News Briefs: Son of college coach killed in accident in Pope CountyAn infant was killed and two other people are in critical condition following a head-on collision Saturday in Pope County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
By: Forum Communications Company, The Osakis Review
Editor’s note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Minnesota that have appeared in Forum Communications newspapers this week.
Son of college coach killed in accident
STARBUCK, Minn. — An infant was killed and two other people are in critical condition following a head-on collision Saturday in Pope County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Drake Bigler, 5 months, of Marshall, Minn., was pronounced dead at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood, Minn.
He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his mother Heather Bigler, 29, of Marshall. A pickup truck driven by Dana Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, swerved into Bigler’s lane and the vehicles struck head on.
Bigler’s husband, Brad, 33, and her grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, both passengers, were transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., where they are listed in critical condition.
Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Heather Bigler was transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls for non-life threatening injuries.
Schoen suffered no apparent injuries. Alcohol was detected in his system.
There was no alcohol detected in Heather Bigler or any of the passengers in her vehicle.
Man dies in rollover accident
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- A 40-year-old Starbuck, Minn., man died after his vehicle rolled over off Highway 114 near Holmes City in Douglas County on Sunday.
Tracy Wendt was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer north on Highway 114 near the intersection with County Road 26 at about 4:20 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Wendt, who was not wearing a seat belt, was airlifted to the St. Cloud Hospital, where he later died.
Appeal denied for man who assaulted newspaper carrier
OLIVIA, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied the appeal of a man seeking to withdraw his guilty plea in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a then-14-year-old Fairfax, Minn., newspaper carrier in May 2010.
Matthew Fahey’s second attorney, Richard Swanson of Chaska, Minn., had filed the appeal, charging that the District Court erred by denying his motion for a competency examination after his guilty plea but prior to his sentencing.
In a ruling issued Monday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals sided with District Court Judge Randall Slieter’s finding that Fahey was competent to stand trial.
Fahey, 27, is currently in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater serving a life sentence with no opportunity for parole until late 2043.
Among the reasons cited for upholding the district court decision was that Fahey knew right from wrong when he performed his crimes, as evidenced by his actions. He confused the victim as to her location and hid her from view as he transported her. He dismantled her cell phone and tossed it in a ditch. After the assault and when leaving her at a remote location, he apologized.
Woman accused of assaulting 2-year-old
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A 24-year-old woman here is accused of assaulting her 2-year-old daughter after the child broke her mother’s cigarettes and lost the car keys, according to charges filed in Clay County on Monday.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Nicole Amber Rheault, who faces charges of third-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and child neglect for allegedly leaving bruises and hand marks on her 2-year-old daughter’s buttocks, chest, arm and face, the charges read.
Rheault told investigators she “doesn’t like kids that much,” court records say, and insinuated that she was high on methamphetamine at the time of the assault. Rheault told investigators she also was mad at her daughter because she thought the child had removed her own diaper.
When asked of her injuries by police, the daughter responded “Mommy, owie,” authorities claim in the criminal complaint.
The child’s grandmother took the child away until Rheault “gets her act together,” the charges read.
Woman killed in head-on crash
PIPESTONE, Minn. — A Pipestone woman is dead and her husband in critical condition after a head-on collision near Holland, Minn., Sunday afternoon.
Lana Lewis, 56, of Pipestone, died as the result of injuries incurred in the crash between the Ford pickup driven by her husband Robert Lewis, 56, and a Chrysler Town & Country driven by Constance Lundberg, 69, of Alcester, S.D. The incident took place at approximately 2:33 a.m. Sunday.
According to Lt. John Ebner of the Minnesota State Patrol, Lundberg’s vehicle had swerved into the wrong lane on Minnesota 23, two miles north of Holland, and the two vehicles collided head-on. Robert Lewis was taken to a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital in critical condition. Constance Lundberg was taken to the Pipestone Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, as was her passenger and spouse, 68-year-old Lloyd Lundberg.
Man sentenced for molestation, maintains innocence
FARGO – A 39-year-old man convicted of molesting an 8-year-old girl in a car outside a Fargo video store three years ago maintained his innocence at sentencing Monday, telling the judge, “I am no monster.”
Judge Douglas Herman sentenced Dominic Roberto Jones in Cass County District Court to 10 years in prison, with all but two years suspended and 243 days of credit for time served. Jones also must serve five years of supervised probation and register as a sex offender.
His attorney, Ted Sandberg, said Jones still denies committing the crime, but “he also understands that there were facts the court was able to rely upon to find him guilty.” Herman convicted Jones after a bench trial May 8.
In a letter to the court, Jones wrote, “I’m sorry for the victim and I hope that she’s doing OK,” but he also insisted that he is innocent and not a violent person. He told police he was rubbing the girl’s back and trying to console her, court records show.
“I am no monster. I don’t get sexual pleasure in touching or fondling kids,” Sandberg said, reading aloud from the letter.
An eyewitness told police he saw Jones touching the girl over her clothing for three to four minutes.
No foul play suspected in fall from building
FARGO – Police say no foul play is suspected after a woman fell from a downtown Fargo building early Sunday and was hospitalized.
A North Dakota State University campus police officer reported finding the woman, who is in her early 20s, about 6 a.m. Sunday in an alley on the south side of The Gardner at 26 Roberts St. N., Fargo police Sgt. Tom Shaw said.
Police believe the woman fell from The Gardner’s fire escape, but they haven’t been able to confirm it, Shaw said Monday. Because of the potential seriousness of the woman’s injuries, officers were able to speak to her only briefly before medical personnel arrived and took her to the hospital, he said.
Her fall appeared to be accidental, Shaw said.
“We were able to determine that there certainly was no foul play,” he said.
The extent of the woman’s injuries was unknown, he said. Her name was not released.
Fire burns south of Medora
DICKINSON, N.D. – Firefighters on Monday were trying to contain a 25 to 30-acre fire about eight miles south of Medora, N.D., in the Plumely Draw area, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
No structures or homes are threatened, an official says.
The fire burned in a remote area, several officials said.
A firefighter from the Medora area called in the fire about 6 p.m. Sunday, but the fire may have been started by a lightning strike on Saturday, an official told The Dickinson Press.
More resources were being called in Monday, including three engines, two hand crews and a helicopter to perform water drops, according to the Forest Service.
About eight miles of the Maah Daah Hey recreational trail was closed Monday.
Accident victim identified
OSNABROCK, N.D. -- Authorities have identified the 56-year-old Langdon, N.D., resident who was killed around 6 p.m. Saturday evening in a car accident near Osnabrock.
Authorities say James Bodner was driving a 1990 Chevrolet truck on a gravel road, headed northbound to Cavalier County Road 24, when he failed to negotiate a right-hand curve in the road.
The truck left the road and traveled into the west ditch, where it overturned, authorities said. The truck came to a rest on its roof.