Submerged vessel causes oil spill in Lake Chelan
- Written by Sergeant Kent Sisson, CCSO
Vessel prior to boom deployment
Vessel after boom deployment
(CHELAN) - Sheriff Brian Burnett reports a partially submerged vessel on Lake Chelan initiated a “spill response” due to leaking diesel fuel Tuesday afternoon (05/07/2019). Emergency management personnel from the Sheriff’s Office were notified by State Department of Ecology (DOE) just after 4:00pm concerning a 29ft sailboat which was approximately 60% submerged along the south shore of the lake just down lake of the 25 Mile Creek USFS dock.
A DOE Spill Response Team responded from Yakima while Chelan County Emergency Management personnel responded to assess the situation and begin boom deployment around the derelict vessel. By 9:30pm the vessel had been surrounded by boom and absorbent material to mitigate the diesel flow out into the lake.
An attempt to locate the owner of the vessel at several different locations in Chelan was unsuccessful Tuesday evening.
The investigation concerning what caused the large sailboat to sink is ongoing.
The boat will need to be removed from the lake which will require a contractor specializing in the removal of submerged vessels. The Dept. of Ecology and Sheriff’s Office are working collaboratively to make this happen as soon as possible. The spill is currently contained.
Headed mushroom picking? Know the weather forecast and have an escape route in mind
- Written by Sergeant Kent Sisson, CCSO
ENTIAT – Chelan County emergency management officials are reminding mushroom hunters headed into areas burned by the Cougar Creek Fire to be vigilant about keeping up to date on weather forecasts and having a pre-planned escape route in the event of seasonal rain showers.
The Cougar Creek Fire was one of the largest wildfires in the state last year, burning more than 42,700 acres in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The Entiat Ranger District is preparing for a busy mushroom season – and the hundreds of people it may attract.
The impact of rainfall over a recently burned area can be severe, warned Sgt. Kent Sisson of the Chelan County Department of Emergency Management. A burned surface may not absorb even light to normal rainfall, causing the precipitation to travel quickly, taking rocks, boulders, dirt and other debris with it and potentially overwhelming drainage systems, Sisson explained.
In fact, debris flows can move at up to 60 miles an hour on steep slopes, according to information from the National Weather Service.
“In Central Washington, we’re headed into thunderstorm season,” Sisson said. “While locals know there is no cell phone service in most of the Entiat Valley, visitors may not realize this. So we hope to help people understand that if a thunderstorm hits, or if it rains, there may be little warning of a debris flow event.”
Chelan County shares the following tips with not only mushroom hunters but also other people recreating in burned areas:
Watch for hazards in burns areas. Snags and damaged trees – blackened killed trees or green trees burned through at the bottom – can fall at any time. Or they can block trails or roads, including your exit if you should need to leave quickly during a rainstorm.
Before you head out for the day, look at the weather forecast. If you are in an area that does not have cell phone service, consider purchasing or bringing along an NOAA weather radio to keep up on weather events.
Have your escape plan in place prior to a weather event occurring. Maps are available for purchase at the Entiat Ranger District, 2108 Entiat Way. Be familiar with your surroundings.
Move to higher ground in the case of a rain event. Do not drive across flooded roads or washes or wade through flooded areas. Rapidly flowing water can easily sweep you off your feet.
Leave the area immediately in the case of a summer thunderstorm. If you see the tell-tale signs of a thunderstorm – rapidly rising cumulus clouds, a darkening sky, lightning in the distance and an increase in the wind – do not hesitate to get to a safe zone.
Always tell someone where you are going when headed into the forest and when to expect you back. Search crews will not be able to reach you if they don’t know you’re in the forest.
Lastly, Sisson stresses that a little preparation can go a long way in having a successful mushroom harvest this year.
“Checking the weather and being aware of your surroundings are things we should all be doing when we go into the forest,” Sisson said. “It is especially vital when recreating in these burned areas.”
Sheriff seeking information on structure fire
- Written by Detective Sgt. Bruce Long, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports that Chelan County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a structure fire at 4045 Sunnybank Drive in Chelan, WA in the early morning hours on Saturday, May 4th.
All persons that were present in the home when the fire broke out were able to exit the home without injury.
The fire destroyed the structure, six vehicles and two pets were lost in the blaze.
The cause of this fire is currently under investigation.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for any information regarding individuals seen around the area prior, during and after the structure fire. If you have any information, please contact the detectives tip line at 509- 667-6845.
Columbia River Drug Task Force asks for outside review of evidence handling in recent investigation
- Written by Jan Brincat, Assistant to Sheriff Brian Burnett, CCSO
(Wenatchee) --- The executive board of the Columbia River Drug Task Force has asked for an outside law enforcement review of possible errors in handling evidence related to a recent seizure of cocaine, firearms and cash.
