Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Motorcycle accident victim ID’d as Chehalis resident

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The man who died in a motorcycle wreck in Centralia on Tuesday night was Christopher Carper, a 45-year-old Chehalis resident, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Police say excessive speed seemed to be the cause of the collision on First Street near G Street at around 11:30 p.m.

Carper’s motorcycle slammed into a street sign, according to responders.

He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Centralia Police Department.

For background, read “News brief: Motorcyclist killed in Centralia collision with pole” from Wednesday August 29, 2012, here

Breaking news: State pays $3 million to families of Booth murder victims

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state has paid $3 million to the families of the murder victims of John Allen Booth, three individuals who were shot to death by an ex-convict who was supposed to be under supervision after his release from prison.


John Allen Booth Jr.

The state Department of Corrections issued a statement today on the settlement reached after a claim  for damages was filed.

“The heinous murders that John Allen Booth Jr. committed caused unbearable heartache for multiple families,” the news release stated. “We hope these settlements help his victims’ families with their loss. We are also glad that we were able to reach an agreement with the victims’ families to avoid costly litigation.”

Booth, 32, was sent to prison for life last December after his convictions in the slayings of David West Sr., 52,  David “D.J.” West Jr., 16, and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle.

The three, along with Denise Salts who survived a gunshot to the face, were found in the home Salts and the Wests shared on Wings Way in the Onalaska-Salkum area on August 21, 2010.

Booth was released from prison in December 2009 and was supposed to be on supervision from DOC, but after he was arrested it appeared his community corrections officer hadn’t contacted him for several months.

The minimum number of contacts required for a high risk violent offender was four times each month.


For background, read “John Booth Jr.: State prison doesn’t know if it was closely enough monitoring ex-convict charged in triple homicide” from Saturday August, 28, 2010, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Updated 4:40 p.m.


• A man who reportedly slapped his mother last night was arrested after he was found hiding under a comforter upstairs under some rafters. Deputies called about 12:30 a.m. today to the 600 block of Grove Street in Centralia reported the subject resisted attempts to arrest him all the way down the stairs and also spit in a deputy’s face. Emmanuel Martinez, 20, was arrested and booked for third-degree assault and his case will be referred for other potential charges such as fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• An officer responding to a complaint about a possible drug deal in the parking lot at the Eagles in Chehalis yesterday came upon a 20-year-old man who appeared to be shooting up heroin, according to police. He had a needle in his arm, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Jence S. Sawyer was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of heroin, Carrell said. A 19-year-old Chehalis man, Nicholas A. Huston, was also arrested in connection with possession of a medication, according to police.


• A 24-year-old Rochester woman was arrested  after a traffic stop about 12:15 this morning on North Street and Cascade Avenue in Chehalis. A police dog sniffed around and “hit on some things” in the vehicle, including suspected heroin, according to police. Kira M. Fry was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning someone carried off 50-pound aluminum blocks from a business on the 100 block of Sears Road over the weekend. They also cut wires from a portable cement mixer, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is about $167.

• Chehalis police were called about 9 p.m. yesterday after a truck towed away from an apartment complex parking lot on Southwest 20th Avenue was found to have been stolen out of Olympia.

• Police were called about 11:40 a.m. yesterday to a car prowl on the 1000 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. Nothing was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Somebody smashed the windows and gauges of an excavator parked in a rock pit on state Route 508 near Morton, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday morning. Its hand controls were torn out as well, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A passenger in a Ford Taurus was taken to the hospital after a two-car collision at North Fork and Lucas Creek roads outside Chehalis yesterday evening. Responders called shortly after 7 p.m. learned a 22-year-old Centralia man was at a stop sign and failed to see an approaching car because vegetation obscured his view, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Both vehicles sustained extensive front-end damage, but only the one female was hurt; she complained of soreness to her left side, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. No citations were issued, according to Brown.


Correction: The news item about the arrest of Emmanuel Martinez has been updated to correctly reflect the events occurred at a home on Grove Street in Centralia, not Roe Road in Winlock.

