Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

CAR CRASH IN CENTRALIA

• Two drivers were taken to the hospital with what were described as minor injures after a collision about 10:15 this morning at Alder and Mellen streets in Centralia, according to responders. The male victim thought his arm might be broken, according to the Centralia Police Department. It was not quite a head-on crash, and could have been much more serious, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

UNRULY MOTEL GUESTS

• A 20-year-old woman was arrested for obstruction when police went to the Motel 6 in Centralia yesterday to investigate a call about a fight in one of the rooms. Officers called just before 1:30 p.m. to the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue attempted to detain the woman as they sorted out the situation and when she was asked to put her hands behind her back, she decided she wasn’t going to be cuffed, police Sgt. Carl Buster said. Police said she became combative. She and the man in the room denied there was a dispute, Buster said. The couple was made to leave and subsequently a small container with both suspected heroin and methamphetamine inside as found in the room, Buster said. Chelsea R. Hensley, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

PSSSSSST

• Firefighters called to a house on South Silver Street in Centralia about smoke coming from a wall in the bathroom yesterday afternoon found it was just a little boy that peed on a wall heater. It caused a little short, Riverside Fire Authority Firefighter Rick LeBoef said.

Another Winlock-area home lost to fire

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A couple who live next to the grange on North Military Road in Winlock lost their home to a fire last night.

It was the second time in less than three days that mobile homes were destroyed by flames in south Lewis County.

Firefighters called at 8:15 p.m. to the 600 block of North Military Road near Sargent Road found smoke and flames coming from some of the vents on the roof, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

Nobody was home at the time and no one was injured, according to District 15 Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson.

While approximately 40 firefighters responded from Winlock and surrounding districts, the double-wide mobile home and its contents were a total loss, Anderson said.

It appeared it may have originated with a malfunctioning dishwasher, according to Anderson.

Mutual aid agreements in place with Winlock, Toledo, Napavine and Vader-Ryderwood mean crews from the volunteer departments join in answering calls to anywhere in the region.

It’s been a busy five days in the south end, Anderson said.

“I have never seen this many fires clustered around the calendar as long as I’ve been around here,” he said.

The causes have varied.

Monday’s mobile home fire on South Military Road north of Vader seemed to have started in an electrical panel.

Yesterday morning, the occupants of an apartment above a garage near state Route 505 and Jackson Highway in Toledo lost their home when a fire spread from a fifth-wheel trailer.

On Saturday morning, a two-story A-frame on Spencer Road outside Toledo lost part of its roof apparently due to a wood stove pipe issue. And then very early Sunday morning, crews responded to a trash can fire inside a bathroom of a mobile home on Grimes Road east of Toledo.

Having three households lose all their earthly possessions has kicked into high gear a group Vader firefighter Ruth Crear launched last fall.

It’s called Friends Helping Friends of Lewis County and can be found on Facebook.

The mother of four, who is also the assistant fire chief for Cowlitz-Lewis Fire District 20, created the group with the idea that during these hard economic times, folks could ask for what they needed or offer what they can give.

Postings just today include such requests as a TV tray for a woman who can’t easily hold her Bible at church to a microwave to replace on that’s making weird noises.

One person wants to give away a $9 coupon for baby formula and another is looking for a good home for a dog.

In just a few months, the group has grown to 943 members, according to Crear.

She’s delivered carloads of donated food and just this week, a van was purchased with more than $4,000 in donations that came in for a woman who needs transportation for her child who uses a wheelchair.

Crear says its been amazing to see the outpouring of folks around here.

“We have a lot of good caring people in Lewis County,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

She and her oldest daughter have created a second group for Cowlitz County now as well.

Friends Helping Friends today announced it was donated space in south Chehalis for all the donations coming for the three families who have lost their homes since the beginning of the week.

“I suggested we gather donations and put everything in one spot,” Crear said.

The place is Safe Family Ministries on Jackson Highway.

Items can be dropped off or Crear can find people to pick them up, she said.

The needs? Crear said everything from clothing and toothbrushes on up.

The woman on South Military Road walked away from her burning home with nothing, except a firefighter found her debit card, she said.

“The one girl (in Toledo) was due in March and she lost all her baby stuff,” Crear said.

•••

Update: See the video about Friends Helping Friends of Lewis County from King5.com posted on Thursday February 9, 2012 at 5:57 p.m., here

News brief: East wind set conditions for fires in East End

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters were hoppin’ around Randle and Glenoma yesterday as blazes ignited near Lake Scanewa, along U.S. Highway 12 and in brush off Bowen Road near a county shop.

No injuries were reported, but a battle that began just after 11 a.m. continued until long after dinner time.

A large piece of logging equipment was destroyed by fire off Falls Road southwest of Randle in the morning and some four acres of brush burned last night, according to Lewis County Fire District 14 Chief Jeff Jaques. He couldn’t say for sure how large the last fire was, he said.

“It’s hard to gauge in the dark,” Jaques said.

In between, at a little after 1 p.m., crews were called to the 8600 block of U.S. Highway 1 in Glenoma.

There, a shed fire spread to close to two acres, according to Jaques.

A car was also burned and flames nearly got to an unoccupied mobile home on the property, Fire Investigator Jay Birley said.

He doesn’t know what what sparked the Glenoma fire, Birley said late this afternoon.

Jaques said they put out a grass fire on Monday and another on Saturday, as well.

“We’ve had like a week of a steady east wind blowing, which dries the finer grasses,” he said.

It’s not unheard of for brush fires to pop up this time of year, according to the chief.

The largest wildfire in the area he can recall over the years actually happened during the month of February, he said. That was 41 acres.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

HISSY FIT AT WAL-MART LANDS DAD IN JAIL

• Police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart yesterday after a 26-year-old man allegedly shoved his wife, broke a mirror off a nearby car and chucked it, striking their 3-year-old daughter. “He was upset for some reason,” Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The injuries to the little girl were very, very minor, but Antonio R. Pagano was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, and referred for possible other charges such as fourth-degree assault and malicious mischief, according to Wilson.

