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 are seeking the public's help in locating a missing teenager. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Hutcheson has been missing since late October when she didn't show up for work at Target in Cottage Grove, Prescott Police Office Chief Doug Ducklow said. He said she was last seen at her Prescott home, where she lives with her mother. Ducklow said there was nothing unusual that precipitated her disappearance and that it was "out of character for her to leave."
Authorities on Monday identified the Red Wing man killed in a two-vehicle crash in rural Hager City. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 42-year-old Matthew Parker died in the crash, reported at 12:13 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Pierce County medical examiner.
An apparently random attack by a Minnesota motorist left a Wisconsin woman injured and a sheriff's deputy with injuries after he and three other officers battled to bring the man into custody. The incident was reported just after midnight Wednesday, Nov. 21, on Highway 64, where a woman reported being attacked by another motorist. "This was a random attack," St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said, adding that it appeared to be unprovoked. According to Knudson:
HUDSON — Attorneys on both sides of a high-profile St. Croix County threats case shook hands in late September after delivering impassioned closing arguments. The case was now out of their hands and into a jury's. Jurors deliberated until deep into the evening, when the deadlocked panel was sent home with orders to resume discussion the next morning. Morning arrived with the revelation that a juror had brought in a printout from home that he shared with other jurors — a violation of rules governing juror conduct during deliberations.
Rep. Warren Petryk captured a fifth term in office Tuesday in a comfortable win in Assembly District 93. The Eleva Republican topped Charlene “Charlie” Warner in all five counties in the district, most sizably in Pierce, where he won 6,912 to 4,788.
An open seat in the state Senate appeared to remain in Democratic control after a former legislator led his Republican opponent Tuesday at the polls in western Wisconsin. With one county’s results outstanding, Eau Claire resident Jeff Smith was poised to capture the Senate District 31 seat vacated by Kathleen Vinehout during her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. Smith led Plum City farmer Mel Pittman on the strength of results in Eau Claire County, where he won 22,288 to 14,070.
A Prescott man accused of sexually assaulting and stabbing a woman earlier this year allegedly violated his bond conditions Oct. 19 by driving her in his car, which authorities say he then used to flee police into Minnesota. Jason J. Kulla, 46, was charged with two felonies — bail jumping and fleeing an officer — after being arrested Thursday, Oct. 25. He made his initial court appearance Monday, where Pierce County Court Commissioner Jorv Gavic set Kulla's cash bail at $100,000.
One person was airlifted and three others were transported by ambulance Sunday after a two-car crash near Bay City. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 69-year-old Bay City resident John M. Farrell Jr. was taken by LifeLink III air ambulance to Regions Hospital. A Regions spokeswoman said he was listed in fair condition Tuesday.
Prosecutors on Friday charged a Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy with multiple counts of child sexual assault. St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes, serving as special counsel in the case of Allen J. Wojcik, charged the 31-year-old with two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two related counts. All four charges are felonies. The sheriff's office this week placed Wojcik on paid administrative leave. The allegations did not occur during the course of his work with the department.
A Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child sexual assault. According to the Pierce County Jail log, Allen J. Wojcik, 31, was booked at 5:32 p.m. Sept. 26 on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault of a child. He was transferred to the St. Croix County jail, where he was also listed on a Wednesday jail log.