MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Minnesota Senate approves "Hit and Run" bill
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Senate passed the so-called "hit-and-run" bill that would require drivers to stop and investigate property damage or personal injury after a crash.
Senator Kevin Dahle of Northfield says it will close a loophole in state law that requires prosecutors to prove that a driver knew they had struck a person before being obliged to stop at the scene. Amy Senser was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in a case where she struck a person and continued driving.
A Minnesota state House/Senate conference committee is working on a bill that would govern the access of data by public employees and put harsher penalties in place for anyone caught going outside the scope of their job. One of the main sticking points, according to Beau Berentson of the Association of Minnesota Counties, is the Senate provision that requires Minnesotans to be notified any time someone views their information. He says that language could expose government employees who may be required to access non-public data as part of their regular job duties to the possibility of threats or other retribution from disgruntled clients. Patrick Hynes of the League of Minnesota Cities says another point of contention is a Senate provision that requires the name of a public employee to be posted on the website of the city or county where the data breach occurred.
There's a pre-trial hearing this afternoon for a Willmar teen accused of planning his grandmother's murder last July. Eighteen-year-old Robbie Warwick is charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation and stabbing death of 79-year-old Lila Warwick. Warwick's attorney has filed a motion for a change of venue due to the publicity of the case in Kandiyohi County. Co-defendant Brok Junkermeier pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A 17-year-old boy from Blue Earth is now charged with third-degree murder in connection with the synthetic drug overdose of his girlfriend. Trace Hafner was initially charged with sale of controlled substance for giving 17-year-old Chloe Moses a capsule that has been linked to her death. Two Mankato men also face third-degree murder charges for selling the bath salt-type drug that led to the deaths of Moses and 22-year-old Louis Folson last month. The drug was being sold in blue packages with gold or silver crowns in the Mankato area.
A police chase ended in Maplewood early this morning when the fleeing suspect crashed a pickup truck into a brick wall. Police say a Metro Transit officer in a marked squad car noticed the suspect driving erratically near a Minneapolis light rail transit station around 2:30 a-m. When the officer attempted to pull the driver over, the suspect fled at a high rate of speed. An additional Metro Transit officer joined the chase, as did Roseville police when the chase continued on Highway 36. The driver eventually crashed in Maplewood and was taken to Regions Hospital to be treated for injuries.
The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has already begun treating three varieties of mosquitoes that might be developing in snowmelt from eggs laid last summer. Spokesman Mike McLean says the cold, snowy winter really won't impact the mosquito hatch. He says we have a lot of mosquito species that are in common with mosquitoes that you find all the way up into the Tundra, into Alaska and northern Canada. McLean says this week's spring offensive was about a week later than normal due to lingering cold and snow, but a week earlier than last year's.
The search is on to find and honor those older Minnesotans who are making a difference in their communities through their volunteer work. Jay Haapala with AARP Minnesota says the organization is now accepting nominations of those people who are sharing their experience, talent and skills to enrich the lives of others. He says the Andrus Award for Community Service is AARP's annual honor for excellence in volunteerism and service to the community, for people who are 50-plus. Nominations for the 2014 Andrus Award for Community Service are bei