Salvador Martinez, 61, of Longview is under arrest after the pickup he was driving ended up in Lake Sacajawea. Longview Police and aid crews were called to the 1800 block of Nichols at about 10:15 pm, when a local resident reported that a truck was in the water near the 20th Avenue Bridge. Martinez and his son were able to get out of the truck, but it appears that the younger Martinez suffered an arm or shoulder injury, and was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment. The elder Martinez says that they were heading to the hospital in the first place, but the pickup had no defroster, and the windshield wipers weren’t working. When he turned toward the hospital, Martinez drove off the road and went right into the lake. The son is listed in good condition at St. John, while the father is being held in the Cowlitz County Jail on a no-bail third-degree theft warrant. He’s also being cited for second-degree negligent driving.
A Kelso woman is staying with friends after fire broke out last night in her apartment on Elm Street. Fire crews from Cowlitz 2 and Longview were called to the four-plex in the 800 block of elm at about 8:30 pm. Firefighters say that they saw smoke coming from one of the ground-level units. A neighbor from one of the upper-level units used a pair of fire extinguishers to help keep things contained, and then the fire crews finished things off in just a few minutes. The damage estimate is put at about $5,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it’s thought to be accidental at this time. No injuries were reported.
Oregon State Police report that seven teenagers from Vernonia were very lucky Saturday night, when the pickup they were riding in went off of Highway 47 and crashed into a tree. The crash happened around 11:30 pm on Saturday, about six miles south of Vernonia. The 16 year-old female driver lost control ni a curve, went off the highway and crashed into a tree. The driver and one passenger were taken to Providence Saint Vincent Medical Center, with injuries said to be “non life-threatening.” Family members took a third passenger in with minor injuries. Six of the seven teens are 16 years old, while the seventh is seventeen. It’s also noted that the crash took place at the very end of National Teen Driver Safety Week.
The Longview Public Development Authority meets in a special session this afternoon, where they will review the Request for Proposals that have been submitted in regard to a feasibility study for a hotel and sports complex in the vicinity of the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. Today’s meeting will start at 4 pm in the Small Conference Room at the Longview City Hall, and is open to the public.
The results of an inventory of historic properties in the Old West Side of Longview will be presented this evening at the Longview Public Library. The Longview Historic Preservation Commission will receive the results of this inventory in a special meeting that starts at 5:30 pm, where consultant Sally Donovan will present the results. The Commission invites Old West Side residents to this evening’s meeting, saying that this will be a great time to ask questions about specific properties, and to get details about the process and possible benefits of getting those properties listed on the local historic register.
If you have some spare Halloween costumes for kids, the Emergency Support Shelter is in need of those threads. Shelter officials say that they need costumes for both boys and girls, ages one to 12. They also say that the costumes should not be bloody, or from horror shows, to avoid scaring the kids. If you can help out, drop your donations off at the Emergency Support Shelter, located at 1330 11th Avenue in Longview, or give them a call at 425-1176.
Help observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month at a Candlelight Ceremony that’s planned for this evening at the John Searing Auditorium at the Cowlitz PUD building. The Emergency Support Shelter is joining with the United Way to put tonight’s event on, inviting you to come and join in remembering lives that have been taken due to domestic violence, along with celebrating the survivors and those who are still fighting for their freedom. They say it’s time to “Break the Silence,” and there’s “No Excuse for Abuse.” This evening’s Candlelight Ceremony starts at 6 pm; light refreshments will be served.
There’s a High Wind Warning in effect for the local area, continuing until 9 pm tonight. The National Weather Service says that we should see sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles an hour, with gusts of up to 50 miles an hour. The worst winds are expected to come through between 2 and 7 pm. Already, we have reports of power outages in the area, including outages along the Coweeman River in Kelso and from Harris Street and Allen Street. Also in Longview, from Washington Way to Oregon Way to the Civic Circle, including St. John Medical Center. Be aware of the possibility of downed trees and lines, and exercise care as you make your way around this afternoon and evening.
Week eight of the prep football season includes Heritage at Kelso for Homecoming (101.5 FM The Wave). Mark Morris hosts Ridgefield (105.5 FM KUKN) and R.A. Long is at Hudson’s Bay…..R.A. Long took the Civil War volleyball match 3-0 last night. Also, Kelso defeated Fort 3-0…..The girls soccer Civil War went to MM over RAL 2-0. Kelso pummeled Fort 7-0…..Aaron Brumbaugh took first and led the Monarchs to the 2A District cross country title…..Woodland captured the 2A boys golf District at Mint Valley…..Mint Valley Racquet Complex hosts the 2A District boys tennis tourney today and tomorrow…..The Oregon Ducks take on Cal tonight in Santa Clara. The Huskies host ASU tomorrow night (101.5 FM The Wave)…..Game three of the World Series tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm.
While no one was injured, local residents are still shaken after yesterday afternoon’s tornado that ripped through Longview and West Kelso, leaving a mile-long path of damaged buildings, wrecked cars and shattered trees in its wake. The Weather Service is now classifying yesterday’s twister as an EF-1 tornado, which is on the lower end of the six-step Enhanced Fujita Scale. Wind speeds were estimated to be between 86 and 100 miles an hour, with a track estimated to be about 1.3 miles in length.
Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha says that the tornado first touched down in the Highlands, just after 1 pm. The tornado tracked north-northeast, snapping off trees at the lake and damaging a roof on a senior apartment building off of 17th Avenue before sweeping down Commerce and Vandercook Way, where it appears that the worst damage was done. Duscha says that it came right by his office window at 14th and Hudson. Trees were sheared off along Commerce in front of the Columbia Theatre as the tornado continued down Vandercook Way. Roofs were sucked off of several buildings, and a portion of the wall at Carl’s Towing was ripped off. A large corrugated fiberglass roof that covers some outdoor storage at Searing Electric and Plumbing was completely lifted off; a large chunk flipped over the building and landed in the plate glass windows fronting Manchester Brothers. Other chunks were scattered for several blocks, along with other debris from trees, fences and other items. Several more trees were knocked down in West Kelso, including one that landed on the drive-through at the Fibre Federal branch on 5th Avenue.
Response to the tornado was immediate, with personnel and heavy equipment on the scene within minutes to begin cleanup. Vandercook Way was closed immediately after the storm, but re-opened to traffic by 4 pm. City officials and engineers are now inspecting damaged buildings, to see if any will need to be condemned. They haven’t said yet how many buildings were hit, and there’s no dollar estimate on the total damage done. Assessments are continuing, and more information should be released later today.
An arrest warrant is being issued out of Cowlitz County, asking for law enforcement agencies all along the west coast to be on the lookout for Anthony Martinis, 41, who is suspected of robbing seven banks in Washington and Oregon over the course of ten days, starting with the Fibre Federal Credit Union Branch at the Triangle Center in Longview on September 23. Martinis has been identified as the suspect in six additional robberies through October 17th; those took place in Yakima, Lacey, Salem, Eugene and Cottage Grove. In each of the robberies, the suspect approached the teller, gave a demand note, and then left with an undisclosed amount of cash. The FBI says that it was able to identify Martinis through analysis of security photos, and they say that he may be working his way toward Arizona. Anthony James Martinis is a white male, 6’2”, around 250 pounds, with blue eyes. He has short, graying hair, but they also say that he may be changing his hair style. If you have information on the whereabouts of this man, contact your local law enforcement agency right away. You can also call the FBI at 503-224-4181, or leave an anonymous tip on the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 577-1206.