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The best of Town Crier’s 2012 crime and injury reports

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The car driven by a pair of Olympia-based murder suspects during a chase initiated by Winlock Police March 11. The vehicle lost control on I-5 in Kelso but not before suspects fired mortars and other projectiles toward officers in an attempt to escape.

Lewis County was home to some nefarious and outlandish crimes in 2012. Metal thieves were getting bolder, car thieves were getting faster and gun enthusiasts were practicing less care with their firearms.

But while some crimes seemed a surmounting task to investigate, our boys and girls in blue (sometimes green) were offered a leg up by certain criminals who may not have known what they were getting into.

Below is the list of Town Crier’s favorite of such police reports from the last year, presented in order of publication.

Winlock man 0 for 2 after eluding cops

Published March 7

A Winlock man was arrested in Centralia after attempting to elude law enforcement for several hours Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Andrew J. Holmgren, 22, was apprehended after escaping police custody following a medical exam related to a lengthy car chase that began around 11:45 p.m. Thursday.

At that time, Holmgren was spotted by deputies driving a stolen truck on Harrison Ave. in Ford’s Prairie and, when deputies attempted to contact him, Holmgren fled north on Harrison Ave. to Grand Mound.

After Homgren entered I-5 to flee south, Centralia Police, Thurston County Sheriffs and Washington State Troopers were also giving chase, eventually intercepting the stolen vehicle on Curtis Hill Rd. west of Adna. In the process of attempting to escape capture, Holmgren rammed two patrol cars, but was eventually apprehended by law enforcement.

Once in custody, Holmgren claimed he was experiencing a medical emergency and, pursuant to policy, deputies took him to Providence Centralia Hospital to be cleared for booking. At around 3:30 a.m. Friday, Holmgren was released by doctors, who stated they found nothing wrong with him.

While being escorted to a waiting patrol car, Holmgren fled on foot, clad only in blue scrub pants, brown socks and forward-locked handcuffs. The escorting deputy gave chase, but his foot became caught on a fence and he lost sight of the suspect on the 800 block of South Scheuber Rd.

Hours later, at approximately 8:50 a.m., deputies located Holmgren less than a mile from the hospital while following up on reports of a car prowler on 1300 block of Scammon Creek Rd.

While interviewing the reporting party, deputies noticed mud inside the car and used the trunk lever to search the rear of the vehicle, but the trunk kept closing on its own. Pulling down the back seats of the car, deputies found Holmgren inside the trunk and took him into custody for transport to the Lewis County Jail.

At the jail, Holmgren was booked for attempting to elude law enforcement, possession of a stolen vehicle, hit-and-run, first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree assault, second-degree burglary and an outstanding Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody.

Winlock police help capture murder suspects

Published March 14

A pair of murder suspects went so far as to fire mortars from their vehicle during a high-speed pursuit through Lewis and Cowlitz Counties Sunday, according to the Winlock Police Department.

Dwight M. Bradsbery and Trey N. Jones, both 20 and described as transients, had fled from Olympia in a stolen 1999 Kia Sophia and local police were alerted the pair may be headed to Winlock, where Jones used to live. Both were being sought in connection with the March 9 stabbing death of Nathaniel Ollis, 29, of Olympia.

Winlock Officer Steve Miller positioned his vehicle at the Park Rd. overpass, just south of Exit 68, and spotted the suspect’s vehicle traveling eastbound on Park Rd. around 2:45 p.m. Miller attempted to pull them over but the suspects continued and a pursuit ensued.

They led Miller down Jackson Hwy. then onto SR 505 and through Toledo, where Toledo police and deputies from Lewis County and Cowlitz County joined the chase. While fleeing, the suspects threw numerous items from the vehicle including several unknown types of incendiary devices, later determined to be firework mortars.

The suspects fled down secondary county roads and eventually entered I-5 at Exit 57. Miller then executed a pursuit intervention technique (PIT), striking their vehicle with his in an attempt to disorient or disable the suspects. The fleeing vehicle was able to recover and continued southbound through Cowlitz County with units from Washington State Patrol, Castle Rock Police and Kelso Police also giving chase.