Board chair and Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett has asked the Thurston County Sheriff’s office to handle the investigation to allow for maximum transparency in determining how policies and procedures may not have been followed in accounting for cash seized as a result of the raid earlier in April.
Ten law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation where drugs, firearms and cash were taken into evidence from two locations in the Wenatchee area and two men were arrested on April 3. The original accounting of cash received was thought to have been more than $80,000 but evidence packaged was found to be closer to $68,000.
“If policies and procedures were not followed during the processing of the scene, it is extremely important we find and correct those types of errors as soon as possible,” Burnett said. It is common for law enforcement agencies to ask other departments who were not involved to conduct the investigations.
During the investigation, Sheriff Burnett and other agencies involved will not have comment on the case and will await the final recommendations and findings from Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. No date for completion of the investigation has been established.
The initial investigation and arrests were the result of months-long planning and removed a lot of illegal drugs from possible distribution to the community. The Columbia River Drug Task Force is comprised of detectives from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department and Washington State Patrol. They were assisted by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Homeland Security, Grant County INET Drug Task Force and Chelan County Public Works.
420 Impaired Driving High Visibility Enforcement
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas and Okanogan County-Extra patrols will be out statewide on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The patrols will be looking for drunk and other drugged drivers, but will enforce all traffic laws.
While the extra patrols will increase the likelihood that someone driving impaired will be arrested and prosecuted, the goal is not to apprehend impaired drivers but to prevent people from driving impaired in the first place.
The warmer weather brings increased travel for vacations, parties, and other gatherings with family and friends. These gatherings often involve alcohol and/or other drugs. As a result, the season also brings an increased number of drivers who are impaired by alcohol and other drugs on our road.
Whether you smoke, eat, vape or dab marijuana this may lead you to becoming impaired and therefore not able to operate a motor vehicle safely. A person may experience more impairment when they mix marijuana with any other drug including alcohol.
When you’re drunk or high, you have big ideas, but not necessarily good ideas. Driving impaired is dangerous which is why most Washingtonians don’t do it or approve of it. Be prepared, be safe and don’t drive drunk or high. Plan ahead and if you see someone impaired, it’s ok to intervene.
Driving a motor vehicle is probably the biggest responsibility we have every day. Most drivers on our roads do the right thing. Most drivers are sober, wear a seat belt and drive within the safe speed limits. We want to thank those responsible drivers and ask that everyone works together to keep your friends and family from driving after consuming any type of drug.
Skier rescue near Colchuck Lake
- Written by Sgt. Kent Sisson, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports a 29 year old back country skier was rescued Sunday afternoon after being swept off her skis during a snow slide in the area above of Colchuck Lake.
Shanna Hovertsen of Seattle was skiing with friends at around 1:15pm when a small avalanche caused her to tumble down the slope twisting both of her knees. She was assisted by the other three subjects in the group and escorted to a campsite near Colchuck Lake.
Hovertsen could not hike out under her own power. One of the subjects used an inReach satellite communication device to text a request for assistance to the International Emergency Rescue Communication Center in Texas. The message was relayed to the Washington State Emergency Management communication center at Camp Murray, and then to RIVERCOM dispatch.
A Chelan County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew was launched from Wenatchee. The helicopter was able to land near the patient.
Hovertsen was flown to the National Fish Hatchery landing pad near Leavenworth by 4:40pm where an ambulance was waiting to transport her to Cascade Medical Center in Leavenworth.
Hovertsen is in stable condition.
Tacoma man drowns in Lake Chelan
- Written by Sgt Kent Sisson, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports a 36 year old male drowned in Lake Chelan on Saturday afternoon (04/13/2019) when an inflatable kayak he and another subject were in flipped over. Both subjects were ejected into the cold water. The incident occurred north of the dock area at Lake Chelan State Park.
At 2:49pm, RIVERCOM 911 dispatch began receiving calls reference the two subjects in the water. One of the males had not surfaced. Several boaters who were participating in a fishing derby in the area began actively looking for the missing subject. State Park Rangers, Sheriff’s Deputies (with a marine vessel), Chelan County Fire District #7 (with rescue swimmers) and Lake Chelan EMS responded to assist in the search.
It was determined that Bonventure Gitau 36 years of age of Tacoma, WA had not been wearing a personal floatation device when the two-person inflatable kayak he was in with his friend capsized. Gitau was seen momentarily in the water by witnesses but then disappeared under the surface. His friend, Jackson Njaru 31years if age of Puyallup, WA, made it to a nearby boat and was pulled from the water in fair condition.
