Man drowns in Wisconsin River near Woodman

Update - The victim has been identifed as Sherik Shah, 28 from Saginaw Michigan, originally from India.
Woodman, WI - August 13, 2016 - The Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Woodman Boat Landing for a report of a drowning.  Witnesses stated a male was on a sand bar kneeling in the water and the sand bar gave way.
   The male did not know how to swim and was calling out for help.  His friend heard the yell for help and entered the water and attempted to save him.  A female kayaker saw the friend struggling in the water and she was able to get the friend aboard her kayak.  She saw the male go under water and be swept away bu the current.
   The male was found at approximately 8:00 p.m. and was pronounced dead by the Grant County Coroner.  No names are being released until the family has been notified.
   Chief Deputy Jack R. Johnson would like to thank all the assisting agencies for the quick response and hard work.
   This is the second drowning in the area within as many weeks.

New air-boat tested on Wisconsin River


Boscobel, WI - August 22, 2016 - The Wisconsin DNR launched a new air-boat at the Boscobel Boat Landing today.  The new boat needed some running time on its engine during its break-in period.  Two boats set out on a training exercise.  Watching these boats with their powerful engines is mesmerizing.  Watch this short video.

School bus hits motorcycle, fatality

Clayton County, Iowa - September 6, 2016 - On September 1st, a Guttenberg Iowa 2016 International school bus driven by Charlotte Scherer age 53 of Guttenberg was southbound on the Great River Road.
   Ronald Kephart, age 50 of Garnavillo, Iowa, was turning west onto Lace Ave on a 2010 Kawk motorcycle from the Great River Road.
   The school bus struck the motorcycle.  Mr. Kephart was transported to the Guttenberg Hospital, but died of his injuries.

Oklahoma earthquake felt in La Crosse

Update - Hi Dave - I live on Kickapoo Valley Road in Steuben WI. I  just read your story about the earthquake being felt in Lacrosse. At  about 7:05 AM on 9-3, I noticed my bed moving a bit. I thought maybe my dog was laying on the floor next to my bed moving it but he was not, so I to feel that this was the effects of the earthquake in Oklahoma.  Trish Bruegmann
La Crosse, WI - September 3, 2016 - The 5.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Pawnee, Okla. that happened at 7:02 a.m. this morning was also felt in La Crosse over 700 miles away.
   The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center reported that they felt a slight shifting.  They also received several calls from residents reporting shaking, including Gundersen Health System and Mayo clinic.  No damage to property has been reported.
   This earthquake will certainty draw more attention to the practice of pumping wastewater from natural gas and oil drilling under high pressure deep underground.

Man charged in 3 year old assault case

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation for the past three years has been actively investigating the assault of Joshua Milligan (Age 30) of Dubuque, Iowa. In July of 2013, Joshua Milligan was assaulted while attending the Rock on the River concert event in the Township of Bridgeport. 
   The assault took place in the camp ground area of the event.  Milligan was found alone and unconscious with apparent head injuries.  During the lengthy investigation it was learned that Milligan and an acquaintance Anthony Runde (Age 34) also from Dubuque, Iowa, were both at the Rock on the River concert.  Runde and Milligan apparently had a grudge against each other stemming from an incident that had occurred in Dubuque.  Investigators believe that the two meet in the camp ground area where Runde struck Milligan in the head causing severe brain trauma.
   On Friday, September 9th, 2016, a Grand Jury in Crawford County, Wisconsin issued an indictment for Anthony Runde (Age 34) of Dubuque, Iowa, on charges of Attempted First-Degree Intentional Homicide and Aggravated Battery with Intent to Cause Great Bodily Harm.
   Following the indictment, Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Lynn Rider signed a warrant for the arrest of Anthony Runde.
   On Tuesday, September 14th, 2016, the Dubuque Police Department apprehended Anthony Runde on the above charges. Anthony Runde currently remains in custody at the Dubuque County Jail awaiting transportation to the Crawford County Jail.
   The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department would like to public thank the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and Dubuque Police Department for their assistance in this ongoing investigation.   (Original story)C

