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Minn. roundup: Woman, 69, dies in St. Paul house fire; Twin Cities bicyclist dies of injuries in hit-and-run

Woman, 69, dies in St. Paul house fire

ST. PAUL—A 69-year-old woman who was a mother and grandmother died early Thursday after a fire in her home on St. Paul's East Side, according to the fire department.

A neighbor was alerted to the blaze by his barking dog about 1:45 a.m., said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Gaede. He called 911.

Responding firefighters saw "a significant amount of fire coming out of the windows on two sides of the house," according to a statement from the St. Paul fire department.

Firefighters found the homeowner, who lived alone, unconscious and not breathing, Gaede said. They immediately began trying to resuscitate her outside of the home, according to the fire department. When paramedics took her to Regions Hospital, she was in cardiac arrest.

At the hospital, after 30 minutes of continued CPR, the woman was pronounced dead, according to the fire department, which has not released her name.

Firefighters told the neighbor that the woman had been found by one of her home's doors and they believe she was trying to get out.

The woman was a retired counselor, according to the neighbor, who said he had known her for about five years.

The cause of the fire and the woman's death remain under investigation.

Twin Cities bicyclist dies of injuries in hit-and-run, driver still sought

ST. PAUL—In Jose Hernandez Solano's final moments, his friends and family were by his side.

The 52-year-old, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in St. Paul a week and a half ago, was taken off life support early Thursday, and some of his organs were donated.

"We're remembering the wonderful human he was and hopefully the people who get his organs will carry on his awesome spirit," said Megan Gall, general manager at Brasa Rotisserie, where Hernandez Solano was a dishwasher.

Hernandez Solano was bicyling home from work when he was struck by a westbound sport-utility vehicle shortly after midnight Nov. 26 at West Seventh Street and Grand Avenue. Police continue to look for the driver.

Hernandez Solano suffered major brain damage and a crushed and severed spine, according to a GoFundMe site. He underwent two surgeries for swelling in the brain.

Investigators have determined that the vehicle that struck Hernandez Solano was a 2008 to 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe in the color of platinum sage metallic, which can look light green, silver or beige, depending on the lighting, according to police. The suspect vehicle has dark-colored rims and front-end damage and will be missing its passenger-side mirror.

Police have asked anyone with information to contact them at 651-266-5727.

Convicted sex offender arrested again in Brainerd on charges

BRAINERD, Minn.—A 36-year-old convicted sex offender in Brainerd has been charged again this time for allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Frank Sanoski, who is accused of sexually assaulting the girl since she was 8 or 9 years old, faces three felony first-degree and two second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in district court.

The criminal charge descriptions include sexually assaults using penetration.

He failed to appear at a hearing Monday, but was apprehended later that night.

According to the probable cause court document filed against Sanoski, he is charged with lying with the minor female and touching her inappropriately while everyone else was sleeping at his mother's house in March. In an interview with police, Sanoski denied touching the female victim in any inappropriate way, but he did indicate that if he did do what she alleged, it must have happened when he was sleeping and was essentially accidental, the complaint stated.

Sanoski is a convicted sex offender. In 2007, Sanoski had sexual contact with a victim while she was at his home babysitting his children in Brainerd.

Tractor runs over 80-year-old man in farming incident

PIERZ, Minn.—An 80-year-old Pierz man was injured Thursday morning in a farming incident on his family farm 4 miles north of Pierz in north-central Minnesota.

According to the Morrison County Sheriff's Office, Robert Happke was standing on a TMR mixer when the tractor started to move, causing him to fall off. Happke was then run over by the tractor.

Happke was transported to St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls by Gold Cross Ambulance and later airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital. His condition was not known Thursday afternoon.

The incident was reported at 10:15 a.m.

The sheriff's office was assisted by the Pierz Police Department and Pierz First Response Team.