Suicidal man points pistol at sons, fires into the air before running into the woods
On 8/6/2017 at 0313 am Richland County Sheriff's Dept. received a call reporting a suicidal man with a 9mm pistol at 15716 Co. H. The suspect had been drinking vodka when he was involved in a physical domestic incident with his son.
The suspect pointed the pistol at his son and told him there was a round in the chamber. The suspect had fired numerous rounds into the woods outside of the residence. The suspect made suicidal statements to his two sons and his mother, including he would commit "suicide by cop."
The suspect fled with the 9mm into the woods on the 320 acre property. Richland Co. Sheriffs deputies and a Richland Center police officer responded and established a perimeter along surrounding roads. A Vernon Co. Sheriff deputy assisted, and the WI State Patrol responded with an airplane.
At 0621 am the suspect returned to the residence and was banging on the door. Richland Co. deputies approached and took the suspect into custody.
Charges include: Intimidation of victim 940.45(3); felon in possession of a firearm 941.29(1)(b), endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon 941.20(1)(a); operate or go armed with a firearm while under the influence of intoxicant 941.20(1)(b); disorderly conduct 947.01, battery 940.19.
Van injurers 7 people in tent, Fennimore driver charged with OMVI
On Saturday, August 12, at 10:18 pm., the Grant County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the River Of Lakes campground, Village of Bagley, for a motor vehicle that struck a tent with seven people inside. Stacy M. Smith (32) Fennimore, was operating a 2007 Ford Freestyle AWD, SUV and was traveling south on campground road, when she attempted to make a left turn. Smith lost control of her vehicle. Smith’s vehicle came to a rest after hitting a tent that contained seven people inside. Smith then backed over the tent again. Smith was arrested for OMVI causing great bodily harm with a motor vehicle. Smith's vehicle was removed by B&M's from Bloomington. The Grant County Sheriff's Office was assisted by Bagley First Responders, 2 Bloomington Rescue squads, 2 Cassville Rescue, Lancaster Rescue and Tri-State Rescue from Prairie Du Chien, two med flight helicopters from UW Hospital Madison and Air Care 3, Dubuque. Colin D. Obrien (25) Milwaukee, Alex C. Kindness (25) Milwaukee, Marissa E. Marti (24) Milwaukee and Richard Q. Franklin (28) Milwaukee, were transported to Crossing River Hospital in Prairie Du Chien. Obrien and Kindness were airlifted to Madison. Marti & Franklin were admitted in at Crossing River Hospital. The injuries are unknown. Brian J. Walzak (25) Milwaukee, Marcou and Nathan C. Deicher (26) Milwaukee, were transported to Grant Regional Hospital in Lancaster. Walzak was airlifted to Madison. Marcou and Deicher were admitted in at Grant Regional Hospital. Injuries to all the victims are unknown at this moment.
Five people injured, two deaths in boating accident
Update - The names of the two remaining passengers are have been released and shown in bold type below. Update - The missing person, identified as Kevin Lee Hanson, age 47, of Mabel, MN, was recovered from the water at 4:27 PM and pronounced dead by the Vernon County Coroner’s Office, with assistance by the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday, August 14th, in Madison, WI. The investigation continues.
