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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A boating-while-intoxicated case escalated to felony-level charges last week after a 60-year-old Twin Cities man plunged into the St. Croix River, where he allegedly battled police who attempted to apprehend him. The Cottage Grove, Minn., man, who stripped out of his clothing and a life vest during the alleged July 31 confrontation, was later charged with three felony battery counts — one for each of the Hudson police officers prosecutors say he struck. Prosecutors also charged Jerome L. Seipel with three counts of misdemeanor resisting an officer.
A man with six prior OWI convictions was arrested at gunpoint last week after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase through New Richmond. The driver, Chetek resident Wade M. Davis, was later charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with his seventh drunken-driving offense, hit and run, attempting to flee an officer and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. He was being held on $3,500 cash bail after his initial appearance July 25. According to a criminal complaint:
Two St. Croix County sheriff candidates are competing in next week's primary to run as the Republican in the general election. The Aug. 14 primary pits incumbent Scott Knudson against challenger Steven Mael. The winner will advance to the November election to face Constitution Party candidate Marion Shaw, a town of Hudson resident. The Republican candidates submitted the following responses to a RiverTown Multimedia questionnaire: Scott Knudson Age: 46 Address: Somerset Township Website: Twitter: Facebook:
Authorities allege a 49-year-old man placed a hidden camera in a New Richmond-area house, the recordings from which depicted a juvenile girl. The St. Croix County District Attorney's Office charged the man, Edward K. Schorr, with sexploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and two counts of exposing genitals to a child. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham set cash bail at $15,000 at Schorr's initial appearance. Schorr, of New Richmond, waived his preliminary hearing at a July 27 hearing, where the case was moved to the trial phase.
A man who was found highly intoxicated after allegedly shooting his son to death in New Richmond was not put back in jail as prosecutors wanted, despite new allegations he'd been out drinking in Minnesota while on bond. A St. Croix County District Attorney's Office motion sought to keep Kayle A. Fleischauer in jail pending the outcome of a trial, alleging he failed to abide alcohol-related terms of his bond.
Family members of a River Falls business owner severely injured in a motorcycle crash last week said he would not have survived if not for the actions of people who rushed to his aid. The crash, which occurred just before 8 a.m. July 24 on Carmichael Road, left 32-year-old Michael Seidling with a severed leg and other injuries that left him recovering at Regions Hospital last week in St. Paul. "We are eternally grateful to these people that saved him," said Seidling's sister, Somerset resident Leigh Derosier. Seidling owns River Falls-based Greenwood Tattoo Parlor.
Two people were hospitalized Saturday after the car they were in crashed and caught fire in rural Hudson. St. Croix County Sheriff's Office deputies were called at 10:32 p.m. July 28 to 549 Chinnock Lane in the town of Troy, where a car overturned, leaving its two occupants trapped inside. Sheriff Scott Knudson said the victims' names weren't immediately available, but confirmed they were River Falls-area men, ages 36 and 37. He said the car's engine compartment caught fire after the crash.
A New Richmond man accused of attempting to kill his mother pleaded guilty this week to two charges in the case. Omar Martinez, 26, pleaded guilty July 30 in St. Croix County Circuit Court to first-degree recklessly endangering safety and battery by use of a dangerous weapon. The most serious count, first-degree attempted homicide, was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Two sex-related cases led to prison time for defendants last month in St. Croix County. Former Somerset resident Jennifer Bowers was sentenced June 26 to three years in prison and seven years on extended supervision. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty in March to one count of child enticement involving sexual contact.
A New Richmond-area man was arrested Thursday after a live pipe bomb was discovered at a Baldwin business. St. Croix County Sheriff's Office Lt. Brent Standaert said the item was reported just before 11 a.m. July 26 at the auction company Smith Sales, where it was found among items brought in by a woman. Deputies learned the Polk County woman was unaware there was an explosive device among the items she brought in to have auctioned off.