REGIONAL BRIEFS: 3 teen drivers clocked at 145 mphFARGO – Three teenage boys could face criminal charges after being clocked going about 145 mph on Interstate 29 in Fargo and leading a state trooper on a pursuit, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Cass, Itasca counties added to disaster list (BP)
ST. PAUL – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has added Itasca and Cass counties to the major disaster declaration for last month’s Northeast Minnesota flood and storms, according to a statement issued by Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji.
Persell added that he said he supports Gov. Mark Dayton’s appeal of FEMA’s denial of individual assistance for homeowners and businesses who sustained property damage.
Individual assistance provides individuals and private businesses with federal assistance not covered by insurance.
The Legislature could be called into special session by Dayton to address disaster and recover aid for Minnesota counties hit by severe weather this summer.
Women released; death investigation continues (BP)
WALKER, Minn. – A woman considered a “person of interest” in the death of a 27-year-old Pine River man has been released from custody.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said the woman, who has not been named, was released pending further investigation into the death of Mark Andrew Huesman, but that she remains a person of interest in the case.
In addition, sheriff’s officials have also identified a man, who is currently in custody in another jail on unrelated charges, as a person of interest.
Huesman’s body was found in a shallow grave near Pine River. He was reported missing earlier in the week.
Burch said Huesman’s death is suspicious and his body was sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation.
Truck spills hazardous materials (WCT)
COSMOS, Minn. — A semitrailer crash causing on State Highway 4 near Cosmos caused hazardous materials to spill Friday.
According to a news release from Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin, the truck was driven by Joseph Curcio Jr., 63, of Janesville, Wis., and owned by Silver Arrow Express of Rockford, Ill. Curcio wasn’t hurt in the crash.
Deputies and State Troopers arrived to find that the semi, which had rolled onto its side, was carrying 55-gallon barrels marked as hazardous and corrosive, but non-combustible, and that some were leaking in the trailer. The accident was reported about 8 a.m.
The Cosmos Fire Department and a Department of Transportation Hazmat team responded to the incident, along with the State Duty Officer.
DNR adds two lakes to infested list (WCT)
GLENWOOD, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Minnewaska and is adding it and Lake Emily to the state's list of infested waters.
The DNR announced Friday that scuba divers found a second zebra mussel in Lake Minnewaska. It was located about three miles from the location where earlier this month, a lakeshore owner found a zebra mussel attached to the metal portion of a boat seat mount that was in four feet of water.
The DNR believes that the second mussel is two years old, based on its size. This suggests that there are at least two different year classes in the lake. Both are in the reproductive stage.
Zebra mussel veligers, or larvae, are likely dispersing to new areas throughout the lake, the DNR warns.
Zebra mussels have not been confirmed in Lake Emily, but the lake’s location immediately downstream of Lake Minnewaska makes it very likely that the invasive species are present in its waters too, or will be soon.
The presence of zebra mussels in Lake Minnewaska means that the Chippewa River watershed is infested, and waters within that basin are more vulnerable to infestation.
The Chippewa River flows to the Minnesota River. The Andrew, Florida, Games and Norway Lake chain of lakes in Kandiyohi County are part of the Chippewa River watershed.
Man dies in rollover (GFH)
FISHER, Minn. -- A rural Fisher man died as the result of a one-vehicle roll-over accident late Thursday afternoon in Polk County.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as David Matthew Egeland, 36.
According to the police report, the accident occurred at about 5:58 p.m.
Egeland was the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle that left Polk County Road 15, about 3.5 miles west of Fisher, and rolled. He was ejected from the vehicle, the sheriff’s department reported.
The sheriff’s department was assisted at the scene by Crookston Ambulance, the Fisher Fire Department, Fisher First Responders and the Fisher Police Department.
Windom man accused of possessing child porn (DG, filed late Thursday)
WINDOM, Minn. —A Windom man has been charged with of possession of child pornography after a former girlfriend found video tapes that included images of young girls at a local pool.
The criminal complaint, filed last week, accuses Duane Stanley Hirsch, also known as Tyler Josh Harley, 44.