THREE ESCAPE ROLLOVER WRECK

• Two teenage girls and a 20-year-old Morton man were injured in a car accident in which their vehicle rolled three or more times late last night on the Champion Haul Road at milepost three near Glenoma, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy contacted the trio just after midnight at a residence on Glenoma Road and learned they suffered injuries such as lacerations, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civl Deputy Stacy Brown said she she did not know how they got from the scene to the residence, but the 17-year-old unlicensed female driver was cited for reckless driving. The 2005 Ford Escort was totaled, Brown said.

SCHOOL MARKED WITH GANG TAG

• Somebody left “gang-style” graffiti on an outside door at Centralia Middle School, according to the Centralia Police Department. An officer yesterday wrote in a report that “13″ and “sur” were found etched onto the door.

PERSONNEL CUTS SHRINK MORTON PD

• Budgetary constraints have prompted layoffs at the Morton Police Department. Chief Dan Mortensen said he had to let go one of his two paid police officers and his police clerk. The changes took effect last Wednesday, Mortensen said.

INTRUDER MADE HIMSELF COZY

• Police found fingerprints and possible DNA evidence left inside a Mossyrock thrift store after a discovery someone broke in and spent the night while it was closed for three days. The intruder took a shower and created a makeshift bed, but then took clothing, knives and about $15 cash when they departed, according to Chief Jeremy Stamper. The burglary at the 100 block of Williams Street was discovered last Thursday morning, Stamper said. He also has a “person of of interest”, Stamper said.

News brief: Fires strike Toledo, Glenoma

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An investigator was on the scene this morning after a fire took out a residence in Toledo.

It happened on the 100 block of Roberts Lane behind the softball fields, according to Lewis County Fire District 2.

Fire Capt. Tracy Summers said crews were called just before 5 a.m. when a fifth-wheel trailer was burning and spread to a garage with an apartment above it.

The occupants were unhurt, but the building sustained heavy heat and smoke damage; it and the trailer were a total loss, Summers said.

Another fire investigator went out to the Glenoma area to examine a reported structure fire from yesterday. Further details were not readily available.

Laura Hickey pleads guilty to killing her premature infant

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – There won’t be a trial for Laura Lynn Hickey, accused of killing her premature newborn in her Centralia trailer home last spring. She pleaded guilty today.

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Laura Lynn Hickey

Hickey, now 25, was about halfway through her pregnancy, according to prosecutors who said she used a serrated knife to cut off the infant’s head as it was trying to take a breath after she unexpectedly delivered it into a toilet.

She said she didn’t think it was going to live and she didn’t want it to suffer, according to charging documents.

Hickey has been jailed since March.

She pleaded guilty this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court to second-degree murder.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said, yes and no as to whether it was a plea agreement.

“I agreed to amend the charges down, (but) I reserved recommendation about the sentence,” Meyer said.

Defense attorney Ken Johnson said his client’s reasoning was, it seemed to be the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.

“I guess my thinking is, this would have been a likely outcome if we went to trial,” Johnson said.

Her trial was set for the end of this month.

Charging documents indicate an emergency room doctor estimated Hickey was about 21 weeks along in her pregnancy when he examined her after what she initially said was a miscarriage.

The infant weighed less than a pound and was less than 10-inches long, according to Meyer who shared the numbers in grams and centimeters.

Attorney Johnson had an expert who would have testified the premature baby would not likely have survived.

Prosecutors initially charged Hickey with first-degree murder, but the agreement the lawyers reached left her pleading guilty to second-degree murder with an aggravating factor of the victim being being particularly vulnerable.

That means a judge will be able to – if he chooses – go above the standard sentence called for in second-degree murder.

The plea also included a deadly weapon enhancement, providing for a mandatory extra two years in prison.

The maximum possible penalty is life behind bars.

Meyer said this afternoon he has not decided how much time he will recommend Hickey spend in prison.

He called it a case where justice will be served, as both murder one and murder two are class A felonies and he’s free to recommend any length of sentence he wants.

Johnson said he will ask for as low a sentence possible given the circumstances.

Although his client was found competent by state mental health doctors to stand trial, another expert would have testified her mental state was substantially diminished, for a number of reasons, according to Johnson.

“In other words, she could not think very clearly,” Johnson said. “It was a horrendous situation, she was in shock,” he said. “She passed out at one point, losing blood. It was a nightmare”

“She feels very bad about what happened,” he said. “She made that very clear on the record today,” he said.

It was early on the morning of March 2; neighbors had called 911 after hearing calls for help coming from Hickey’s home at the Peppertree Motor Inn and RV Park on Alder Street, she was taken to the hospital and then police found the deceased male baby in a Tupperware container under the kitchen sink.

She reportedly told police she used methamphetamine two days before the incident and had been awake since then. The state had previously taken three of her children out of her home.

Hickey’s step-father puts the blame directly on her drug use.

“The girl was not in her right mind, drugs took over her life,” Donald Burgess Sr. said. “It’s a bad thing that happened here. It’s torn the family apart.”

Burgess said he’s spoken to his daughter as she’s contemplated a plea agreement. He wasn’t present in court today, but spoke to her later in the day.

She called me crying, he said.

“I told her, just pray to God, and what God thinks you deserve, that’s what you’ll get.”

Sentencing is scheduled for the morning on Feb. 22.

“Rare” voter fraud case making its way through local criminal justice system

Monday, February 6th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors have charged a 35-year-old Glenoma resident with voter fraud, saying she registered to vote and then voted even though she’s not a U.S. citizen.

Marta Aglubi-Blomstrom filled out a voter registration form in the summer of 2009 and cast a ballot in the following November election, according to authorities.

