There’s a difference between losing someone after a long illness and a death that occurs suddenly. Mark and Sue Riley learned that the hard way. “Your life changes, literally, in a minute — a second,” Sue said. The east metro couple got word in 2013 that their son, New Richmond resident David Riley, had been killed in a nighttime boating crash on the St. Croix River. He’d been a passenger. His parents later learned the boat’s driver was drunk.
Bart Bartos knew he needed to stop drinking. The River Falls-area man had already been convicted 10 times of impaired driving and was beginning to feel the physical effects from the case of beer he'd put away daily. His last drink came nearly 10 years ago before he pulled away from a rural bar. When he looked down to light a cigarette and looked back up to see a sheriff's deputy driving right at him. Bartos knew the encounter would mean prison, but he said it also left him surprisingly relieved.