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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Jailhouse tips led authorities to a man suspected of stealing a Hammond police officer’s personal vehicle containing his service pistol, badge and other police equipment from a Hudson parking lot. The vehicle, a 2004 Ford pickup truck belonging to officer Christian Loos, was discovered stolen Nov. 7 at the Hudson hockey arena. A .45-caliber Glock handgun, an ammunition clip, a police radio, a GPS unit, an iPad and Loos’ police badge were among items missing from the truck, the window of which was believed to be smashed out.
A New Richmond man was injured early Friday after the car he was driving crashed and plunged into the Apple River in the town of Star Prairie. St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said the driver, 27-year-old Thomas Humphrey, was airlifted from the scene and taken to Regions Hospital. Hospital staff listed Humphrey in fair condition later Friday.
Though at different stages in their legal careers, St. Croix County’s newest prosecutors share a similar mindset. There’s no place they’d rather be right now. For Ed Minser, formerly a La Crosse County prosecutor, the new position brings him closer to his Chisago City, Minn., roots. For brand-new prosecutor Megan Kelly, the job represents an extension of the roots she already planted as an intern with the office.
A Minnesota man accused of using cellphone contacts gleaned from his job at a Hudson Verizon store to send obscene messages to teenage girls was convicted last week in the case. Barton Scott, 32, pleaded no contest to one felony count of exposing genitals to a child during a Nov. 4 hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court. He was originally charged with two counts of exposing a child to harmful material and three counts of sending a threatening computer message by way of obscenity.
A man registered as a predatory offender in Minnesota was arrested on Halloween after he allegedly darted from a rural New Richmond house after learning police were on their way. The incident prompted the activation of a Code Red notification for residents in the area while multiple agencies conducted a search for the man, later identified as Erik S. Kristiansen.
A St. Croix County judge issued a warning last week to a defendant: When you lie down with dogs, you’re going to get fleas. That was the analogy Judge Scott Needham used in sentencing a New Richmond man charged with participating in a drug deal that aimed to bring 58 pounds of marijuana to River Falls. Zachariah Albert, 25, was sentenced to two years on probation, a $500 fine and 80 hours of community service. He was convicted Sept. 1 of felony THC possession.
A River Falls woman was killed and three others were injured Sunday afternoon in a head-on collision on Highway 65 in Roberts. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office identified the deceased as 61-year-old Bonny J. Britton. She was pronounced dead on the scene by the St. Croix County Medical Examiner. The driver of a second car, 18-year-old Eau Claire resident Cody D. Carlson, was taken to Hudson Hospital before being transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Back-to-back crashes Friday night on Interstate 94 left one person injured in rural Hudson.
The man accused of killing a New Richmond woman and her daughter pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case during an arraignment hearing Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Cristian D. Nunez, 37, is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of arson, one count of operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent and one count of unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information.
A 38-year-old Hammond man arrested during a drug bust last summer is headed to prison. Isaac J. Rayfield was sentenced Oct. 27 to four years in prison and another four years on extended supervision by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman. Rayfield was convicted Oct. 12 of methamphetamine possession with intent to deliver as party to a crime after pleading no contest to the charge.