Aglubi-Blomstrom is from Ghana, a West African country.

The issue came to the attention of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office almost two years ago, when Aglubi-Blomstrom’s estranged husband contacted them about it, according to charging documents.

Aglubi-Blomstrom will get her chance to make her plea in Lewis County Superior Court a week from Thursday.

It’s not a common offense prosecuted in Lewis County.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said he’s seen it only once locally since he came to work in Lewis County in 2004.

Mariann Zumbuhl, elections supervisor at the Lewis County Auditor’s Office, agreed instances of known voter fraud are rare.

Zumbuhl had to open a file drawer looking for a record of the last time she could remember someone registered to vote when they were not eligible. It was 1998 when a 15-year-old girl said she was 18, Zumbuhl said.

“Juvenile brought her in and talked to her,” she said.

The Secretary of State’s Office state runs registered voter’s names through a database routinely to discover if anyone is underage, or a felon whose has lost their voting rights, or has died, according to Lewis County Election Specialist Heather Boyer.

“But there’s no way to check if someone’s a U.S. citizen,” Boyer said. There’s no database for that.

Aglubi-Blomstrom appeared in Lewis County Court in Chehalis last week after she was summonsed in.

Temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter said she understood the charge, that she marked the wrong box as to whether she was a citizen and became registered to vote.

She works at Millard Refrigeration but her income of less than $2,000 a month qualifies her for a court appointed attorney, Schroeter said.

Meagher inquired as to her native language, and learned it was called Twi.

Judge Nelson Hunt allowed her to remain free on a $5,000 signature bond.

According to charging documents, Aglubi-Blomstrom filled out her voter registration form online. It was June 2009, and her husband spoke with sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Wetzel about the following March, according to authorities.

“(The Auditor’s Office) determined she answered no when asked if she was a U.S. citizen,” prosecutors wrote. “It was determined she later changed her answer to yes, so she was able to complete her voter registration.”

Sgt. Wetzel contacted Immigration and found she was not a citizen, they wrote.

False information on an application for voter registration is a class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison or $10,000.

Aglubi-Blomstrom was just finally charged at the end of this past December.

Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer today said  yes, it seemed like a lot of time went by from when the alleged offense was investigated and when it finally got charged.

It was one of almost 400 felony cases in the office on “referral status” when he took office in January of last year, Meyer said.

“Referrals” are cases law enforcement agencies have forwarded to the prosecutor to be evaluated if charges should be filed.

Meyer said he found a huge backlog.

He made it his goal to get through all of them in his first year, and he has, with help from some of his deputy prosecutors, he said.

All have either been charged, or declined or are active now, according to Meyer.

The types of cases they found in limbo run the gamut, he said. Such as the bigamy case seen in court last week, to bail jumping, failing to register and drug offenses, he said.

Meyer said the statute of limitations had not run out on any major alleged offenses, only some that were with the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office from when the two offices shared a deputy prosecutor.

Woman chased out of home by fire near Vader

Monday, February 6th, 2012
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Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 20 Assistant Chief Ruth Crear

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman lost her home and everything in it to fire today just north of Vader.

Firefighters called about 10:50 a.m. to the 1000 block of South Military Road found heavy smoke and flames coming from a single-wide mobile home, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

A crew of two from Lewis County Fire District 20 which protects Vader and Ryderwood were first on the scene and subsequently joined by about 16 more firefighters from Winlock, Toledo and Napavine, District 15 Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said.

The mobile home and adjacent outbuilding and all their contents were destroyed, Anderson said.

Anderson said the resident was home when the lights flickered and went to the electrical panel box to find flames coming out of it.

She immediately got out, considered going back inside to get her purse and cell phone, but fortunately didn’t because of too much smoke, he said.

“What wasn’t damaged by actual flames was damaged by smoke and heat,” Anderson said.

Nobody was injured, he said. The Red Cross responded to assist her with temporary needs, according to Anderson.

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Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 20 Assistant Chief Ruth Crear

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 6th, 2012

INTRUDER STEALS BIBLE FROM BEDROOM OF SLEEPING RESIDENTS

• A Chehalis-area couple in their 70s woke up just before 2 .m. on Sunday to find a stranger in their bedroom rifling through their dresser, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The intruder ran out of the home on the 800 block of Shorey Road with a black leather Bible, chased by one of the residents, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning. A 23-year-old Centralia man was found about an eighth of a mile away on the bank of the Newaukum River following a K-9 track, Brown said. Elijah J. Brown said he had been walking home, was cold and was looking for a warm place, she said. He said he thought the home was abandoned, she said. The suspect was booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, according to Brown. The case is referred for possible charges also of third-degree theft and possession of marijuana, Chief Brown said. The Bible has not been found, she said.

IMAGINARY INTRUDERS

• Police were called just before 3 a.m. on Saturday to a residence on South Market Boulevard in Chehalis where an older gentleman said he woke up to find two small children stuck under his couch. An officer who checked told the man there was nobody else in the room and it appeared it only happened in the mind of the person who was calling, Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

QUADS STOLEN IN CENTRALIA

• Police were called about 7:15 a.m. today to the 700 block of South Ash Street in Centralia where an ATV had been stolen overnight. The missing vehicle is a yellow Honda, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A red 1999 Polaris 335 ATV was reported stolen Sunday morning from the 1000 block of Roosevelt Street in Centralia. It has a winch and a passenger seat, according to Centralia police.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 10:45 p.m. on Saturday to the 600 block of South King Street in Centralia about a burglary. Someone had forced open a door and stolen jewelry a cell phone and other items, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about an attempted burglary on the 700 block of South Gold Street in Centralia about 6:20 p.m. on Saturday. An incident report said nothing was missing, according to the Officer John Panco.