News brief: Motorcyclist killed in Centralia collision with pole

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Chehalis man died after his motorcycle slammed into a metal sign pole in Centralia last night.

Police say the 45-year-old was traveling on First Street near G Street when he lost control and hit the no parking sign ripping it out of the ground. It happened near a curve in the road and appears to have been related to excessive speed, according to Sgt. Carl Buster.

The man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and firefighters ordered an airlift for him but he was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to responders.

His name has not been released pending notification of his next-of-kin.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012


• A Silver Creek woman who was asked by the man she hired to mow her lawn yesterday if she had any gold jewelry he could buy called the sheriff’ office early this morning after discovering several pieces she had shown him – including an angel pendant and a platinum and diamond ring – were missing from her home. A deputy summoned to the 300 block of Huntting Road learned the loss was estimated at almost $6,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man said his name was Jeremy, Cmdr. Steve Aust said.


• Police were called just before 10 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia when a resident spotted someone on their back porch stealing meat from a deep freezer. The individual dropped the meat and ran away, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers were not able to locate a suspect.


• Chehalis police were called to Rite Aid pharmacy on South Market Boulevard yesterday after a check with a provider on a called-in prescription revealed it was not legitimate, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case is under investigation, police said.


• Wells Fargo Bank in Chehalis contacted police after finding two counterfeit $100 bills among their deposits from local businesses. The money, which displayed the same serial numbers, are being turned over to the U.S. Treasury, Chehalis Police Department Sgt. Gwen Carrell said this morning.


• A 35-year-old Tacoma man was arrested early on Sunday morning after police responded to Motel 6 in Centralia and found his 47-year-old girlfriend with a bloody lip. The couple was in town for a dart tournament and were fighting, according to police. Officers were told he had grabbed her by the hair, dragged her back into the room and put her in bed. The suspect was booked for unlawful imprisonment but has been released from jail and faces a possible misdemeanor assault charge instead, according to the Officer Carl Buster.


• A 30-year-old Elma man was arrested early Saturday after an officer approaching two men yelling near Garbe’s Tavern on Northwest Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis saw one of the men run behind a car and throw something that turned out to a baggie of powder that field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Jerry E. Lithicum was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police were contacted yesterday by the Bellingham Police Department about a vehicle reported stolen there because a Centralia officer on Saturday had run the vehicle’s license plates at the Motel 6 when investigating a dispute. The victim didn’t report it missing until he returned home from a trip. The car and driver have not been found since, according to Centralia police.


• Someone broke into a vehicle parked on Northeast Cascade Avenue in Chehalis in the night and stole a Taser, according to a report made to police on Saturday. It wasn’t a police Taser gun but a product that looks like a flashlight and called a Shock Light, according to Sgt. Gwen Carrell.


• A pair of 21-year-olds from Oregon were arrested for trespassing last night in Centralia after they were found riding on a BNSF rail car in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department. Jay G. Williams and Desiree M. Rutherford were not booked into the jail, according to police.

News brief: Hitchhiker robbed, beaten in Tenino

Monday, August 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Tenino police say they are looking for a pair of men considered to be armed and dangerous following an incident last week in which a hitchhiker was robbed and beaten by someone who picked him up in Tenino.


Andrew B. Miller

Police responded to the 700 block of Huston Street in Tenino about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday after citizens reported hearing someone yelling for help, according to the Tenino Police Department.

The victim, a 25-year-old Tenino man, said he was hitchhiking and picked up by a red Jeep with two males and a female inside, according to a news release from police.

“At one point the driver pointed what appeared to be a Glock .40 caliber handgun at the victim ordering him to empty his pockets or get shot. ,” Police Chief John Hutchings stated in the news release.

Then, outside the Jeep, the driver punched the 25-year-old in the mouth and again ordered him at gunpoint to empty his pockets, according to Hutchings. The victim fled on foot yelling for help, Hutchings wrote.


