News and Press Releases
Deputies and Firefighters Pull Drowning Pair from Columbia River PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:17
One man told deputies he could swim no longer, the other had already gone under and come back up several times.

Deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and firefighters from Columbia River Fire and Rescue rushed to the north end of Sand Island in the Columbia River on a sheriff's patrol boat when witnesses called out two swimmers in distress.

Two men, who identified themselves as Kawai Niau, 24, and Kyle Snider, 19, both of St. Helens, were pulled from the water at 1:26 p.m. after deputies found the pair floating helplessly downstream. Niau called out to Undersheriff Andy Moyer, Lieutenant Dustin Hald and firefighters Tom Moung and Nolan Gerety, saying he could no longer tread water. Approximately 100 yards, downstream, Snider was losing consciousness and going under.

Rescuers quickly pulled Niau on board the sheriff's patrol boat, and sped off to rescue Snider, who was unresponsive and unable to grasp the rescue rope. Firefighter Moung jumped into the river and secured Snider. Both were pulled back on board. Snider, however was unconscious. He also had sustained a puncture wound, presumably from the wing dam around which they had been swimming.

Niau refused additional medical attention after he was taken to shore. Columbia River Fire and Rescue medics transported Snider to Emanuel Hospital in critical condition.

"This was a matter of seconds before both men would have been beyond our help," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "The quick action of our deputies and the firefighters from Columbia River Fire made the difference today."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:33
One Dies, three injured in Alcohol Related Crash PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 14:38
One man died and three others were injured in a two-vehicle crash on Scappoose-Vernonia Rd. yesterday afternoon.

A Columbia County Sheriff's deputy medical examiner pronounced Yuriy Zagorulko, 31, Portland, dead at the scene in what deputies are calling an alcohol-related crash. Zagorulko's two passengers were transported to the hospital, one with serious injuries. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, Kennedy Ragsdale, 40, Vernona was also injured. The passengers in Zagorulko's vehicle were his brother, Andrey Zagorulko, 30, Portland and Aleksey Martynov, 35, Portland. All three injured individuals were taken by ground ambulance to Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

Investigators believe Zagorulko's blue, 2002 Nissan Xterra had been traveling eastbound toward Scappoose on Scappoose-Vernonia Rd. near milepost 3 when the vehicle went off the roadway, then back onto the roadway and into the oncoming lane, where Ragsdale was traveling westbound toward Vernonia. The two vehicles collided, with the Nissan coming to a halt in the middle of the roadway, and Ragsdale's white, 2006 Ford 350 truck went off the roadway and down into a gully.
News Conference: Additional Info Released on Police Shooting PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 May 2013 18:49

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office Held a news conference with local and Portland media today wherein prepared statements and photographs were delivered to media representatives.  Sheriff Jeff Dickerson told the media representatives gathered at the Sheriff's Office that the investigation is ongoing but that substantial facts had been developed to merit a new release.  The information released for the first time included the nature of the original stop (speeding 78 mph in a 55 zone on hwy 30), the pursuit speeds (over 100 mph) and the type of gun recovered from the suspect.    To read the entirety of both statements released by the sheriff and undersheriff today, you can go here.




Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 19:31
Suspect Identified; Officers Involved Named in shooting incident on Hazen Rd PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 May 2013 11:38
A 27-year-old St. Helens man is dead and the state police officers involved in the shooting incident have been named by the Oregon State Police after investigators spent approximately nine hours overnight piecing together the evidence from what occurred.
Josiah M. Fischer, 27, St. Helens has been identified as the deceased suspect that led OSP troopers through parts of South Columbia County on a high-speed pursuit that ended on Hazen Rd. at the intersection with Stone Rd. in the unincorporated area of Warren.
Columbia 911 Dispatch records show the pursuit had been westbound on Highway 30 (beginning around 6:38 p.m.) between Scappoose and St. Helens, when the suspect turned and went westbound on Millard Rd. at 6:40 p.m.  The Suspect took Bachelor Flat Rd. south to Bennett Rd., going westbound on Bennett Rd.  The suspect vehicle  (black, 1997 Mitsubishi 4-door) continued southbound on Hazen Rd. before going into a ditch at the intersection with Stone Rd.  Dispatch was notified of shots fired at 6:44 p.m.
The Oregon State Police today identified the two troopers involved in the incident: Robin May and Justin Oxenrider, both assigned to the St. Helens office.
Two St. Helens Police officers responded to the scene soon after the shooting, and additional law enforcement personnel arrived from the Sheriff's Office and surrounding police agencies soon after that.
The Sheriff's Office is the lead investigating agency in the shooting, and has activated the Columbia County Major Crimes Team to assist with the investigation into the use of deadly force. Agencies participating on the Major Crime Team activation included: Columbia Co. SO, Scappoose PD, St. Helens PD, Vernonia PD and OSP, including a response to the scene from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. An autopsy on the body was planned to take place today at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Clackamas.
Investigators initially thought the suspect to be female, but corrected this perception once positive identification of the suspect had been made.  Mr. Fischer's next of kin has been notified of his death.
The State Police announced that the troopers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, pending a review of the shooting through the Columbia County District Attorney's Office.
In addition to the Major Crimes Team, the Sheriff's Office also received assistance from the Columbia County Road Department, Columbia River Fire and Rescue and the Columbia 911 dispatch center in managing the scene and shutting down the roadway in the area for nearly nine hours.  
The investigation is continuing, and no other information is anticipated for release today.
Sheriff's Office Warns of Continued SCAMS in the County PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 May 2013 09:59

Providing FBI Website to report Internet SCAMS:

The Sheriff's Office is warning Columbia County residents to beware of ongoing SCAM activity occurring around the county, particularly involving the purchase of pre-paid credit on behalf of others who are pretending to pass on benefits to the purchasers of the credit.  Two recent scams include the "Secret Shopper" scam and a scam concerning bogus contest winnings.

The "Secret Shopper" scam seeks to have victims purchase Green Dot Money Paks (a form of pre-paid credit).  The victim is sent a check in the mail that is fraudulent and will bounce.  The victim is instructed to purchase the pre-paid cards for $200 (or some other amount) less than the amount of the fraudulent check, and report the card numbers on the Green Point Money packs back to the suspects.  The suspects cash in the value on the money packs, the bank informs its customer that the deposited check has bounced, and the victim is out the cost of the money packs.

Bogus contest winnings are also making the rounds in the county.  Recently, a county resident lost $3,000 after she received a letter claiming she was the winner of $50,000.  Along with the letter was a fraudulent check in the amount of $2,800.  The victim called the phone number she found in the letter, and she was told to cash the check and send the money back to the fraudulent sender of the letter by purchasing Green Dot Money Paks.  She was told this would help pay for the taxes on her winnings.  When the victim called the suspects back, they convinced her to purchase another $200 in  credit and give it to them to help pay for her actual award of $100,000.

"In the economic times in which we live, many people become vulnerable to the wolves and scam artists who try to take advantage of people hoping to get something for nothing," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "It is important in this information age that we all take steps to protect our identity and our bank accounts from people who are more than willing to spend our limited resources for us -- for nothing in return!"

The Sheriff's Office recommends using  Identity Theft protection available commercially to protect your assets, and to be wary of any financial schemes that seem too good to be true:  They most likely are!  

If you have been scammed via the internet, you can report the facts to the FBI on their website for making such reports at:   

You can also learn more about SCAMS through the FBI at:


Last Updated on Friday, 03 May 2013 13:00
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