• A deputy took a report on Saturday from the 100 block of Remy Lane in Chehalis that someone had broken into a temporarily uninhabited home as well as stolen all the wiring from an adjacent pump house and damaged a well cap, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 31-year-old Chehalis man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the theft of two rifles, two chainsaws and jewelry stolen last month from a home on the 2600 block of state Route 508 in Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim learned one of the rifles had been pawned in Tumwater and Anthony B. Cole, nephew of the victim, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• Chehalis police were contacted on Saturday about a possible theft by fraud involving an individual at a care center on the 300 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis. The complaint is under investigation.

• A 1977 Ford truck and a Craftsman riding mower were stolen from a vacant lot at the south end of Roosevelt Street in Mineral, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday. The victim, who lives in Orting, estimated the loss at $3,600, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies have suspect information, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• Several power tools and 40 gallons of gasoline were stolen from a garage on the 3000 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia sometime between Tuesday and Thursday of last week, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning.

• A deputy was called on Saturday to the 2000 block of Sandra Avenue in Centralia after the owner of a utility trailer discovered someone had cut a padlock and gone through the items inside, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Nothing appeared to be missing, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A medical supply kit was taken in a vehicle prowl on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday evening.

DRUGS

• A 43-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine when officers responded to a call on the 2400 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia at about 7 p.m. last night. Honey J. Rathje was contacted and suspected meth fell out of her pocket, according to Officer John Panco. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• A 20-year-old woman was arrested and booked for possessing a prescription pill without a prescription when she was detained for suspected shoplifting at Wal-Mart on Saturday evening. Chehalis police who were called about 5:50 p.m. to the retail store on the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue were told that Haley A. Robertson of Puyallup had slipped a set of fake fingernails into her purse as she shopped, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Robertson was booked into the lewis County jail for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and the case was referred for a possible theft charge, Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about noon yesterday to the 800 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia where windows had been smashed out a vehicle overnight.

• Chehalis police were called about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday to Northwest Chehalis Avenue where someone had left a two-inch slice in a vehicle tire.

DOG KILLS CHICKEN

• A deputy was called Sunday afternoon to the 200 block of Sareault Road near Toledo after a neighbor dog came onto an individual’s property and killed a chicken. The owner of the Pit Bull-mix canine – a 17-year-old girl – was informed she would be receiving an infraction notice, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Former Chehalis woman accused of bigamy

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors have charged a 44-year-old woman with bigamy, claiming she married a man in Lewis County when she already had two husbands.

Carrie R. Justus has pleaded not guilty in Lewis County Superior Court.

Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he’s never seen a case of bigamy locally in his career, except for a civil suit once involving a woman who was surprised to learn she was not divorced.

Justus was in court with her attorney on Thursday, after being summonsed to appear.

“Law enforcement was contacted by one of her quote, unquote husbands,” Meyer said.

According to charging documents, Steven Felix who is serving time in a Washington prison, informed a detective at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office he’d been told by his wife, Justus, that at the time they were married she was still married to another man.

Felix learned of this during an argument with Justus, according to charging documents.

The two married in August 2007, yet in July 1999, Justus was wed to Timothy Justus and never divorced, prosecutors allege.

Timothy Justus is serving time in the North Carolina prison system, according to charging documents.

Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen uncovered that she married once even before that, to Eric Mencer in February 1990, according to the allegations.

No court records have been discovered terminating or annulling the marriages, prosecutors wrote.

Carrie Justus claims the first was not a valid marriage, according to the documents.

Bigamy is a class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.

Justus, who said she is from Chehalis and Centralia, and now lives in Shelton, said she hasn’t lived in Lewis County for 10 years, and didn’t marry Felix in Lewis County.

“I married Steven Felix in 2007 in Reno, Nevada,” she said.

She had little further comment on the matter, saying she wanted to check with her lawyer first.

Justus’s trial is set for the end of April. She is out of custody on a $5,000 signature bond.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 5th, 2012
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Flames were mostly confined to the roof area of the Spencer Road home. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 2

TWO-STORY TOLEDO HOME CATCHES FIRE

• Some 20 firefighters from four districts responded to a house fire yesterday northeast of Toledo. Nobody was injured but responders had a challenge with the steep roof where wood shake shingles were burning and sliding off, according to Lewis County Fire District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank. A fortunate coincidence was District 2′s personnel happened to be gathered when the early afternoon call came, conducting their annual emergency vehicle driving class, Wiltbank said. “We were there in about five minutes, normally it would have been closer to eight or nine minutes,” Wiltbank said. “That would have given the fire a good head start.” The the two-story A-frame is on Spencer Road between Buckley Road and Schoolhouse Lane. The residents and some friends had actually begun moving furniture outside as crews arrived, according to the chief. The cause is under investigation, but it’s likely related to the wood stove pipe too close to some wood framing, he said. The blaze was contained to an approximately 20 foot by 20 foot section of the roof, he said. The interior sustained just very light smoke damage and soot on a white shag carpet, according to the chief.

MOBILE HOME FIRE NIPPED IN THE BUD NEAR TOLEDO

• A smoke alarm awakened four occupants of a mobile home on Grimes Road east of Toledo about 2:40 a.m. today. Responding firefighters found a trash can fire inside a bathroom which was extinguished by one of the residents, according to Lewis County Fire District 2. Nobody was injured and the damage was limited to the one room, according to District 2 Chief Grant Wiltbank. It was likely caused by a discarded cigarette butt, he said. “Other than that, they were pretty fortunate because motor homes can go up pretty quickly,” Wiltbank said.

MOTORCYCLE WRECK INJURES ADNA RESIDENT

• A 20-year-old Adna man was injured when his motorcycle and a small SUV collided in Centralia yesterday afternoon. Aid was called just after 4:30 p.m. to  Harrison Avenue near Belmont Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority. “The motorcycle rider was pretty roughed up,” Fire Capt. Tim Adolphsen said. Nobody else was hurt but the motorcyclist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, Adolphsen said.