Vernon County Sheriff John B. Spears and Houston County Sheriff Mark Inglett report a boating crash occurred Saturday afternoon, August 12, 2017, at approximately 6:00 PM. The crash occurred on the Mississippi River, in the main navigation channel, in the town of Bergen, Vernon County, WI, just south of Brownsville, MN. A 32-foot, 10-passenger pleasure craft was traveling south and struck a concrete navigational marker, or day marker, directly across from the Wildcat Campground and boat landing. The boat’s stern was submerged and the bow went vertical. There were a total of seven occupants, including the operator when the crash occurred. Diana Lynn Klankowski, age 56, of Spring Grove, MN was transported to the shore, by a private craft, and pronounced dead at 6:34 PM. She was transported to the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Rochester, MN for an autopsy. Gerald Wayne Ladsten, age 57, also of Spring Grove, MN was transported to Gundersen Health System, in La Crosse, by Tri-State Ambulance and later released. An adult female, whose name will be released at a later time, was transported to the nearest helicopter landing zone by Caledonia Ambulance and flown to Gundersen Health System by Med-Link Air. (Sonya Ann Burkikel, age 47, of Spring Grove, MN) Robert Alf Klankowski, age 52, of Spring Grove, MN was transported to Gundersen Health System by Tri-State Ambulance. Tracy Lynn Peterson, age 40, of Spring Grove, MN was transported to Gundersen Health System, by Sparta Ambulance, to Gundersen Health System. An adult male, whose name will be released at a later time was transported to Gundersen Health System, also by Sparta Ambulance. (Wynn Dean Ristau, age 41, of Preston, MN) Editor’s note - This article has been amended to show Tracy Perterson age as 40, not 50 as previously reported.
Attempted sexual assault results in assault with a knife
On August 5, 2017 at 9:23 A.M., the Grant County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call reporting an assault with a knife, which was actively occurring on 2nd Street in Preston (Fennimore Township). The reporting party informed dispatch that ANDREW SHERMAN (26 of MELROSE WI.), was stabbing Jeremy Koppen (38 of Fennimore) in the residence. Sheriff's Deputies, along with the Fennimore Police Department were dispatched to the scene. As a sheriff deputy arrived in Preston, the deputy observed Mr. Sherman walking in front of Cheers II. Mr. Sherman was no longer armed and he was taken into custody without incident. Interviews were conducted with parties involved at the scene. Mr. Koppen informed law enforcement he and his girlfriend, were sleeping in his (Mr. Koppen) bed in the basement of the residence. Mr. Koppen states he woke up to discover Mr. Sherman was attempted an sexual act on the female as she slept. Mr. Koppen became upset and removed Mr. Sherman from the bed. Mr. Sherman armed himself with a large knife and attempted to stab Mr. Koppen. Mr. Sherman and Mr. Koppen wrestled over the knife and as a result, Mr. Koppen had several lacerations to both hands. Mr. Sherman dropped the knife during the altercation, which Mr. Koppen was able to direct Mr. Sherman out of the residence. Mr. Sherman fled the residence on foot and as stated above, he was located and was taken custody. Mr. Koppen received minor injures to both hands, which he refused medical treatment. Mr. Sherman was transported to the Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster for evaluation. Mr. Sherman remains in custody in the Grant County Jail on the following charges: First Degree Reckless Endangering Safety Battery Disorderly Conduct Fourth Degree Sexual Assault Felony Warrant out of Monroe County Felony Bail Jumping Parole Violation Assisting the Grant County Sheriff's Office was the Fennimore Police and EMS. Mr. Sherman remains in custody, without bond.
McGregor woman drives car into river, dog dies
Lansing, Iowa - On August 14, 2017 at 5:25 p.m., the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a person that had driven into the Mississippi River off of Front Street in Lansing. Michelle Rose Timmons, age 51 of McGregor, Iowa, had driven her car into the river. Timmons was able to escape from the vehicle and swam towards the shore line. Bystanders were able to assist Timmons out of the water. Timmons then left the scene. Bystanders went to the Lansing Fire Station and advised firemen that Timmons had drive her vehicle into the water. Timmons was later located and taken into custody and transported to Veterans Memorial Hospital for treatment. Timmons was not injured in the incident, and will be held for evaluation. The vehicle was retrieved from the water at approx. 10:30 p.m. A dog was located deceased inside the vehicle as a result of drowning. The incident remains under investigation by the Lansing Police Dept., and Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office. Charges are pending in this incident.
Helicopter crashes in City of Westby
The Westby Police Department reports that on August 14, 2017 a helicopter being flown by 27-year-old, Jonathan F. Wanda of Harvard, Illinois struck a power line with the rear tail rotor. The tail rotor was ripped away from the helicopter causing it spin and eventually crash in a field south of Nordic Lanes in the City of Westby. The pilot was uninjured but was taken to a local hospital for precautions. The crash is still under investigation by the FAA and Westby Police Department. Assisting at the Scene was the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department, the Westby Fire Department, Westby First Responders and Tri-State Ambulance.
