Archive for Hot Topics

Names of victims released from fatal McLeod County accident

McLEOD COUNTY – On Monday Dec. 17, at approximately 10:56 p.m., the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two-vehicle accident in the area of CR 7 and Yacht Ave, northeast of Stewart.

Vehicle one was a 2004 Ford Explorer, owned by Tiffany Dralle, age 25, from Gibbon, and driven by Wayne Bernier, Jr, age 32, from Gaylord, was westbound on CR 7 while vehicle two, a 2010 Dodge Nitro, owned and driven by Bruce Lentz, age 60, from Stewart, was eastbound when the two vehicles collided.

Bernier, Lentz, and Bernier’s passenger, Dralle, were all pronounced dead at the scene, and taken to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. Lentz and Bernier were wearing their seatbelts. Dralle was not wearing a seatbelt, and was ejected from the vehicle.

There were no witnesses or other occupants in the vehicles at the time of the accident. Also assisting were MN State Patrol, Stewart Fire, and the Buffalo Lake Ambulance.

This case is still under investigation.

Three fatalities in McLeod County crash

McLEOD COUNTY – The McLeod County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two-vehicle accident in the area of CR 7 and Yacht Ave, northeast of Stewart, at 10:56 p.m. Monday night.

Also assisting were MN State Patrol, Stewart Fire, and the Buffalo Lake Ambulance.

As a result, three people were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

More information will be released once the families have been notified. The case remains under investigation.

Data breach reported in Wright County

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – The following news release was issued Wednesday by Wright County officials:

A Wright County employee was found to have transferred private data to his home without authorization and in violation of county policy.

Based upon the investigation conducted by the county, no evidence has been found that indicates there was any sale or distribution of the private data. The data was recovered and returned to the county by law enforcement.

Since government agencies are held to a high standard for data protection, Wright County officials notified individuals because they felt citizens had a right to know this transpired – even though the data is back in the county’s possession.

Employees are required to complete multiple trainings about protecting citizen data annually, and the county has several policies in place.  This unfortunate decision by one individual to not follow policy has triggered this notification effort.

While the policy investigation is complete, a criminal investigation related to this employee’s actions is ongoing.

A company that specializes in data notification has been hired by Wright County to handle notifications and requests. Citizens are asked to use these resources to request further information:

Toll free information line: 866-680-3212.


Address for information:

Wright County Data Incident-6354


Minneapolis, MN 55440-0044

Individuals who did not get a letter from the county did not have data accessed in this incident.

Winsted Medallion found Wednesday afternoon


WINSTED – Lisa Veaderko stopped at the Herald Journal office this afternoon to show off the Winsted Medallion she found around 2 p.m.  Veaderko lives in Cokato, and works at Littfin in Winsted.  She’s got some experience in the medallion-finding area – she found the Winsted Medallion last year, too!

Veaderko said following the trail of today’s clue was a little scary, since she discovered the Winsted Medallion on a fence near the police station and Winsted City Hall, and she wasn’t sure she could legally be there.  But, she bravely took a quick glance at the fence, and spotted the coveted circle.

Veaderko has won $100 in Winsted Chamber of Commerce Bucks for her big find.  Congratulations, Lisa!

(Medallion hunters best be on their toes next year, so Veaderko doesn’t score a hat-trick!)

Victim identified in Winsted Lake snowmobile incident

WINSTED – On Nov. 28 at 6:33 p.m., the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a snowmobile possibly going into Winsted Lake just east of Winsted. At approximately 2:35 p.m. on Nov. 29, Lawrence Stifter, age 52, from Winsted, was found in the lake and his body was taken to the Midwest Medical Examiners Office. Also assisting on the scene were the Winsted Police, Winsted Fire, Lester Prairie Fire, Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Carver County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, and the Minnesota State Patrol. The cause of death is still under investigation.

Waverly woman dies in three-vehicle crash

BRAINERD, MN – A 64-year-old woman from Waverly was killed after her vehicle struck a semi in Brainerd Tuesday evening.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Waverly resident Vonda Lea Hyldahl had been driving a 2016 Kia Optima westbound on 133rd Street at about 5 p.m. when she failed to stop, and her vehicle struck a 2005 Kenworth semi truck that had been traveling northbound on Highway 25. Hyldahl’s vehicle also struck a 2012 Chevy Equinox that was waiting on Highway 25 to turn left turn onto 133rd Street.

Hyldahl sustained fatal injuries in the crash. The state patrol reported that alcohol was involved.

The driver of the semi, Kevin John Block, 56, of Pierz, sustained non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to a healthcare facility in Little Falls.

The driver of the Chevy Equinox, Adam Alan Hanson, 27, of Little Falls, along with three passengers, also sustained non-life threatening injuries, the state patrol reported. Passengers included 24-year-old Jasmine Renee Morgan, 5-year-old Audrey Aria Hanson, and Jaelah Rayne Hanson, an infant.