News and Press Releases
Two Deputies, State Trooper honored at State Sheriffs' Association Banquet PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 December 2010 07:40
Two Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies and an Oregon State Police trooper were honored in Bend Wednesday, December 8 at the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association annual awards banquet.

Deputy David Peabody, Reserve Deputy Greg Brody and Trooper Justin Oxenrider were each awarded the statewide organization’s Distinguished Action Award for their bravery and quick action that saved the life of A 38-year-old farm worker who had been seriously injured in a bull attack in June.

Back on June 27,  Oxenrider was stopped by residents along Highway 30, who told him a bull was attacking a man in a field by 35510 Millard Road. Oxenrider was joined by Peabody and  Brody who all observed  Homero Cortez Ortega lying on the ground with stomach wounds and a large bull standing over him.

Oxenrider grabbed his patrol shotgun,  Peabody and Brody took their patrol rifles, discussing how to get the bull away from Ortega.

But then shortly after approaching the wire fence, Ortega began to sit up in an effort to escape. The officers yelled at him to lay back down, but it was too late. Instantly, the bull attacked Ortega again, lifting him off the ground and tossing him “like a rag doll” 10 to 15 feet in the air.
The officers opened fire on the bull, intending to get the bull to move away.

Despite hitting the farm animal with multiple bullets and buckshot, it continued to stand its ground. The officers made the decision to kill the animal and fired again, causing the animal to fall to the ground, as Brody made his way to the injured man and administered first aid,while summoning a Lifeflight helicopter. Reserve Deputy Brody is a paramedic with the Columbia River Fire and Rescue District.  He described the near complete evisceration of the victim as the worst injuries he has seen on a patient who was still alive when he arrived.

Lifeflight transported the victim to a hospital where he later recovered.  Mr. Ortega later credited the quick action of the officers with saving his life.

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said the actions of the three officers were worthy of the state sheriffs’ association’s recognition. “I am so proud to serve the citizens of Columbia County with such dedicated individuals,” he said. “The attendees at the banquet gave these three a standing ovation. They are the pride of Columbia County.”
Deputy Receives Medal of Valor; 4 Graduate from Academy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 10:58

Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Dews received the Oregon Peace Officers Association's (OPOA) Medal of Valor last week in a ceremony held in Newport November 19.

Deputy Dews received his medal after risking his life to save a man who was the passenger in a stolen vehicle involved in a pursuit on Scappoose-Vernonia Road July 4.

The crash occurred when the driver of the stolen car attempted to avoid a spike strip, lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway, where it burst into flames. Deputy Dews and Vernonia Police officer Shawn Carnahan reacted quickly to the burning vehicle and were able to pull Robert Regan, St. Helens, from the flames. The car quickly became engulfed, making further rescue attempts impossible, and the driver of the stolen vehicle--Brooks Anderson of St. Helens--died at the scene. Though the passenger later died from his injuries, the two officers were awarded the Medal of Valor for the risks they took to rescue him.

"Ryan will tell you he was just doing his duty the night he and Officer Carnahan risked their own personal safety to pull Mr. Regan from the flames," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson, "but this award recognizes the effort demonstrating such a high level of devotion to duty. I join the OPOA in recognizing the exemplary efforts of both Deputy Dews and Officer Carnahan."

Also on November 19, the Sheriff's Office celebrated the graduation of its four newest members from the Oregon Public Safety Academy, when Deputies Carolyn Townsend, Ivan Johnson, Brandon Yon and Sean Moore finished their course of study. The four deputies fill vacancies in the Corrections Division and will bring relief to shifts in the jail once they complete their field training program. Deputies Yon and Moore were recognized by their class as the Class Leaders and received special recognition from the academy for that standing.

Deputy Yon was also named the top shooter for his class.

"We are so pleased with this current group of corrections deputies," the Sheriff said. "They are bright, multi-faceted and dedicated to the mission of the sheriff to conserve the peace by providing excellence in ensuring the safety and security of our jail. Once they are cleared for solo patrol on the floor, we hope to reduce the overtime and stress on our current staff."