Man arrested last week for high speed chase - This week for yelling ‘shoot them all’ at crowd
Update - On August 23, 2017 at approximately 8:00pm the Crawford County Communications Center received a 911 call of threats being made at a horse show which was taking place at the arena in the Village of Soldiers Grove. The reporting party stated Daniel E. Smyth, age 59, of Soldiers Grove, was yelling “shoot the horses, shoot the riders, shoot them all” from a nearby residence. The spectators at the event consisted of adults and children. While deputies were responding, Smyth walked to the event from the residence. A deputy arrived on scene and made contact with Smyth, who was heavily intoxicated, standing amongst the crowd of spectators. The deputy informed Smyth that he is being placed under arrest for causing a disturbance at the event. The deputy asked Smyth to place his hands behind his back but Smyth refused to comply with the instructions and tried walking to his residence. The deputy attempted to place Smyth’s wrists in handcuffs but he actively resisted by pulling away, balling his fist and tensing his arms. A struggle between the deputy and Smyth ensued on the ground. The reporting party assisted the deputy with placing Smyth’s hands behind his back for handcuffing. Smyth is currently on bond through Crawford County for eluding deputies last week and violated multiple conditions of his bond. Smyth was taken into custody for three counts of felony bail jumping, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
On Friday, August 18, 2017 at approximately 4:46 PM Crawford County Deputies were dispatched to the Village of Soldiers Grove to talk to Daniel E. Smyth, age 59 about an unlawful use of telephone case. Earlier in the day Smyth made comments about harming his family, and it was believed that he would be heading to the Richland County area. Deputies were able to locate Smyth on Tavern Road. Due to Smyth's driving behavior, a traffic stop was initiated. During the traffic stop Smyth was being uncooperative and was informed he was under arrest for disorderly conduct. Smyth was upset and accelerated quickly to get away from deputies. A pursuit was called into the Crawford County Communications Center. Smyth turned north bound on US Highway 61 towards Vernon County. Dispatch was advised to contact Vernon and Richland Counties and inform them of the pursuit. Smyth turned around on US Highway 61 to go back into Crawford County. Speeds in the pursuit reached up to 100 miles per hour. The pursuit was called off for the safety reasons. The dispatch center was later notified by the Vernon County Dispatch advising they had Smyth stopped on County Road J approximately one mile east of State Highway 27. Smyth was placed under arrest for knowingly fleeing an officer-felony, resisting/obstructing, disorderly conduct, and unlawful use of a telephone along with other traffic violations. Smyth was transported to the Crawford County Jail for the booking process.
Farm machinery accident claims the life of one man, seriously injures another
Allamakee County, Iowa - September 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call of a farm accident at a residence at 2140 Mays Prairie Drive in rural Allamakee County. Christopher Weber, age 52 of Lansing, was performing maintenance on a forage wagon and became trapped by; the equipment. The individual was freed by first responders. He was transported by Med Link Air ambulance to Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse for treatment of serious injuries sustained in the accident. Richard Joesph Weber, Jr., age 55 of Lansing, was also involved in the maintenance of the forage wagon and was also caught in the machine. He was pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. The accident remains under investigation by the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office.
