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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man with 27 DWIs again behind bars

From the Forum Communications News Bureau

North Dakota

Devils Lake man killed in accident

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- David Storsteen, 76, of Devils Lake was killed in a car-truck accident Wednesday evening near Devils Lake, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

At about 5:20 p.m., he was westbound in a 2010 Buick Lucerne on U.S. Highway 2, about 6 miles southeast of the city, when his car collided with a 1995 Freightliner that was crossing the highway.

The truck, driven by Melvin Armbrust, 69, Forest River, N.D., was pulling an empty flatbed trailer.

Storsteen was pronounced dead at the scene, while Armbrust was not injured. The crash remains under investigation by the patrol.


UND student sentenced in drug deaths

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Another former University of North Dakota student was sentenced this week to years in federal prison in the Grand Forks-based synthetic drug conspiracy blamed in the deaths of two teens.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson on Monday sentenced Peter Jevning Hoistad to eight years in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.

That sentence triggered a local sentence against Hoistad.

On Thursday, Hoistad appeared in state district court in Grand Forks charged with violating his four-year probation from a 2009 conviction of dealing drugs on UND's campus.

State District Judge Joel Medd sentenced Hoistad to three years, to be served during his federal sentence that begins Jan. 7.

Hoistad pleaded guilty to distributing hallucinogens made by self-described "hobby chemist," Andrew Spofford, and other drugs.

Since Christian Bjerk, 18, of Grand Forks, and Elijah Stai, 17, of Park Rapids, Minn., died within days of each other in June in Grand Forks after ingesting hallucinogens made by Spofford.



Man gets jail time for Pope County fatal in 2011

GLENWOOD, Minn. -- A Moorhead man will serve a minimum of three months in jail for driving a car that hit and killed a pedestrian in Pope County.

James David Poock, 35, was driving a 2004 Saturn that struck and killed Wes Tessman, 27, of Glenwood, at 1:20 a.m., July 23, 2011, on Minnesota Highway 114 near Lowry.

Wednesday in Pope County District Court in Glenwood, District Judge David Mennis ordered Poock to serve the three months in jail . The judge also ordered him to serve at least 90 days in jail in each of the next three years, but he can avoid jail by meeting all of his probation requirements, according to Pope County Attorney Neil Nelson.

The lengthy list of probation requirements include an obligation that Poock tell his story each year for the Pope County awareness panel, abstain from alcohol, and participate in victim mediation if requested by the parents of the victim.

Poock pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired and an inattentive driving charge.

He was originally charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, but an accident reconstruction showed a lack of evidence to support the charges.


Man with 27 DWIs again behind bars

WADENA, Minn. - Just 40 days out of prison, a Minnesota man with more than two dozen drunken driving convictions is back behind bars.

Danny Bettcher, of New York Mills, is being held at the Wadena County Jail for allegedly violating the terms of his release.

Sarah Berg, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, said Bettcher was apprehended Dec. 8 after he was alleged to have been drinking and in an establishment that serves alcohol, both violations of his parole.

Bettcher was released from prison Oct. 29 after more than three years in prison on previous alcohol-related offenses. The conditions of his release required him to stay sober.

He reportedly holds the state record for the most drunken driving convictions with 27.

A hearing concerning the alleged probation violations is set for Tuesday.


Woman charged with lottery fraud

BEMIDJI, Minn. - An 18-year-old woman who worked for a local convenience store is accused of illegally obtaining about $2,400 in fraudulent lottery winnings.

Payton Lynzee Church has been charged with felony state lottery fraud, claiming a prize by fraud/deceit. She is scheduled to appear Monday in Beltrami County District Court before Judge Shari Schluchter.

According to the criminal complaint:

Investigators conducted surveillance on Church while she was working at JackStop convenience store because the owner suspected she was committing fraud of the Minnesota State Lottery system.

On Dec. 5, investigators watched through the in-store surveillance system as Church removed a roll of scratch-off lottery tickets, later redeeming $190 worth of winning tickets. Investigators arrested Church after she redeemed the tickets. At the jail, she admitted to committing fraud on the state lottery system and illegally obtaining about $2,400 between late November and Dec. 5.