News Briefs: Driver arrested in fatal bike-truck collision
The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Driver arrested in fatal bike-truck collision
STEEN, Minn. — A truck driver involved in a southwest Minnesota collision that killed a bicyclist pulling two children in a trailer faces a criminal charge.
Andrea Boeve, 33, of Steen, was killed in the crash near Steen in Rock County, a Minnesota State Patrol report said. The crash occurred about 11:30 a.m. Monday on Minnesota Highway 270.
The children in the trailer were identified as Claire Boeve, 4, and Mallorie Boeve, 1, both of Steen. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The report identified the driver of the truck as Christopher Weber, 25, of Brandon, S.D. He was not injured.
Weber was in custody at the Nobles County Jail on Tuesday and being held on a criminal vehicular homicide charge.
Both the truck and the bicycle were eastbound, the report said.
Minnesota budget reserve up
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials bumped up the state budget reserve $150 million Tuesday, the first increase in 13 years.
Legislation that took effect Tuesday altered the $39 billion, two-year state budget lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton adopted a year ago. The reserve increase included in this year's budget tweak leaves the budget cushion at $811 million, the biggest in state history.
“This action is a substantial step towards additional budget stability and prudent financial management for the state,” Commissioner Jim Schowalter of Minnesota Management and Budget said. “Increasing the budget reserve helps the state manage economic risk and is viewed positively by the state’s bond rating agencies.”
Dayton said the reserve increase shows that “Minnesota has finally turned the corner on a decade of deficits that shortchanged our students and stymied needed progress for our state.”
Abortions down in Minnesota
ST. PAUL -- The number of abortions dropped in Minnesota in 2013 for the seventh straight year.
The 9,903 abortions is the lowest number since 1974 and a 7.5 percent decrease from the previous year.
Tuesday's Minnesota Health Department report confirms the success of laws that provide abortion information and alternatives, the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life anti-abortion group said.
Still, MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach said, the abortion rate could have been lower.
“As governor, Mark Dayton has vetoed seven protective measures, at least four of which would have protected women and further reduced the number of abortions last year,” Fischbach said. “Dayton’s defense of the abortion industry has been at the expense of unborn babies and their mothers, who are nonetheless rejecting the self-destruction, dehumanization and death that result from abortion.”
Minnesota health spending slows
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota health care spending increased by 4 percent from 2011 to 2012, a slower rate than in the past.
The state Health Department reported Tuesday that the most recent numbers show a nearly $40 billion increase in public and private health-care spending.
Minnesota spending growth was about the same as the national rate. But the state's per-person spending of $7,403 was lower than the national figure.
"By historic standards, Minnesota saw low growth in health care spending in 2012," Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. "However, projections of future spending highlight that we must continue to focus on disease prevention and creating healthy communities if we are going ensure sustainability of health care costs over the long term."
Ehlinger's department credited several factors for the slower increase, including a waning recession, shifting costs to consumers, slower development of new medical technologies and legal requirements that insurers spend a certain percentage of premiums on health care services.
Man killed in Sunday crash
WADENA, Minn. -- A 25-year-old rural Motley man was killed early Sunday and a 36-year-old Villard man was injured in a motor vehicle crash in Wadena County in central Minnesota.
The Wadena County Sheriff's Office was called about 1:33 a.m. Deputies found two victims in a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado. Michael James Dewald, was pronounced deceased on scene. Another occupant, Karl Raphel Kliber, of Villard, was transported by ambulance to Lakewood Health Systems in Staples with non-life threatening injuries.
Alcohol and speed is believed to be a factor in the crash, the sheriff's office reported.
Man stabbed in neck during dispute
VIRGINIA, Minn. -- Authorities say a Virginia man stabbed another man in the neck with a filet knife, causing serious injuries — and then told police he wanted to finish the job.
Irving Gene McLeod Jr., 52, stabbed James Arthur Dethloff with the knife after a dispute Friday evening at the Third Avenue Hotel, Virginia police reported.
Dethloff underwent surgery and was in intensive care Monday, Police Chief Dennis Benz said.
