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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Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke died Saturday, Aug. 5, after battling cancer. The Prescott Police Department announced Krutke’s death on its Facebook page. “Our department mourns his loss along with family, friends and Prescott community,” the post reads. Other law enforcement agencies also took to social media to express their grief.
When shoppers drive the Walmart parking lot, they're usually after one thing: empty spaces. Jordan Ziebarth scouts for the exact opposite. The Cottage Grove, Minn., police officer isn't interested in the closest available parking spot to the store. He's looking at the vehicles that are already there.
The Maiden Rock teenager who authorities said slugged an Ellsworth High School classmate during a dodgeball game was sentenced last month in Pierce County Circuit Court. Jacob C. Sigler, 18, was sentenced July 11 to one year on probation and more than $1,300 in fines, which includes a restitution payment that he paid at the hearing. Sigler pleaded guilty at the same hearing to one count of misdemeanor battery — an amended charge after formerly facing a felony battery count.
A man whose Minnesota driving privileges had been canceled was drinking vodka and hand-rolling a cigarette when he nearly struck a squad car in traffic before being arrested for his ninth drunken-driving offense, according to court documents. Pierce County sheriff’s deputies said the man, identified as 47-year-old Mark B. Harmon, had a preliminary blood-alcohol level of 0.267 during a Friday, July 21, traffic stop in the town of Trenton.
Two Minnesota motorcycle riders were injured last weekend after striking an SUV and then a guard rail in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called at 3:57 p.m. Sunday, July 23, to county roads F and FF in the town of Clifton for a crash involving a motorcycle and an SUV.
A Hager City man was checked for injuries Tuesday, July 18, after the pickup he was driving crashed in rural Ellsworth. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office responded at 9:04 a.m. to the crash at Highway 10 and 730th Street in the town of Trimbelle. Deputies said the driver, identified as 30-year-old Michael J. Drager, was westbound in a 1999 Ford Ranger when it left the roadway. Drager overcorrected, causing the truck to slide sideways before overturning. Drager was treated and released at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.
The driver in a 2016 motorcycle crash that left a Prescott mom dead was charged this week with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. St. Croix County prosecutors filed the charge Monday, July 3, against Joshua D. Sykora, a 35-year-old Hastings resident. Authorities said the June 25, 2016, crash in the town of Troy killed Sykora's then-girlfriend, 38-year-old Brooke A. Ptacek-Baker, a Hastings business owner and mother of two children.
A Bay City man was airlifted to a hospital on Tuesday, July 4, after the motorcycle he was on crashed into a pickup truck in the town of Trenton. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the motorcyclist as 28-year-old Christopher J. Majors, the operator of a 2015 Kawasaki that was eastbound on 170th Avenue during the crash, reported at 7:07 a.m.
A Hager City woman was hospitalized this week after a two-vehicle crash in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded at 12:50 p.m. July 3 to Highway 35 and County Road VV in the town of Trenton, where a 2003 Toyota Corolla and a 2007 Chevy Silverado pickup collided.
A Rosemount man was arrested on suspicion of his 10th drunken-driving offense Tuesday, July 4, in western Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Patrol identified the suspect as 47-year-old Lawrence M. LaPole. According to a news release, a trooper stopped a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix just after 10 p.m. on Highway 29 in Dunn County for a traffic violation. The driver, identified by troopers as LaPole, was later arrested on suspicion of OWI-10th offense, failure to install an ignition interlock device, driving without a valid license and following too closely.