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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A Twin Cities man who told authorities he fell asleep at the wheel was hospitalized Sunday after a rural Hager City crash. The crash, reported at 1:20 a.m. Sept. 9 on County Road D in the town of Trenton, resulted in Burnsville resident Austin Smith being transported to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing. Smith, 29, told Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies he fell asleep while driving before crashing into a culvert, which sent his 2016 Nissan Versa airborne and into a ditch. Deputies were assisted by Red Wing ambulance and Wisconsin State Patrol.
The woman living at the Pierce County property where more than 1,300 animals were removed amid dog- and cock-fighting suspicions tried sneaking a safe containing 5 pounds of methamphetamine out of the house, according to authorities.
Animal rescues and arrests followed the discovery of an alleged dog- and cock-fighting operation where suspected drugs were also found last week in rural Pierce County. Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — who spent days assisting law enforcement at a 7789 County Road BB farm — announced Thursday that 1,300 animals were found there. A news release said most of the animals were chickens, along with more than a dozen dogs allegedly bred for fighting.
A motorcycle crash Sunday in rural Prescott left a 48-year-old Twin Cities woman dead. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office identified the deceased as Ramsey, Minn., resident Kelly Jo Imsande. According to a news release, deputies were called at 4:58 p.m. Sept. 2 to Highway 35 near 1240th Street in the town of Oak Grove for a single motorcycle crash. Investigation revealed Imsande was northbound on Highway 35 when she lost control of her 2016 Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King, crashed into a guardrail and was thrown from the bike.
WOODBURY — A bust that began with man caught toting a mattress out of a JC Penney store opened a Pandora’s Box of stolen loot that two of Washington County’s most tenured prosecutors said was the largest such retail crime ring they’ve seen.
A roofer fatally attacked a coworker at a River Falls-area job site with a saw, authorities said Tuesday. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said a 37-year-old man died at the scene and a 24-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide. The deceased was identified as St. Louis, Mo., resident Israel Valles-Flores.
A 22-year-old Hastings man died last weekend after a trench collapse in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 22-year-old Joseph T. Sanderson was airlifted Saturday, June 30, 2018, after the accident at N7155 690th St. in the town of Martell. Deputies said in a news release that Sanderson succumbed to his injuries later that day at Regions Hospital.
ELLSWORTH — The Prescott police officers fired by the city last year will not get their jobs back, a judge decided Tuesday. Buffalo-Pepin Circuit Court Judge James Duvall dismissed a lawsuit brought by former officers Bryan Massman and Ryan Most and denied motions from their attorney that sought to restore their jobs and provide them back-pay. The contract outlining the grievance process was ambiguous "at a minimum," the judge said, but concluded it was clear that, as probationary officers, they were not eligible for just-cause termination rights.
Two people from Minnesota were injured Sunday in a Pierce County crash that authorities said appeared to involve alcohol. Pierce County sheriff's deputies were alerted to the crash at 5:50 a.m. June 17 on Highway 35 in Diamond Bluff near County Road O. According to deputies, the vehicle, a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by 26-year-old Elk River resident Kyiyoo Vinson, crashed and overturned several times in a ditch.
A Hastings man blamed his gambling addiction on an embezzlement scheme that netted him $70,000 at a Prescott-area golf course, but a plea agreement struck Tuesday will allow him to repay that money while addressing his problems. Robert P. Magnuson pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft May 29 in Pierce County Circuit Court, a charge that will be dismissed if the 58-year-old abides the terms of an agreement.