Search warrant leads to the arrest of three Boscobel men
On 09-06-17 the Richland Iowa Grant Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 805 Broadway St.in the City of Boscobel. During the search of the residence approximately 10.6 grams of methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia were located. Carl Rabe 39 of Boscobel was arrested for possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and felony bail jumping. Rabe had been arrested twice in April 2017 for similar charges and is out on bond. Georgia Weadge 18 of Boscobel was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The tenant of the apartment, Lacey Frisch age 28 will be referred to the Grant County District Attorney’s Office for maintaining a drug trafficking place. The task force was assisted by the Boscobel Police Department and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
Man drowns attempting to rescue kids
On 9-16-17 at approximately 2:40 p.m., the Grant County Sheriff’s Office was advised of a possible drowning on the Wisconsin River about 1 mile east of Blue River. The Blue River Fire Department and the Boscobel Fire Department had boats on the water within a few minutes of the call. The investigation showed that a church group from Greenfield, WI was canoeing on the river and stopped at a sandbar. The kids were playing in the water and it appeared a couple of the kids were in trouble, so Scott Myren 37 East Troy Wisconsin, went to help the kids. Myren stepped off the sandbar and was pulled under water by the current and did not resurface. Myren was recovered from the water about 5:00 p.m., by one of the search & rescue boats and was pronounced deceased by the Richland County Coroner’s Office. No life Jackets were being used. Assisting at the scene was Wisconsin DNR, Blue River Fire Department, Blue River EMS, Boscobel Fire Department, Lone Rock Fire Department, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.
Elderly man dies in grain bin accident
Luana, Iowa - On September 25, 2017 at 1:40pm, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office took a 911 call of a subject trapped in a grain bin at 18081 Dove Ave, Rural Luana. Deputies along with Luana, Saint Olaf, Farmersburg and Postville Fire Departments, as well as the Postville Ambulance were dispatched to the scene. Rescue crews worked for approximately 1 hour to locate and free the victim from the grain bin. 88 year old Duane Walter of McGregor was transported to Central Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. A preliminary investigation determined that Walter entered the grain bin to break up some corn when he became completely submerged in the corn. (photo courtesy of Clayton County Sheriff’s Office)
Russians tried to hack election systems in Wisconsin, 20 other states in 2016, Homeland Security says
By Patrick Marley and Jason Stein, Milwaukee - Journal Sentinel - MADISON - Russians attempted to hack elections systems in Wisconsin and 20 other states in the run-up to last year's presidential election, Wisconsin officials said Friday. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified states of the attempted breaches on Friday, said Michael Haas, director of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The attempt in Wisconsin was unsuccessful, he said. Link
Sannes Skogdalen Heim Skilled Nursing Home in Soldiers Grove is sold!
Update - September 29, 4:45 p.m. - The sale of the nursing home is going ahead. The buyer is North Shore Healthcare, LLC, which will now own 42 nursing homes. Update - September 26, 9 a.m. - Lots of papers being shuffled around the table, but it looks as if the sale is progressing. Fingers crossed! Update - According to Steve Fortney, who attended Tuesday night’s meeting, it went well. It was announced that they may have an 11th hour buyer in the wings. They hope to know by 5 pm today (Wednesday). Hopefully, the residents and employees would remain in place. Sannes Nursing Home released the following statement: Community Health Services Corporation Inc. (CHSC) announces the pending closure of Sannes Skogdalen Heim Skilled Nursing Facility, LLC (Sannes) in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin. Sannes Skogdalen has operated for 38 years serving Soldiers Grove and the surrounding communities in northern Crawford and southern Vernon counties. The facility has provided excellent skilled nursing care and has been recognized numerous times by government oversight groups as a “Five Star” facility for the care of their residents. Sannes will provide services until all residents are placed in another facility or other living arrangements have been made with their respective family/guardians. Sannes team members and the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Adult Long Term Care Team will assist in the relocation process. The CHSC Board of Trustees made this decision due to several factors: the continuing difficulty to maintain at least 45 residents per month; the shift from private pay residents to nearly 100% Medicaid residents; and finally, Medicaid reimbursement rates that cover less than 65% of the monthly operating expenses. Three years ago, the Board of Trustees reduced the number of certified skilled nursing beds from 66 to 50 and adjusted the operating expenses planning for net neutral revenue vs. expenses financial position. This change worked for several months until the private pay population decreased to near zero, the Medicaid population increased accordingly, and the number of residents fell under 40, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars operating loss for the facility monthly. The annual operating loss is projected to grow annually. As a community employer of 80 plus dedicated employees, all efforts will be made to help staff find other positions, if they so desire, as the facility goes through its closure process. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will assist displaced employees.
