Archive for Hot Topic

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.

Five charged after death of Cokato teen in Bemidji

BEMIDJI, COKATO, MN – Five young men have been charged with providing alcohol to a person under the age of 21, after a Cokato teen fell to his death on the Bemidji State University campus earlier this fall.

Isaac Jon Morris, a 2018 graduate of Dassel-Cokato High School, passed away Sept. 30 after falling out of a seventh-story residence hall window. He was not a student at Bemidji State, but had been visiting friends over the weekend.

Early investigation by the Bemidji Police Department revealed that Morris was drinking alcohol at a large party at 2517 Calihan Ave. NE, near the college campus. At that time, detectives identified several witnesses who saw Morris at the party and confirmed that he had been consuming alcohol there, according to a press release.

This week, the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office released a press release stating that five men were charged in connection with this incident. Bryce Peter Mattson, 18; Jack William Mathison, 18; Aaron Elliot Trebelhorn, 19; Zachary Charles Morse, 21; and Jordan Trowbridge Swan, 21, were each charged with two counts of gross misdemeanor for furnishing alcohol to people under the legal drinking age. Each count carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3000 fine.

The criminal complaint alleges that Mattson, Mathison, and Trebelhorn pooled funds to obtain kegs of beer for the party and sold cups for access to the beer. The criminal complaint also alleges that Morse and Swan purchased the kegs for the party and provided the location to hold the party.

Video footage showed that Morse had purchased a keg from Noel’s Bottle Shop in Bemidji at 7:35 p.m. Sept. 30, according to the complaint. Later that evening, Swan (who also lived at the residence where the party occurred) purchased a second keg, the complaint noted. Mathison told police he had helped collect money for the keg. Trebelhorn and Mattson contributed money toward the purchase.

Morse told police that he did not know how many people under age 21 were at the party, but he assumed underage people were there. He estimated that a total of about 45 to 50 people were at the party.

Nineteen-year-old dies in Meeker Co. crash

MEEKER COUNTY, MN – A 19-year-old woman from Willmar died in a car crash in Meeker County Saturday afternoon (Nov. 16), the Minnesota State Patrol reported.

According to the report, Willmar resident Yasmin Abdi Ahmed, 19, was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Venture west on Highway 12 in Grove City when she lost control of the vehicle and it crossed the center line into the east lane of traffic.

The Venture collided with a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado that had been traveling east. A third vehicle that was traveling east, a 2000 Ford Ranger, then collided with the Colorado.

Ahmed sustained fatal injuries in the crash. She had been wearing her seat belt, and alcohol was not involved. The state patrol reported that road conditions were icy and snowy at the time.

The driver of the Chevrolet Colorado, Ali Ann Danzeisen, 25, of Litchfield, was reported as having non-life threatening injuries. She was not transported to a healthcare facility.

The driver of the Ford Ranger, Joshua William Pehrson, 24, of Willmar, was not injured.

Assisting agencies included the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Grove City Fire and Rescue, Atwater Fire and Rescue, and Atwater Ambulance.

Fire destroys shed in Darwin

DARWIN, MN – Nov. 4 at 8:22 a.m., the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office and Dassel Fire Department responded to a shed fire at the Richard Walls farm at 701 W Curran Street, Darwin, according to a release  from Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze.  A 40-by-96-foot quonset shed and contents burned during the overnight hours. The shed stored six tractors, a combine, backhoe and other farm implements. The cause of fire is undetermined, and loss is valued at $70,000, according to the release.

Litchfield woman arrested in connection with Dassel burglary

DASSEL, MN – The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary in progress in the 24000 block of CSAH 24, Dassel Sunday, Sept. 9 at 1:15 p.m. A witness confronted two suspects at the residence and was able to get a license plate number on their vehicle when they left. Deputies followed up on this information and located the vehicle at a residence in the 52000 block of US Highway 12, Grove City. Kalie Nelson, 32, of Litchfield, was arrested for burglary and controlled substance violation. Her juvenile accomplice was released to family members. A follow up search warrant was executed at approximately 8:23 p.m. at a residence in the 65000 block of 288th Street, Litchfield. Numerous items from the CSAH 24 burglary, along with other stolen items, were located in the residence. Patrick Goodwin, 39, from West St. Paul, was arrested for giving false information to a peace officer and two outstanding warrants. The investigation is ongoing.

Three injured in Wednesday morning crash at Meeker County intersection

MEEKER COUNTY – According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a crash between a semi and an automobile occurred at 8:49 a.m. this morning at the intersection of Highways 12 and 15, near Dassel.

The semi was northbound on Highway 15, and a GMC Sierra was eastbound on Highway 12. The vehicles collided at the intersection. One person was transported by Gold Cross Ambulance, and two people were transported by personal vehicle to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Duane Lyle Mattson, 57, of Dassel, was the driver of the 2001 STLG STE tandem semi.  He was taken to the Hutchinson hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  Mattson had been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Rudolph Dwight Nyquist, 84, of Cokato, was the driver of the 2001 GMC Sierra involved in the crash.

The passenger in the Sierra was Mary Ann Nyquist, 82, also of Cokato. The Nyquists were transported to the hospital in Hutchinson with non-life threatening injuries.  Both individuals had been wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

The Meeker County Sheriff’s Department, the Dassel Fire Department, and Gold Cross ambulance responded to the scene.