Fatal hunting accident

Sheriff John B. Spears reports a fatal hunting accident that occurred on Pisgah Road East of State Highway 131 in the Town of Whitestown. 
   At approximately 7:30 A.M. two males age 17 and 15 were going hunting on private land off Pisgah Rd.  While exiting their vehicle and preparing for the hunt there was an accidental discharge of a 22 caliber pistol.  The 17 year old male was struck in the side/chest area.  The 17 year old male was pronounced deceased by Vernon County Coroner Janet Reed on the scene.
   Assisting at the scene was the Ontario Fire Department, Ontario Ambulance Service, Tri State Med Link, Vernon County Coroner, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
   The accident remains under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Dump Truck Vs. School Bus Crash - Injuries

School bus crash

Update - On May 23, 20017 at about 4 p.m. Jon C. Cooley m/w age 75 of Bagley, was operating a Warco School Bus with 8 River Ridge students on board as passengers; a five-year-old male, two five-year-old females, a six-year-old female, an 8-year-old female, two 8-year-old males and a fifteen-year-old male.  Cooley was traveling north across the CTH P from Morgan Rd to Borah Ridge Road in the Patch Grove Township.
   Randy Pugh age 59 of Viola, was traveling westbound in a 2002 Peterbuilt dump truck, owned by Lepke Trucking of Lacrosse, WI, on CTH P. As the school bus crossed the intersection with CTH P the dump truck came up over the hills from the east and was unable to stop.
   The right front door area of the school bus collided with the left cab area of the dump truck. The dump truck went into the north ditch area and came to a stop. The school bus spun around, traveled into the south ditch area, through a fence line, and came to rest in the pasture south of CTH P.
   One child was ejected from the school bus. Six children and the bus driver were transported to area hospitals, Crossing Rivers in Prairie Du Chien and Grant Regional Health Care in Lancaster. Injuries range from minor to severe and some involved parties are still in the hospital today. Mr. Pugh was treated and released at the scene of the crash.
   The following agencies assisted at the scene of the crash; Fennimore PD, Crawford Co SO, Bloomington Fire, Bagley First Responders, Cassville EMS, Fennimore EMS, Gunderson EMS, Lancaster EMS, Lancaster Fire, Patch Grove Fire, West Grant EMS, Grant County Emergency Government, River Ridge Schools, and the Wisconsin State Patrol.
This crash remains under investigation.   Watch video

Woman jumps off bridge - rescued by police

On May 25, 2017 at approximately 9:10 am the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a female subject that had jumped off of the Hwy 151 Iowa / Wisconsin Bridge, on the Wisconsin side in the Township of Jamestown. 
   Several witnesses stated the female parked her vehicle on the bridge, took her jacket off, and then jumped over the concrete railing into the water below.  Emergency personnel responded from land and water.  A Grant County Deputy and a City of Dubuque Police Officer were able to descend a steep cliff and locate the female. 
   She was approximately 20 feet from shore clinging onto a tree.  Both officers removed their gear and were able to get halfway out to the female.  They had a long branch and were able to get her to hold on as they pulled her to shore.  Moments later East Dubuque and Dubuque Fire Departments arrived in their rescue boats. 
   The female subject was transported, by boat to a nearby boat landing and then transported via East Dubuque EMS to a hospital in Dubuque for evaluation.  There were no apparent injuries reported. 
   The Grant County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Dubuque Police Department, Dubuque Fire Department, East Dubuque Police Department, East Dubuque Fire Department, and East Dubuque EMS.  BNSF suspended rail traffic during the incident.
   While emergency personnel were resolving the above incident a two vehicle crash occurred on the bridge in front of officers.  Scott Wiest, age 46 from Lancaster, was traveling southbound on Hwy 151 in his 2002 Silver Buick Lasabre.  Jessica Welch, age 24 from Platteville, was traveling southbound in her 2008 GMC Acadia when she was rear ended by Wiest.  There were no injuries and everyone was wearing their seatbelts.  Wiest vehicle sustained front end damage and the Welch vehicle sustained rear end damage.  Wiest will be cited for inattentive driving. 
   The Grant County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all motorists to move over and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles.

Long term water Dept. employee arrested
for alleged meter tampering

Cassville, WI - May 23, 2017 - After an extensive investigation, on May 5, 2017, the Cassville Police Department along with members of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at the Steven G. Kirschbaum residence, 109 West Dewey Street in the Village.
   The nature of the warrant was to determine long term water meter tampering and theft from the Village of Cassville Water and sewer Department.  Steven G. Kirschbaum was arrested for theft and water meter tampering.  He was transported to the Grant County Jail in Lancaster.         Steve Kirschbaum was a 38 year employee of the Village of Cassville Water and Sewer Department until his retirement in 2015.