Tony L. League

Police suspect Andrew B. Miller, 20, of Yelm and Tony L. League, 23, of Olympia, but have not been able to find them, according to the news release.

The chief is asking anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact Tenino Officer Chris Davis at 360-489-8466, Thurston County dispatch at 360-704-2740 or Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, August 27th, 2012


• Firefighters called about 6:15 p.m. yesterday to smoke in the area of Salzer Valley Road outside Centralia found tall grass burning. The fire about a mile out of town was contained to an area of about 100 feet by 100 feet, according to Riverside Fire Authority.


• A woman in her early 20s called police to the 400 block of West Cherry Street in Centralia yesterday after two males robbed her of her wallet and X-box. The victim said they came to her purchase the X-box, but instead, one ran out the door with the game system and her wallet while the other one held her from behind, according to the Centralia Police Department. One of the males was known the victim only as “Danny”, according to police.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning deputies are looking for a 29-year-old Centralia man who fled in a car after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend’s son on Friday night in Centralia. Deputies were called about 8:30 p.m. to the area of the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue to a report a teenage boy was running from a man, according to the sheriff’s office. The man fled in a car and the 17-year-old said his mother’s boyfriend had choked him, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.


• More than a dozen responders hiked into a wooded area in East Lewis County on Saturday afternoon to bring out an injured bear hunter, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 63-year-old man from Roy had hurt his ankle and members of Packwood Search and Rescue, Mount Rainier rangers and Pierce County Fire District 23 from the Ashford area carried him a quarter mile out in the area of Forest Service Road 5230, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A traffic stop about 6:45 p.m. on Saturday on Coal Creek Road near Centralia-Alpha Road led to the arrest of a 53-year-old Chehalis man with more than 200 gram of marijuana, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was arrested for driving under the influence and misdemeanor possession (less than 40 grams) of marijuana,a and the passenger, Timothy J. Haston, 53, was arrested and booked for possession with intent to deliver, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Police were called to an apartment on the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia where someone cut a window screen and reached in and stole a pack of cigarettes on Friday morning.

• A Centralia woman called Centralia police Friday after getting notices from collection agencies and realizing someone had opened multiple credit accounts in her name.

• A motorized scooter was stolen from a yard at the 1300 block of Central Boulevard in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 2:20 p.m. on Friday.

• A 2006 Saturn was found by a passerby in the park and ride lot on Camas Road near Toledo with a window smashed out and its it door and truck open about 1:40 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver who was subsequently contacted by a deputy said he had left it there locked.

• Morton police are asking for the public’s help after a call last week from an Olympia resident who said someone stole bicycles and the bike rack from off his motor home, possibly when he stopped to in Morton to eat.

• Morton police and the state patrol on Thursday recovered a vehicle stolen from Marysville that was sold online on  Craigslist to a Morton resident. It was returned to its owner, Morton police reported.


• A 27-year-old motorist from Puyallup was arrested for driving under the influence about 9 p.m. on Saturday after officers got multiple calls about an erratically driving vehicle on Interstate 5 in Centralia. After exiting the freeway at Harrison Avenue, concerned citizens were able to take the keys from the vehicle and keep Leslie C. Miller at the scene until police arrived,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Kalin E. Maxwell, 20, of Centralia, was arrested for driving under the influence after a single-car accident about 1:10 a.m. on Saturday at the 200 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 19-year-old Toledo man was reportedly uninjured but his car sustained major damage when he ran a stop sign at Cousins and Twin Oaks roads and ran through a fence on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A woman reportedly was uninjured when she accidentally drove off the road into a pond on Northwest Louisiana Avenue at Airport Road in Chehalis on Friday evening. It happened about 6 p.m. and passersby assisted her in getting out of the water, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.


• Lewis County Fire District 1 called to an equestrian event yesterday off Gish Road in Onalaska arranged for an injured person to be airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. Further details were not readily available.

The unclaimed dead are laid to rest

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Roses and baby's breath adorn urns of the unclaimed dead at Claquato Cemetery.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

A handful of people joined staff from the Lewis County Coroner’s Office on a spread of browned lawn beneath towering evergreens to pay their respects to the unclaimed dead who were buried this week.