BNSF train derails near Ferryville, WI

Ferryville, WI - September 22, 2016 - A BNSF train derailed near Ferryville due to a track washout at 5:40am today.  Five cars and two locomotive engines derailed.  One of two engines leaked approximately 1000 gallons of fuel.
   BNSF crews placed booms on the Mississippi River to contain the fuel that spilled into the water.  No one was injured

Crawford Co. issues emergency weather bulletin


Ride along for a video tour of the flooding in Steuben, Gays Mills & Soldiers Grove.

Update - Monday, September 26, 2016 at 12 noon -
The following state highway locations remain closed.
Crawford County
WIS 131 at WIS 60 intersection
WIS 171, Gays Mills
WIS 171, east of Gays Mills
WIS 23 at Neenah Creek just east of Briggsville; detour north on WIS 13, east on WIS 82, south on I-39
Sauk County
WIS 136 between WIS 33 and WIS 154, north of Rock Springs
WIS 136/WIS 154 Intersection, Rock Springs

For the latest information on road closures and detours, visit 511 Wisconsin online at, or call 511.

What a difference a day makes

Steuben flood

Steuben, WI - Saturday September 24, 2016 - The Kickapoo River is running amok in Steuben again.  It is at 16 feet much above flood stage.  The good news according to Bob Atkinson of Lou’s R & R Station Bar and Restaurant, on the left in the above picture, is that the river levels are slowly receding.  The water flooded his crawl space and came to within 1 inch of the floor. 
   Bob said they have been flooded five times in the last few years. Three time by the river in 2007, 2008 & 2016, and twice in 2013 & 2015 by flash floods overflowing a drainage ditch and culvert that runs next to their building.  When I asked how he coped with it, he said, a good cigar and a shot of Brandy.  More rain is expected Sunday.

Steuben flood Jo's

Bud & Jo’s Kountry Bar has sandbags holding the water back.  It must be working because the bar signs are on.  They have good draft beer, so it might be worth the challenge.

Drive through water covered road ends in fatality

Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears reports a single vehicle accident resulting in a Fatality.  The accident occurred on Maple Dale Road, just south of Pierce Hill Road, Town of Viroqua, shortly after 11:00 AM on September 22nd.
   The operator of the vehicle, Joseph B. Menne, age 79, of rural Viroqua, left his residence at approximately 11:00 AM, approximately 2 miles from the accident location.  Mr. Menne was en route to pick up cattle near Soldiers Grove.  He was reported missing to the Sheriff’s Office at approximately 6:57 PM. 
   When deputies arrived on scene at the accident location, it appeared Mr. Menne attempted to drive through a water covered road.  The cattle trailer jackknifed causing the truck and trailer to become stuck in the water, which reached approximately 6 feet.  The water eventually filled the passenger compartment of the truck.  Mr. Menne was pronounced dead at 9:08 PM.  This marks Vernon County’s 3rd traffic Fatality for 2016.
   Assisting the Sheriff’s Office were the Viroqua Fire Department, Vernon County Emergency Management, and the Vernon County Coroner’s Office.  The accident remains under investigation.

Mud slide take house & owner with it, fatality

September 22, 2016 - Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears reports a mudslide along State Highway 35 in the Town of Wheatland, north of Desoto, WI has claimed the life Michael T. McDonald age 53. 
   At approximately 4:51 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office was notified that a residence was washed down the hill onto State Highway 35.  It is believed Mr. McDonald was in the residence at that time.  A search began and he was located deceased at approximately 1:17 p.m.
   Assisting at the scene were the Wheatland Fire & First Responders, Genoa Fire Department, Desoto Fire Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin State Patrol, Tri State Ambulance, Vernon County Highway Department, Vernon County Coroner’s Office and Lepke Trucking

Gays Mills man gets 15 years for
 child pornography

MADISON, WIS., September 21, 2016 - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Ricky Olson, 58, Gays Mills, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 15 years in federal prison, to be followed by 20 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography. Olson pleaded guilty to this charge on April 6, 2016.
   The investigation revealed that Olson used a false persona to create fake email addresses and fake accounts on, which he used to contact a 12-year-old child. Olson then requested and received sexually explicit images and videos of the child via Snapchat and email, which he distributed to others via the Internet. Olson also sent the child obscene images of himself.
   The conviction of Olson is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; and Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger.