Man dies in sunken vehicle after road washout

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Update - June 2, 2017 - Lansing Bridge is now open
On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at approximately 4:22 a.m., the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department received an emergency call regarding a traffic accident that occurred on STH 82 approximately one-half mile west of STH 35 in the Township of Freeman.
   James Walleser (Age 59) of Lansing, IA., was operating a 2000 Jeep eastbound on STH 82. He entered onto a bridge span coming from Lansing Iowa side on his way to work.   As Walleser exited the bridge span his vehicle entered an area of the roadway that had washed out causing his vehicle to fall into the river. Walleser’s vehicle was completely submerged. The highway surface appeared to have been under-cut due to the high water; ultimately, causing the highway surface to erode and fall into the river.   There was a witness who was a quarter mile behind Walleser who contacted the Sheriff’s Department
   Emergency responders arrived on scene, immediately closed the highway, and started working on extracting Walleser’s vehicle from the river. Milo’s Towing Service with the assistance of the La Crosse County Dive Team were able to extracted Walleser’s vehicle from the river.
   Walleser was located in the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.  The vehicle had extensive front end damage. An autopsy will be performed today in Madison.
   The Crawford County Highway Department began the process of repairing the roadway shortly after the vehicle was removed from the scene.  STH 82 will remain closed between STH 35 and Lansing until further notice.   
   The following agencies were assisting at the scene; De Soto Fire / First Responders, Ferryville Fire / First Responders, Lansing Fire / First Responders, Lansing Police Department, Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin Department of Nature Resources, US Fish & Wildlife, La Crosse County Dive Team, Milo’s Towing Service, Crawford County Highway Department, Iowa State Patrol, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation.  The Grant County Dive Team was held on standby incase needed. (Photo courtesy of Crawford Co. Sheriff’s office)   

Crawford County Emergency Management
holds exercise

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Crawford County, WI - June 1, 2017 - Emergency Management Director James Hackett organized a full scale exercise to test law enforcement, fire, and EMS capabilities.  The test included a mock shooting scene at the courthouse.  See Video
   The second phase included bringing the victim and attacker to Crossing Rivers Hospital for triage training dealing with multiple wounded arriving at the same time.

Monona bank robbery suspect apprehended

Monona, IA - On June 9, 2017 at 2:07 p.m. the
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Tyler M. Koehler

Clayton County Sheriff’s Office and Monona Police Department responded to a robbery complaint at Freedom Bank located at 106 Main Street Monona, IA.
   Information collected by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office communications center advised one male subject had passed notes to a Freedom Bank employee demanding money and threatening to “blow up” the building should they not comply.
   The first responding officer, Sheriff Michael J. Tschirgi, located a subject outside Freedom Bank and took him into custody without incident.
   Twenty (20) year old Tyler Michael Koehler of Monona, IA was placed under arrest and transported to the Clayton County Jail.
   Koehler is being charged with Robbery 2nd Degree a Class C Felony.  The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Monona Police Dept. and several area law enforcement agencies.

Local felon arrested at McDonald's with
sawed off shotgun in car

Prairie du Chien, WI - On June 9, 2017 at approximately 11:30pm a deputy with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office located Todd F. Groom Jr., age 28, of Steuben, at the McDonald’s Restaurant in the City of Prairie du Chien. Groom was placed under arrest for active felony warrants through Grant and La Crosse counties.
   During a search of Groom’s pockets, ammunition was located. During a search of the vehicle Groom had been operating, a Mossberg .410 shotgun with a sawed off barrel and defaced serial number was located in the backseat.
   Groom is a convicted felon and therefore, is not to possess firearms. Groom is also on bond through La Crosse County for a prior firearm possession charge. Groom’s bond conditions through La Crosse County prohibit him from possessing firearms and ammunition.  
   Groom is being referred to the District Attorney’s Office for operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, operating after revocation, felon in possession of a firearm and felony bail jumping. This case remains under investigation, additional charges are pending. 
   Assisting on scene was the Prairie du Chien Police Department.