As officers escorted McLeod to a squad car, McLeod started yelling, “I will tell you what, let me go and I will cut him right,” according to the criminal complaint. Later, at the jail, McLeod continued. “I won’t just stab him once and call ya. I won’t call ya next time. I’ll just leave him to die.”
McLeod refused to give a formal statement to police, Benz said.
Dethloff told police he had been drinking with McLeod and friends when McLeod became upset, left the apartment and came back with a filet knife. McLeod made an initial appearance in State District Court in Virginia on Monday on two counts of second-degree assault. McLeod’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 7.
Hibbing man gets 18 months for snowplow joyride
DULUTH -- A Hibbing man will serve 18 months in federal prison for stealing a large snowplow from the Bois Forte Indian Reservation and taking it for a joyride, ultimately crashing into a maintenance shed and tearing up a golf course green.
Shane Alan Simonson, 26, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Duluth. Judge John Tunheim also ordered Simonson to reimburse the band for the full cost of the damage: $68,983.
Simonson admitted at a December plea hearing that he took a band-owned snowplow truck without permission May 9, 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Simonson drove the plow into a maintenance shed, causing significant damage. He then damaged a parking lot barricade and gate, before tearing up the green of the 11th hole of the Fortune Bay Casino golf course.
Public defender Andrew Mohring said in a court document that Simonson was “under the influence of a combination of powerful, mind-altering substances” at the time. Mohring noted that Simonson has completed several drug programs since he was indicted, and asked for time served and supervised release rather than additional prison time.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Buzicky asked for a 30-month sentence.
Parts of ex-principal’s interrogation ruled inadmissible in arson case
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Key elements of the state’s arson case against former Trinity High School Principal Tom Sander were suppressed Tuesday.
Sander is scheduled go to trial July 23 on felony charges of arson and endangering by fire in a blaze that damaged much of the school in March.
On Tuesday, Southwest District Judge William Herauf ruled that hours of interrogation conducted March 4 and 5 are inadmissible.
The ruling carried the defense’s motion to suppress Sander’s confession, which defense attorneys argued was made under coercion and without Sander having been properly read his rights by Dickinson Police Detectives Kylan Klauzer and Terry Oestreich.
Herauf pointed to a part of the interrogation March 4 in which Sander put on his coat and started to leave the room. Klauzer stopped Sander, preventing him from leaving. At that point, Herauf ruled, Sander was in custody and should have been read his Miranda rights.
All material from the interrogation from that point on is suppressed, including an interrogation conducted March 5, which Herauf concluded was a continuation of the previous day’s interview.
Another pretrial hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday.
N.D. responds to challenge on gay marriage ban
FARGO -- North Dakota's top leaders have asked a U.S. District Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed last month challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
In a motion filed on Tuesday to dismiss the case, North Dakota Solicitor General Douglas Bahr argued that the U.S. Constitution leaves it up to individual states to define marriage.
"This case is really about who decides, not who is right in this important policy debate," Bahr wrote in the brief on behalf of Gov. Jack Dalrymple and several other top state officials. "Under the United States Constitution, the people of North Dakota decide the definition of marriage for the State of North Dakota."
Seven same-sex couples challenged the state constitution's ban -- approved by voters in 2004 -- in early June, making North Dakota the final state to see a challenge to such bans.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, making married same-sex partners eligible for federal benefits, a string of federal judges has ruled that state prohibitions outlawing gay marriage are unconstitutional. The latest such ruling came Tuesday in Kentucky.
Woman gets 130 years for beating death of 4-year-old
CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. -- A Gann Valley woman convicted of killing a 4-year-old boy in 2013 will spend at least the next 65 years in prison.
Donika Gonzales, 23, was sentenced Tuesday for beating to death Mason Naser. Judge Bruce Anderson sentenced her to 130 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter and 15 years in prison for aggravated assault.
Gonzales was convicted in a jury trial in April of the two charges. Her sentences will run concurrently.
Anderson said she must serve half of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole. She received credit for 495 days already served in the county jail.
Anderson also ordered that Gonzales serve her time in a prison outside South Dakota for her own protection.