TOY GUN DRAWS POLICE OFFICERS

• A juvenile male was scolded by police after they responded to a gun brandishing incident about 1 p.m. on Friday in the area of the 200 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. Officers who located the vehicle and contacted its occupants discovered the weapon was a toy, according to the Centralia Police Department. The boy was admonished and released to his mother, according to police.

THEFT

• Police were called to the 500 block of Richmond Avenue in Centralia late Friday afternoon after someone broke into a garage. Inside, two vehicles were prowled and a JVC stereo was stolen as well as a GPS device, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MAN CAUGHT AFTER FLEEING POLICE

• A 44-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for eluding police after a shot vehicle pursuit late Friday night in the area of the 800 block of South Gold Street and the viaduct in Centralia. Richard D. Gardner was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. His case was also referred for a possible charge of possession of marijuana, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to two incidents of vehicles getting spray painted on Friday, one on the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard and the other at South Iron and Walnut streets.

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Firefighters had to peel wood shingles and remove the woodstove pipe to find hot spots on the Spencer Road house on Saturday afternoon. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 2

News brief: Head-on crash sends two Onalaska women to hospitals

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman in her 70s was airlifted after a head-on crash in Onalaska this afternoon.

Firefighters from three districts responded to the collision just after 2 p.m. on Middle Fork Road, just east of Dluhosh Road, according to Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner.

Responders had to cut off the roof of her mid-sized pickup to get her out, Conner said.

A helicopter landed at Onalaska High School to pick her up, he said. The woman, Patricia I. Gault, 76, of Onalaska, was flown to Peace Health Southwest Hospital in Vancouver with head injuries and severe leg trauma, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Sheryl L. Unger, 61, also of Onalaska, was driving a 2002 Jeep  eastbound when she went over the centerline at a curve and ran into the pickup, according to the state patrol.

Both vehicles were totaled.

Unger was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with facial lacerations, the investigating trooper reported.

The speed limit on that stretch of road is 40 mph, according to the fire chief.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

THREATS WITH MACHETE

• Deputies were called at 11:30 p.m. yesterday to a Randle residence where a woman said her live-in boyfriend was swinging a large machete around and threatening to kill her. The 50-year-old female had locked herself in a bathroom and said her 45-year-old boyfriend was in a cabin behind their house with the machete and had been drinking, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived just before midnight and took Virgil W. Bohall Sr. into custody without incident, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Deputies were told that over the previous two days Bohall had kicked, slapped, pushed and scratched her, Brown said. Bohall was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to Brown.

STOLEN VEHICLE RECOVERED

• A Dodge van reported stolen Tuesday from the 3000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia was found abandoned yesterday off Blair Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Centralia daycare operator steps down as marijuana dispensary charges are filed

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
2012.0202.learningtree_2

The Learning Tree of Centralia is open for business, for now.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A Centralia child daycare center remains open but its operator is not allowed on the premises following her charges for multiple drug offenses.

Roberta E. Johnson, 50, is the licensee for The Learning Tree of Centralia, a center that cares for children off East Union Street in the south end of town.

Johnson is also the state business license holder for Triple Ds Natural and Alternative Medicines Clinic, an enterprise that authorities allege sold marijuana.

Johnson and Donald E. Smith, 51, were arrested in November when drug detectives served a search warrant at the Grand Mound store front they said was operating as an illegal marijuana dispensary.

The married couple were among 17 individuals picked up when the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force raided five locations in the county.

At the time, the state agency that licenses day care facilities said since Johnson was released without charges following her arrest, there was no action for it to take.

A file was opened but the license remained valid, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Early Learning.

However, today the state agency contacted Johnson and she agreed she would voluntarily stay off-site while they examine the situation, according to spokesperson Kara Klotz.

Johnson and Smith were charged Friday in Thurston County Superior Court each with 12 counts of delivery of marijuana, 13 counts of  unlawful use of a building for drug purposes, one count of possession with intent to deliver and one count of manufacture of marijuana.

The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force said it made numerous undercover purchases of marijuana from Triple Ds.

At the time of the raid, a task force spokesperson said while the state’s medical marijuana law allows patients to grow their own or have a caregiver grow it for them, the law “clearly prohibits the sale of marijuana by anybody, to anybody.”

The pair are expected in court on Tuesday when they will get an opportunity to make their pleas and the court’s conditions of release will be addressed, according to Thurston County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jack Jones.

Johnson hasn’t responded to attempts to contact her.

The Learning Tree was open for business this afternoon, with a half dozen toddlers and an adult seated at a round table chattering.

Forty-three children are currently enrolled there, according to Klotz. The center is authorized to serve little ones ages one through 12.

A woman at The Learning Tree who declined to give her name said she was in charge.

“Right now, it’s my job to protect this business, to make sure we stay open,” the unidentified woman said.

The building that housed Triple Ds along Old Highway 99 has been vacated.

A neighbor, Troy Marrs, said Smith operated a medical marijuana-type center there, but his wife was not involved.

“Straight up, she had nothing to do with the place,” Marrs said. “I know her very well, she’s an awesome person with children; she wouldn’t do nothing to jeopardize that.”

Klotz said Johnson is cooperating with the child care licensing agency.

“She’s working on a plan to keep the center open while she deals with the charges,” Klotz said.

If the agency doesn’t agree with her plan, she will have to shut down, Klotz said.

Also, Johnson will need to undergo another background check, which they don’t expect she will pass, Klotz said.

2012.0202.tripleds_2

Triple Ds in Grand Mound is shuttered.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

CHILD SHOT WITH BB GUN

• Aid and police were called about 4:50 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis where a 10-year-old boy had been shot in the eye with a BB gun. His 9-year-old brother was aiming at a fence and the BB bounced and hit his brother, according to police. It was purely an accident, police Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The child was taken to the hospital to be looked at, Wilson said.

