work this case and hope the passage of time will help those with knowledge of this horrendous crime come forward,” Elwin stated.

Anyone with information about her death, as well as the days leading up to it, is asked to call the sheriff’s office.

Detective Cameron Simper can be reached by phone at 360-754-3343 or by email at simperc@co.thurston.wa.us. TCSO Investigative Services can be reached by email at detectives@co.thurston.wa.us or through Facebook. Tipsters can also contact Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or at http://www.crimebusters.org

Toledo man killed in logging incident

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Updated at 12:09 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 63-year-old Toledo man is dead after a logging accident yesterday afternoon about four miles east of Toledo.

It appeared he was working alone when a tree fell on him, according to Lewis County Fire District 2.

“My understanding is the deceased was overdue and a relative or relatives went to the job site and found him,” Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it occurred between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. yesterday in a wooded area at the 200 block of Maw Road. Firefighters, medics and deputies responded to the call at 5 p.m.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office identifies him as Alex Oberg.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Rob Snaza said it appeared the victim was employing a “domino” tree falling technique in which saw cuts were made to multiple trees in order to create a cascade of falling trees.

Wind gusts may have caused some to fall while he was cutting others, Snaza said.

The state Department of Labor and Industries and the coroner’s office are conducting investigations, according to Snaza.

Coroner Warren McLeod said an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, but there is no reason to think it was anything other than an accident.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Updated at 6:50 p.m.

BREAK-IN NEAR NAPAVINE

• An individual who was gone from their home on the 100 block of Vernon Road northwest of Napavine for just an hour last night returned to find someone had stolen four firearms and a dozen bottles of prescription medicine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It occurred between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Missing are an Olympic Arms AR15, an Interarms 243, a Ruger 10/22 rifle and a a Rossi 20/22 “over-under”, according to the sheriff’s office.

STOLEN CAR

• Someone stole a red 1991 Toyota Corolla from where it was parked at the 600 block of Meskill Road west of Chehalis sometime between 2 o’clock yesterday morning and noon,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has a license plate of 097 YTY, according to the sheriff’s office.

BEWARE OF CALLER WHO WANTS TO FIX YOUR COMPUTER

• Centralia police responded to a call from the 600 block of Scott Drive in which the resident was receiving phone calls from someone with a heavy foreign accent who claimed they could fix a windows-based problem on the individual’s computer. An officer advised it would have been a scam in which the caller was attempting to gain personal information, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Stacy Denham said one of the things officers recommend is for a person to make an attempt to independently verify the incoming phone number, and they will likely find it is not legitimate.

DRUGS

• A 39-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after suspected drugs were located in a motel room with him overnight, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers were looking for someone else when they went to the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue around 2 o’clock this morning, according to police. Travis J. Holman was booked into the lewis County Jail, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. Also arrested and booked for possession of meth was Sean D. Cheever, Denham said.

• A former Lewis County man was arrested yesterday at the AM/PM store in Centralia for allegedly selling a quarter ounce of methamphetamine. Eugene L. Kolb, 40, Bremerton, was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of delivery of methamphetamine in connection with an alleged deal conducted in the parking lot at Safeway last month. At his bail hearing this afternoon, defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge the information Kolb related about his financial situation may be an illusion, as he suffered a brain injury in Iraq. His income consists of veteran’s disability payments, and as part of that, his work at IMF Bangor at Bremerton, according to Schroeter. Kolb said he earned $5,000 per month, but Schroeter thought he likely actually qualified for a court appointed attorney. Kolb has lived in Bremerton for five years, but went to high school locally and has family in Mossyrock and Morton, Schroeter said. He was released pending trial on a $10,000 unsecured bond, co-signed by a friend. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 30. His girlfriend Lisa M. Balkwill, 44, Tacoma, was charged with delivery and possession, as, according to charging documents, she was with Kolb in the Safeway parking lot and then yesterday when she was arrested, police found a small amount of methamphetamine. Her bail was set at $5,000.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Police took a report just before 8 a.m. today of a car prowl at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia. It occurred sometime during the past two days, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE VERSUS BICYCLE

• A man on a bicycle and a van collided about 6:15 p.m. yesterday on the 2000 block of Jackson Highway in Chehalis. The victim, in his mid-40s and from Chehalis, ended up with a small abrasion on his head and leg pain, according to police. He had been traveling northbound on the west side of the roadway when the van turned into a church parking lot, police said.