The short memorial service at Claquato Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon was held for 14 individuals who have died in Lewis County over the past 14 years with no relatives to take custody of their bodies.

A red rose lay atop each of the brown-paper wrapped containers holding their ashes as Chaplain Brian Carter offered a brief prayer.

“We lay to rest these forgotten souls knowing full well you have not forgotten them,” Carter said.

Sondra Peckinpaugh came from her home across the street from the cemetery, even though she didn’t know any of the dead.

“I was kind of hoping more would be here,” she said.

Peckinpaugh said she has sometimes in the 40 years she’s resided near the so-called county section of the memorial park “adopted” a grave of an un-named person.

She regularly decorated with flowers a burial spot of a “Jane Doe” found in a river in the 1980s, she said.

Claquato Cemetery Manager Lacie Jendryka said a decision has not been made yet as to exactly how the grave will be marked. It won’t include all the names; a list will kept in cemetery records though, she said.

Many of the plots in what sometimes has been known as the welfare section do have flat headstones.

The burial of multiple cremated remains together in a single concrete liner is the first of its kind in the park, according to Jendryka.

Not all the dead are truly forgotten, some have friends still in the area, just no  family who could legally claim their bodies, according to the coroner’s office.

At the Twin City Senior Center in Chehalis during lunchtime announcements prior to the service, site leader Lou Morales passed around a list of those who were set to be buried.

Morales attended the ceremony with her parents, Lewis County Commissioner Ron Averill and his wife Jan Averill.

Three of the names were recognized by seniors, she said. Some there felt sure one of them, Mary Katherine Gibson, still had family in the area, she said.

“A lot of them would have liked to have come,” Morales said.


For background including the list, read “The unclaimed dead of Lewis County” from Sunday July 29, 2012, here

Read about real drugstore cowboy James Fogle dies in prison, and his brief time in Lewis County …

Friday, August 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle TImes reports the real life Drugstore Cowboy died yesterday at the Monroe prison.

James Fogle, 75, spent a summer in the Lewis County Jail, towards the end of a life lived mostly behind bars, a life the Seattle Times describes as inspiration for his autobiographical novel made into a movie of the same name – the 1989 film that featured actor Matt Dillon.

It was June 28, 1995, when Fogle was arrested in Centralia. He was sitting in a car with glass on his hair, shoulders and in his coat pockets after he broke into the Centralia Pharmacy at 212 N. Tower Ave. with a crowbar and carried out a tray of bottles of prescription narcotics, according to court documents.

When Centralia’s detective Fitzgerald advised him of his rights for an interview the following day, his response was short.

“I think I’m pretty well screwed here, I better talk to my attorney,” court documents relate.

He added he’d been on a binge after his wife died a week earlier. The address in his file was in Tacoma.

At 58, his nine listed past convictions which included robbery, burglary and drugs stretched back to a 1957 crime of taking a motor vehicle without permission.

Fogle’s handwritten motion in the court file a month later asked a judge to appoint him adequate counsel.

“So far I have seen no one I recognize as counsel, spoke with nothing but a voice over the telephone briefly and have been shuffled through this system like a pig led to slaughter,” Fogle wrote.

He complained that after his initial appearance in court, instead of the lawyer he was led to believe he was to see, he was presented with a reporter.

Still, it was court-appointed Centralia attorney Don McConnell who told the court Fogle’s defense to second-degree burglary would be general denial.

However, he pleaded guilty as charged and on Aug. 30, was sentenced by Lewis County Superior Court Judge H. John Hall to five years plus eight months in prison. Deputy Prosecutor Ruth Vogel – working for then elected Lewis County Prosecutor Nelson Hunt – signed the document.

According to his court file, Fogle was released from prison and by the end of 1999 was granted his request to a probation officer to reside in Palm Desert, California, as he was a writer and would be closer to his publicist

His Washington probation officer lost track of him shortly before his term of active supervision ended, but noted Fogle, or someone on his behalf, continued to make payments on his court ordered legal obligations.

