News Briefs: Willmar boy hit by pontoonEditor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communications Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
By: Forum Communications Company, Alexandria Echo Press
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communications Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Woman hit by car, driver flees
DULUTH – A woman was hit by a car while walking down a Duluth sidewalk Monday, sending her to the hospital with life-threatening injuries while the driver fled from police.
Duluth police chased down and arrested a Bayfield, Wis., man. The man is in the St. Louis County jail and had not yet been charged. Possible charges include criminal vehicular operation and other related offenses, police said.
Police say the driver was traveling east on Superior Street about 9 a.m. when he swerved to the right at an intersection to avoid cars stopped at a red light. The suspect drove through the light, police said, and onto the south sidewalk where he hit a 33-year-old woman who was walking with her 9-year-old daughter.
The woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries at St. Luke’s hospital, police said. The girl was not hurt.
Witnesses said the driver of the Honda Civic took off and parked in a nearby parking lot. He then fled on foot and was tracked down by police using descriptions offered by witnesses.
Willmar boy hit by pontoon
LAKE LILLIAN, Minn. – The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department on Monday released the identity of a Willmar boy who was injured over the weekend in a boating accident.
William Huisinga, 8, of Willmar, was air-lifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale around 3:30 p.m. Saturday after being struck by a pontoon as he was knee-boarding with his family on the south shore of Big Kandiyohi Lake.
Information on his Caring Bridge website indicates Huisinga received injuries to his face and eyes.
According to a press release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department the boy was on a knee board and was being pulled out into the lake behind a 1984 fishing boat that was driven by his father, Nicholas Huisinga, 33, from Willmar.
A 2009 Sylvan pontoon, driven by Marilyn Almen, 75, of Minnetonka, that was coming from the west veered to avoid the fishing boat. The pontoon then struck the boy, who was brought to shore by family members.
He was air-lifted by North Air Care to Robbinsdale.
Alcohol was not a factor, according to the sheriff’s department, and the boy was wearing a life jacket.
Eden Valley man struck by train
EDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Nicholas Phillipp, 21, of Eden Valley was killed early Saturday morning when he was struck by a train as he was walking across the railroad tracks on state Highway 22 in Eden Valley.
The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. on Highway 22, north of state Highway 55.
According to the State Patrol, Phillipp was attempting to cross the tracks from the north side to the south side and was struck by a Canadian Pacific train that was going west.
He was dead at the scene, according to the State Patrol.
The driver of the train, Joseph Pearson, 31, of Hugo and a passenger Jerome Ott, 57, of Wabasha, were not injured.
Body found in river was missing snowmobiler
WOODBURY, Minn. -- Washington County authorities on Monday identified the remains of a dead body found in the St. Croix River as a missing Cottage Grove native.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the remains as belonging to Timothy Michael Pease, a 2000 Park High graduate who went missing in February 2010 while snowmobiling on the St. Croix River.
According to a Washington County Sheriff’s Office news release, Pease likely drowned after falling through the ice.
Authorities received a call at 11:56 a.m. Sunday near Afton for a possible body in the water.
Deputies from Washington County and St. Croix County, Wis., responded and found the body in the water. The remains had been in the water “for a long period of time,” the release states, adding that it was in a serious state of decomposition.
Woman, 73, charged with felony sex crime
BEMIDJI, Minn. – A 73-year-old Bemidji woman is accused of felony criminal sexual conduct with a 6-year-old autistic boy.
Janet Verjean Kern pleaded not guilty Aug. 7 in Beltrami County District to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim who is mentally impaired or helpless.
According to the criminal complaint, the boy reported that Kern had touched him inappropriately while she was not wearing clothing or underwear.
The boy was with Kern on May 15 when he was found nude from the waist down, according to court documents. Kern was covering her lower body with a blanket and said she was feeling sick.
She later told investigators that the boy needed a change of pants, according to court documents. While helping him do so, Kern said, she coughed and experienced urinary incontinency, so she removed her own pants and undergarments to change them as well.