TUMBLING PICKUP LANDS ON FUEL TANKER

• A 19-year-old Oakville resident escaped injury along U.S. Highway 12 near Aberdeen today when his brakes failed, he swerved and struck a curb causing his pickup to roll, landing between a semi tanker and its tanker trailer. It happened about 1 p.m. four miles east of town at Solki Road, in the parking lot of a 7-11, according to the Washington State Patrol. Neither Wyatt R. Carter, 19, from Oakville, nor the truck driver, William C. Watkins, 47, of Gig Harbor, were hurt, the state patrol reports. Trooper Russ Winger says the tanker was for fuel, and its driver was just finishing paperwork. The investigating trooper reports Carter was eastbound with traffic slowing in front of him when he couldn’t stop because of the defective brakes; his 1992 Ford Ranger landed wheels down.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, minor collision on city street, noisy neighbor music … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Updated at 5:51 p.m.

BURGLARY

• An individual who left their Centralia home for about 20 minutes yesterday returned to discover someone had broken in and stolen jewelry. An officer was called to the residence on the 2700 block of Eureka Avenue at about 3 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police responded yesterday about 3 p.m. to a possible burglary at an apartment on Southeast Washington Avenue but nothing appeared to be missing. A door may have been left unlocked, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FIST FIGHT

• A Chehalis police officer took a report at Green Hill School for boys yesterday regarding a fist fight between a pair of student-inmates in which an employee trying to break it up ended up getting hit. An 18-year-old is in trouble for punching a 17-year, who is in trouble for punching the staff member in the face, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 1:15 p.m. yesterday to a parking lot at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia when an individual found someone had taken a purse from an unlocked vehicle. They didn’t actually observe him take it, but a possible suspect is a male in his mid-20s wearing a green hoody who had been standing near the vehicle and then took off southbound, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police responding yesterday to a vehicle prowl at the 800 block of Southwest 21st Street in Chehalis learned someone stole power tools from the back of a pickup truck sometime between 10 p.m. the night before and 8 o’clock that morning, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The loss is about $1,500, according to police.

DISORDERLINESS

• A 42-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday after he was contacted walking up the middle of Maple Street apparently intoxicated and refused to talk with an arriving officer. Police Sgt. Stacy Denham said Paul L. Ramirez was heading towards Tower Avenue. “Not on the side, or on the shoulder, but right down the centerline,” Denham said. Ramirez was belligerent and wouldn’t identify himself so he  was booked into the Lewis County Jail for obstruction, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police are investigating the possession of a small amount of suspected marijuana by a 14-year-old student at Chehalis Middle School, following a call yesterday afternoon.

COLLISIONS

• A 64-year-old driver escaped injury when he swerved to miss a herd of elk last night in Packwood and slammed into a tree. A deputy called about 10:30 p.m. to mile marker one on  Cannon Road noted major front end damage to the man’s 2014 Honda Pilot, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• The roadway was closed only briefly on U.S. Highway 12 east of Rochester yesterday after a log truck driver apparently lost consciousness and his loaded vehicle left the roadway, rolling onto its side. Aid responding to the approximately 12:10 p.m. accident near Hilt Street extricated the 57-year-old man from Randle and transported him to Providence St. Peter Hospital as a precautionary measure, according to responders. “We’re just very thankful he went to the right and not to the left into the oncoming lane,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill said. The truck hit a guard rail and ran into the embankment for the railroad tracks and trees, leaving it with substantial damage, Gill said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor  assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, suspicious circumstances, minor collision on city street, rear-end collision on county road, parking lot hit and run … and more.

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U.S. Highway 12 near Hilt Street in Rochester. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol Trooper

Sheriff’s Office Association joins Onalaska woman to help feed children

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – There are hungry kids in Onalaska.

Tawyna White, one of the four “lunch ladies” at the rural school district who has helped cook and serve meals since 2005 sees it and has been contemplating for the past couple of years what to do.

