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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TOWN OF ST. JOSEPH -- Two men playing paintball were seriously injured Friday in St. Croix County in a lightning strike. The men, whose identities were not immediately released, were taken by ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with what St. Croix County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson described as “very serious injuries.” The incident occurred in a wooded area at Splat Tag Inc. on County Road E in the town of St. Joseph.
A Minnesota man accused of leading officers on a subzero manhunt after tearing off his shirt and brandishing knives at a New Richmond bar pleaded guilty last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Stillwater resident Trevor P. Bjorkman pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery and one count of misdemeanor bail jumping during a Thursday, April 6, hearing. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman sentenced Bjorkman to 120 days in jail on the convictions, which stemmed from three incidents between Nov. 9, 2016, and Jan. 30, 2017.
Family members of the Hudson woman killed in an alleged distracted driving crash said they were left reeling by a charging decision issued last week in the case. “We’re extremely disappointed,” said Wendy Goeltz, the mother of 22-year-old Megan Goeltz, killed Feb. 29, 2016, in a West Lakeland Township crash.
Two people suspected in high-value thefts around the Twin Cities allegedly led officers from multiple agencies on a pursuit Monday from Woodbury to the Menomonie area. According to multiple reports, the incident began around 7:30 p.m. at the Cabela's store in Woodbury, where two people were seen running from the store after a suspected shoplifting incident.
A Minnesota man accused of leading authorities on a two-state pursuit that ended after he drove over spike strips near Baldwin faces felony charges in St. Croix County. Prosecutors charged 52-year-old Dean A. Curley with fleeing an officer and methamphetamine possession after the Feb. 22 incident on Interstate 94. The White Bear Lake resident pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include one count of possessing drug paraphernalia. Curley posted $2,000 cash bond Monday, March 6.
A St. Croix County man stabbed his mother to death Saturday night in rural Hudson before shooting at police in an incident that led to a 50-mile pursuit into Minnesota, eventually ending with the suspect taking his own life, authorities said. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Glenwood City resident Logan T. Reese. The 28-year-old allegedly killed his mother, identified as 49-year-old Charlene Wold, at 733 N. Meadow Drive in the town of Hudson.
Authorities from Wisconsin and Minnesota were tracking a man suspected in a high-speed St. Croix County pursuit when the trail tapered off at a house near the St. Croix River. It was the same house where Minnesota dispatchers said a person reported a cellphone had just slid off the roof of his garage. About 30 seconds later, officers allegedly found their man on the roof of a home in the 1000 block of Rivercrest Road in West Lakeland Township.
Wisconsin authorities put out an alert Wednesday for suspects in a credit card scam that allegedly involves Walmart stores from Woodbury to Red Wing. According to a St. Croix Falls (Wis.) Police Department announcement, two suspects used cloned credit cards to buy gift cards on Sunday, Dec. 18, at a Walmart there. The suspects have been active in Pierce County and at Walmarts in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Red Wing, according to police.
Railroad crews were working Nov. 8 to clear a Union Pacific line between Hudson, Wis., and West Lakeland Township after a multi-car derailment. The derailment occurred along the St. Croix River, on the Minnesota side, where a freight car could be seen tipped over with a portion resting on a beach. Union Pacific Railroad spokeswoman Calli Hite said a total of seven empty cars derailed during the incident, which occurred at about 2 a.m. She said the train crew reported debris on the tracks before the derailment occurred.
Editor's note: This story was published October 2016.