According to the court document, authorities were contacted July 15 by a woman who, while preparing to move, found a VHS tape with a hand-written note. She recoginzied the writing as that of her ex-boyfriend, Harley, who had moved out of the house a few weeks earlier.
She watched the video, and told authorities it was filled with still photos that were mostly pornographic in nature. She said she recognized pictures of children she knew interspersed with the pornography. There were also photos of Windom girls at the local pool, she said, wearing bikinis. Based upon the children’s ages, she thought the video had been created about eight years ago.
A Windom police officer took possession of the tape and others left in the home, as well as a computer Harley had used and a notebook found near the computer that listed pornographic topics and websites.
Harley/Hirsch is scheduled to appear in court next week. He has been released on $5,000 bail. Conditions of release include no Internet access, no contact with persons under the age of 18 and exclusion from the Windom pool, parks, schools, beaches and churches.
3 teen drivers clocked at 145 mph (FF)
FARGO – Three teenage boys could face criminal charges after being clocked going about 145 mph on Interstate 29 in Fargo and leading a state trooper on a pursuit, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said.
Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind said the trooper clocked the cars on I-29 near 13th Avenue South at about 11:20 p.m. Thursday and pursued them to the 12th Avenue North exit, where they turned east.
The cars shut off their headlights and continued east at about 90 mph, at which point the trooper discontinued the pursuit because he felt it was unsafe, Niewind said.
Despite the high rates of speed, the trooper was able to identify all three cars, Niewind said.
Fargo police found one of the cars in Fargo and two others in Moorhead, Minn.
All three drivers – ages 15, 16 and 17 – were identified, Niewind said. They could face charges of fleeing, reckless driving and reckless endangerment because of the high speeds, he said.
Moorhead police tracked down two of the drivers with the help of a K-9 unit, and they admitted to excessive speeding in North Dakota, Sgt. Steve Larsen said.
The three cars involved were identified later model sports cars: a BMW sedan, a Pontiac GTO and a Nissan 350z.
Former jail nurse who stole from inmates sentenced (GFH)
GRAND FORKS -- A former jail nurse was sentenced this week for stealing prisoner’s painkillers from a locker in the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.
Grace Hornbaker, 55, was a licensed practical nurse in the jail when the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation was asked in March to look into missing Hydrocodone pills,, prescription medication taken in as inmates were processed into the jail.
A BCI agent interviewed Hornbaker, as she was one of the jail employees with access to the medical locker. According to the agent’s court affidavit, Hornbaker soon admitted to taking six pills on Jan. 24 and six pills again on March 5.
She was charged with two counts of illegal possession of the prescription painkiller and two counts of theft; all four counts are Class C felonies with maximum penalties of five years in prison.
Hornbaker made a deal, pleading guilty to the theft charges if prosecutors dropped the possession charges.
Judge Kleven imposed the terms of the plea deal, sentencing Hornbaker on Thursday to a year in jail, with 10 months suspended during two years of supervised probation.
After her sentencing, Hornbaker and her attorney, Leo Ryan of Jamestown, N.D., declined comment.
Minnesota man sentence for stealing dying father’s money (GFH)
GRAND FORKS -- A Maple Grove, Minn., man was sentenced this week in a case in which he admitted stealing $45,000 from his father who lived in a Grand Forks nursing home until his death in May.
Leo Toay II had legal control of his father’s finances and looted them for his own personal use, leaving his father with big medical and nursing home bills, prosecutors said.
Leo Toay died May 24 in a Grand Forks nursing home; he was 85.
An investigation into his finances concluded that his son, Leo Toay II, 47, had stolen about $45,000 from his father’s accounts.
Leo Toay II was charged with misapplication of entrusted property, a felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Toay pleaded not guilty in April; later reaching a deal and pleading guilty.
State Judge Joel Medd sentenced him Wednesday to three years in prison, deferring the sentence during three years of supervised probation and 200 hours community service. The main thing, Medd said, is restitution, and he ordered Toay to pay his father’s estate back the remaining $42,000 he still owes.
Toay said he is working and will make the restitution.