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AROUND THE REGION: Convict says he tried to stop Camry that killed 3 ... Alleged DWI driver hits patrol car ... Police probe stabbing death ... more

Convict: He tried to stop Camry that killed three ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul man convicted in a fatal crash involving a Toyota Camry said he still believes he did everything he could to stop. Koua Fong Lee said he pressed the brake to the max, but it...

Convict: He tried to stop Camry that killed three

ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul man convicted in a fatal crash involving a Toyota Camry said he still believes he did everything he could to stop.

Koua Fong Lee said he pressed the brake to the max, but it didn't work.

He insisted in a prison interview published Sunday he did not step on the accelerator instead of the brake, as both his defense attorney and prosecutors contended during his trial.

The 2006 crash killed three people. Koua Fong Lee is serving an eight-year sentence.


Toyota has recalled Camrys made from 2007 to 2010 because of sudden acceleration. Koua Fong Lee had a 1996 Camry.

His attorneys want it re-examined to see if it had a similar problem.

Prosecutor Phil Carruthers said that if proof is found of problems with the car, prosecutors will take a look.

Alleged DWI driver strikes patrol car

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota State Patrol said an alleged drunken driver hit one of its squad cars while the trooper went through a red light.

Capt. Matt Langer said the crash happened about 2 a.m. Sunday at Stinson Boulevard and Interstate 35W in Minneapolis.

Langer said the trooper had activated his flashing lights and siren as he responded to a Minneapolis police officer's call for backup.

The woman had a green light and did not stop. He said it's not clear why her light didn't change to red.


Langer said the woman had been drinking, and troopers arrested her at the scene.

Neither she nor the trooper was hurt, but a passenger in her had minor injuries.

It was the second time this weekend that an alleged drunken driver hit a squad car in Minneapolis.

Police investigate stabbing death

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police are investigating a fatal stabbing.

Sgt. Jesse Garcia said officers were called to a stabbing late Saturday nighton Dupont Avenue North.

The officers found a man with a stab wound shortly before midnight. He died at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office will release the man's name after the autopsy.


No arrests have been announced.

Police ask anyone with information about the stabbing to call the Minneapolis Police Department tip line at (612) 692-8477.

Airboat crash kills Wisconsin man

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. -- A Fountain City man has died in an airboat crash on the Mississippi River.

The Buffalo County sheriff's department said Frank Wieczorek, 81, and three other people were riding Friday afternoon along the ice-covered main channel of the Mississippi.

The sheriff's department said he was sitting near the middle of the airboat when it suddenly sank to one side.

He apparently lost his balance, tripped on a piece of equipment and fell headfirst onto the ice.

Wieczorek suffered a head injury and was pronounced dead at the boat landing.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Buffalo County sheriff's department are investigating.

Work continues on power lines

MINOT -- North Dakota electric cooperatives continue to repair power lines damaged in last month's ice storm.

More than 5,000 customers statewide were estimated to have been without service -- some for days -- as a result of the late January storm that downed more than 1,800 power poles and miles of lines.

Tom Rafferty of Verendrye Electric Cooperative in Minot said 800 customers lost service, but only five poles were lost. So, some of his crews were sent to cooperatives near Mandan, Flasher, Hazen and Dickinson.

Rafferty said many of those linemen worked 15 days straight, often with 17-hour days in cold, windy conditions. And the work is far from over. Maintenance is still needed once the ground thaws to make sure everything is in working order.

County, Bismarck study jail crowding

BISMARCK -- Officials in Bismarck and Burleigh County are studying what to do about a growing need for jail space.


County and city commissioners have agreed to hire a consultant to study whether a regional jail is needed or if an expansion to the existing county jail would make more sense.

Commissioners from Morton County and Mandan might be asked to join in the study because they also lack jail space.

Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert said the county jail has an average inmate population of 129, and that could jump to 229 in 15 years because of a growing population. The jail's capacity is 138.

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