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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Stillwater prison inmate sues state for medical negligence

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

STILLWATER -- An inmate at the Stillwater prison has filed suit against the state Corrections Department alleging medical negligence, says the man's attorney Steven Meshbesher.

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30-year-old Erick Thomas claims on February 1st of 2012 the prison night nurse didn't provide him with proper medical care and accused him of faking symptoms. Thomas also alleges at least one corrections officer threatened to move him into a segregation cell if he didn't quit playing and get off his cell floor. The next morning Thomas was rushed to a Saint Paul hospital and taken into emergency surgery where doctors found a near-fatal blood clot pressing on his spinal cord. State corrections officials won't comment because of the pending litigation. 

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The Beltrami County Sheriff's office is investigating a fatal hit-and-run in Bemidji. Just before 4:30 this morning, two passersby reported a body lying on the road. Responding deputies found the body of a 25-year-old man. Skid marks and vehicle parts were also located on the road. Authorities say they are looking for a red vehicle with front end damage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beltrami County Sheriff's office. The victim's name is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

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A 15-year-old passenger was killed in what authorities are calling a tragic rollover crash south of Detroit Lakes early this morning. Becker County Sheriff Kelly Shannon says five area teenagers were traveling in an extended cab pickup truck that went in a ditch and rolled several times. The passenger killed was in the rear seat and Shannon says they aren't sure if that person was wearing a seatbelt. The other four teens suffered only minor injuries. Investigators do no suspect alcohol was involved, but say unfamiliarity with the road may have been a factor. The wreck happened on a sharp curve, and the vehicle was only traveling about 40 miles per hour.

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A Deer River man is charged with second-degree murder one week after his girlfriend was found dead in their home. Fifty-year-old Eugene Nason  is accused of killing 43-year-old Sonya Smith the morning of July 24th. Smith's body was found in the bathtub and the preliminary autopsy shows she died as a result of a ruptured liver and spleen, broken ribs and cerebral hemorrhaging. Neighbors told police they heard screaming around 4 a-m and later saw a large man smoking outside the residence. Nason claims he spent the night at his sister's house and nothing physical happened with Smith the previous day. But the criminal complaint says the shirt he was wearing that night on a liquor store's surveillance video was found near the bathtub. Nason is jailed without bail and his next court appearance is September 9th.

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The national drive to end gun violence makes its way to Minnesota today, with a stop in Minneapolis by the "No More Names" bus. The names of all of known gun murder victims in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre will be read aloud. Heather Martens  with Protect Minnesota says that number, even with incomplete data, is nearing seven-thousand. Martens says gun homicides in the U-S are way out of proportion to other industrialized countries, and the reason she says is gun laws are "very, very weak." Today's bus stop is at the Federal Courthouse Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The bus is traveling to 25 states over 100 days. 

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Minnesota State Patrol Captain Bruce Hentges says troopers in the Detroit Lakes district are ready for mass amounts of traffic the next several days as "We Fest" gets underway. The country music festival kicks off tomorrow at the Soo Pass ranch near Detroit Lakes. Highways 10, 59 and 34 will be busy. Many festival-goers will be hauling campers. The heaviest traffic is expected today, and again on Sunday as all those campers head home.

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A Minnesota state representative is running a new ad campaign he says was prompted by Democrats taking credit for recent state budget successes. Republican Tony Cornish of Vernon Center says he felt too strongly about letting the Democrats take credit for the economy to keep silent. Cornish says the GOP has been accused of payment shifts and gimmicks to balance the budget -- but wonders if Minnesotans would rather see that instead of going out and increasing taxes like the DFL did. Cornish says effects of the policies of DFL-- who control the Minnesota House, Senate and governor's office -- won't be seen until they go into effect. 

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