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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Teen fights off wolf attack

From the Forum News Service

South Dakota

Man pleads not guilty in double-fatal crash

LAKE ANDES, S.D. -- A Lake Andes man charged with killing two U.S. Fish & Wildlife employees while he was driving drunk pleaded not guilty Monday.

Ronald Fischer Jr., 29, faces two counts of vehicular homicide. He was allegedly driving drunk  in the Pickstown area on July 8 when he failed to stop at a stop sign. His vehicle allegedly went into a parking lot where it struck and killed Maegan Spindler, 25, of Cazenovia, N.Y., and Robert Klumb, 46, of Pierre. The two were in southeast South Dakota conducting tests in the Missouri River.

Charles Mix County State's Attorney Thomas Deadrick said Fischer requested his bond be reduced. The judge denied the request, keeping Fischer's bond at $250,000 cash only, Deadrick said. Fischer remains in the Charles Mix County Jail.

Each charge against Fischer carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.


Teen fights off wolf attack

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Noah Graham, after waking up to find his skull in the jaws of a wolf, fought off the animal and lived to tell the tale.

Despite an 11-centimeter wide gash on his scalp, 17 staples to close the wound and "the worst pain of his life," Graham, 16, of Solway was nonchalant about the attack, which occurred Saturday morning at a campground along Lake Winnibigoshish, between Bemidji and Grand Rapids.

"I had to reach behind me and jerk my head out of its mouth," he said after being treated at a Bemidji hospital. "After I got up, I was kicking at it and screaming at it and it wouldn't leave. But then after awhile I got it to run away."

Graham was camping at the West Winnie Campground with five of his friends that night. The attack, and subsequent defeat, of the wolf came just before 4 a.m. Saturday.

The wolf suspected of carrying out the attack was captured and killed Monday, said Tom Provost, DNR regional enforcement supervisor at Grand Rapids. A necropsy and DNA testing should prove whether the 75-pound animal authorities have in their possession is the same one that took a bite out of Graham's scalp.

The campground is closed until further notice, and traps will remain set up in the area Monday night.


Girl faces felony charge for mudding damage

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A 17-year-old girl pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony first-degree property damage charge for allegedly causing more than $2,600 worth of damage while she and friends were mudding in a pickup truck last spring.

According to court records, the cost to have the Willmar Public Works Department fix the damage to the grass and field at Robbins Island park including labor, equipment use and seeding materials, was $2,614.40.

Angela Marie Tadych was arrested after Willmar police officers were called to the park about 6 p.m. April 3, according to court records. But a license plate number led officers to an address where Tadych and others were still inside a muddy pickup. Tadych was in the driver's seat and told the officer she had been driving at Robbins Island.

Records also indicate that the officer was informed about Facebook postings by Tadych, including a photo of her standing next to another muddy pickup showing a "thumbs up" sign. That posting was reported on April 11.


Father gets year in jail for DWI with twin daughters in car

MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Moorhead man was sentenced to almost a year in jail after pleading guilty to child endangerment and drunken driving charges after police say he drove his daughters at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, drinking beers he had them open for him.

Thomas Eugene Iverson, 48, pleaded guilty in July to one count of felony driving while intoxicated and one count of gross misdemeanor endangerment of a child.

Iverson was sentenced to 365 days in jail with credit for five days served, the remainder of which he is allowed to serve under work release. He was also sentenced to a stayed prison sentence of three years and six months.

Court documents say when Iverson was pulled over for speeding in Dilworth in March, his 12-year-old twin daughters, who were in the car with him, told the arresting deputy they’d been scared and that their father had been driving between 90 and 100 miles per hour.

The girls said that Iverson had been having them open his beers for him, and one of the girls told the deputy she’d pretended to throw up to try to get her father to slow down.


Driver charged in fatal crash

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- A Bemidji woman faces a charge of criminal vehicular homicide after her involvement in a Sunday morning crash that killed a passenger on a motorcycle.

Victoria Whitefeather was travelling south on Hubbard County Road 36 when she crossed the center line and struck a motorcycle driven by Robert Childs, of Proctor, according to a press release from the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office. Childs' passenger, 51-year-old Tracy Childs, was airlifted to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale where she was pronounced dead as a result of injuries from the collision.

The crash occurred just before 10 a.m. Sunday, police said. Alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the crash, according to the release.


Missing man found after search

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A 78-year-old man who had been missing was found early Monday in the woods near his farm.

Thomas Vincent, 78, was reported missing by family members about 4 p.m. Sunday when he left home for a walk, according to the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office. His family was searching for him all evening, and officials released a CodeRED alert for Vincent at 11:06 p.m., with authorities asking for the public's helpl in locating Vincent.

Vincent had become disoriented and was found by deputies wandering near the family farm at about 3 a.m. Monday. The deputies used their newest dog, Jessie, to help in the search. The U.S. Border Patrol also assisted, officials said.


North Dakota

Man sentenced for child pornography

BISMARCK — A judge Monday sentenced a Dickinson man to a year and four months in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

Between about November 2001 and October 2003, David Fugere, 55, possessed 23 visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to a press release from Tim Purdon, the U.S. Attorney for North Dakota.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland also ordered Fugere, who pleaded guilty, to register as a sex offender.

The Dickinson Police Department conducted the investigation alongside the North Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.


Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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