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Minnesota roundup: Driver killed in collision with snowplow; police say 2 charged in robbery near Eagan school; 4 more state news stories

ROYALTON, Minn.—A truck driver was killed Tuesday morning in central Minnesota when his vehicle rear-ended a snowplow.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the truck driver was westbound on U.S. 10 south of Royalton in Benton County when he drove into the back of a westbound snowplow operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The plow was clearing snow and had its warning lights activated at the time of the 11:30 a.m. collision.

The driver of the Snap-on Tool truck was a 30-year-old St. Michael man. He was not immediately identified.

The plow driver was identified as Judy Breyfogle, 57, of Little Falls. She suffered minor injuries.

The collision remains under investigation by the State Patrol and MnDOT.

Driver dies when his van hits semi on Interstate 94

CLEARWATER, Minn.—A motorist was killed during wintry conditions Monday when a minivan rear-ended a stopped semi truck on Interstate 94 in Stearns County.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Frederick Paul Meyer, 58, of Clearwater died when his Dodge Caravan struck the back of a semi on eastbound I-94 shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The semi was hauling a large excavator and was stopped in traffic because of weather-related accidents.

Meyer then rear-ended the stopped semi. The collision happened a miles west of County Road 75.

The semi driver, Kelvin Glenn Bartlett, 55, of New Florence, Mo., was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

Police: 2 charged in robbery near school

EAGAN, Minn.—Two of the three suspects involved in a robbery during a drug deal near Eagan High School last week have been arrested and charged, police said.

Mohamed Bue Radwan, 18, of St. Paul, and a 17-year-old boy, also from St. Paul, have been charged in Dakota County District Court with first-degree aggravated robbery.

Investigators have identified a third suspect and are looking for him, Eagan police officer Aaron Machtemes, the department spokesman, said Tuesday.

According to police, three teenagers — two 15-year-old boys and another who is 16 — told investigators they were robbed at gunpoint during a planned drug exchange with three other people in a parking lot at Northview Park, northwest of the high school and Dakota Hills Middle School, about 9:35 a.m. Jan. 3.

One of suspects pointed a gun at the juveniles and demanded valuables, police said. During the confrontation, a gun was fired into the air and the suspects fled. No one was injured.

Bill would take gray wolves off endangered list

WASHINGTON—Northern Minnesota U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, both Democrats, and other members of Congress want management of the gray wolf to return to state control through a bill they have introduced..

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had tried to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming off the endangered species list, saying those populations had recovered sufficiently to allow resumed hunting under state management plans. But federal courts in 2014 reimposed federal protections under endangered species for the wolves.

Peterson said this leaves farmers and ranchers in the state without a legal avenue to protest thier livestock from problem wolves.

"Choosing between protecting their livelihood or complying with a federal judicial decision is a choice no farmer should have to make. The gray wolf population should be managed by the states, where it belongs. This is practical, bipartisan legislation that balances safety with gray wolf management," Peterson said.

The bill introduced Tuesday by Peterson, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin and Liz Cheney of Wyoming would block the courts from intervening.

Similar proposals failed to advance last year, partly due to White House opposition, but farmers and ranchers are hoping that changes under the Trump administration.

More CWD-infected deer suspected in Minnesota

ST. PAUL — Two more deer suspected of having chronic wasting disease have been found in Fillmore County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday, Jan. 10.

The DNR received preliminary test results Jan 6. Final results are expected later this week. The two adult female deer were killed within a mile of the first two positive deer.

As a result, a ban prohibiting the feeding of wild deer now includes all of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties. DNR may consider removing more deer to assess the disease's prevalence and reduce its spread.

"We won't make any final decisions until after Jan. 15 when the special hunt concludes," Lou Cornicelli said in a news release. The DNR wildlife research manager indicated a ban is likely.

Cornicelli said the department's goal is to test 900 adult deer in southeastern Minnesota's disease management zone. Hunters have killed about 575 deer in the region as of Jan. 7. Test results have been received for about half the samples.

Towing firm worker arrested after gun incident

MOORHEAD, Minn. —The employee of a Moorhead towing company was arrested by Moorhead police on Monday, Jan. 9, on suspicion of pointing a gun at a customer.

According to information released by Moorhead Police Lt. Tory Jacobson:

The incident happened Monday afternoon when a person whose vehicle had been towed by Aggressive Towing and Recovery attempted to retrieve his vehicle.

A dispute arose between the customer and an employee of the towing company over how payment was to be made, but the customer ultimately paid the towing fee and proceeded to an area where his vehicle was being kept, Jacobson said.

Based on what the customer later told police, the verbal dispute between the customer and the employee of the towing company continued and at one point the towing company employee pulled a handgun from a holster and pointed it at the customer, Jacobson said.

The customer then fled the area and phoned police, Jacobson said, adding that an investigation led to the discovery of a handgun and the arrest of the towing company employee, who was identified by Jacobson as Taylor S. Butts, 30, of West Fargo.

Butts was taken to the Clay County Jail, where as of Tuesday morning he was being held on suspicion of second-degree assault and making terroristic threats, according to jail records.