“TIGER” COLORS FOUND AT CHEHALIS HIGH SCHOOL

• Police were called to W.F. High School on Southwest 16th Street in Chehalis early this morning where someone used black and orange paint on the big rock outside the school, the grass, parking lot, sidewalk and building. Police Sgt. Gary Wilson said the rival “Tiger colors” were suspected to have been left by Centralia High School students. “I think they’re just gonna have the offending party come and fix it,” Wilson said.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday to a burglary on the 1500 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. Further details were not yet available.

• Tools were stolen from an apartment being renovated at the 400 block of Ash Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Police were called yesterday morning to an apartment on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia where someone had stolen two Makita drills and an iPod “docking station,” according to the Centralia Police Department. An intruder may have entered through a window, according to police.

• Centralia police are investigating an apparent forgery after a resident of Yew Street reported yesterday two checks from his checkbook had been written and cashed of a total of about $400,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

THEFT

• A resident called police about 1:45 a.m. today after returning home to his apartment on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue and finding someone had made off with his television, laptop computer and other valuables. He told police he thought he had locked the front door was not uncertain of that, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called just after noon time yesterday to a burglary at the 1300 block of Delaware Street. An Xbox was stolen, according to police.

• A 25-year-old Centralia resident was arrested yesterday afternoon for burglary after witnesses said they saw someone going into a residence and adjacent shop and removing items. A deputy called about 1:30 p.m. to the 400 block of South Street was told by Timothy M. Howe he had permission from the owner, but the owner said he did not, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Howe was booked for two counts of second-degree burglary,  Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

• Police were called just before noon yesterday about the theft of a vehicle from the 3000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia. Missing was a maroon and gray 1994 Dodge van. Its license plate reads 169 TIY, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A license plate was stolen off a vehicle while it was parked on the 400 block of South Iron Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday evening.

ASSAULT

• Chehalis police yesterday arrested a resident of Green Hill School for second-degree assault in connection with a fight last August at the state juvenile lockup facility. A detective was told the 19-year-old victim required surgery for a broken bone in his face after he was hit several times in the head by  an 18-year-old inmate, according to Chehalis police. The 18-year-old was left at Green Hill and the case will be referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for charge A of second-degree assault, according to police.

SWAT team visits South Tower Avenue residence looking for drugs

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Updated 5:15 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Centralia Police Department’s SWAT team visited an apartment on the 700 block of South Tower Avenue last night, arresting two people following a several-week long investigation into drug dealing.

A search warrant was served about 7:15 p.m., according to Officer John Panco.

“It was basically uneventful,” Panco said. “Nobody was hurt, nobody resisted.”

Michael A. Kellogg, 40, of Centralia, was arrested and booked for two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, as well as one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, according to Panco.

Alyssa A. Bowman, 24, also of Centralia, was arrested and booked for possession of methamphetamine, he said.

Panco said he didn’t know the amount of drugs found at at the residence, but said both individuals had drugs “on their person.”

The arrests were the culmination of an investigation by the police department’s anti-crime team, he said.

Update: Kellogg was charged this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court with selling heroin, not methamphetamine. A spokesperson for the Centralia Police Department said he may have misunderstood what drug was at issue.

However, Kellogg was also charged with possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine. His bail was set at $20,000.

Also, a woman arrested by Centralia police on Monday, Jinney S. Unger, was charged today with three counts of delivery of heroin, plus possession of heroin and meth.

Police said the cases are unrelated.

Crime in Centralia: Back on downward track, chief says

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia last year experienced its lowest per capita crime rate in more than 50 years, returning to a downward trend Police Chief Bob Berg says began in 2005.

The overall crime rate in Lewis County’s largest city decreased by almost one-third from the year before, although 2010 had featured a huge spike in the level of crime, according to Berg.

The chief, hired in early 2004, last week released figures compiled for the Washington State Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program which are forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

WASPC expects to publish its 2011 Crime in Washington report with statistics from most police agencies around the state by mid-April.

Berg called the department’s targeted work during the past year outstanding.

“Aggressive police work and incarceration of several local career criminals, coupled with support and cooperation from the community no doubt contributed to the decrease,” Berg wrote in a news release.

Centralia officers made 508 felony arrests in 2011 compared with 302 in 2010, he wrote.

Berg’s numbers show 53.16 so-called part one crimes per 1,000 residents last year.

While overall rates for both violent and property crime decreased last year, three of the measured offenses rose compared to 2010, according to Berg.

Forcible rape was up 45 percent, from 11 incidents to 16; robbery was up 14 percent, from 14 to 16; and murder went up 100 percent, from zero to one.

A premature newborn was found decapitated last March in the trailer park home of its mother, Laura L. Hickey. A murder trial for the 25-year-old woman is scheduled for next month.

The remaining part one offenses have decreased compared with 2010. They are:

• Felony assault: down 25 percent (from 69 incidents to 52)
• Burglary: down 23 percent (from 211 incidents to 163)
• Theft: down 31 percent (from 841 incidents to 579)
• Motor vehicle theft: down 9.2 percent (from 65 incidents to 59)
• Arson: down 86 percent (from 7 to 1)

The statistical probability of a Centralia resident becoming the victim of a violent crime is less than one percent and the likelihood of being the victim of a property crime is 4.8 percent (compared with 7.8 percent the year before), according to Berg.

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UCR rate 2004 to 2011 in Centralia / Courtesy graphic by Centralia Police Department

•••

For last year’s story about area crime based on WASPC’s annual report, read “Crime up in Lewis County” from  Friday May 20, 2011, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

CHEHALIS WOMAN OUT $5,500 IN SCAM

• The sheriff’s office this morning reported a 71-year-old Chehalis woman was tricked into wiring thousands of dollars to a stranger who convinced her that her grandson was in jail in Mexico and needed bail money. A deputy who contacted the victim yesterday was told she sent $5,500 via Western Union, over a three-day period ending on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Bishop Road resident subsequently learned her grandson had not even been in Mexico, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said it’s unlikely the money can be recovered as the woman did not know where the call even originated from.