Teen driver's vehicle rolls, bursts into flames

Update - Based on sources, it seems two of the girls were out of the car when emergency responders arrived on site.
Clayton County, Iowa - On June 12, 2017 at 4 p.m. a 1999 Chev. Lumina driven by Amber C. Garlow, age 16 of Holy Cross, IA, was traveling west on Garber Road when she lost control, entered the south ditch, rolled, and the vehicle came to rest on its top in a field to the south.
   The car became engulfed in flames after the final rest.  The driver and passengers; Emma D. Hefel, age 16; and Lilian M. Horstman, 15; both of Guttenberg, were transported to the Guttenberg Hospital.
   Two of the girl were wearing their seatbelts, Emma Hefel was not.  Assisting at the scene: Clayton Co. Sheriff, Guttenberg EMS, Fire, and Ambulance.  No other details are known at this time.

Orion, WI – A small village with interesting history

MWNew Orion

By Dave Collins -
Highway 60 along the Wisconsin River is a beautiful drive.  In many places the road is only two lanes, so admiring the stunning river views, while keeping one's eyes on the winding road, takes some attention.  One could be forgiven for not noticing small villages, such as Orion.
   These small villages have their history, and Orion punches above it's weight.  It has a number of 'firsts' under its belt.  It was the first village in Richland County to be platted (1846).  Orion was the location of the first Richland County Court House (1850-1852).  The Cedar Mound Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Richland County, and the site of the first non-native American burial in Richland County.
   Bob Hirschy, Prof. of Biology, Emeritus, UW-Richland, lives in Orion and has become the local historian.  Mr. Hirschy said that the village was established because it was a favorable site for a ferry over to what was to become Muscoda.  The ferry operated from 1843 to 1868.
    Watch Video.

Man stashes drugs in cornfield after crash

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(Above) Recovered loot.

(Right)  Raymond J. Otigham, 43 of Madison.

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Richland County, WI - June 26, 2017 - Deputies responded to a two vehicle crash on US Hwy 14 near Fairview Rd just after 4:30pm on Friday evening, June 23rd. Witnesses on scene informed law enforcement that the driver of one vehicle involved in the crash had walked out into a nearby cornfield on two separate occasions and was acting suspiciously.
   K9 Rambo was deployed for a search of the nearby area and located two containers filled with a substantial amount of marijuana. K9 Rambo also alerted to the odor of narcotics inside the suspect’s vehicle. Deputies searched the vehicle and numerous items of drug paraphernalia, prescription pills, and more substances containing THC were discovered.  
   Also found in the vehicle was approximately $9,300.00 in cash linked to the distribution of illegal narcotics. The suspect, Raymond J. Otigham, 43 of Madison, was arrested and transported to the Richland County Jail.
   This case has been referred to the Richland County District Attorney for formal charges. Any information regarding suspicious activity or crimes of any kind can be reported to Richland County Crime Stoppers at 608-647-CLUE (2583).

Wauzeka man killed in head-on collision

Grant County, WI - On 6/27/17 at about 4:15 a.m. David Olson age 61 of Houston, MN was traveling southbound on USH 61 in a semi tractor trailer. Lee Steinhorst age 33 of Wauzeka, WI was traveling northbound in a 2003 Dodge Caravan. About .2 miles south of Greenwood Rd. in Fennimore Township, Steinhorst's vehicle crossed the centerline into the southbound lane of traffic, colliding head-on with the tractor trailer being operated by Olson. The vehicles came to rest in the roadway.
   Lee Steinhorst was pronounced dead at the scene by the Grant County Coroner. Olson was not injured.
   The Grant County Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by Boscobel and Fennimore Police, Fennimore Fire and EMS and the Wisconsin State Patrol. The vehicles were removed by Doan's Auto Body of Fennimore and Kieler Service Center of Kieler. This crash remains under investigation.
   This is the 3rd fatal crash in Grant County in 2017.

Son Pulls Mother Out Of Burning Vehicle
After Rollover Crash

Grant County, WI - A teen was able to pull his mother to safety out of a burning vehicle  following a rollover crash in Grant County Sunday morning June 25, 2017.
   At  approximately 5:30am, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a vehicle that had rolled over on County Highway C at Millville Hollow Road in the Township of Millville.          The driver of the vehicle, 42 year old Carrie Johnston of Prairie du Chien, lost control of the  vehicle while negotiating a curve. Johnston and her son, 18 year old Jack Johnston, tried to exit the vehicle as it caught on fire and Jack pulled his mother, Carrie, out of the vehicle before it became totally engulfed in flames.
   Mount Hope Fire responded to the scene and  extinguished the fire. Carrie Johnston was taken to Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster for minor injuries. She was then arrested for OWI and Operating without a valid driver’s license.
   Assisting the Grant County Sheriff’s Office at the scene was the Mount Hope Fire Department, West Grant EMS, Bob’s Towing, and Scenic Rivers.