Five people arrested in drug raid

On the evening of Sunday October 2nd, 2016 the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the David Pugh residence located on Halverson Ridge Rd. in the Township of Clayton, Crawford County.
   Through the course of the search warrant and investigation numerous items associated with the illegal use and/or sale of narcotics were located. Items found at the search was methamphetamine, marijuana, scales, and assorted items used to ingest narcotics.
   Five people were arrested in connection with this investigation:
 -David Pugh Sr. was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine Paraphernalia, and possession of Marijuana.  Pugh was released from custody on a $1000.00 signature bond.
 -Wade Hirschfield was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine Paraphernalia, and Possession of Marijuana. Hirschfield also had warrants for his arrest for DNR violations out of Grant County.  Hirschfield remains in custody on a $1000.00 cash bond.
 -Michael Copus, age 46 of rural Soldiers Grove was taken into custody for warrants out of Crawford County.  Copus remains in custody on a 500.00 signature bond as well as warrants for Theft in Crawford County.
 -Kim Wardell, age 61 of Muscoda was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver, and Possession of Paraphernalia.  Wardell remains in custody on a $1000.00 cash bond.
 -Kevin C. Crowley, age 52 of Steuben was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine.  Crowley was given a $1000.00 cash bond has since bonded out of custody. 
   The Prairie du Chien Police Department the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources assisted the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office with the search warrant.  Ocooch Mountain Rescue was on standby at their shed during the execution of the search warrant.  This investigation remains open and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

De Soto man killed in head-on collision

Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears reports a two-vehicle collision occurred Sunday morning, October 9, 2016, at approximately 4:45 AM, in the Town of Bergen, north of Stoddard, WI.
   Jim Alan Pavwoski Flanagan, age 18, of rural De Soto, WI, was operating a vehicle northbound on State Highway 35, near Chipmunk Ridge Road.  A witness saw the vehicle travel into oncoming traffic or the southbound lane, and struck a vehicle head-on, operated by Katherine Regina Devereaux, age 29, of Prairie Du Chien, WI.  Pavwoski Flanagan and Devereaux were trapped in their vehicles and extricated.
   Jim Alan Pavwoski Flanagan and Katherine Regina Devereaux were transported to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, by Tri-State Ambulance.  Pavwoski Flanagan was later pronounced dead at Gundersen Health System.  Devereaux was treated and released.  Both vehicles sustained severe damage.  Airbags deployed in both vehicles.  Devereaux was wearing a seatbelt, but Pavwoski Flanagan was not.
   Assisting were the Stoddard-Bergen Fire Department, Shelby Fire Department, La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Town of Shelby Police.
   The accident remains under investigations by the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office and Vernon County Coroner.  This marks Vernon County’s fourth fatal traffic accident. 