“When kids eat lunch or breakfast, sometimes they come up and tell me they’re still hungry,” White said. “So I wonder, if they’re getting hungry when they’re getting food here, are they hungry on the weekend?”

The school district southwest of Chehalis teaches somewhere around 750 children, and two-thirds of them reside in households whose financial situations qualify them for free or reduced price lunches, according to White.

Part of White’s job involves processing those applications and the need seems to be growing, she said.

Onalaska has its share of “homeless” families, a descriptor that includes those who reside with relatives, non relatives or maybe even in just a travel trailer, but it’s not only them, White said.

“A lot of families are just struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “It seems to be especially since the recession; it hasn’t gotten any better for out here yet.”

Even with food stamps and a local food bank some children don’t get enough to eat, she said.

The idea White has been considering, is something already done at an elementary school in Centralia and also in Longview, she said.

It’s a way to help make sure needy students don’t go hungry on weekends.

It’s called the backpack snack program and the way it works is each qualifying child will receive a backpack filled with snacks and food to take home each Friday and  then on Monday, they would return it to the school again to be replenished at the end of the week.

The program is starting now, with whatever donations of new or used-but-in-very-good-condition backpacks and non-perishable food items the community can give.

“I just decided before Christmas break, I’m going to get it going now,” White said.

They’re not yet set up to accept cash donations. And they can’t take fresh fruits or vegetables or anything that is perishable because there is no place to store it, she said.

Her ultimate goal is to send food home with everybody that needs it, she said. She estimates that’s between 200 and 300 youngsters. “But that’s just a dream right now.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Association learned of White’s plan last week. Yesterday, they put up a collection box at the sheriff’s office in Chehalis.

Items can be brought there, or to the Pizza Girl on state Route 508, or to the Onalaska Elementary-Middle school office between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The following is a list of what they could use. They don’t need to actually be name brand goods:

• Back packs, new or in very good condition
• Chicken Top Ramen
• Beef Top Ramen
• Quaker Instant Oatmeal
• Carnation Instant Breakfast drink mix
• Nutri-grain Breakfast bars
• Instant Mac ‘n Cheese
• Quaker Chewy granola bars
• Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit leather strip
• Tree Top fruit chews
• Del Monte fruit cup
• Annie’s Homegrown cracker / cookie
• Austin’s Cracker (peanut butter / cheese)
• Capri Sun Juice
• Canned soup
• Any other non-perishable nutritious items that a child would enjoy

•••

CORRECTION: This news item has been updated to reflect the correct name of the Pizza Girl.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

DOMESTIC INCIDENT

• A 32-year-old Toledo man was arrested yesterday after a deputy responding to a dispute learned the argument came about because he allegedly had put some prescription medication into his wife’s drink earlier. It was an anti-anxiety medication, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The couple had been drinking, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Following the approximately 4:30 p.m. call to the 800 block of Spencer Road, the man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for delivery of a controlled substance, according to Snaza. The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office however, declined to file the felony charge and he is scheduled to be released.

MISSING VEHICLE FOUND

• A vehicle stolen from Lakewood turned up at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning, according to the Centralia Police Department. It was returned to its owner, according to police.

BOWS STOLEN

• A deputy responded about 10:30 a.m. yesterday to a report of a burglary to a shop building at the 100 block of Allman Road near Winlock. The 49-year-old victim said someone got inside and stole two compound bows, one a Matthews brand and the other a Reflex brand, sometime since 4:30 a.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $700, according to the sheriff’s office.

“PUBLIC ASSIST”

• Chehalis police responded about 11:35 a.m. yesterday to a convenience store on the 600 block of West Main Street about a woman drinking beer in the parking lot. It was the fifth call during the shift about the individual who has been hallucinating and not making any sense, according to police. The 41-year-old woman from Olympia had previously declined an offer to be taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation but this time she was told she could go voluntarily or the officer could make her go, police said. She agreed and was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, Officer Linda Bailey said.

COLLISION

• A 25-year-old Winlock resident was booked into the Lewis County Jail last night for driving under the influence after she wrecked her car along the 600 block of Shorey Road outside Chehalis. A deputy learned that about 5 p.m., a Chevrolet Lumina had traveled from Wal-Mart, along Louisiana Avenue toward Newaukum Drive and at one point drove through a yard and at another point nearly struck vehicle head on, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Carly Ridley’s car was described as totaled after it went off the road, and she sustained minor cuts to her head, according to the sheriff’s office. She was treated at Providence Centralia and then taken to the jail, Sg. Rob Snaza said.