The pursuit ended near Milepost 39, in Kelso, when the fleeing vehicle lost control during a spike strip deployment, though it was unclear if the crash occurred while impacting the strip or attempting to avoid it.

Both were arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail: Bradsbery for second-degree murder, residential burglary and theft of a motor vehicle; Jones for first-degree rendering criminal assistance, residential burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

Wanted Toledo man booked for stolen car

Published April 11

Warrant service led to a charge for a stolen vehicle near Toledo April 4, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew H. Pettit, 36, was served on the 100 block of Smokey Valley Rd., south of Toledo, with warrants for failing to appear for two charges of driving while suspended, first degree, and one charge of driving without a required ignition interlock device. Before being transported to jail, Pettit was overheard telling a family member about a vehicle that "needed taking care of."

After being booked into the Lewis County Jail for his warrants, Pettit admitted to investigators the remark had been intended to inform his family member of a stolen car on the property. Deputies returned to the scene and, after obtaining permission to search the premises, located a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer stolen out of Cowlitz County.

Pettit was then booked on an additional charge of second-degree possession of stolen property.

Toledo man injured after accidental discharge

Published April 18

A Toledo man sustained a non-life-threatening injury when his new pistol accidentally discharged after an early-morning test-firing Monday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The 31-year-old man and a friend were shooting targets at around 3 a.m. with the victim’s new .25 automatic pistol on the Weyco logging road at the end of Toledo Salmon Creek Rd., southeast of Toledo. The victim, who told deputies he and his friend had been smoking methamphetamine at the time, were returning to their vehicle when the back receiver of the pistol was impacted and the weapon discharged into the victim’s hand.

The pair then called 911 and fled to the Toledo Police Department where deputies made contact with them. No charges have been filed as a result of the shooting because deputies could not identify any criminal intent and because the victim’s statement was not sufficient evidence to pursue drug charges, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

Tri-county chase ends near Castle Rock

Published May 16

The driver of a stolen vehicle led law enforcement at high speeds from Olympia to Castle Rock May 9, according to multiple official reports.

David J. Lee, 23, was spotted by Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies standing with another individual in the roadway around 2 a.m. on the Hwy 101 onramp to I-5, in Olympia. As deputies approached, Lee entered a 2012 Chevrolet Camero, reported stolen by Hertz Rent-a-Car to Port of Seattle Police, and fled south down I-5.

The chase reached speeds of 150 mph as Lee headed toward Lewis County, driving "erratically" between traffic, though not causing any collisions. Spike strips were deployed at Exit 77, disabling a Thurston Deputy’s vehicle but not yet stopping the Camero.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Deputies took lead of the pursuit and, joined by Chehalis Police, successfully spiked the Camero at Exit 72, removing the left front tire. The pursuit continued until Lee drove off the road near Exit 52, north of Castle Rock, where he was apprehended by deputies.

Lee was booked into the Thurston County Jail for attempting to elude law enforcement and possession of stolen property.

Homeless man invades Toledo residence

Published June 13

A seemingly-confused transient was arrested in Toledo June 5 after letting himself into a stranger’s home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Craig A. Olson, 50, formerly of Longview, had previously been reported to law enforcement the evening of June 4 when he approached multiple residences in the area, asking for a ride. Around 5 p.m. the next day, on the 5400 block of Jackson Hwy., Olson was found in the house of a 36-year-old Toledo man when the victim returned home.

Olson reportedly stated the house belonged to him and that his wife, an "international cop," had let him in, then went to Chehalis on an errand. Investigators believe Olson entered the house through an unlocked window and found an estimated $30 in damage to a locked bedroom door, though no other damage was reported and no items appeared stolen.

Olson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary.