Judge denies change of venue in
McDaniel murder case

Home McDaniel

Crawford County, WI – December 8, 2016 – Judge Lynn Rider heard arguments on a motion to move the trial of Jimmy D. McDaniel, in the Linda L. Kline murder case, to another county due to the possibility that unfavorable publicity would prevent a fair trial.
   Public Defender Jeff Erickson quoted other case law for a change of venue, 'if there was a reasonable likelihood that a fair trial could not be had.'  He further argued that the publicity, both in area newspapers and on Internet news sites, was inflammatory to his client.
   Judge Rider asked, 'wouldn't other parts of SW Wisconsin also see the same information?  Erickson replied that perhaps, but it wouldn't get as much attention in Madison or Milwaukee due to their higher crime rates.
     District Attorney Tim Baxter pointed out that this publicity was in October.  He stated that prejudicial pretrial publicity does not occur when the facts are presented.  That the cases quoted by the Public Defender were 40 years old, and the Internet media has been around for.....pick a number [of years].  He further stated that reporting fact doesn't make it inflammatory.
   Judge Lynn Rider ruled that she did not find that pretrial publicity would prevent a fair trial, and denied the motion for a change of venue.  Judge Rider did indicate that very careful jury selection would be in order, and that a large jury pool could be brought in to choose from, if needed.  The Judge left the door open to refile the change of venue motion if conditions changed.
   A jury status hearing, at which time a decision is made on whether a jury trial is scheduled, or if a plea arrangement is made, is scheduled for February 8, 2017 at 9 a.m.
   See case background information

Car drives off Hwy. 60 into river

Car River

Update - Reggie Lomas was driving by, and saw the accident.  He was able to rescue the woman before emergency personnel arrived.  Watch video interview
(Offical Sheriff’s Report) On Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 3:59 PM The Crawford County Dispatch Center was notified of an occupied vehicle in the water off State Highway 60 at Boydtown.
   Hayllie (Hayden) Ronnfeldt age 18 of Boscobel was driving a 2011 Ford Focus west on STH 60 at the Boydtown Boat Landing when her vehicle went into the water. Ronnfeldt went off the highway into the boat landing, then drove the car into the water.  A passerby saw the car in the water and called 9-1-1  Reggie Lomas of Wauzeka who was driving by stopped and swam to the car, broke the window and got Ronnfeldt out and assisted her back to land.
   Ronnfeldt was taken by Rescue Squad to Gundersen Hospital in Boscobel where she was treated.  The Ford Focus was a total loss
   Assisting at the scene was Wauzeka 1st Responders and Fire Department, Boscobel Rescue Squad, Boscobel Fire Department, Boscobel Police Department and Bob’s Towing.  The accident remains under investigation.
  See vehicle recovery video.

Meth arrest after traffic stop

On Wednesday November 9th, at 10:30pm a City of Prairie du Chien Police Officer requested the assistance of the Crawford County Sheriffs Department K9 Unit. The Police Officer initiated a traffic stop on a Chevy Trail Blazer belonging to Chelsay C. Wille age 30 of rural Prairie du Chien for equipment violations.
   Both Wille and the passenger, Luke T. Duda of Prairie du Chien exhibited signs of drug impairment. Wille subsequently failed field sobriety tests and was informed she was being placed under arrest. Wille then resisted Officers by tensing her arms, pulling away and verbally threatening Officers. At one point, Wille reached towards her purse which contained a knife.          Crawford County Sheriff’s Department K9 Breck later alerted to the presence of one or more controlled substances within the vehicle.  A scale containing white residue and bag containing methamphetamine were later found. Charges for Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a restricted controlled substance have been filed against Wille.

Peoples State Bank in Glen Haven Burglarized

Bank Teller2

On 11-06-2016 at approximately 6:03 am the Grant County Sheriff's Office received an alarm complaint at Peoples State Bank in Glen Haven, WI.
   Deputies arrived, checked and secured the building. While clearing the building they noticed the back door had been kicked in and other damage was done in the bank. Once the bank had been cleared and no suspects were located in the bank, the Grant County K9 called to the scene in an attempt to track the suspect.
   The track led to a neighboring property, which was checked and cleared. K9 Riko continued to check the area and was unable to find a second track to continue searching for the suspect.
   Evidence was collected along with a video of the incident and suspect. The images were taken from the video to see if the suspect can be identified. If anyone has any information about this crime, please contact the Grant County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers.

