Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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A Rosemount man was arrested on suspicion of his 10th drunken-driving offense Tuesday, July 4, in western Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Patrol identified the suspect as 47-year-old Lawrence M. LaPole. According to a news release, a trooper stopped a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix just after 10 p.m. on Highway 29 in Dunn County for a traffic violation. The driver, identified by troopers as LaPole, was later arrested on suspicion of OWI-10th offense, failure to install an ignition interlock device, driving without a valid license and following too closely.
The National Weather Service confirmed what many eyewitnesses already knew — it was a tornado that struck Pierce County on Wednesday. Michelle Margraf, a meteorologist for the weather service, said a survey team was on the ground Thursday, June 29, assessing the aftermath of the tornado. Crews should be able to determine the path and strength of the tornado that struck the town of Martell and surrounding areas at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The inside of a boat where a fatal carbon monoxide exposure occurred on the St. Croix River contained a detector that wasn’t turned on. The Department of Natural Resources released information Thursday, June 29, from a preliminary report outlining circumstances of the incident discovered along the river in the town of St. Joseph, where a woman was found dead and two men were found sickened.
TOWN OF MARTELL — At least one person was injured after a fast-developing storm produced a tornado that destroyed numerous buildings Wednesday, June 28, in rural Ellsworth. Authorities said a tornado cut an estimated 10-mile path in the town of Martell, where officials were busy assessing damage in the area.
A St. Croix County woman died from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday after she and two others were found on a boat over the weekend on the St. Croix River.
A felony fleeing charge against a Red Wing man could be dropped in Pierce County if he's convicted of murder charges he faces in Goodhue County. Pierce County Assistant District Attorney Bill Thorie said that's the agreement with the attorney for Charles D. Jones, the 26-year-old charged in Goodhue County with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder in the April 18 shooting death of Dangelo Masterjohn. "If there is a significant conviction there, I don't intend to bring him back," Thorie said at a Friday, June 2, extradition hearing.
Authorities pulled one of two people from the St. Croix River Tuesday afternoon after they went underwater. Crews from St. Croix and Washington counties were searching the river as of 5:50 p.m. for a male who still had not been found, according to Washington County dispatch supervisor Bobbi Rindfleisch. She said life-saving measures were being performed on the female who was pulled from the water by authorities. Her condition wasn’t immediately available.
A Twin Cities man was airlifted after the motorcycle he was driving crashed last weekend in rural Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 37-year-old Nathan Blackbird of Shakopee. He was first taken to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing before being airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. His condition was not immediately available Tuesday, May 30.
A Prescott man intentionally tore up an east metro lawn two hours before using a stolen credit card to buy beer and tobacco back in Wisconsin, according to documents filed last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. The alleged crime spree ended with the suspect, Justin M. Brennan, being shot with a stun gun outside his Prescott home, but not before he spit in a police officer's face, the documents state.
Less than five months after pleading no contest to substantial battery to a child in St. Croix County, a 27-year-old man was charged with a similar crime in Minnesota. Washington County prosecutors allege Jonathon D. Wierstad assaulted a 16-month-old boy who was placed on life support after a May 11 incident in Willernie, Minn. Siv Yurichuk, an assistant Washington County attorney, said Thursday there have been “no significant changes” since the child was hospitalized.