CHEHALIS OVERPASS REPAIRS WILL CLOSE NORTHBOUND I-5 AGAIN

• Nighttime drivers will encounter a third and final full closure of northbound Interstate 5 at 13th Street in Chehalis on Friday, as crews return to remove concrete forms and complete touchup work on the damaged overpass. The repair work follows a Dec. 31 incident in which part of an oversized load struck the bridge where it crosses over the freeway. Drivers will be re-routed using the on and off ramps between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, possibly misdemeanor theft, possible violation of protection order, collision on city street, car into a ditch on a county road … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

ADULT SON SUSPECTED OF DIPPING INTO BANK ACCOUNT

• A 51-year-old Morton resident was arrested for allegedly taking more than $8,000 from his father’s bank account. Police last week investigating the case involving the forgery of checks and Sterling Savings Bank in Morton on Friday booked Darryl D. DeVore into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree theft, according to the Morton Police Department.

ARGUMENT BETWEEN NEIGHBORS GETS UGLY

• A 28-year-old man is jailed after a fight which reportedly began when he showed up to the alley behind his Centralia neighbor’s house holding a knife and yelling for an acquaintance to come out. When the female’s boyfriend confronted Anthony E. F. Spencer, Spencer allegedly advanced toward him and was punched in the face, according to charging documents.  Police responding about 11:20 p.m. on Friday to the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue arrested Spencer for second-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance and booked him into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Eighteen Oxycodone pills were found in his pants pocket, charging documents state. He was charged today with those two offenses and bail was set at $25,000.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY

• A Centralia resident called 911 about 4:30 a.m. yesterday after hearing someone trying to break through his back door. Deputies responding to the 100 block of Union Avenue learned the 57-year-old was in his kitchen and yelled, prompting the subject to flee, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement checked the area but didn’t find anyone, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

HOT WHEELS

• Chehalis police responding about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday to the 1400 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis where a passenger in a car said he took the keys because the driver was driving crazy ended up arresting the driver for possession of a stolen vehicle. Curtis L. Pappan, 42, from Moclips, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The vehicle had been reported stolen from Aberdeen, police said. A search of the car turned up items such as green leafy material, drug paraphernalia and pills in side a case, Officer Linda Bailey said.

NOT HOT WHEELS

• Centralia police were called about 10:30 p.m. on Friday regarding a 2006 Honda Civic hybrid car stolen from the 1800 block of North Pearl Street, However, by morning, officers learned an apartment manager there had the car impounded and towed away, according to the Centralia Police Department.

‘I HEARD AN EXPLOSION IN CHEHALIS’

• The sound of an explosion in Chehalis on Saturday night brought police to the area of Southwest Salsbury Avenue and 22nd Street where a melted plastic Pepsi bottle was collected for examination. It happened about 11 p.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BURGLARY NEAR PE ELL

• A deputy was called yesterday to a residential burglary at the 100 block of Mauerman Road North west of Chehalis in which binoculars, cameras and fishing gear were among the valuables stolen. It happened sometime during the previous week, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at more than $800, according to the sheriff’s office.

BURGLARY NEAR CHEHALIS

• A deputy responded about 11 a.m. on Saturday to the 100 block of Terra Bonita Drive outside Chehalis following the discovery of a residential burglary in which approximately $2,000 worth of valuables were stolen. Among the items taken sometime after 1 o’clock that morning were a smoker, a Blu-ray system and several knives, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BURGLARY NEAR ROCHESTER

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that several toy cannons were taken from a shop building at the 1200 block of Lincoln Creek Road west of Centralia sometime between Wednesday and Friday. The loss is listed at about $1,000, according to the sheriff’ office.

