Western Wisconsin News Briefs: Parents of drowing victim sue fellow swimmerWestern Wisconsin News
-- The parents of a 21-year-old Eau Claire man who drowned in the Chippewa River 15 months ago have filed a wrongful death suit against a fellow swimmer at the time.
EAU CLAIRE - The parents of a 21-year-old Eau Claire man who drowned in the Chippewa River 15 months ago have filed a wrongful death suit against a fellow swimmer at the time.
Larry and Anita Fike claim that Andrew Grill saw Joseph Fike’s head go below the water – or that he caused it to be submerged. The plaintiffs said there was a conflict between their son and Gill, and they’re seeking unspecified damages. Eau Claire Police said they found no evidence of foul play when they investigated Joseph Fike’s death. An autopsy found no traumatic injuries on the victim, which led to a ruling that the death was an accidental drowning. Fike’s blood alcohol level at the time was just over point-30 – almost four times the minimum level of intoxication for drunk drivers. News accounts at the time said Fike and some friends were trying to swim back to shore from an island in the middle of the river – but Fike couldn’t make it. And authorities mentioned that a strong current had made the Chippewa River dangerous.
A 40-year-old prisoner will spend an extra 15 months behind bars, for breaking into a Chippewa Falls church and stealing thousands-of-dollars given at Christmas services. Kurt Meyer is now scheduled to be freed in 2017, and will spend two years under extended supervision after that. Meyer – whose address is listed as Reedsburg in state online court records – struck a plea deal in Chippewa County last week. He pleaded no contest to felony burglary. Six other charges were dropped including theft and criminal damage. Meyer was also told to pay six-thousand-dollars in restitution – the low-end of the estimated amount taken from Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church during the Christmas weekend in 2010. Authorities said up to 14-thousand dollars could have been stolen. The money included gifts for an orphanage in Peru. Circuit Judge James Issacson said he understood the money went toward drugs instead. Meyer apologized, but said he was influenced by others in making bad choices. Police said Meyer gave them information about other burglaries – and he got a break on his sentence for that.
A western Wisconsin man was sentenced today to four years in prison for raping a woman, after he was invited into a Minnesota motel room by the woman’s boyfriend. 20-year-old Keng Pha of Elk Mound must also register as a predatory offender in Minnesota – and he’ll be listed as such for the rest of his life. A jury convicted him in August. A 19-year-old woman told police she had consensual sex with her boyfriend in his car in mid-March – and after they drove around for a while, two cars full of men greeted the pair. She was apparently certain she was being set up for a rape – so she texted her cousin for help. But before the relative could respond, the two went alone into a motel room. Pha was one of two men already in the room, and officials said he molested her. The incident took place at a motel in Roseville, Minnesota, just north of Saint Paul.