Archive for Hot Topics

Counterfeit bills reported in Winsted

WINSTED, MN – The Winsted Police Department has received reports from area businesses that counterfeit bills have been circulated in the Winsted area throughout the last week.

The police department noted that the reports have been for varying denominations, and at various locations.

Businesses often use the counterfeit detector pens on bills, in an effort to find counterfeit money. However, the bills that have been circulating lately pass the counterfeit detector pen test, and the pen is not effective. Businesses should implement additional measures when trying to determine whether or not they’ve received a fake bill.

Consumers should also be aware that counterfeit bills are circulating, and take extra precautions when using or accepting cash for transactions.

If anyone has information regarding the counterfeit money, or if someone thinks they may be in possession of counterfeit money, contact the Winsted Police Department at (320) 485-2600.

Winsted woman injured in crash in Montrose

MONTROSE, MN – A rear-end crash late Sunday evening in Montrose resulted in non-life-threatening injuries for a Winsted woman.

The crash occurred at about 9:25 p.m. when a 2003 Buick Rendezvous driven by Aubrey Wren, 27, of Waverly, slowed for a turning vehicle near Bishop Avenue on Highway 12. Wren’s vehicle was rear-ended by a 2001 Mazda Tribute driven by Noe Cedeno-Rodriguez, 28, of Winsted.

Breanna Bielefeld, 26, of Winsted, the passenger in Cedeno-Rodriguez’s vehicle, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Buffalo Hospital.

All individuals were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Both vehicles were considered total losses.

Pedestrian in critical condition after being struck by vehicle in Watertown

WATERTOWN, MN – Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson reported that Sept. 16 at 9:37 p.m. sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call of a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident at Carver County Road 20 and Paul Avenue in the City of Watertown. Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found a 23-year-old male lying in the roadway. He had been struck by a motor vehicle and sustained severe injuries. He was treated at the scene and subsequently transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in critical condition. The name of the victim is being withheld until next of kin have been notified. The driver of the vehicle, Kerry Kassulker, 54, of Delano, was travelling west on County Road 20, just west of Paul Avenue, when he struck the victim. The victim was not in a crosswalk at the time of the incident. Kassulker did not exhibit any signs of impairment or alcohol consumption, according to the press release. Ridgeview Ambulance and Watertown Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene. The Minnesota State Patrol responded to assist sheriff’s deputies in accident reconstruction. The Carver County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate this incident.

UPDATE (9-20-16):

The victim, Dakota Lee Larson (23) of St. Paul, remains in stable but critical condition at HCMC.

Sheriff’s deputies are continuing to investigate the circumstances of this incident.

Mayer City Council backs away from solar proposal

MAYER, MN – After drifting toward a solar energy subscription agreement with US Solar in recent weeks, Mayer City Council voted during its Sept. 12 meeting not to move forward with the agreement. Read about it in the Sept. 19 issue of Herald Journal.

Montrose man dies after being dragged by vehicle

MONTROSE, MN – A Montrose man has died after being dragged by a vehicle following a confrontation early Sunday morning.

According to Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty, the Wright County Communications Center received a report of an unconscious male lying in the roadway in the 500 block of First Street North in Montrose at 2:28 a.m. Sunday morning.

The victim was identified as Justin Harvey, 18, of Montrose. The preliminary investigation indicated Harvey approached a pickup truck parked on the roadway and became involved in a confrontation with a passenger still seated in the vehicle. The vehicle accelerated during the confrontation, dragging Harvey a short distance.

Harvey was treated at the scene by deputies, Montrose Rescue workers, and Ridgeview Ambulance prior to being transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries.

Two adults were arrested and booked into the Wright County Jail on Criminal Vehicular Operations and Simple Robbery charges.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Grand jury indicts three in Clough murder case

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – A grand jury indicted three individuals in connection with the June 1 murder of 19-year-old Cheyenne Clough of Buffalo, at Crow Spring Park in Franklin Township, Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly announced Thursday.

Shawn Tyler Benson, 21, of Maple Lake, was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder.

Justin Michael Jensen, 29, of Maple Lake, and Edward Victor Zelko, 26, of Buffalo, were both indicted for aiding and abetting first-degree premeditated murder and aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder.

According to a report from Kelly, Clough and her boyfriend, Devon Boyles, had been staying at Jensen’s residence in Maple Lake, while Natasha Brandenburger, Callie Anderson, and Shawn Benson were also living at Jensen’s residence.

Jensen contacted a bounty hunter May 31, and had Boyles arrested on outstanding warrants. This reportedly caused Clough to become very upset and a heated argument took place with those who resided at Jensen’s residence. Clough was told to leave. When she refused to leave they threatened to call the cops on her. Clough then threatened to call the cops on one of the residents who had an outstanding warrant. The argument went into the early morning hours of June 1.

Jensen, Benson and Zelko had some discussion in Zelko’s car, which was parked in front of Jensen’s home. Jensen had his .22 caliber revolver that was in the house brought to Zelko’s car. Jensen reportedly ordered a “hit” on Clough to have her killed.

Jensen reportedly went into his home and told Clough she was leaving and that Zelko would be giving her a ride home to her mother’s place in Buffalo. Benson went with as a passenger. The time was about 2:30 a.m.

Zelko and Benson reportedly took Clough to Crow Springs Park in Franklin Township. Around 3 a.m., Benson, aided by Zelko, reportedly shot Clough four times with Jensen’s .22 caliber revolver. Zelko and Benson then returned back to Jensen’s and informed Jensen that Clough had been shot.

Around 6 a.m., Jensen, Benson, Zelko, Brandenburger, and Anderson fled to International Falls, arriving the evening of June 2. The murder weapon was reportedly thrown into a river in northern Minnesota.

At about 8 a.m. June 1, Clough’s body was discovered in the park and she was transported to North Memorial Hospital, where she died June 4.

Wright County Sheriff’s Office, working with law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota, were able to locate and apprehend Zelko in Staples June 4. Jensen, Benson, Brandenburger, and Anderson were located and apprehended outside of International Falls June 5.

Kelly called the work of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies in northern Minnesota remarkable.

“From the moment Ms. Clough’s body was found, the Sheriff’s Department investigated and worked nonstop until those responsible for murdering Ms. Clough could be taken into custody,” Kelly said in a press release. “Their work was truly outstanding.”

In Minnesota, the law does not allow county attorneys to charge first-degree premeditated murder. That requires the work of a grand jury. Brian Lutes, Chief of Criminal Division, assisted Kelly with the grand jury.

“I would like to note the importance of citizens who participate in the grand jury proceedings and the individual sacrifices they make when they carry out this very important function in our criminal justice system,” Kelly said. “I appreciated their time and commitment to hearing this case. I would also like to acknowledge those citizens who came forth with information during the investigation of this case.”

Kelly also expressed sympathy to the family and friends of Clough.

He noted all three defendants are scheduled to make their first appearance on the indictment Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Wright County District Court.