BURGLARY NEAR CHEHALIS

• Sometime between Friday and Saturday, someone entered a detached shop at the 1600 block of Rice Road in Chehalis and removed a radiator belonging to a 1972 Chevrolet Blazer, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR STOLEN FIREARMS

• Centralia police reported yesterday that a 16-year-old boy was arrested during an investigation into two stolen pistols that began late Friday night at the 1100 block of Long Road in Centralia. The teen relative of the victim was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for first-degree burglary and theft of a firearm, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 27-year-old Centralia resident was arrested about 9 a.m. on Friday at the 500 block of Hunt Street in Centralia for possession of heroin and methamphetamine. Christian D. Brown, who was also wanted for numerous warrants, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. A 17-year-old boy who was with Christian was also arrested for a warrant, according to police. The investigation was still continuing, police reported on Saturday.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police took a report on Friday afternoon from the 800 block of Northwest Hood Place regarding the discovery of the driver’s side window broken out of a pickup parked in a carport.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE: SEX CRIME

• A former Adna area resident was brought before a judge today to face allegations he molested a younger relative when they lived together following the December 2007 flood. Edward J. Guenther, now 23, was extradited from Virginia where he is is serving in the U.S. Navy. The girl, now 14 who has moved away, described instances in which Guenther fondled her and once raped her, according to charging documents. Guenther who was jailed on Friday is on indefinite leave from the service, defense attorney Bob Schroeter told a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. The girl told a detective it began when he was 17 and she was 9 and occurred over a two-year period, according to charging documents. Charges were filed in December of one count of first-degree child molestation and one count of first-degree child rape. His bail was set at $50,000. Guenther’s arraignment was set for Thursday.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault, violation of protection order; responses for alarms, disorderly person, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, minor collision on city street, parking lot hit and run, something spray painted on a bus stop shelter, stolen BMX bicycle, found BMX bicycle … and more.

DWLS 3rd: Lewis County man loses at state Supreme Court

Sunday, January 12th, 2014
2014.0112.2013.march.tvw.johnson.supremecourt

The Washington State Supreme Court listens to oral arguments in March in the case of Stephen C. Johnson. / Courtesy image from TVW

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County case which could have eliminated an enormous part of the state’s system of driver’s license suspension has ended without that result.

In a five to four decision, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a Lewis County man’s conviction for driving while license suspended in the third degree.

The court declined to address Stephen C. Johnson’s attorneys’ claim of “driving while poor” concluding Johnson wasn’t poor enough in the right way to have standing to make the challenge.

However, the nine justices did decide Johnson was poor enough he should have been entitled to appointed counsel for his appeal. The case was remanded to Lewis County District Court to address that issue.

The case was argued to the Supreme Court last March by Olympia attorney Kevin Hochhalter and Lewis County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Shane O’Rourke. It’s opinion was issued on Thursday.

Johnson appealed the conviction on two grounds, first, his attorneys argued the DWLS 3rd statute did not actually forbid his continued driving, in his particular case, after he contested and lost his 2007 civil infraction for driving with an expired license.

He was fined $260, he did not pay and the court notified the state Department of Licensing he failed to pay, so they suspended his license. His arrest for DWLS 3rd – a criminal misdemeanor – came in September 2008 when a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy spotted his truck driving without a rear bumper or mud flaps and pulled him over.

Johnson contended that because the notice of infraction did not expressly require him to pay a fine, he had not violated its terms. The majority of the court disagreed with him.

In a nine-page dissent authored by Justice Charles K. Wiggins, he and the remaining members of the court however, sided with Johnson’s lawyers on that point.

On the second aspect of Johnson’s appeal, his lawyers argued that because he is indigent, the suspension was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment to to the United States Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.

But that argument, that the state or the court should have but didn’t inquire about his ability to pay the $260 infraction –  before sending off notice to DOL  – simply did not get examined by the Supreme Court.

The Lewis County man may be poor, but he had assets, according to the court.

In the record was his testimony he had no income and had not worked for 30 years, but owned a $300,000 home free and clear.

The court said Johnson could have borrowed money to pay the original traffic fine.

Since he didn’t meet the necessary definition for indigence, the full court agreed, he didn’t have standing to challenge the suspension on that basis.

Finally, however, for the purposes of qualifying for a court-appointed lawyer for his appeal, Johnson should have been found indigent, the court said.

Under Washington state statute he met its requirements in that he received state aid in the form of food stamps and energy assistance, the court wrote.

