News Briefs: Fracking death ruled accidentalA Duluth, Minn., man who died at a hydraulic fracturing site Saturday died of chest and abdominal injuries when he was hit by oilfield equipment, the North Dakota Medical Examiner’s Office said in a report issued Tuesday.
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Fracking death ruled accidental, caused by chest, abdominal injuries
BISMARCK – A Duluth, Minn., man who died at a hydraulic fracturing site Saturday died of chest and abdominal injuries when he was hit by oilfield equipment, the North Dakota Medical Examiner’s Office said in a report issued Tuesday.
The report of death for Mike Krajewski, 49, who worked for Halliburton, ruled his death an accident caused by oilfield equipment that was dislodged by high pressure, striking Krajewski in the chest.
The accident occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday about 24 miles north of Watford City, N.D.
A team from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration began investigating at the site Tuesday, said Eric Brooks, area director for the Bismarck OSHA office.
A second man, Brad Hong, 55, Halliday, N.D., was injured in the fracking incident.
OSHA also is planning to investigate the site of an oilfield tank battery explosion northwest of Williston that injured two men Friday, but the fatality is taking first priority, Brooks said.
Convicted killer gets 30 years in prison
DICKINSON, N.D. -- A judge sentenced Dirk Huber to 30 years with the North Dakota Department of Corrections on Tuesday in Southwest District Court for the
murder of the mother of his child in Belfield in August 2011.
Because of a plea agreement between the state and the defense, a 30-year cap was placed on Huber's sentence.
Huber suffocated 39-year-old Nicole Radebaugh with a pillow in her apartment bedroom after the argument about the paternity of her daughter. Huber evaded police for several days before being arrested in a remote area north of Medora.
Huber in October told a judge that he and Radebaugh were having an argument in Belfield in August 2011 when he “just snapped.”
Wagner woman pleads guilty in child death case
WAGNER, S.D. — A Wagner woman arrested after a 2-year-old girl was found dead last July in a closet in her home has pleaded guilty to three drug charges and failing to report the death of a child.
Laurie Cournoyer, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of possession of methamphetamine, one count of keeping a place for the use or sale of controlled substances and one count of failing to report the death of a child.
She and Taylor Cournoyer, 21, were both arrested after 2-year-old Rielee Lovell was found dead July 4 at the couple’s home in a Wagner tribal housing project after being in their care.
According to affidavits filed in the case, the couple had been using methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription sleeping pills, and neither was able to tell investigators for sure when they had last seen the girl alive.
The death allegedly went unreported for nearly two days.
The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office announced the plea in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.
Nusing home worker fired, charged with assault
HIBBING, Minn. -- An employee of Greenview North assisted-living center in Hibbing was fired and charged with fifth-degree assault after allegedly pushing a resident into a reclining chair.
The incident happened last March but was included in a Minnesota Department of Health listing published online last week. The health department is responsible for licensing and certification of all of the state’s health facilities.
Vicky Korynta, senior vice president of operations for Fairview Range, said both the employee who pushed the client and a second employee who took no action while witnessing the incident were fired. Fairview Range operates Greenview North.
“We thought an employee’s behavior was abusive toward one of our residents,” Korynta said. “We’ve clearly made known that this sort of behavior won’t be tolerated.”
She declined to name the employees or the resident involved. The report says police investigated and filed the assault charge against the employee who allegedly pushed the resident. Korynta said she didn’t know if that criminal charge had been resolved.
Ex-RF man charged with incest
ELLSWORTH, Wis. -- A former River Falls man was charged a week ago Monday in Pierce County Circuit Court with first-degree sexual assault of a child and incest, crimes allegedly committed in River Falls.
Brian J. Dufrene, 47, formerly of River Falls and now of Oakdale, Minn., will make his first court appearance at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 25, on the charges. The sexual assault is a Class B felony and incest is a Class C felony.
If Dufrene is found guilty, the Class B felony carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison and the Class C felony carries a fine of $100,000 and/or 40 years in prison.