The Board of Trustees thanks the surrounding communities who have supported Sannes over the past 38 years of operation, and the hundreds of employees for their dedicated skilled nursing care to the thousands of residents over the time. CHSC governs Prairie Maison Nursing Facility, Bluff Haven Assisted Living, La Batisse Apartments and Sannes Skogdalen Nursing Facility, serving Crawford County, Southern Vernon County, North-Western Grant County, and Eastern Iowa counties of Allamakee and Clayton. CHSC was founded in 2004. Editor's note - There is a meeting tonight (Tuesday 9/26/17 at 6:30 p.m.) at the home for its residents and family members to discuss the changes. The media is not allowed access, but there will be a press conference for media at a later date.
Bank robbed in Platteville
Platteville, WI - At approximately 12:45 PM, on Friday, October 20, 2017, Platteville Police officers responded to a hold up alarm from American Bank & Trust. It was determined a bank robbery had occurred. The suspect is described as a white male, in his 40’s, about 5’7” – 5’8” tall with a clean shaven face and head. Suspect was wearing a black baseball hat, sunglasses, a tightly fitted black t-shirt, and blue jeans. No weapon was displayed and no one was injured during the incident. Suspect was last seen on foot, leaving the area with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Platteville Police Department, (608)348-2313.
Beautiful day for Oktoberfest on St. Feriole Island
Prairie du Chien, WI - Saturday October 21, 2017 arrived a perfect fall day for the annual Oktoberfest celebration. People dusted off their polka dancing skills in the main tent. The crowd, eating brats and beer, joined in at the top of their lungs with old favorites such as, Roll out the barrel, I’m telling you baby, I’m through with you, and A Happy Wanderer, to name just a few songs. The foot stomping rhythm, and songs will be rolling around in people’s minds for days to come.
Officer involved death of Helgerson ruled within the law: DAC
Grant County, WI - On Septmber 1st Mr. Helgerson was shot dead by a Grant County deputy after a police chase when Mr. Helgerson pointed a gun at the deputy (backstory). After the ruling, Sheriff Nate Dreckman issused the following statement: Following the officer involved death on September 1, 2017 in Millville Township, the deputy involved - Deputy Andrew Smith - was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation was called in to investigate this officer involved death, in compliance with Wisconsin Statute 175.47. Agents from DCI took over the investigation and once completing their investigation, it was turned over to the Grant County District Attorney for review. District Attorney Lisa Riniker reviewed the materials over the course of several weeks and on October 18, 2017; she issued a letter stating “My determination in this officer-involved death is that Deputy Smith acted within the confines of the law when using deadly force upon Mr. Helgerson.” She concluded the letter by stating “Given Mr. Helgerson’s act of pointing a firearm, Deputy Smith was entitled to use deadly force to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to either himself or Deputy Nemitz who was also on the scene. Because of that, criminal charges will not be filed against Deputy Smith.” The Sheriff’s Office also conducted an internal investigation to determine specifically whether there were any policy violations that took place during this incident. After a review of the information and a review of policy, it was determined that no policy violations took place. Sheriff Nate Dreckman October 23, 2017 Details of the ruling can be seen here.
Lonely road, middle of night, drug dealing with hazard lights on - go figure
On Tuesday, November 8, 2017 at approximately 2:45 A.M., a Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputy observed a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the roadway with its hazard lights on, parked on CTH N and Plumb Creek Rd in the Village of Wauzeka. The Deputy pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his lights. The rear passenger immediately exited the vehicle and approached the squad car. He was identified as George E. Vallem, age 36, of Boscobel WI. While speaking with the Deputy a meth pipe was located on the ground near Vallem’s feet. Vallem attempted to discard the pipe without the deputy’s knowledge. Vallem was arrested for possession of meth paraphernalia. Contact was made with another passenger in the vehicle who was identified as Lori L. Oman, age 47, of Lone Rock. Oman was found to be in possession of a meth pipe. An electronic scale was also found in the vehicle where she was sitting. Oman was arrested for possession of meth paraphernalia. Another passenger in the vehicle gave false information as to his name and date of birth. He was later identified as Steve J. Christiansen, age 22, of LaCrosse. Christiansen was found to be in possession of a meth pipe, several small baggies, an electronic scale and a replica 40 Cal. BB gun. Christiansen was arrested for Possession of meth paraphernalia, resisting and obstructing an officer and a probation warrant. Also located in the vehicle was a loaded Glock 40 Cal. handgun. All three passengers were transported to the Crawford County Jail. The driver of the vehicle was released. Vallem and Oman were later released on a $500 signature bond. Christiansen was given a $500 cash bond and remains in jail on his out of county warrant.
