News and Press Releases
Sheriff's Office Arrests Vernonia-Area Woman for Attempted Murder PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2011 02:58

A family disturbance turned into attempted murder yesterday evening when a female opened fire on a male family-member and another individual with a rifle.  The incident occurred in Columbia County just north of the Washington County line at 54658 Nehalem Hwy S., about 5 miles outside of Vernonia.


Sheriff’s deputies from both counties converged on the scene, along with officers from several police agencies.  Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Sally Ann Lee, 57, Vernonia on four counts of attempted murder.


Dispatch received a call from the brother of the suspect (Tom Lee, 56), saying his sister was intoxicated and shooting a gun at 8:06 pm Sunday night. A Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy was responding to the call from the Sheriff’s Office in St. Helens, when the report came back indicating that people at the scene were running for cover.  Dispatchers reported hearing at least two shots during the 9-1-1 call.


“We had one deputy on duty when the call came in,” said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson, “and we were a long way away from the scene of the shooting.  With the help of our partner law enforcement agencies, we were able to bring the scene under control and make an arrest without anyone getting injured.”


The Sheriff’s Office received assistance from a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Saint Helens Police, Clatskanie Police, Oregon State Police and Columbia City Police Departments. Neighboring Washington County sent five deputies to the scene to assist.  A tactical dispatcher from Columbia 911, the Vernonia Fire Department, and Metro West Ambulance also participated in the multi-agency response.


“Members of the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) responded to the scene,” the sheriff added. “Our deputies, and members of the St. Helens Police Department provided the tactical team services during the incident.”


Deputies at the scene recovered evidence of at least four shots that had been fired from a rifle.  Witness statements indicated those shots had been fired in their direction.


Investigators believe the incident was the latest in a series of inter-family squabbles on the premises of Lee’s U-Catch Trout Farm near the Washington-Columbia county line. Tensions had been high for the past few weeks after the suspect learned the house in which she was living was  undergoing foreclosure proceedings.


Responding law enforcement learned the suspect had access to several firearms, and took precautions with the activation of the CIRT team.  Deputies and officers surrounded a fifth-wheel trailer where she had holed up after the shooting incident. She was taken into custody just before 1 a.m., surrendering to authorities without further incident.  She is lodged in the Columbia County Jail on four charges of Attempted Murder.  Additional charges are expected, as the incident remains under investigation.

 
One dead, One Critical in Alcohol Related Crash near Vernonia PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 July 2011 13:33
One man is dead, and another is in critical condition following an early morning, single-vehicle crash on Keasey Rd about 1 mile outside Vernonia this morning. A third occupant was also taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the crash after a call came in at 5:42 a.m. advising that a vehicle had struck a tree.  It was not immediately known at what time the crash occurred, but a neighbor reported hearing something around 3:30 a.m.. The neighbor said she did not investigate the cause of the sound.

When deputies arrived, they found a white, 2001 Dodge Ram Pickup beside a large oak tree, where the vehicle had crashed. The one-ton pickup struck the tree with enough force to send debris flying over 50 feet.  One large piece off the trunk of the tree (over 50 pounds in weight) traveled approximately 50 feet.  One of the occupants was inside the pickup, unconscious, and two were outside the vehicle.  One of the occupants found outside the vehicle, Joshua G. Watson (34 years old, Vernonia) was pronounced dead at the scene.  Kasey L. Cooper (22 years old, Yamhill) was taken by Lifeflight helicopter to OHSU Hospital and in critical condition.  Ryan B. Rowlands (32 years old, Newberg) was transported by ambulance to Emanuel Hospital with unknown injuries.

The crash appears to be related to speed and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and it remains under investigation.  Sheriff's deputies -- with the help of an Oregon State Police crash reconstructionist -- are investigating the crash.  The Oregon State Police and Vernonia Fire departments also assisted at the crash scene.
 
Jail Commander Retiring After 22 Years of Service PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 10:12
Commander Jim CarpenterJim Carpenter came to the Sheriff's Office to serve in Corrections in 1989 after  a career as a small-businessman in Scappoose. On Thursday, his 22-year career with the Sheriff's Office will officially come to an end, although the retiring captain will still be available to help occasionally, said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.
 
"Jim Carpenter has been a shining star for the Sheriff's Office for many years," the Sheriff said, "and he was instrumental in making my transition to the Sheriff's Office in 2009 a fairly easy one.
 