In the summer of 2001, Fogle was brought from a Snohomish County corrections facility back to Lewis County, for a probation violation: failing to notify DOC of his changed address.

Judge David Draper gave him 60 days in jail.’s Scott Sunde writes that Fogle’s convictions that followed his Centralia Pharmacy incarceration were in 2001 for a Snohomish County burglary, in 2004 for a burglary in Kent in which he was found asleep inside a drugstore near paper bags filled with $10,000 worth of pills and his final felony in May 2010 when he and a partner robbed a pharmacy in Redmond.

Seattle Times news reporter Jennifer Sullivan writes Fogle’s death yesterday following a battle with lung ailments occurred during his 16 year sentence.

For more, read:

• ” ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ author James Fogle dies at 75″ from The Seattle Times on Thursday August 23, 2012 at 8:04 p.m., here

• “The real ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ dies in state prison” from on Friday August 24, 2012 at 10:08 a.m., here

News brief: Possible insanity plea in trooper assault case

Friday, August 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia man accused of assaulting a trooper alongside the freeway last month was finally arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Don K. Gonzales, 23, was suffering from some type of mental issue when the events occurred but has gotten stabilized during his time in jail, according to his attorney.

“He’s made a remarkable recovery,” Defense attorney Ken Johnson said yesterday afternoon.

Gonzales was walking along the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Main Street in Chehalis on July 3 when Trooper Rob Moore contacted him. After Moore told him to drop a knife, Gonzales allegedly threw a semi truck lug nut at the trooper’s face, breaking his nose and his glasses.

He is charged second-degree assault, plus three counts of third-degree assault regarding the wrestling match in which three passersby jumped in to help the trooper detain him.

Gonzales has been locked up on a no-bail hold, but yesterday Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $250,000. A trial date was scheduled for the week of October 8.

Johnson says there is the potential of an insanity plea.

“There’s nothing that went on that was at all logical,” Johnson said of the events of July 3.

For background, read:

• “View from the ground: Helping trooper take down fighting suspect” from Sunday July 15, 2012, here

• “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup” from Thursday July 5, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, August 24th, 2012


• Deputies are looking for a 27-year-old Centralia man after taking a report yesterday he grabbed his ex-girlfriend by the throat and punched her. A deputy called about 11:40 a.m. to the home on 100 block of Grant Street did not locate the suspect there, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A 59-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening to kill his grown daughter. Officers called about 12:30 p.m. to their home on the 500 block of South Rock Street booked Richard B. Goodwillie into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone stole shovels, rakes and a gas can from inside a carport on the 2900 block of Sandra Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon. A deputy who responded to the call learned a neighbor had seen a blue and black car parked across the way for about 30 minutes earlier in the morning, with its lights off, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown urges the public to go ahead and call 911 if they see something suspicious, such as a vehicle out of place or something that just doesn’t look right. It can help them solve crimes, Brown said. “We do not mind coming out to make sure everything is okay,” she said.


• A 32-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of a controlled substance after an officer who knew she had a warrant spotted her at Wal-Mart yesterday evening. The officer found syringes, a pipe and waxed paper with a brown residue on it suspected to be heroin, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Melissa C. Church was booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• A Chehalis officer who stopped a driver for expired license tabs last night smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle and asked the driver to hand it over. “He said okay and pulled it out” and gave it to him, Deputy Sgt. Randy Kaut said. The motorist, Corey J. Malinak, 32, of Chehalis, was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and sent on his way, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Eight fire departments responded to a house fire north of Littlerock early this morning. The two-story home, built in the 1880s, was vacant and described as a total loss. West Thurston Regional Fire Authority called at 5:50 a.m. to the blaze at 110th Avenue and little Rock Road, said nobody was injured. Neighbors report there may have been transients living at the property,” Fire Lt. Lanette Dyer stated in a news release. There was no electrical service to the home so it is suspicious, according to Dyer.