THEFT

• Officers were called just before 2 o’clock this morning to an attempted break-in at a store in north Centralia. When police arrived at the 200 block of Downing Road, pry marks were found on a door and surveillance video showed several subjects must have been scared off when an alarm sounded, according to Officer John Panco.

• Centralia police were called about 7:40 a.m. today to a car prowl on the 500 block of Woodland Avenue. A checkbook was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Mail was stolen from a vehicle when its windows were broken out overnight, according to a report made to police yesterday from the 100 block of Jalyn Street in Centralia.

UNRULY CITIZENS

• Three people were arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and one of them for resisting arrest about 1:30 p.m. yesterday at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to police. Niko J. Wilson, 19, of Centralia, would not exit the vehicle when told to do so and after he was pulled out continued to try to avoid being handcuffed, according to Officer John Panco. Wilson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. A 21-year-old from Olympia and the 20-year-old driver from Centralia were released after being cited, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• After police were called to the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia yesterday morning to a report of someone possibly trying to hurt themselves, officers arrested a 43-year-old Centralia woman for obstruction. Officers had ordered her to leave the home because they wanted to get inside and she was in their way, Officer John Panco said.

UNWANTED HOUSE GUEST

• A Chehalis resident called police when she discovered someone might be living in her basement. An officer responding to the home on Northeast Franklin Avenue on Saturday was told the woman found items there that did not belong to her, such as a sleeping bag and bedding, according to police Sgt. Gary Wilson.

WRECK

• A 31-year-old driver was arrested for driving under the influence last night after he drove off the road and into a power pole in Winlock. The approximately 8 p.m. wreck on the 1400 block of Ferrier Road left the vehicle with only minor damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Jesse L. Peppers, of Winlock, told a deputy he was reaching for something in his glove box and when he looked up, he was hitting the pole, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

WINLOCK GARAGE CATCHES FIRE

• It was likely spontaneous combustion amongst items left on a floor that ignited a fire inside a Winlock garage yesterday. Lewis County Fire District 15 was alerted by a police officer on patrol to smoke and flames coming from a structure on the 300 block of Northwest Benton Avenue at about 2:40 p.m., according to Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson. It was extinguished with one hose and did not spread to the rest of the house, according to Anderson. Nobody was injured and the garage’s contents sustained just minor heat damage, Anderson wrote in a news release.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 30th, 2012

HARASSMENT

• A 61-year-old Winlock man was arrested early Sunday at the 200 block of Markum Lane in Winlock after allegedly holding a gun and threatening to shoot holes in a roof. When a deputy arrived the gun had been taken away from Lonnie C. Cureton Sr. who was asleep on a couch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Cureton was booked into the Lewis County Jail for harassment, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

ELUDING POLICE

• A 43-year-old resident of Centralia and Fort Lewis was arrested early Saturday after a pursuit by multiple police agencies that ended on Old Highway 99 Southwest in Tenino. Lewis County sheriff’s deputies were called about 7 p.m. the night before to the 1500 block of Farmview Avenue in Centralia where a woman said her husband was present in violation of a no-contact order, according to the sheriff’s office. Matthew R. Mecham had allegedly threatened his wife as well, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Deputies were called again just after 2 a.m. and Mecham was pursued out Little and Big Hanaford roads and onto state Route 507, Brown said. His tires were flattened by a “spike strip” but he continued driving until his transmission “blew up,” according to Brown. In the back of his vehicle, a gun locker and gun case taken from his wife’s house were found, Brown said, Mecham was booked into the Lewis County jail for burglary, theft of firearms and a violation of a no-contact order, Brown said.

• A 50-year-old Winlock resident was arrested and booked early Saturday for attempting to elude after failing to stop for a deputy on Friday night along North Military Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Shawn H. Boren reportedly drove across a lawn into the brush and fled on foot before being found by police dog Leko a short time later, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

• A 41-year-old Ethel resident was arrested for attempting to elude following a Friday afternoon call about a disorderly person at the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Lynn K. Jorgensen Jr. was found driving a motorcycle on the 1500 block of U.S. Highway 12 where he made a dangerous U-turn, and then returned to a field at the original address and tried to hide in a shop, the sheriff’s office reported.

THEFT

• A 21-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon in connection with the theft of jewelry from the 700 block of K Street in Centralia. The theft was reported to police about 1 a.m. Joshua M. Reetz, of Silver Lake, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was scheduled to be released without charges pending further investigation.

• A Toyota pickup reported as abandoned on Friday at West First and F streets in Centralia was found to be stolen out of Olympia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An estimated $6,000 of items were reported stolen from the 400 block of Independence Road, in Rochester the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Among the items taken sometime between Jan. 10 and 19th were a pressure washer and a tool box, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• Centralia police were called Friday morning to the 200 block of South Pearl Street about the theft of sterling silver flat wear from a display case.

• Police were called just before 11 p.m. on Friday about a television stolen from the 200 block of Jackson Street in Centralia.

• A Centralia teenager who said he tripped and then opened a door to a vehicle to break his fall was arrested for second-degree vehicle prowl and minor in possession of alcohol after a deputy was called about 8 a.m. on Sunday to a parking lot on the 1100 block of Spencer Road outside Toledo. Arrested at the same time as Devon J.M. Munsey, 18, was a 43-year-old Centralia resident, Christopher Couch, for attempted vehicle prowl, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• An officer took a report about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday of a car prowl on the 1100 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. A CD player was taken from an unlocked vehicle overnight, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

• Troopers were called about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday to single-vehicle collision at U.S. Highway 12 just west of White Pass where 57-year-old Wenatchee man was injured. Ira D. Suesserman had been traveling westbound when his pickup truck struck a snowbank on the shoulder and rolled onto its top, according to the Washington State Patrol. Suesserman was taken to Morton General Hospital with a possible neck injury, according to the state patrol. His 1997 Ford F150 was described as totaled.