"His experience in corrections, his knowledge of our facility and its operations, and his interest in people helped make him an outstanding resource for five sheriffs from 1989 to now.  He will be missed by this administration as he takes this next step that he and his wife, Kelly so richly deserve."
 
Sheriff Dickerson named Jim Carpenter as his jail commander in 2009 after a regional search for candidates. Due to budget cuts at the Sheriff's Office, no new hires will be made to fill the jail commander position. Undersheriff Andrew Moyer will now take on the role as Jail Commander.
 
Captain Carpenter began his career with the Sheriff's Office under Sheriff Bruce Oester. He started as a part-time deputy after working for many years in muffler repairs.  He owned Jim's Muffler and More in Scappoose and was very active in the Scappoose City Club before Sheriff Oester hired him.
 
In 1990, Carpenter became a full-time deputy in the Corrections Division, and in 1997, Sheriff Phil Derby promoted him to sergeant.   Carpenter oversaw the planning and construction of the new jail facility in 1999 after the old jail became unusable. Carpenter spent an equal amount of time (11 years) in both facilities. He said that when the Sheriff's Office moved from the old facility at the courthouse, they had nearly twice the number of inmates as they had authorized beds.
 
"The old jail had a capacity of 38 beds," he said, "but when we moved to the present facility in 2000,  we moved with 75 inmates."
Prior to the move, Carpenter was instrumental in beginning the Sheriff's work crew to help ease jail overcrowding at the old jail.  Afterward, Sheriff Derby put Carpenter over jail programs where he became well known for his ability to work with inmates and the community in finding jobs for inmates to help keep them out of jail.
 
Sheriff Derby later promoted him to administrative First Sergeant, where Carpenter expanded his services to the Sheriff on both the Corrections and Enforcement side of the house.  Sheriff Dickerson later promoted him to captain and made him the Jail Commander in 2009.
 
Though he is retiring from the Sheriff's Office, the sheriff says he still expects Carpenter to remain active in the community, where in recent years he has organized the "Cop Walk for Life", benefitting the American Cancer Society and other philanthropic events. He was instrumental years ago (as a member of the Scappoose City Club) in securing the property from the state and designing the Welcome to Scappoose sign and totem pole.  He and his wife, Kelly also were the driving force behind the development of the Scapppoose Sauerkraut Festival.
 
"Jim Carpenter has been a mainstay for Columbia County for many years," Sheriff Dickerson said. "Sheriff Oester, Sheriff Derby and I all recognized him for his talents and connection to the community, and now he will have even more time to devote to his favorite causes.  He will be greatly missed."
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2011 08:39
 
Drug Canines Conduct Routine Jail Search PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 June 2011 15:29
A newly commissioned narcotics detection canine from the Clatskanie Police Department and two additional canines participated in a jail-wide shakedown of personal effects of inmates in the Columbia County Jail on Monday, June 20.

Inmates at the jail were summoned from their cells and dorms as canine handlers went through all their personal items with the help of these drug-sniffing dogs.  No controlled substances were located, Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said, but the exercise was still a beneficial one.

“We were pleased that we didn’t find any controlled substances in their effects,” the Sheriff said, “And we are looking forward to a continued  partnership between us and the drug-detection canine program with the Clatskanie Police Department.  My thanks goes out to Chief Marvin Hoover and Officer Ken Short  in Clatskanie for their willingness to help us keep drugs out of our facility.”

The use of drug dogs to sniff out controlled substances is becoming more and more prevalent and a solid resource in the effort to deter the smuggling of drugs into the jail, the Sheriff said. The Sheriff's Office conducted the search unannounced, and noted the impact among the inmates.

"They all knew what we were doing and why," the Sheriff said. "We will continue to take these kinds of measures to discourage illegal activity among our inmates."
 
Man Falls from Moving Vehicle, Dies -- Driver Arrested PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 June 2011 09:14

A man who fell out of a moving pickup on Dike Rd. southeast of Scappoose died June 11. The incident occurred at approximately 6:12 p.m. The driver of the pickup has been arrested on charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.


First responders arriving at the scene found Alex Montoya, 38, Longview lying in the road unconscious. Attempts to revive Montoya were unsuccessful.


Nicholas Kay, 26, Vancouver was driving southbound in a white Ford pickup near the address of 50960 Dike Rd. when Montoya, a passenger in the bed of the pickup fell out and hit the paved roadway surface.


Scappoose Rural Fired District paramedics responded to the scene but were unable to revive the man.
Deputies were assisted in the investigation with the help of the Scappoose Police Department and the Oregon State Police.

 
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