Shooting Suspect charged with Assault PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 October 2010 18:35
Investigators have arrested the 25-year-old domestic partner of the shooting victim in Columbia County and charged her with Assault First Degree.  

Alisha R. VanDolah, 25, St. Helens, is in custody in the Columbia County Jail after violence erupted in the trailer she inhabits at 35710 Hods Lane near St. Helens. Daniel H. McMillen, 34 was hospitalized with gunshot wounds from a shotgun fired at close range earlier today.

Columbia 911 Dispatch notified the Sheriff's Office of the shooting at 10:04 a.m.  Responding deputies found McMillen with gunshot wounds to his shoulder, face and neck and surrounded the trailer he shares with VanDolah.

With the Assistance of the St. Helens and Oregon State Police departments, deputies took VanDolah into custody without further incident. Columbia River Fire and Rescue medics transported the victim to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, and thus far McMillen has survived the assault.

In conducting this investigation, the Sheriff's Office has received assistance from the Columbia County Major Crimes Team, including assistance from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and an OSP reconstruction expert. Deputies later served a search warrant at the residence where the shots were fired. VanDolah had been detained for questioning following the incident and was lodged in jail on Assault I and Unlawful Use of a Weapon charges this evening.  Additional charges might be filed following review by the Columbia County District Attorney's Office.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:46
Sheriff's Office Investigating Domestic Violence-Related Shooting PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 October 2010 12:47
Columbia County Sheriff's deputies responded  to a shots fired call on Monday, October 18, 2010. Deputies responded to a domestic disturbance near St. Helens and took one female suspect into custody. A male victim was transported to Emanuel Hospital with gunshot wounds.

Columbia 911 Dispatch notified the Sheriff's Office of the shooting at 10:04 a.m.  Responding deputies found Daniel H. McMillen, 34, with gunshot wounds to his shoulder, face and neck and surrounded the trailer he shares with Alisha R. VanDolah 28, at 35710 Hods Lane near St. Helens.

With the Assistance of the St. Helens and Oregon State Police departments, deputies took VanDolah into custody without further incident.

The motive behind the shooting remains under investigation. Sheriff's Office has activated the Columbia County Major Crimes Team to assist with the investigation.  The condition of the shooting victim is not known at this time.

35710 Hods Lane has been the location of numerous law enforcement responses through the years.  Criminal complaints at this location have  included, narcotics offenses, Assaults, Domestic violence calls, Criminal Trespass, noise complaints, warrant services and others.

3 Injured in Boat Crash Near Clatskanie PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 September 2010 20:23
A boating crash on the Columbia River near Clatskanie put three people in the hospital Saturday night.
Columbia County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the injury crash on the Columbia River near the mouth of the Clatskanie River just after 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. The operator of a boat in the area observed the crash, and advised it involved a small aluminum boat, about 16-foot. The witness advised the craft had struck a wing dam.   

As Sheriff's Office marine deputies were responding, the witness used his boat to retrieve all individuals (three males) from the crashed vessel. The citizen set the boat adrift when he  transported the subjects to shore.   All three people were then transported to to St. John Hospital in Longview via ambulance.

The individuals transported to the hospital were Bradley A. McKay, 40, Clatskanie (determined by investigators to be the boat operator), Michael E. Lindberg, 50, Portland, and Clifford R. Fetter, 39, Sandy.  Information on the condition of those involved in the crash is sketchy. St. John Hospital has refused to release information to investigators without a subpoena.
After these individuals were transported to the hospital, deputies conducted a search for the crashed vessel. The vessel was located Sunday afternoon near Sand Island, approximately two miles East of Jones Beach on the Columbia River.  

"The cause of this crash remains under investigation," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "The evidence we have thus far indicates the vessel was traveling fairly fast in the dark -- and that's a recipe for trouble."

The sheriff's office is asking for anyone who might have any information regarding this incident to call the sheriff's office at (503) 366-4600.
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