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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Two Hager City men were ticketed for reckless driving after they allegedly raced down a Hager City roadway, where one vehicle nearly struck an oncoming vehicle and the other crashed into a business, according to authorities. A Pierce County Sheriff's Office accident report states Randy W. Trok, 68, and Tony S. Burow, 41, were both northbound March 31 on County Road VV when the incident occurred. Trok's vehicle, a 1930 custom Ford coupe, crashed into Hager City Glass Co. property.
A Hager City man was hospitalized Tuesday while attempting to put out a fire that destroyed his garage. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 59-year-old Douglas Volenec was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing for injuries sustained while trying to extinguish the blaze on his own.
An Ellsworth Middle School student who allegedly referenced bringing a gun to school was taken into custody Wednesday morning. An automated voice message from Ellsworth School District Superintendent Barry Cain went out the morning of Wednesday, March 21, alerting families to the situation. Cain said in the message the student did not make any threats toward others and that it didn't occur at the school. The text did, however, "mention thoughts of bringing a weapon to school," Cain told families.
A La Crosse man picked up his third active fleeing police charge last week after a traffic incident beginning at the High Bridge connecting Pierce and Goodhue counties. Pierce County prosecutors charged 22-year-old Dean J. Mickelson with two felonies — attempting to flee an officer, meth possession — and three misdemeanors stemming from the March 5 incident. He was released on a $20,000 signature bond after a March 6 hearing before Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joe Boles.
Four people, including three children, were hospitalized after a three-vehicle traffic crash Monday on Highway 10 in rural Ellsworth. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said the crash was reported at 4:17 p.m. March 5 near 800th Street in the town of Trimbelle, where a westbound Ford Explorer and an eastbound Chevy Silverado collided head-on.The Chevy was then rear-ended by a third vehicle. The driver of the Chevy, Randall J. Hendrickson, 67, Prescott, was trapped and had to be extricated. He was taken by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital (RFAH).
Two people were hospitalized Monday after a suspected alcohol-involved crash in rural Hager City. Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies responded at 4:47 p.m. Feb. 19 to Highway 63 near 830th Street for a single-vehicle crash. The driver, Mondovi resident Emily M. Kent, and her passenger, 40-year-old Crystal R. Sanders Mendez, were taken by ambulance to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing with non-life threatening injuries.
Authorities said it took a costume, a comment and a cast of accomplices to pull off a con that fleeced Walmart out of thousands of dollars at various stores in western Wisconsin and Minnesota. According to court documents, the main suspect would enter a Walmart clad in a former employee's vest, then approach a cashier, who would be told it was breaktime. From there, the suspect would open up the cash register to allow a string of accomplices to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards. And then, according to authorities, it was off to the next store.
Courtroom logic says jurors tend not to look at defendants when they return a guilty verdict. A panel of Pierce County jurors faced no such burden in January after finding Michaela M. Sousa guilty of felony child abuse. The defendant was nowhere to be found. Pierce County District Attorney Sean Froelich said Sousa attended the first day of the trial, but was a no-show the second day. "That is very unusual," he said. "I have never experienced that."
TOWN OF OAK GROVE -- A western Wisconsin man was checked out for injuries last weekend after a Highway 35 crash in rural Prescott. Pierce County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of a single-vehicle crash at 10:10 a.m. Feb. 3 near 1220th Street in the town of Oak Grove.
Unpaid construction bills led to a felony charge against a Bay City builder. Pierce County prosecutors charged Hartland Builders Corp. owner Bjorn L. Bang with one count of felony theft by contractor. The 40-year-old makes his initial court appearance Feb. 12. According to a criminal complaint: A Maiden Rock homeowner reported in March 2017 that a St. Paul contracting firm placed a lien on his property.