Just prior to 4:00pm, Gitau’s body was spotted on the bottom of the lake at a depth of about 30 feet. A diver from Fire District #7 made the recovery. The body was released to the Chelan County Coroner’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone planning to recreate in lakes and rivers this season, to please utilize personal floatation devices when in any type of vessel.
Columbia River Drug Task Force seizes approximately two pounds of cocaine in Malaga
- Written by Jason Reinfeld, Chief of Special Operations, CCSO
The Columbia River Drug Task Force reports on April 3rd, 2019 related search warrants were served in the 800 block of Malaga Alcoa Highway and the 1500 block of Cashmere Street in Wenatchee. These search warrants were the result of investigations and controlled drug buys conducted by CRDTF detectives.
The Malaga Alcoa Highway location is approximately nine acres and had several structures on it believed to be occupied which made it a complex area to safely clear and search. It was determined the location would be cleared by SWAT prior to a search conducted by detectives. The Chelan County Regional SWAT team as well as Douglas County SRT were utilized for this beginning at approximately 6:30 am. The teams were also assisted by Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Homeland Security, INET Drug Task Force from the Grant County area, and Chelan County Public Works.
While searching the property, Detectives located and seized approximately two pounds of cocaine, two firearms, packaging material for the distribution of cocaine, and over $80,000 in cash as suspected proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs. The property owner, 52 year old Cesar Mora Sr. of Wenatchee was arrested and booked into CCRJ for Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Cocaine with Intent to Deliver and Alien in Possession of a Firearm. Also arrested for Alien in Possession of a Firearm was 54 year old Rene Rodriguez-Rodriguez.
Upon completion of the search warrant service on Malaga Alcoa Highway an element of the Chelan County Regional SWAT team was relocated to the 1500 block of Cashmere Street to assist Wenatchee Police Department with the service of the related Search Warrant. Fifty-five year old Jose Valadez of Wenatchee was arrested on existing probable cause for four counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance.
The Columbia River Drug Task Force works diligently to protect our community from illegal narcotics. We believe cases like this do make a significant impact on our community by removing a large amount of illegal drugs which would have been distributed throughout the community.
The Columbia River Drug Task Force is comprised of Detectives from Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department, and Washington State Patrol. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency also supplying a Sergeant and an Analyst.
Cashmere High School in "lockout" after threatening YouTube comments
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on February 22nd, 2019 the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer for the Cashmere School District, Deputy Mutch was advised by school staff of an online post threatening the safety of Cashmere High School. The post was made as a comment on someone else’s YouTube channel. It is believed person who posted the comment was 18 year old Gerardo Tovar-Medina of Wenatchee. The comment said “I was planning on shooting up the school”. Mr. Tovar has not attended Cashmere Schools for several years and never attended Cashmere High School.
The online comments alarmed several students and staff. All schools in the Cashmere School District were placed on a “lockout”. After hearing the incident was reported to law enforcement, Mr. Tovar called the school. He was transferred to Deputy Mutch who kept him on the phone while directing Deputies to his residence in Wenatchee. Mr. Tovar was detained and interviewed. He admitted to posting the comment on YouTube but said his intent was only to scare them.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Detectives served a search warrant on Mr. Tovar’s residence. Several drawings and notes were located indicating Mr. Tovar had done research on past mass shootings. There was also indications Mr. Tovar was planning or had a desire to commit a mass shooting at Cashmere High School.
Mr. Tovar was booked into CCRJC for Threats to Bomb or Injure Property.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office takes threats to the safety seriously. The School Resource Officers throughout the county provide a necessary link to the Sheriff’s Office and provide a quick and reliable contact to address threats rapidly as was done in this incident.
Shots fired in the air turns into two arrests
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on February 20th 2019 at approximately 6:55 pm Deputies were dispatched to a disturbance in the 3600 block of Selfs Motel Road in Cashmere.
The caller reported hearing several gunshots, then someone yelling for help. Deputies arrived soon after and were contacted by the original caller. While making this contact the suspected shooter, a 37 year old male who lived in the complex exited his residence. Deputies detained him without incident.
After interviewing witnesses , it was determined the suspect fired several shots into the air from a revolver near the front porch of his residence. A few minutes after the shots were fired, a 25 year old neighbor confronted the suspect. This quickly turned into a physical fight where the 25 year old struck the suspect with a stone bowl injuring him. During the fight, another neighbor tried to break it up and was pushed into a window causing it to break.
The 25 year old male was later booked into CCRJC for Assault second degree.
Deputies with the assistance of a Detective served a search warrant on the suspect’s residence and recovered a stolen firearm.
The 37 year old male was booked into CCRJC for Possessing a Stolen Firearm, Aiming or Discharging a Firearm, and assault 4th degree.