The Supreme Court ordered Lewis County District Court to enter an order designating Johnson indigent, or indigent and able to contribute, and if the latter, then determine the costs he should bear for his appeal.
•••

For background, read the decision here.

Watch and listen to appeals attorney Kevin Hochhalter and Lewis County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Shane O’Rourke address the court in March, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

CHEHALIS BURGLARY SUSPECT FOUND IN CENTRALIA

• A 26-year-old Chehalis man was arrested yesterday evening not long after a burglary on the 1900 block of South Schueber Road outside Chehalis. The 72-year-old resident discovered the break-in about 4 p.m. and found that someone had not only stolen jewelry, a laptop computer and a drill, but her 2003 Ford F150 pickup was gone, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. While deputies were investigating, a family member spotted the vehicle parked in a driveway on the 1800 block of Military Road in Centralia, according to the sheriff’s office. Arriving law enforcement officers asked who it belonged to and someone pointed out Brandon D. Woody, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Woody was booked into the Lewis County Jail and subsequently charged with theft of a motor vehicle and residential burglary. The items were all recovered, Snaza said. Bail was set at $25,000 for the unemployed former Kelso resident pending trial.

NO PRIZE FOR CENTRALIA RESIDENT

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from the 2400 block of Leisure Lane regarding an individual who was tricked into sending money – supposedly for the taxes – to claim a car they were told they won. It started with a phone call to the victim, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SHOPLIFT TURNS INTO FELONY

• A pair of 43-year-olds from Winlock were arrested at Wal-Mart last night after they allegedly took a Rug Doctor from the store, put it in a cart and presented it to customer service for a refund. An officer called about 7:25 p.m. to the retailer on the 1600 block of Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis learned the couple was given a gift card, instead of cash, and booked Tamrick A. Torres and Donna L. Volk into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful factoring of a transaction, a class C felony, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The amount is listed at $398. They were each charged with the same offense and released on $5,000 signature bonds pending trial.

SEX CRIME

• A local contractor who bought The Curtis Store after the devastating flood of 2007 was arrested yesterday for an alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Benjamin E. Hearn, 35, was arrested after an investigation that began on Tuesday about alleged events that began in 2012, according to charges filed today in Lewis County Superior Court. He is charged with third-degree rape of a child, a class C felony. When he went before a judge this afternoon, his bail was set at a $25,000 signature bond co-signed by a relative. Judge Richard Brosey forbade Hearn to do any “Facebooking” about the alleged victim, and said if he sees any denigrating of her by anyone in Hearn’s family, Hearn may find himself back in custody. His arraignment was set for Jan. 23.

COLLISION

• A pedestrian was struck by the front passenger corner of a pickup truck turning left onto South Market Boulevard in Chehalis yesterday evening when she stepped off the curb to cross the street. Police and aid called to the scene at Sixth Street about 5:45 p.m. said it was dark and the driver didn’t see her. The 56-year-old Chehalis woman was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and then transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for a brain contusion, according to responders. It was a fairly low speed impact, according to the fire department. The 31-year-old driver from Chehalis had a green light and she had “walk” signal, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was cited, police said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, non-injury collisions … and more.

News brief: “Juicy” storm moving in

Friday, January 10th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Heavy snow on mountain highways and windy conditions are expected tomorrow in the east end while a flood watch has been expanded to include Lewis County.

“This storm is looking a little more juicy today than yesterday,” forecasters at the National Weather Service say.

Up to a foot of snow is likely in the Cascade Mountains, with another foot likely tomorrow night, according to the weather service.

The winter storm warning was issued just after 10 a.m. today.

A flood watch issued about an hour later is in effect from late tonight through tomorrow night, to include portions of Western Washington such as Lewis, Grays Harbor, Clallam and Jefferson counties.

A period of heavy rainfall may cause rapid rising on more flood prone rivers, according to forecasters.

The storm managed to pick up some moisture from the tropics.

A wind advisory has also been put into place for the swath of Western Washington that is the Interstate 5 corridor, with gusts up to 45 mph tonight that could cause tree limbs to fall and isolated power outages, according to the weather service.

•••

Monitor the changing conditions by clicking on the links always on the right-hand sidebar of the page, “Weather alerts, forecasts” and also “River levels”