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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HUDSON, Wis. — A guilty plea was entered and two sexual assault charges were dismissed this week in the case of a former Hudson girls basketball coach. Under a plea agreement announced Tuesday, Oct. 31, Louis J. French pleaded guilty to using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Three other charges — first-degree child sex assault, repeated sex assault of the same child and causing a child to view sexual activity — were dismissed as part of the agreement.
ELLSWORTH, Wis. — A rural Elmwood man might have used unconventional means to raise dogs, but it didn't amount to the dozens of crimes he's charged with, his attorney claims. Stuart Earl West had research that backed up the diet of deer and cattle carcasses he fed the yellow Labrador dogs he bred and sold, defense attorney Keith Belzer said during the first day of testimony Monday, Oct. 23, in West's trial.
RED WING, Minn. — Between dusk and the twilight hours of dawn, Minnesota State Patrol trooper Kendall LeMay works the graveyard shift covering a large swath of land stretching from the St. Paul to the St. Croix River dividing Wisconsin from Minnesota. His focus is mainly taking drunken and impaired drivers off the road. So far this year, he's arrested more than 60 drivers suspected of DWI, the second most of any trooper in the state. Last year, he logged more than 100.
HUDSON, Wis. — Words weren't enough for Alexis McKinley to describe what happened to a little boy who suffered a broken leg at the hands of a daycare worker. Though she tried. "This case is terrible," said McKinley, an assistant St. Croix County district attorney. "It's infuriating. It's sad. It's really hard to find the words to describe what happened to the victim." Instead, the prosecutor played a video of the Feb. 24, 2016, incident that led to a conviction against 27-year-old Ashley Garrity.
RIVER FALLS, Wis. — A proposal that critics say could spell doom for taprooms in Wisconsin breweries remains afloat, according to a Wisconsin State Assembly member. Rep. Shannon Zimmerman refuted a Wednesday, July 12, media report that the proposal — which has not been made public — is effectively dead.
ELLSWORTH, Wis. — The driver in a 2016 motorcycle crash that left a Prescott mom dead was charged last week with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. St. Croix County prosecutors filed the charge against Joshua D. Sykora, a 35-year-old Hastings. Minn., 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.
ST. JOSEPH, Wis. — A St. Croix County woman died from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday, June 25, after she and two others were found on a boat over the weekend on the St. Croix River. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office identified the woman as 24-year-old Ashley G. Speer of Glenwood City. Two others on the boat, 25-year-old Justin M. Roskos of Hastings and 27-year-old River Falls resident Hayden L. Johnson, were found alive. They were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
HUDSON, Wis. — St. Croix County prosecutors charged a Minnesota woman with homicide by vehicle in the aftermath of a 2016 crash that left a Beldenville teenager dead. In addition to the charge of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, Big Lake resident Makellia S. Jensen faces four more felonies stemming from the incident: methamphetamine possession and three counts of narcotic drug possession. The 22-year-old was charged by warrant Friday, June 2. No court dates has yet been set.
HUDSON, Wis.—A man stabbed his mother to death Saturday night in rural Hudson before shooting at police in an incident that led to a 50-mile pursuit into Minnesota, eventually ending with the suspect taking his own life, authorities said. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office identified the man as Glenwood City, Wis., resident Logan T. Reese. The 28-year-old allegedly killed his mother, identified as 49-year-old Charlene Wold, in Hudson.
A St. Croix County (Wis.) sheriff's deputy likely consumed at least 15 shots of vodka before getting behind the wheel of his squad, where he was found passed out with the vehicle's transmission in drive and his foot on the brake. Those findings were detailed in an internal investigation report on former deputy Ryan Fowler, who resigned his position Dec. 1, as part of a separation agreement with St. Croix County.