Man to be sentenced for daughter’s injuries
BEMIDJI, Minn. – A 29-year-old man accused of injuring his infant daughter entered an Alford plea to felony third-degree assault.
Roger Darrin Warner of Laporte entered the Alford plea Aug. 7 in Beltrami County District to a felony charge of third-degree assault of a victim under the age of 4.
An Alford plea has the legal effect of a guilty plea. While Warner did not admit guilt, he conceded prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. Sentencing was sent for Sept. 17. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Warner remains in Beltrami County Jail.
About 10:30 p.m. Jan. 2, a law enforcement officer was notified of a then-3-month-old baby, later identified as Warner’s daughter, who was being airlifted to Fargo, N.D., due to life-threatening injuries. A CT scan showed multiple fractures, including a skull fracture and bleeding within the skull.
The injuries were noted as “highly suspicious for non-accidental trauma,” according to court documents.
Warner gave investigators three accounts of how the child may have been injured, according to court documents. He initially told law enforcement she was pulled from a bed and then said he dropped the girl in the shower. He later said he fell on top of the girl.
Leader of nonprofit sentenced for DWI
BEMIDJI, Minn. – The director of a nonprofit that helps people with alcohol abuse has been sentenced for driving while impaired.
Sarah Jane Einerson, 50, of Bemidji, was sentenced Aug. 6 for gross misdemeanor second-degree DWI.
Einerson is the executive director of Churches United, a church-based program that offers assistance to those who are homeless and battling drug and alcohol addictions, and families suffering from recent tragedy.
She was sentenced by Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye to one year in jail with 355 days stayed for four years. She must serve 10 days in jail and was given credit for three days served. She was placed on supervised probation for four years.
Einerson also will enter the Beltrami County DWI Court program.
She was arrested after 2 a.m. July 21, according to court documents. A preliminary breath test indicated she had a blood-alcohol content of .18, more than twice the legal limit. Einerson was convicted in 2007 of fourth-degree DWI, refusal to submit to testing.
Woman accused of causing I-94 crash pleads guilty
FARGO – A Moorhead woman who had her 10-year-old daughter in the car when she allegedly caused a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 94 pleaded guilty on Monday to reckless driving.
Nicole Amee Aasland, 41, was initially charged with driving under the influence in connection with the March 23 crash, in which no one was injured.
North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers wrote in their report that Aasland “looked extremely intoxicated,” was slurring her words and needed help to avoid falling. But a breath test at the Cass County Jail showed her blood-alcohol concentration was 0.05 percent, under legal limit of 0.08 for driving.
That made it a difficult DUI case, Assistant State’s Attorney Tanya Johnson Martinez said, noting that under state law, someone with a BAC of 0.05 or less is presumed not to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
Aasland denied taking any medication other than alcohol.
“There was no evidence of anything else at all,” said her attorney, Mark Beauchene.
Aasland pleaded guilty Monday to an amended misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. She received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and 360 days of unsupervised probation and must pay $650 in fines and fees. She also must obtain a chemical dependency evaluation and follow its recommendations.
Sheyenne River Tour slated for Wednesday
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The public is invited to attend Sites Along the Sheyenne River Tours on Wednesday.
The tour begins at Baldhill Dam and Lake Ashtabula and moves to Valley City.
The cost is $20 a person and includes transportation, informational materials, meals, refreshments and a one-year subscription to North Dakota Water magazine.
For more information or to register, contact the North Dakota Water Education Foundation at (701) 223-8332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DUI enforcement to increase in northeast North Dakota
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A period of increased DUI enforcement led by the Northeast Grand Forks Regional DUI Task Force will begin Friday, according to a news release.
Additional patrols will be assigned to city, rural and state roadways in order to deter impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The period of increased enforcement will end Sept. 3.
The task force is composed of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Pembina, Walsh, Nelson, and Grand Forks sheriff’s departments, and Cavalier, Grand Forks and UND police departments.
In 2011, the task force made more than 6,200 DUI arrests in North Dakota.
For information about the task force and the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s DUI public awareness campaign, visit www.dontforgettodd.com