MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Extra DWI patrols to be out on St. Patrick's Day weekend
St. Patrick's Day partiers are reminded to plan ahead for a sober ride before their celebrations as law enforcement throughout the state will be adding extra DWI patrols starting tonight through Monday.
State Patrol Sergeant Jesse Grabow says their goal is not about the numbers of arrests, it's about DWI prevenmtion and we want people to hear that message. Grabow says in the past five years, more than 1,450 motorists were arrested for DWI on St. Patrick's Day, and the number has risen every year.
The Archdiocese of St. Cloud has released the names of four additional priests who have been credbily accused of sexually absuing minors in the past. Neil Emon, Gerald Funcheon, James Moeglein and Justin Weger--who is deceased--are on the list released today by Bishop Donald Kettler. In a statement, Kettler says "it is my hope that the release of these names will give validation to the surviors of abuse who have already come forward, and I pray it will also empower those who have remained silent to also come forward." In January, the Diocese released the names of more than 33 clergy who were believed to have abused children.
A southeast Minnesota man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for driving drunk and causing a deadly traffic crash two years ago. A Mower County jury recently convicted 45-year-old Jason Fredrickson of four counts of criminal vehicular homicide. Investigators say the Elkton man was behind the wheel of a car that was going around 120 mph when it crashed along a road just south of Austin in February 2012. Two passengers were thrown from the vehicle and killed.
A suspect is in the Hennepin County jail this morning after police say he stole an SUV and led them on a chase before crashing into a Brooklyn Center home. It happened around 1:00 am this morning. Commander Brian Peters says the suspect stole the SUV which had been left running at a local gas station. Police were called and located the vehicle and that's when a pursuit began. The suspect traveled about a mile before crashing the SUV into the side of a home, causing substantial damage. No injuries were reported. Peters says alcohol was a factor in the incident and the suspect is awaiting formal charges. Police also cited the SUV owner for violating a local "open ignition/unattended vehicle" ordinance.
A New Ulm man is charged with felony malicious punishment of a child for allegedly being emotionally, verbally and physically abusive. Thirty-one-year-old Steven Zeitz has also been charged with domestic assault and contributing to the need for protection. He's accused of administering repeated spankings as well as pinching, kicking and slapping his children and having them squat in a corner while he yelled at them. A therapist has reportedly refused to work with the children at the Zeitz residence because of his behavior. Zeitz has a previous assault conviction in Brown County.
Flu activity continues to slow down across the state and health officials are calling the spread of cases "localized." During the latest reporting week, 16 people were hospitalized with influenza compared to 31 the week before. There were only two school outbreaks, bringing the total to 80 this flu season. And another positive sign, there was only one outbreak at a nursing home, the same as the week before.