DRUGS

• A deputy called Friday night to the 300 block of South Military Road in Winlock to a complaint a drug pipe had been left in someone’s garage learned the pipe was gone but its owner’s truck was parked down the road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. About an hour later, a Winlock police officer found Darold G. Teitzel, 46, of Winlock hiding under a truck next to the garage with the pipe and other items including a small baggie of suspected methamphetamine with him, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Teitzel was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for a warrant, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, Brown said.

State Supreme Court sides with defendant in Lewis County case

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state Supreme Court has tossed out a man’s DUI conviction and part of his vehicular assault conviction saying prosecutors didn’t prove he was advised of his right to seek an independent blood alcohol test.

A trooper asked an interpreter to read the special warning and his rights in Spanish to Jose Matilde Morales at the hospital, but the state didn’t call the interpreter at trial to attest to that, nor was the signed form introduced into evidence, according to Thursday’s decision.

Morales, 51, was arrested in November 2004 after he “rolled the stop sign” and collided with another car at Big Hanaford Road and state Route 507 outside Centralia. A Bucoda woman and her elderly mother were injured.

He was convicted in Lewis County Superior Court of hit and run, driving under the influence and vehicular assault.

The vehicular assault charge included all three alternatives; DUI, driving recklessly and driving with disregard for the safety of others.

Morales’ lawyer had objected to the admission of the blood test because the only evidence regarding the special warning was the trooper’s testimony he had handed the form to the interpreter and listened while the interpreter spoke to Morales in a language the trooper did not understand, Supreme Court Justice Charles K. Wiggins wrote in the majority opinion. The blood test was admitted.

Judge Pro Tem R.W. Buzzard presided at the trial.

Morales appealed the DUI as well as the parts of the vehicular assault based on driving under the influence and driving recklessly.

The appeals court sided with prosecutors, and then the state Supreme Court agreed to review the case.

The knowledge of the right of independent testing of blood is especially important to a person’s defense because evidence that can prove or disprove the charge will disappear within a relatively short time, Justice Wiggins wrote.

The blood tests were erroneously admitted, the court decided.

The Supreme Court reversed the  DUI conviction and the parts of his vehicular assault conviction based on DUI and reckless driving.

The justices ruled eight to one in favor of Morales. Justice James M. Johnson wrote a dissent.

For Morales, the decision means only those convictions will be removed from his criminal record; he’s already served all his time, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said on Friday.

Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he and his staff talked about the case on Friday.

“Hindsight being 20-20, that witness should have been called,” Meyer said.

Meyer, who took office a year ago, pointed out the original deputy prosecutor who handled the case during its appeal also failed to brief the Supreme Court on the matter.

The trial and the appeal were handled by two deputy prosecutors Meyer didn’t invite to stay with the office after he was elected, he said.

•••

Read the Supreme Court decision, here

Read the dissenting opinion, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 27th, 2012

HIT AND RUN

• Deputies are looking for the driver of a stolen truck who crashed head-on into a van early this morning at Harrison Avenue and Foron Road in Centralia. Aid and the sheriff’s office called about 4:50 a.m. learned the driver of a white 1987 GMC truck had been turning right onto Harrison into the wrong lane when he ran into the van, according to the sheriff’s office. The truck driver fled on foot and could not be found even after a police dog track, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The van’s driver, a 53-year-old Rochester resident, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with minor injuries, responders said. The pickup truck had been stolen sometime earlier in the night from Van Wormer Street in Centralia, Brown said. Brown is asking anyone with information about the truck or its driver to call 911 or Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

DRUGS AT GREEN HILL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday to Green Hill School where authorities said one of their residents was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. The 16-year-old being held in the state juvenile detention facility didn’t have anything to say about where it came from, police detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said. The teen was arrested and then released since he’s already in the custody of Green Hill, McNamara said. How drugs could have gotten inside Green Hill is a good question, McNamara said. Police have found that sometimes it could be brought in, mailed in or even tossed over the fence, he said. The case will be referred for a possible felony charge of possession of a controlled substance in a prison facility.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY

• Two 16-year-old Chehalis boys were arrested yesterday after they allegedly climbed over a fence and tried to get in through the side door of a home on the 2000 block of Jackson Highway in Chehalis yesterday. A deputy was called about 11:30 a.m. about prowlers in a backyard who apparently ran when they were startled by a resident and her neighbor, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.  Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said one was found walking up the road and the other returned to the scene. They were arrested and booked into Lewis County Juvenile Detention for attempted burglary, Brown said.

COMPUTER THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday about a laptop computer stolen from the room of a patient at a nursing home on the 1300 block of Alexander Street.

• A Dell laptop computer and an iPad were reported stolen from a home on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia last night. Police, called just after 8 p.m., could find no signs of forced entry, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• A 29-year-old Mossyrock man reportedly escaped injury when he lost control of his car yesterday on Cinebar Road and wrecked it into a ditch. A deputy responding around noontime reported the Chevrolet Cobalt sustained major damage to its front end, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• The Washington State Patrol reports the driver of the car that wrecked Tuesday morning on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis was Manuel L. Lara-Fregoso, 57, of Onalaska. Lara-Fregoso was northbound near milepost 73 about 10 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle and hit the center barrier before crossing all three lanes to the shoulder where he struck a light pole and then a tree, according to the state patrol. The 1997 Chevrolet was described as totaled. Lara-Fregoso was treated and has been released from the hospital.