Dive team examines mystery vehicle in river
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office received a report on August 17, 2017 of a vehicle discovered in the Mississippi River near Marquette, IA. The information was reported by a local fisherman who was using new side imaging sonar and discovered what appears to be at least one vehicle on the bottom of the west channel of the river. On November 2, 2017 the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office enlisted the assistance of the La Crosse County Dive Unit and conducted a successful dive, locating the vehicle. Water clarity, depth, and swift current prohibited a thorough processing of the vehicle. The vehicle was unable to be recovered and arrangements are being made for a 2018 dive. Specifics on how, when, or why the vehicle ended up in the river are unknown. The Sheriff’s Office is releasing this information to enlist the assistance of the public in gathering information to the unanswered questions. If you have information please contact the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office at 563-245-2422.
Duck Hunters Flip Boat on Mississippi River
On November 24, 2017 at 2:50 PM the Grant County Sheriff's Office was notified of a boating accident on the Mississippi River somewhere between Glen Haven, WI and Bagley, WI. The information received was that a boat with multiple hunters in it had flipped and that the hunters were on land, but they were not sure where they were at. They could see the railroad tracks. Multiple agencies responded to assist in the search. Information was then received that the hunters had made it back to the River of Lakes boat landing and were requesting EMS. A Grant County Sheriff's Deputy responded there and learned that there were three men in the boat: Paul Ketterer, 62, of Fennimore (boat owner), Ryne Jackley, 28, of Bagley, and Blake Evans, 36, of Dodgeville. The three men had put in to the Mississippi River at Jay's Landing. They went south from there along the "state line channel" and were about one mile south of the landing when they ran into rougher water. Ketterer said that he had backed off of the throttle due to the south wind and rough water. He said he slowed to maybe five miles per hour. When he backed off the throttle, the bow of the boat dropped and the boat suddenly started to take on a large amount of water. This pushed the bow of the boat further down causing the boat to stop suddenly and flip, end over end as it was described. All three men were thrown from the boat. They said that they were about 30 to 40 yards from shore when this happened. They had to swim toward shore as it was too deep to touch bottom. At about 20 yards from shore, the three men said that they could touch bottom and were able to walk to shore. Another duck hunter was boating by and saw the men. Blake and Ryne went back out to their capsized boat with that hunter as a dog belonging to Blake was trapped under the boat. The men were able to free the dog and get it in the boat they were in. All three men, and the dog, were then brought back to Jay's Landing by the other hunter. The men all had their own vehicles at Jay's Landing. They could hear sirens and decided, since they did not have cell phone service, to come to River of Lakes boat landing. EMS and First Responders went to that location where all three men were treated for body temperature issues (they were approaching hypothermic body temperatures). All three men refused transport by EMS. Two of the three men were transported by private vehicle to an area hospital for treatment and evaluation. The boat, a 14 foot flat bottom boat with a 35 HP Go Devil motor, was recovered by the Bagley Fire Department and Federal Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement. Agencies that responded to this incident were: Glen Haven Fire Department, Glen Haven First Responders, Bagley Fire Department, Bagley First Responders, West Grant EMS, the Grant County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Federal Game Warden), and mutual aid had been requested from the Guttenberg, IA Fire Department for a boat and the Grant County Emergency Management Office for a drone. None of the men were wearing personal floatation devices when the incident occurred although they were in the boat. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is handling the investigation into the incident.