Bank Door2

Super duper moon visits Driftless area

Super moon

By Dave Collins -
The supermoon as seen Monday morning along County Road E and Pleasant Mound Road in Crawford County was impressive.  A Supermoon happens when a Full Moon or New Moon coincides with the Moon's closest approach to Earth; also called perigee. A Super Full Moon looks around 12% to 14% bigger than the micronmoon
   The full moon on November 14, 2016, will present the closest supermoon of the year (221,524 miles). What’s more, this November 14, 2016 full moon will showcase the moon at its closest point to Earth thus far in the 21st century (2001 to 2100).  The last time the moon was this close was January 26, 1948, and the moon won’t come this close again until the full moon of November 25, 2034.

   On a person note - while photographing this supermoon I discovered there are two realities - who knew?  I first set up my camera at the small clearing across from the Boscobel Boat Landing.  That way, I was able to have the moon shine on the river, the bridge in the middle ground, and the moon setting behind the hills.  Compositionally it looked fine, but with the clouds, the moon didn’t seem that spectacular.  Anyhow, I shot a bunch of pictures until the moon set behind the hills after-which, I sat on the bumper of my car sipping the last of my coffee.
   I leisurely packed up my equipment, drove across the Boscobel bridge and up Shockley hill.  When I reached the top of the hill there was a huge yellow moon about 10 degrees above the horizon.  I was totally shocked that there was a second moon in the sky after I had seen the first one set completely!
   Now, those of you have have wandered these hills and valleys may be use to this phenomena, but it was a reality check for me.  I’m glad it happened because the shot I took at the top of the ridge was much better than the ones I took along the river.  The supermoon did look much larger than normal, and was a bright yellow-orange near the horizon.  It was worth getting up early.

Supermoon river

Shot of supermoon along the river at Boscobel Bridge.

Sheriffs work together to solve serial burglaries

Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears and
CS Rockwell, Lonnie2

Lonnie J. Rockwell, age 44

CS Rockwell, Trent2

Trent Rockwell, age 18.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick jointly release the arrest of Lonnie J. Rockwell, age 44, and Trent R. Rockwell, age 18, both of De Soto, WI. 
   The arrests were made Thursday afternoon, November 10, 2016, in the village of De Soto pursuant to a felony arrest warrant issued by the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, stemming from an incident reported early Wednesday morning, November 9, in Allamakee County. 
   At 6:37 AM, a farmer on Iowa River Drive, near New Albin, IA contacted the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office to report he may have interrupted a burglary in progress on his property.  The farmer reported two males fled in a car pulling a small trailer.  The vehicle was last seen traveling north on State Highway 35 in Wisconsin, just east of Lansing, IA.  The Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office and a Vernon County deputy located a vehicle and trailer, matching the description given, near De Soto, WI.  The suspects were identified and the investigation continued. 
   Late Monday evening, November 14, a stolen all-terrain vehicle was recovered in the town of Wheatland, in Vernon County.  The ATV had been reported stolen in July 2016, from a farm building, on Red School Road, rural Waukon, IA.
   Tuesday afternoon, November 15, a stolen power washer was also recovered in Vernon County that had been reported stolen from Lansing, IA in May 2016.
   Lonnie and Trent Rockwell appeared in Vernon County Circuit Court and waived extradition to IA and both were transported to the Allamakee County Jail, on November 15.  The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lansing Police Department assisted with the investigation.
   Anyone with information are asked to contact the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office at 608-637-2123, or the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office at 563-568-4521, or Vernon County Crime Stoppers.

Fatality in head-on collision

Allamakee County, Iowa - December 8th, 2016 - Yesterday, a 2011 Ford, driven by Christopher Sean Hoff, 43 of Le Claire, IA was eastbound on Hwy. 9, and poleline Rd. near Waukon.  A 2012 Buick Enclave driven by Amy Grace Robinson, 44 of Decorah, IA was westbound hon Hey. 9.
   The Hoff vehicle crossed the centerline and struck the Robinson vehicle head-on.  Both vehicles came to rest on the highway.
   Mr. Hoff was taken to Veterans Memorial Hospital where he passed away due to injuries sustained in the accident.  Ms. Robinson was also taken to Veterans Memorial Hospital where she suffered minor injuries.

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