The (Longview) Daily News reports a consumer warning yesterday about phone solicitors targeting seniors is based upon incidents from Lewis, Clark and Thurston counties in recent days. According to a news release from the state Attorney General’s Office, telemarketers selling reverse mortgages are posing as state agents offering a senior property tax relief program. “All seniors who receive these calls are advised to refrain from giving out personal information over the phone to someone they do not know,” the Attorney General’s Office advises. “Seniors should contact their county assessor offices to find out more about property tax relief programs and the Department of Veterans Affairs (1-800-562-2308) for veteran’s benefits.”

News brief: Five Rochester teens injured when car hits boulders, rolls

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A car full of teenagers from Rochester were hurt when its speeding driver skidded off a road and rolled west of Little Rock this morning.

Two including the 17-year-old driver were transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, two were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and one sustained only a minor injury, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver, whose identity and home town were not released, suffered a head injury, according to the state patrol. Possible charges are pending.

Troopers were called about 5:30 a.m. to the scene at Bordeaux Road near Marksman road, according to the state patrol.

The 1985 Nissan 300 was heading northwest at a high rate and approaching a right hand curve when the driver hit the brakes, left the roadway to the left and hit a ditch and large boulders before rolling over, according to the investigating trooper. The car came to rest on its driver’s side.

Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be involved.

The four passengers and their injuries are identified as:

• Caleb Samuel Capo, 17, leg injuries
• Coy Forrest Belanger, 16, internal injuries
• Miranda R. Leaming, 15, back injuries
• Ryan Eugene Carter, 17, minor unspecified injury

News brief: Out of control driver exits Interstate 5 into Centralia pasture

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Longview motorist got a laceration on his head and a DUI after he wrecked on Interstate 5 in Centralia today and launched off the right shoulder, through a ditch, over a side road and drove approximately 500 feet into a field.

It happened about 2:30 p.m. beginning in the southbound lanes near milepost 80, according to the Washington State Patrol.

His 1996 Ford pickup truck was totaled.

According to the state patrol, Tony R. Wyatt, 52, struck the inside concrete barrier and continued along it for about 100 feet before swerving right and hitting a semi truck. His pickup became broadside and accelerated sharply to the west crossing AIrport Way, the patrol reported.

Drugs or alcohol were involved, the investigating trooper noted.

The big rig left the scene before a trooper arrived.

Wyatt was taken by aid to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment, according to the state patrol.

Maurin homicide: Riffe pleads not guilty, his attorney hints at proof

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

A jail guard directs accused killer Ricky Riffe to his seat in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ricky Allen Riffe arrived before a full court room gallery today, his gray hair and beard trimmed up for his arraignment in the kidnap and slaying of an elderly Ethel couple.

Riffe, 53, has been held on $5 million bail in the 1985 deaths of Ed and Minnie Maurin. He was just arrested last month in Alaska.

“Not guilty,” Riffe repeated seven times looking toward the Lewis County Superior Court judge who asked for his pleas.

His lawyer, Seattle-based John Crowley, indicated as they began to schedule a trial and other dates, he had yet to receive any police reports from the prosecutor’s office.


Ed and Minnie Maurin

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead stepped up and handed over a portable computer storage device he said contained 12,000 pages of discovery.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has investigated and reinvestigated the case since December 1985 when the Maurins vanished from their home on U.S. Highway 12 and their bodies turned up days later off a logging road outside Adna.

Authorities believe the couple was taken from their house, forced to drive to their bank and withdraw money, before being shot in the backs and dumped.

Riffe and his younger brother who recently died have long been suspects. They moved to Alaska in 1987.

The former heavy equipment operator, through his attorney, denies any involvement.

Five sheriff’s detectives joined three jail guards in the crowded Chehalis courtroom, in part to keep an eye on family members from both sides of the case.

“You know, emotions get going. We don’t want to see anything happen,” sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said.

Riffe is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary.

