Be aware that traffic is tied up on Ocean Beach Highway west of Longview, after a head-on collision that took place shortly after 9 am in the vicinity of Mill Creek Road. Few details are confirmed, but we are hearing that at least one car caught fire after the crash, and there’s a possibility that two people were killed. LifeFlight is also being activated, as the State Patrol and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue respond to the scene. Traffic along Ocean Beach Highway will be shut down until this scene is cleared, and that process could take several hours. Circumstances surrounding the collision haven’t been disclosed as of yet, and no names are known at this time.
Archive | ‘Local News’
A “full trauma activation” was initiated last night at Saint John Medical Center, as Emergency Department personnel dealt with an electrocution that was reported last night in the 100 block of Niblett Way. The incident was reported just before 9 pm; after the initial call, a second 911 caller said that the 50 year-old male victim was breathing, but was not conscious. Deputies arrived with aid personnel, and the Cowlitz PUD was also notified. They learned that Robert Gilcher had been digging a ditch, and he apparently hit an underground power line. LifeFlight was alerted, but the decision was made to transport Gilcher to St. John by ambulance; he was transferred to the burn unit at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, and is listed in critical condition this morning.
The first full day of fall also brings the first big weather system of the season, with rain and gusty winds forecast for the region later today and tomorrow. The Weather Service says that widespread moderate to heavy rain is expected to start along the coast late this afternoon, and will slowly spread inland overnight and into tomorrow. As much as an inch of rain is expected out of this system in the local area; the Coast Range and Cascade Foothills could get up to two inches of rain. They’re saying that recent wildfires may have also increased flooding danger downstream from where slopes have been exposed. Drivers also need to be on guard for slick roadways, as the rain lifts the oil and grease that were put down during the summer. Coastal wind gusts of up to 55 miles an hour are possible out of this system, and the higher-elevation ski resorts could also see a few snowflakes as the freezing level drops.
Your help is needed in finding two men who are reported to be involved in the trafficking of a stolen wedding ring. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office says that Raila J. Walker, 35, of Longview stole the ring earlier this month; on the 21st, she was arrested on multiple felony counts, including charges for car prowling, first- and second-degree theft, trafficking in stolen property and other counts. Deputies served a search warrant on Walker’s home, where property stolen from the victim in this case was recovered. During the interviews with Walker, she reportedly said that she had sold the stolen ring to Jamey, 24, or Jody Withers, 27, who may have not known that the ring was stolen. The two men are brothers, and are thought to be living somewhere in the Toutle area. If you have information on the whereabouts of Jamey or Jody Withers, or if you know where this ring might be, call the Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092, or leave an anonymous tip on the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 577-1206.
Robbie Alba-Estrada is your newest member of the Longview School Board, chosen last night in a unanimous vote of the remaining school board members. Alba-Estrada says that she’s honored by the selection, and she’s ready to get to work. Alba-Estrada was chosen over James Mossman and Carl Degner; she has four children that are currently enrolled in Longview schools, so she says that she has a deep investment in the performance of the schools and the district. She’ll be sworn in on Monday, October 15th, and will serve out the rest of Skip Urling’s unexpired term, which runs through December 14th of next year.
In other business last night, the Longview School Board approved the timeline for conducting the search for a permanent Superintendent, with a goal of making that selection by February 9th of next year. Advertising for the position will begin next week, and applications will be accepted through December 10th. Interviews will be conducted in late January. There was also an extended discussion about crosswalk safety on 15th Avenue in front of Mark Morris High School. The board plans to return to that discussion after Principal Phil Suek has another chance to talk with students about how they might participate in resolving this situation. The City of Longview is also applying for a traffic safety grant, with hopes for obtaining funds to install a traffic signal or other safety equipment at that crosswalk.
The $7.2 million expansion of the Canterbury Park Independent Living facility on 3rd Avenue in Longview is officially under way, with groundbreaking ceremonies held yesterday morning. The project will construct 33 new apartments for local senior citizens, along with other amenities. Aaron Koelsch, the President and CEO of the Koelsch Senior Communities, says that this project continues his family’s commitment to the local area and to local senior citizens. Along with the new apartments, the project will have a new courtyard, a café, a woodworking shop and a quilt room, additional parking and other features. Construction is getting under way as we speak, with completion currently scheduled for summer of next year.
The Red Cross reports that it’s providing assistance to four adults and a dog after a house fire that took place over the weekend in Cathlamet. Chief Jim Wilson with Wahkiakum County Fire District 4 in Cathlamet says that this fire call came in a few minutes after 3 yesterday morning; when they arrived at the home at 388 East State Route 4, the house was engulfed in flames. Wilson says that they went into a defensive response, to protect other structures. All four people and the dog were able to escape safely, with no injuries reported. The home and its contents were a total loss, but there’s no dollar estimate on damage. An investigator from the Longview Fire Department is now working to see if the cause of the fire can be determined. The displaced persons are staying with family members, as the Red Cross provides additional support.
The Washington Department of Labor and Industries and the Cowlitz County Coroner are following up on a death that took place Saturday at the Weyerhaeuser millsite in Longview. 50 year-old Scott Trapp of Vancouver was working for J. H. Kelly, who had a contract to install electrical wiring at the Longview mill. Co-workers called 911 at about 5:30 Saturday afternoon, after finding Trapp unconscious and unresponsive. CPR was initiated, and an AED was also employed, without success. Trapp was declared dead at the scene, and his body was turned over to the County Coroner for a post-mortem examination. The cause of death is not yet known.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a ground search in the hills near Vernonia, after a Hillsboro man failed to return from a hunting trip. Deputies are being joined by Search and Rescue volunteers in the effort, which is going on off of Timber Road. Family members say that they had cell phone contact with John Hill several times yesterday morning, the last time coming around 9:30 am; they also say that he seemed to be disoriented. By noon, a full-scale ground search had been initiated, including K-9 tracking units from Yamhill County. That effort was unsuccessful, and the ground search is planned to resume at first light this morning.
Hyzon Santiago, 27, of Vancouver continues his recovery at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, after he was injured in a Saturday afternoon motorcycle crash east of Woodland. State Troopers say that the crash took place around 3:45 Saturday afternoon, on State Route 503, about 24 miles east of Woodland. Santiago was southbound, and apparently failed to negotiate a curve in the road. Santiago’s bike went off the road, and he was ejected. Santiago was taken to the hospital by LifeFlight, where he’s listed in satisfactory condition this morning. Troopers say excessive speed led to the crash, and that Santiago will be cited for driving with his wheels off of the roadway.