WSP continues to investigate this morning’s fatal collision on I-5 north of Woodland, where a 41 year-old man died after being hit by a semi. The truck drive was northbound around 2:15 am, when he spotted a disabled car on the shoulder. As he moved into the center lane, the driver felt an impact, and then found out that he had hit a person. That man died at the scene, and then it was determined that he was the owner of the disabled car on the freeway shoulder. The northbound freeway was closed and traffic was detoured until about 7 am. The victim’s name hasn’t been released, but Troopers say that he’s not from Washington or Oregon. They also don’t know why he was in the middle of the freeway.
Oregon State Police are looking for your help in finding the suspect vehicle in a serious hit-and-run crash that took place Friday night on Highway 30, about eight miles east of Astoria. Around 9:20 Friday night, a 1996 Honda Passport crossed the center line of the highway and crashed head-on into a 2002 Doge Neon driven by Abraham Korpoh, 21, Olivia Tokstad, 21, of Portland and Kamah Hartwell, 22, of Portland. Korpoh was critically injured in the collision, whole Tokstad and Hartwell suffered lesser injuries. The driver of the Passport took off on foot, and hasn’t been seen since. It’s noted that traffic was heavy in the area at the time of the collision, and that witnesses may not have talked with troopers that were on the scene. You should contact Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888 if you have information on this collision.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is sending some partial human skeletal remains to King County, to see if a Forensic Pathologist can identify who that person is. They say that the remains were found Saturday afternoon in the 2800 block of Little Hanaford Road near Centralia, by a local resident who was out walking his dog. The area where the bones were found is wooded, close to the roadway, on property owned by Trans Alta. At this time, investigators say that they think that the remains were dumped, rather than this being the site where the person died. Nothing is known yet about the gender, age, ethnicity or other details regarding this person. Detectives are now awaiting some additional information from King County, before they start checking missing person data bases.
Jonathan Scott Lee, 38, of Kelso is heading to federal prison for 25 years, sentenced after his convictions for production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. Lee was arrested in fall of 2012, after he had sent child porn images to an undercover officer working in New Zealand. Investigators traced the images to Lee and his home in Kelso, and in September of last year, he pleaded guilty to taking explicit images of an 11 year-old girl. At Lee’s sentencing, Judge Ronald Leighton said that production of child pornography is a despicable activity, and that “exploiting children is the lowest form of cruelty that I can imagine.” Lee is now required to register as a sex offender, and will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, after he serves his prison term.
After just one term as Cowlitz County Clerk, Bev Little is announcing that she will not be seeking re-election in the fall. The 68 year-old says that she wants to spend more time with her family, and also says that the next clerk will need to be much more “tech-savvy” than she is. Little announced her plans in a press release issued last Friday, also pointing to some of the improvements made in the office during her term. She notes that the statewide court system is switching to a new program, which will change how the Clerk’s office is managed on a day-to-day basis. Little says that a lot was accomplished during her tenure, but a lot more remains to be done.
On the final day of recreational smelt-dipping in the local area, the elusive little fish did their best to put on a good show. Huge numbers of smelt were in on the Cowlitz River on Saturday, making for easy dipping for the huge throngs of people lining the river banks. Many people were able to get their ten-pound limits in just one or two dips, making for a quick effort. This is the first time in four years that recreational dippers have been able to have much success. The Department of Fish and Wildlife allowed for a limited recreational season on the Cowlitz, in an effort to gather additional information on the strength of the run.
The LCC Lady Devils will try to stay alive at the NWAACC Basketball Tournament in Kennewick, after dropping a 74-57 decision to Columbia Basin. LCC trailed early and never was able contend in the game, trailing by 23 at the half and eventually losing by 17. They’ll play Spokane in a loser-out game scheduled for 4 pm. The men were ousted from the tourney after losing to Big Bend 84-69…..The Red Devils also opened the baseball season over the weekend, splitting a Saturday doubleheader with Clark, 9-8 and 8-2, followed by a sweep of the Concordia JV’s, 10-3 and 13-2…..The Seattle Mariners were dealt their first Cactus League loss yesterday, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Cleveland Indians. LF Dustin Ackley was 2-3 in the game, with a tape-measure HR in the 4th.
Saying that they had time to reflect and confer with citizens on the issue, the Longview City Council reversed course and voted to approve the ordinance that sets zoning rules for marijuana-related businesses in the city, passing those rules on a unanimous 7-0 vote. Mayor Don Jensen says that most of the concerns dealt with local control. He says that decisions should be made here, not in Olympia…lvpotzones…Council member Mike Wallin offered an amendment to the ordinance, asking to require special use permits for marijuana producers, processors and retail outlets, saying that such a requirement would install another layer of protection for the city and its citizens. That amendment failed; Council member Tom Hutchinson says that it was a thinly-veiled attempt to put additional roadblocks up in front of legitimate businesses that would be coming into town. With the passage of the ordinance, the moratorium on marijuana-related businesses in the city of Longview is lifted.
There was quite a show last night at the EconoLodge Motel on North Pacific Avenue in Kelso, as Kelso Police worked to arrest a possibly-armed man in one of the units at the motel. Just before 6 pm, KPD got a tip that Jeremy Lewellyn LeBeau, 31, of Longview was in one of the units. The caller reported that LeBeau was wanted on a felony warrant, and may have been armed. The caller didn’t know exactly which room LeBeau was in, saying that it was in between rooms 114 and 120. Officers cordoned off the area, and worked to evacuate the rooms around that area, including rooms on the second floor. They also made public address calls to try and get LeBeau to surrender on his own. Traffic on North 1st, Crawford and Columbia was shut down, and Lower Columbia SWAT was alerted. Shortly after 7 pm, detectives learned that LeBeau was in room 116, and attempted to call the room. A second attempt was made as SWAT was preparing to activate; LeBeau gave himself up around 7:30 pm. He’s now being held on a Department of Corrections warrant, along with DUI and driving while suspended charges. It’s not known if he was armed.
In a pair of 5-4 rulings, the Washington Supreme Court is throwing out a pair of convictions from Cowlitz County Superior Court, ruling that private text messages that detectives used to set up arrests were private conversations, and that police should not have been reading them. The cases date back to 2009, when Daniel Lee was arrested for heroin possession. Detectives also seized Lee’s phone, which was still receiving text messages. Detectives responded to those messages, setting up meetings that led to the arrests of Jonathan Roden and Shawn Daniel Hinton. Both men were eventually convicted of attempted heroin possession. Writing the majority opinion for both cases, Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez says that the men had an expectation of privacy in those text messages, the same as if they had sent a sealed letter through the mail. He says that those messages shouldn’t be read by police, unless they have a warrant. It’s unclear how these rulings will affect other convictions through similar means; local prosecutors say that those will have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Arguments in a similar case will be heard by the U. S. Supreme Court in April.