Numerous aggravating circumstances are alleged including particularly vulnerable victims and deliberate cruelty. Ed Maurin was 81 years old, his wife 83.

Crowley spoke with news reporters after the short hearing and hinted at new evidence that could support his client’s innocence, but said he wasn’t prepared to reveal any details.

“This is an issue that’s developed, it’s quite interesting,” Crowley said.

The lawyer said he was contacted about a week ago by a woman who knows a lot of details about the situation.

“I talked to her for the better part of an hour,” he said. “I talked to Ricky about it, and he started crying.”

The trial was set for the week of Oct. 8. Crowley expressed his doubt he could be prepared that soon, given the thousands of documents involved.

For more background, read:

• “Breaking news: Sheriff: Cold case solved in 1985 shooting death of elderly Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Sheriff: It’s safe for further witnesses to come forward following arrest in deaths of Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 5:14 p.m., here

• “Maurin homicide: Accused murderer’s lawyer says no new evidence in old case” from Thursday July 26, 2012, here

• “Maurin homicide: “He definitely did not do it” from Tuesday July 31, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012


• A 22-year-old Chehalis man as arrested yesterday evening for burglary in connection with as much as $3,000 worth of tools and other items stolen from the 700 block of South Gold Street. Suspected methamphetamine and a pill were found when Richard E. Engel was searched, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Officer Linda Bailey said.


• Police were called just before noon yesterday about a burglary at a home on the 1000 block of Roosevelt Street in Centralia. Missing were electronics and jewelry, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police arrested a 51-year-old California man yesterday for allegedly pawning unspecified items stolen from the 1200 block of Alder Street. Marcus Middlebrooks was booked into the Lewis County Jail for trafficking in stolen property, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A vehicle stolen from Centralia was located yesterday evening abandoned at the 1000 block of Brotherson Road in Centralia. The Saturn which apparently had been there about two weeks appeared to have been rifled through but not stripped, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon of a car prowl that may have occurred while the victim was parked at the post office on Northwest Cascade Avenue. Missing from a backpack out of an unlocked vehicle were an iPad and garage door opener, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A deputy took a report yesterday of a vehicle prowl that apparently occurred on July 29 at a Chevron station on the 12000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Packwood. The woman said there were young people in the parking lot when she went inside to pay and subsequently discovered binoculars, a National Geographic bird book and a pack missing from her vehicle.


• A 29-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon after he allegedly attempted to fill a forged prescription of Oxycontin, for a friend, at a pharmacy on the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Jeromy Freitas, of Graham, was booked into the Lewis County jail for forgery and identity theft, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office took a report yesterday from a 65-year-old man on the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia who found orange spray-painted graffiti on his garage doors, just two weeks after painting over similar graffiti. The lettering makes note of “South side” and “White PPL,” according to the sheriff’s office. On the same street another resident yesterday found an orange swastika an reference to “white power” on their garage, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A 30-year-old driver escaped injury when he totaled his 1990 Ford Ranger after he swerved to miss a deer on the 300 block of Henriott Road near Toledo yesterday. A deputy called about 10:30 a.m. found the truck grazed a telephone pole and went into a ditch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Three fire departments converged on Draper Valley Farms’ plant at West Main Street and State Avenue in Chehalis about 3 p.m. yesterday for a fire call. It was a small  electrical fire in a unit in a loft up above, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. It was still sparking when firefighters arrived but workers there had it mostly put out, Fire Capt. Ted McCarty said. Crews used a dry-chemical fire extinguisher to finish it off, according to McCarty.


• The (Longview) Daily News reports a deputy coroner in Cowlitz County has been arrested for allegedly using a dead man’s debit card to steal nearly $12,000. News reporter Leslie Slape writes that Jeffrey W. Hart, 44, of Castle Rock, said he was tempted because of severe financial problems and thought he could get away with it since the coroner’s office was having difficulty locating the dead man’s relatives. Hart was fired. Read about it, here

A glimpse into the work behind saving lives

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Members of the media are joined by firefighters, EMTs and paramedics in an attempt to "resuscitate" a plastic dummy.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Emergency responders from Napavine, Chehalis and Winlock took time on Tuesday to help local media better understand their work with a “field day” where rookies got to handle a fire hose and revive a dummy in cardiac arrest.