Entrance to tranquility

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Prairie du Chien, WI - A tour of the gardens on St. Feriole Island over the 4th of July was a wonderful experience.  The work these master gardeners, and their helpers, do is a cut above.  There are places to sit, eat and contemplate, or watch birds flutter in and out of beautifully colored bird houses.  Midwest News shot a video of the gardens in 2015.
   Most of us want an immediate return for our efforts when working on a project.  Few have the mindset to labor in a community effort that benefits our neighbors without any direct acknowledgment.  There are about 12 to 15 special people who do just that, dedicating their time and effort to create a wonderful peaceful experience for the greater community without expectation of recognition.

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Behind the scenes it takes many hands to keep this garden attractive as you might imagine.  One such worker is Donna Teynor of Prairie du Chien who spent several hours weeding on the 4th.  She gained something of a Zen experience, and we gained from the result of her caring ways.  These are special people who labor to beautify the gardens for all to enjoy.  You are missing many special experiences if you don’t visit the gardens every chance you have.  (Photo by Sandy Collins)

Cool headed Deputy gets his man safely,
even after shot fired

On July 9, 2017 at approximately 12:45am the Crawford County Communications Center received a report of a verbal altercation taking place at 16289 Shedivy Drive in the Township of Clayton.
   When a deputy arrived on scene, family members were outside of the residence and advised the deputy of the suspect, Ronnie C. Hatlan, age 44, possessing a firearm. Hatlan who appeared to be extremely intoxicated told the deputy he had a firearm in his pocket.
   A male subject, later identified as Jason E. Dowling, age 41, who was with Hatlan, went against the deputy's instructions and approached Hatlan. Hatlan went to a picnic table located next to the residence and proceeded to load a .270 rifle. Hatlan was repeatedly instructed by the deputy to drop the gun but he refused to follow commands. During this time, Hatlan was yelling “I’m not going back to jail” and “I don’t have a choice.” 
   Dowling attempted to take the firearm away from Hatlan which led to a struggle between the two over the firearm. While Dowling and Hatlan were wrestling over the firearm, the deputy was able to deploy his TASER striking Hatlan in the back.  The TASER immobilized Hatlan and he fell to the ground releasing the rifle. 
   During the struggle over the gun it discharged into the air and no one was injured.  Hatlan was subsequently arrested.  During the arrest, it was determined that Hatlan did not have a firearm in his pants pocket and the only firearm involved was the .270 rifle.
   Hatlan sustained a laceration to the left side of his face.  Hatlan was treated on scene by Ocooch Mountain EMS. There were no additional injuries sustained in this incident.
   Hatlan was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and endangering safety by intoxicated use of a dangerous weapon. Dowling has bond conditions through Grant County which prohibit him from consuming alcoholic beverages. Dowling was taken into custody for felony bail jumping.
   According to Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick, the Deputy who was the first on scene was Deputy Kyle Mezera. Sheriff McCullick stated that Deputy Mezera did an outstanding job and was able to take the suspect into custody without any serious injury.  McCullick stated that Deputy Mezera, who was threatened by Hatlan would have been justified in using deadly force, instead Deputy Mezera who at first had his service pistol drawn, went to his less lethal TASER and affected the arrest.  
   Assisting on scene was Ocooch Mountain EMS and the Boscobel K9 Unit.

Storm damage extensive - McGregor hit hard

Storm damage

A video tour of storm damage along Main Street McGregor. 

McGregor PC

Mayor Harold Brooks of McGregor and Clayton County Sheriff Mike Tschirgi held a press Conference to discuss the storm damages to McGregor.  Watch Video
   Storm damage video below.

McGregor-1

Photos courtesy of Carrie Nolan - PcC WI

July 20, 2017 - Major storm damage to area from last nights storm.  High winds caused extensive damage to downtown McGregor, Iowa.  
  
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement: All traffic going in and out of Mc Gregor is shut down until further  notice due to extreme storm damage. If you do not live there, PLEASE  don't go there. The Sheriff's Office is also currently without power and is unable to answer to answer administrative and emergency phone calls.  If you have an emergency, dial 911 and you will be rerouted to Delaware County who will pass on your information to us.
   An additional statement was made this morning - A press conference will be held on Thursday at approximately 10am in the parking lot of Casino Queen in Marquette.

