Fire and EMS
Driver flees from crash at fatal Vader intersection
An unknown driver has gone missing after a Vader-area collision Saturday, according to Lewis County Medic One.
Emergency personnel and law enforcement arrived at the intersection of SR 506 and Winlock/Vader Rd. at around 1 p.m. to find an abandoned pickup with significant damage to the driver’s side, though no indication of whom was occupying the vehicle or how many had been inside was found at the scene.
This wreck took place in the same location where 70-year-old Richard T. Brunaugh, of Cottage Grove, Ore., died after speeding through the intersection for unknown reasons Jan. 21. Brunaugh reportedly died of injuries sustained during the crash.
Arrests & Referrals
Toledo woman facing theft and fraud charges
A Toledo woman has been charged with defrauding the state out of public assistance dollars and is expected to be arraigned Thursday, according to Lewis County Superior Court.
Kelly M. Hanson, 42, has been accused of collecting $5,419 in food and medical assistance she did not qualify for, according to court documents, and was summed to a preliminary appearance Jan. 28.
The offence is alleged to have taken place between March 2011 and April 2012 when Hanson was accepting state assistance for herself and three children. It is alleged Hanson’s husband was living in the household at the time and operating a private construction business, but neither himself nor his income had been reported by Hanson to the state.
Hanson is being charged with first-degree theft of public assistance and falsifying public assistance verification, both punishable by a total of 25 years in prison. She remains free on a $5,000 bond.
Bowen pleads guilty to Flying K lottery thefts
A Winlock woman charged with stealing lottery tickets from her employer pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to aggravated, first-degree theft and could receive as much as 10 years in prison.
Katrina M. Bowen, 37, chose not to seek a trial but instead admitted to stealing an estimated $175,000 in $5 lottery tickets from the Flying K gas station, in Toledo, between March and September of last year.
Bowen had been investigated by the Toledo Police Department after the owners of the gas station noticed a significant drop in revenue and confronted Bowen, according to court documents. She reportedly assured them she had been keeping track of how many tickets she had taken, but was terminated anyway in September.
She was subpoenaed to appear in court for the theft Jan. 22 and has since remained free on unsecured bond, and is expected to return Feb. 20 for sentencing to be scheduled. The maximum penalty for the charge could be 10 years in prison, given the aggravating factor of economic hardship placed on her previous employer. It was noted this charge would be her first felony, and her criminal history is expected to affect sentencing.
The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office indicated it is unknown what magnitude of restitution she will be ordered to pay, but said her ability to repay will be factored into the court’s determination.
Those with information about ongoing investigations are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (360) 740-1266 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422.
Police looking into local mail thefts
A number of local USPS mailboxes have been reportedly broken into and area voters are being cautioned to check the status of their ballots, according to the Lewis County Auditor’s Office.
It was reported Jan. 28 the post offices in Centralia, Rochester and Galvin had suffered break-ins to their mailboxes sometime between the evening of Jan. 25 and the morning of Jan. 26. Some stolen mail has already been recovered and returned to their senders so they may verify if any contents have been compromised, according to the Centralia Police Department.
Those who may have attempted to mail their ballots for the Feb. 11 election during those times at those locations are being told to contact the Auditor’s Office at 360-740-1278 or 360-740-1164, or through www.myvote.wa.gov, to verify if their ballot has been received. They may also contact the Auditor’s Office in person at (351 NW North St., Chehalis), from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.