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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Police credited construction workers with freeing a woman who was found pinned under her own car Wednesday in New Richmond. New Richmond Police Chief Craig Yehlik said the crash, reported at 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in the 1000 block of Tamarack Place, occurred when a 65-year-old woman was run over by her own car. He said the woman, whose identity was not released, parked the car in her driveway and walked behind it. The unoccupied vehicle began to roll backward and struck the woman as she got to the street.
A revoked driver convicted 14 times of drunken driving crashed into a cage of propane tanks before being stopped by police, who found alcohol in his system, according to charges filed this week in St. Croix County. The Monday, Oct. 9, incident led to one count of felony operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration-15th offense and a misdemeanor count of operating while revoked against 64-year-old Mark Alan Johnson. He was also cited for failure to notify police of an accident.
TOWN OF RICHMOND -- A New Richmond High School student was killed Wednesday, Oct. 11 after a crash involving a semi-trailer. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said the student was a 16-year-old girl. Her identity was not immediately released pending family notification.
Wisconsin judges always get the final say in sentencing — including the power to override plea agreements between lawyers. A Pierce County judge demonstrated exactly that level of discretion this week in sentencing a drunken-driving offender on his ninth such conviction. The judge, Joe Boles, didn't believe the punishment fit the crime. "I cannot go along with the recommendation," Boles said at the Monday, Oct. 9, sentencing hearing for Mark B. Harmon, a homeless man who previously lived in Lake City, Minn.
Three people were hospitalized Tuesday, Oct. 10, after a crash in New Richmond. New Richmond Police Department Lt. Veronica Koehler said a 43-year-old man, a 66-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman were transported to Westfields Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The 43-year-old man’s city of residence wasn’t available; the other two victims are New Richmond residents. Their identities weren’t immediately available.
A vehicle sought in a St. Croix County boat theft had a distinctive appearance, making it hard to miss when a police chief spotted it in Sunday traffic last summer.
Felony charges were filed this week against a man accused of sexually assaulting a foster child that was being cared for at a Hudson home. St. Croix County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Desmond M. LaPean with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child under 12 and repeated sexual assault. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Eric Lundell ordered the Minneapolis resident held on $50,000 cash bond at his initial appearance Monday, Sept. 18. According to a criminal complaint:
Hudson police opened a death investigation Wednesday after the discovery of a woman’s body along the St. Croix River. Police Chief Marty Jensen said the woman was a 74-year-old Hudson resident. Police were attempting to confirm her identity with relatives, he said. The death, he said, does not appear suspicious “at this point in time.” The chief said the woman had not been reported missing.
Authorities said a 27-year-old east metro man driving under the influence of pot with a 3-year-old passenger was responsible for a three-vehicle crash near Clear Lake. The man, identified by the Wisconsin State Patrol as Joseph P. Koehler, was hospitalized after the crash, reported at noon Sunday, Sept. 17, at Highway 63 and County Road F in Polk County. Koehler, who was taken to Amery Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, was the only person injured in the crash, according to troopers.
Federal prosecutors allege a New Richmond businesswoman embezzled funds and stiffed the government for more than $240,000 in taxes. According to an indictment filed Wednesday, Sept. 13, in U.S. District Court, charges 40-year-old Stephanie M. Johnson with 10 counts of tax crimes and five counts of mail fraud.