   At this time our primary concern is the safety of residents and first responders. The City of McGregor sustained severe storm damage. 

   We are not aware of any injuries at this time. We need to limit access to the City of McGregor. Only residents will be allowed access at this time. Law enforcement is blocking traffic at each access to McGregor.

   A shelter has been established at St. Mary's church in McGregor for McGregor residents. At this time we are  not requesting any volunteers.   
  
Other areas with damage are Prairie du Chien, WI., Iowa County, WI reports: Trees down with power lines and standing water on roads county wide.  Use extreme caution. Crews are out.
   In Allamakee County, IA: The Sheriff’s Office received a report of a barn that had blown down, trapping an individual under the barn.  Dennis Deal, 67 of Waukon, was in the barn doing chores when the barn was blown over by high winds.  Deal was pinned beneath the barn.  Deal was located by first responders and was extricated from the building.
   Deal was transported by ambulance to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon Iowa.  Deal’s condition is unknown at this time. 

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Cassville Flood damage

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Cassville, WI - July 22, 2017 - Cassville was hit hard by flash flooding in the early hours of this morning.  Residents who awoke around 2 a.m. were shocked to see mud and debris coursing down their streets, that’s before the lights went out..  Basements were flooded as mud and water floated trees and even cars down the street, leaving behind a foot or more of mud.  See storm damage video.

Area flooding causes havoc

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Update - July 22 at 8 a.m. - the US National Weather Service issued the following: “Flash flooding will continue through mid-morning in Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, and Floyd in northeast Iowa, and Grant County in southwest Wisconsin. Anywhere from 3 to 10 inches of rain fell between 6 AM Friday and 5 AM this morning. Many roads are closed. Never drive through flood waters. In addition, numerous rivers and creeks are out of their banks.”
Grant County, WI - July 22, 2017 - The Grant County Emergency management (EM) issued the following statement at approx. 6:30 a.m.:
   “Swiftwater technicians and firefighters rescued and evacuated a number of people in Cassville and rural Potosi due to last night's storms. We  suspect that many homes in western and southern Grant County have flood damage, and we know a few have been destroyed.
   If you had significant  damage to your home, please report it to the Grant County Emergency  Management Office by calling 608-723-7171, emailing  sbraun@co.grant.wi.gov or messaging us on Facebook.
   Our phones will be  staffed Saturday afternoon. Take photos of your damage for  documentation. A community shelter is open at the Cassville Fire Station. Representatives from the American Red Cross and other county  agencies will be present at the Cassville Fire Station Saturday  afternoon to meet with families who are not able to stay in their homes. Please spread the word!”
   The Grant County Sheriff’s office posted the following: “Hwy 81 from CTH U to CTH Y will be closed until further notice. There are sections of road washed out as well as a bridge and it is impassable. Recommended detour will CTH U to CTH N to HWY 133.”

Volga, IA partially evacuated as Volga River raises

Update - July 22 at 7:04 p.m. - The Littleport Fire Department has advised Clayton County Dispatch that the Volga River flood water is going over the earthern levee. Public is to avoid the area, and also avoid the Volga area.
Clayton County, Iowa - July 22nd at 5 p.m. - In the overnight July 21st into July 22nd, 5-7 inches of rain fell over the Volga River Watershed. 
Volga City Fire was called out at 12am this morning. 
   At 11am the City of Volga launched a partial evacuation of residents focusing on residents between Lafayette Street and the Volga River. 
   We are closely monitoring the river levels here at Volga. Our primary concern is the safety of residents, and first responders. We have taken precautions to ensure their safety to the best of our abilities.  
   At this time the power will remain off in portions of town that were evacuated. We have tried to minimize impact to residents that are not in the evacuation zone. 
   The Volga River at Volga was at 14 feet mid morning.  It’s currently around 12.8 feet. Sargent Brent Ostrander, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office-

Some people need to touch, to see if the paint is wet

CS Flood Truck

While Hwy. 179/E remained closed west of Wauzeka on Sunday. The pictured truck came through, before turning around and driving back through the water.  It must have seemed like a fun Sunday activity.
   There are many reason this is not a good practice.  We often think that the water is not that deep or the current is not that strong, but there is a new concern of late.  One never knows if the road pavement has been compromised, and a sink hole is hiding under the water waiting for you.  (Photo by Sandy Collins, MWNews)

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