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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Prosecutors on Friday charged a Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy with multiple counts of child sexual assault. St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes, serving as special counsel in the case of Allen J. Wojcik, charged the 31-year-old with two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two related counts. All four charges are felonies. The sheriff's office this week placed Wojcik on paid administrative leave. The allegations did not occur during the course of his work with the department.
A Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child sexual assault. According to the Pierce County Jail log, Allen J. Wojcik, 31, was booked at 5:32 p.m. Sept. 26 on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault of a child. He was transferred to the St. Croix County jail, where he was also listed on a Wednesday jail log.
A Bay City man was killed Friday when the tractor he was driving rolled on top of him, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Deputies on Monday, Sept. 24, identified the man as Marlan M. Hanson, 71. Authorities were called at 1:26 p.m. Friday to a home on 300th Avenue in the town of Hartland for a tractor accident. Investigation revealed Hanson was trying to remove a downed tree on his driveway with an Allis Chalmers tractor when the machine rolled on top of him. The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office pronounced Hanson dead on the scene.
Four days of trial testimony and nearly 11 hours of jury deliberation in the case of a teenager who allegedly threatened to "shoot kids" were all for naught Monday after a juror was held in contempt of court, prompting a judge to declare a mistrial. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack released all 12 jurors on Sept. 25 after learning one of them had brought in a document he had printed off the internet about the Parkland school massacre in Florida.
An investigation into drug activity at a Hager City strip club led to a felony charge against a dancer at the establishment. A criminal complaint filed Sept. 11 in Pierce County Circuit Court states the 32-year-old woman sold a bag of marijuana to an informant for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Prosecutors charged the woman, St. Paul resident Chantal A. Jenkins, with one count of THC delivery, a felony. Jenkins' initial court appearance is set for Nov. 5.
Whether a New Richmond teenager's remark about "shooting kids" was a true threat or a bad joke is in the hands of a St. Croix County jury. Judge Edward Vlack gave the case to the jury at 11:23 a.m. Friday, when they began deliberating the fate of Nicholas H. Cherrier. The 19-year-old is charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The evidence portion of the trial wrapped on Thursday and lawyers presented closing remarks Friday morning before jurors received the case.
A Beldenville man was injured Wednesday after the car he was driving crashed in a rural Pierce County ditch. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 20-year-old Cole Hayes was southbound on County Road J near County Road N at 7:51 a.m. in the town of Martell when the 2015 Fiat 500 he was driving missed a curve and entered the ditch, where it overturned. Hayes was taken by Ellsworth Area Ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital for his injuries, the extent of which were not disclosed. Ellsworth firefighters assisted deputies on the scene.
Jurors were shown a recording Tuesday of a New Richmond teenager explaining to an investigator what he said that raised alarms earlier this year at his workplace and around the community. The 19-year-old, who is on trial for making a terrorist threat, was interviewed March 30 by St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office investigator Cary Rose.
As UW-River Falls updates its mission statement for the first time in 30 years, it does so with a nod to connections far beyond the campus. University officials said the statement, which underwent a public hearing last week, will reflect a global perspective, updated offerings, vision and values representing the campus' evolution since 1988, the last time the mission statement was revised.
NEW RICHMOND — Volunteers have for years been logging heavy miles bringing veterans from St. Croix County to medical appointments in Minneapolis. Thanks to community donations, those drivers will no longer put wear and tear on their personal vehicles during those trips.