Underaged drinking party disrupted in Winlock

Published June 27

Multiple agencies responded to a sizable underaged drinking party in Winlock early Sunday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were responding to a suspicious text message received by a Winlock man from his son’s cell phone stating an individual had pulled a gun on the teenager. When deputies arrived at the scene around 12:40 a.m., they found a large number of teenagers drinking alcohol and vomiting outside a shop on the 100 block of Troutman Dr.

Responding law enforcement, which included Winlock and Morton Police, contacted 24 individuals between the ages of 15 and 21 from Winlock, Vader, Onalaska, Castle Rock, Chehalis and Clatskanie, Ore.

During the investigation, a 16-year-old Winlock male in the shop began throwing objects at deputies and, after being placed in a patrol car, got out of his handcuffs and caused damage to both door handles. He was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for malicious mischief, second degree, obstructing law enforcement and minor in possession of alcohol. A second 16-year-old  

male, also from Winlock, became combative while being detained and was referred for resisting arrest and cited for minor in possession of alcohol.

Twelve other individuals were cited for minor in possession of alcohol and were either transported to or remanded into the custody of parents, guardians, or otherwise designated sober adults. While deputies had been en route, the father stated his son’s phone was stolen and the boy did not send the text message, but deputies were unable to locate the individual who had done so.

911 caller collared in Toledo

Published Aug. 15

A Toledo woman was booked for drug possession after calling 911 about a domestic dispute Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Heidi M. Catlin, 43, had called 911 from the 100 block of Smokey Valley Rd., southwest of Toledo, and, while deputies were en route, they were informed she had an outstanding warrant.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies placed Catlin under arrest and found a bag containing white powder in her pants pocket, which tested positive for meth.

Catlin was booked into the Lewis County Jail for her warrant and for possession of methamphetamine.

Intoxicated minor gives himself away

Published Aug. 29

A Shelton teenager was arrested for minor in possession of alcohol after attempting to flee the scene of an unrelated accident near Vader Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert M. Niel, 18, had been a passenger in a vehicle that stopped due to a collision on the 2000 block of SR 506, west of Vader. When deputies arrived, they observed Niel exit the vehicle and walk away into the woods, where he attempted to hide in the brush.

Deputies approached the teen and found him to show signs of intoxication and, when asked, Niel said he had fled to avoid being arrested because he was drunk and under age. Niel was cited for the aforementioned charge and released.

No honor among (alleged) thieves

Published Sept. 19

Four local residents were arrested Sept. 12 after reportedly attempting to steal from the property where a man had been sought earlier that day for operating a chop shop.

Richard A. Pruett, 50, of Winlock; Mark S. Hendricks, 56, of Toledo; Brent L. Heath, 30, of Toledo; and Casey S. Fredrick, 26, of Castle Rock, were apprehended on the 200 block of Lake Creek Rd., in Curtis, while claiming they were attempting to recover their personal property.

Before the alleged burglary, deputies had been at the residence to investigate Michael G. McBride, 41, of Boistfort, after a tipster alerted them last month to the high volume of cars being driven to the property. Deputies found McBride had been frequently selling car parts to a Chehalis recycling center and, while at the property, found pieces of a Ford F-150 stolen in Curtis in July (the bed and cab of which were located separately in Winlock last week).

Further investigation of the property revealed two illegally-possessed firearms and nearly 12 ounces of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $4,500.

After receiving information on his whereabouts, McBride was taken into custody on the 1100 block of Koontz Rd., east of Napavine, around 9 a.m. Sept. 12 and booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful possession of a firearm, first degree, possession of stolen property, second degree, possession of a stolen vehicle and felony possession of marijuana.

Seven hours later, Pruett, Hendricks, Heath and Frederick were found at the property loading tools, stereo equipment and other items into two separate vehicles. When approached by deputies, they told varying stories that they were either victims of McBride and were attempting to recover their property, or had recently been residents at the house and were collecting their things.

The 69-year-old owner of the property had stated no one else was allowed to be there and the four were booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary. All stolen items were recovered at the scene.

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