Members of Lewis County Fire District 6 shared some of what they do with reporters at a donated vacant house on Bishop Road in Chehalis.

Personnel have been using the structure for training this month and expect to have it awhile longer before it gets torn down, according to District 6 Chief Tim Kinder.

At Lewis County District 5′s main station in Napavine, Chief Eric Linn spoke about the time commitment volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians make.

“These are your neighbors,” Linn said as he introduced some of them, such as a nurse, a retired engineer, a floor supervisor at a casino.

It takes a minimum of 130 hours of training to become a firefighter and then at least that many to work as an EMT, according to Linn.

At his department, they train for three to four hours every week. Each member also is scheduled for periodic 24-hour shifts.

Live95 radio’s Cathy V. and Stephanie Schendel of The Chronicle got to save the life of a plastic dummy.

The two women did the chest compression portion of CPR to a pretend victim until volunteers and full-time staff from Districts 5, 15 and Lewis County Medic One arrived to take over. And then the pair resumed during a short ride in the back of an ambulance.

Paramedic Steve Kattenbraker explained how 100 compressions per minute can be achieved if one keeps beat to the Bee Gees disco hit “Stayin’ Alive“.

Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen has the right rhythm as well, but they don’t do that out loud.

News brief: Toledo man hurt in single vehicle wreck near Morton

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 75-year-old Toledo man was airlifted to a Portland-area hospital after his Jeep vaulted off U.S. Highway 12 near Morton this afternoon and came to rest at the bottom of a 30 to 40-foot embankment.

Troopers called about 12:20 p.m. to the scene, about a half mile east of town found Cledis W. McNew with what looked like a broken nose and a cut to his ear, according to the Washington  State Patrol. He was transported to Morton General Hospital for treatment and examination of head and internal injuries, according to the state patrol.

They decided to transfer him because of a possible hemorrhage on his brain, Sgt. Darin Foster said.

McNew was traveling eastbound when his 2002 Jeep Wrangler went off to the left and struck several trees before landing, according to the patrol.

The cause is under investigation. The Jeep is described as totaled.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012


• A 60-year-old Centralia man who reportedly came to court drunk yesterday morning after twice being told by a judge to return to court sober was cited by a judge for contempt and taken to jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Steven G. Thurman was booked into the Lewis County Jail after police summoned to Centralia Municipal Court just after 8 a.m. administered a portable breath test, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.


• A 52-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly propositioned another man in Borst Park in Centralia and grabbed him between the legs. The 25-year-old victim offered to break the man’s hand and called 911, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. Steven D. Koreis was booked into the Lewis County Jail for fourth-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was released yesterday afternoon.


• A 78-year-old woman’s car was stolen from a church parking lot yesterday at the 2300 block of Sandra Avenue sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. A deputy called to the Centralia Bible Evangelical Free Church was told she may have left her keys hanging in the church door when she arrived, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Missing is a dark gray 1996 Saturn wagon, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A deputy took a report yesterday of a red 1993 Chevrolet pickup truck stolen from the 3900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia on Friday between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.  It was a work truck parked at an employee’s home and belonging to a reforestation company, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A 22-year-old Centralia man who allegedly stole a pair of pants and shirt from relatives and returned them to the store for cash was arrested late yesterday for trafficking in stolen property. Travis Amburgy was arrested also for possession of methamphetamine in connection with a call just before 6 p.m. to the 1900 block of Van Wormer Street in Centralia,  according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• A 16-year-old driver who said he swerved to miss a deer along a curve and wrecked his 2001 Ford Explorer suffered abrasions on his neck and chest , the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning. The accident on the 500 block of Logan Hill Road about noon time on Monday in Chehalis left the truck with major damage, according to the sheriff’s office.