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St. Thomas student dies in St. Paul house fire

A fire in a rented house killed a University of St. Thomas student early Saturday morning.
Michael Adam Larson, 20, of Woodbury, was a sophomore. He was asleep on a couch when the fire broke out around 3 a.m. at 1795 Selby Ave., and did not escape the fire, the Star Tribune reported.
Three other students, two house mates and a girlfriend of one, were asleep in the second story of the home, and were awoken by smoke alarms. When fire blocked their exit, they jumped from a second-story window, the Pioneer Press said.
They suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation and were taken to Regions Hospital, the Star Tribune said.
Firefighters arrived at 3:15 a.m., and tried to rescue Larson as they fought the fire on the first floor, but he was dead by the time they entered, the Star Tribune said.
The fire appeared to have started on the front porch. Fire officials are still investigating, but said they didn't think it was suspicious. Larson's autopsy has not been finished, the Pioneer Press said.

Blizzard buries the Twin Cities

The snowstorm that paralyzed the Twin Cities Saturday night is on its way to the record books.
Close to 17 inches had fallen on Minneapolis by Saturday evening, with 22 inches falling in Shakopee. It was the deepest snowfall since the Halloween blizzard of 1991, and should be recorded in the Top 10 ever measured in the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune said.
2 inches of snow fell per hour, which could make it the fifth biggest Twin Cities snowfall, the Pioneer Press reported.
Winds of 30 to 35 mph reduced visibility to a few hundred yards, and winds up to 50 mph gusted across southwest and south-central Minnesota, hindering snow-clearing operations, the Pioneer Press said.
By Saturday evening, MnDOT pulled its plows off the roads due to visibility issues. Hennepin County pulled all but five of its snowplows, the Star Tribune said.
The Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 90 from Albert Lea to South Dakota dude to the storm. I-94 was also closed in western Wisconsin, along with many other highways, the Star Tribune reported.
More than three-quarters of 129 crashes reported by the State Patrol statewide Saturday occurred in the metro area, while almost 600 vehicles spun out or slid off the road, the Star Tribune said.
In the metro area, Metro Transit suspended bus service at 1:40 p.m. after 70 of the 220 operating buses had become stuck in the snow. The snow also caused numerous flights out of the airport to be delays, and more than half of scheduled flights to be canceled, the Pioneer Press reported.
The Metrodome's roof was also overcome by the snow, and collapsed after 5 a.m., causing the rescheduling of the Vikings-Giants game, the Star Tribune said.
Many of the metro's shows and events were also canceled.

Man fleeing police kills mother and two sons in crash

A man fleeing a State Trooper in a stolen vehicle hit and killed a mother and her two young sons early Sunday in North Minneapolis.
29-year-old Amanda Jean Thomas and her sons, ages 12 and three months, were killed when the driver ran a red light, State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said. The sons' names have not been released, the Star Tribune reported.
Rufus Onel Victor, 29, of Edina, was arrested after he fled the crash scene on foot. He had only minor injuries and is being held in the Hennepin County jail, the Star Tribune said.
A State Trooper tried to pull over Victor about 12:30 a.m. when he saw him driving erratically on westbound Interstate 94. Victor left the freeway at Dowling Avenue and drove south on Second Street at a high rate of speed and through several red lights, Roeske said, the Pioneer Press reported.
Victor plowed into Thomas's car when he ran a red light at the Broadway Avenue intersection, causing it to hit a third car. The trooper, who had slowed and was about three blocks behind Victor at the time of the crash, abandoned the chase to help the crash victims. No one in the third vehicle was seriously injured, the Star Tribune reported.
Victor was arrested about 10 minutes after the crash after a canine tracked his scent to an area near railroad tracks, the Pioneer Press said.
Roeske said it appeared as though Victor was chemically impaired at the time of the crash but blood test results were not immediately available, the Star Tribune reported.

Man dies when ATV falls through ice

A 59-year-old Cushing man died Saturday night when his all-terrain vehicle fell through the ice on Lake Alexander, the Morrison County Sheriff's Department said.
Gary Donald Deppa was pronounced dead at the scene, the Brainerd Dispatch reported.
A witness saw Deppa driving a four-wheeler east of Soldier Island, authorities said. When Deppa didn't return, the person went to check on him and found tracks leading to a hole in the ice and called 911, the Associated Press said.
Sheriff's deputies and Scandia Valley firefighters found Deppa face down in the water at the edge of a 20-foot hole in the ice at 8:22 p.m., the sheriff's department said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the AP reported.
Deppa's body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy, the Brainerd Dispatch said.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said thin ice, darkness and the distance from shore hampered recovery efforts, the AP said.

Ice storms kill 2, cause pileups and injuries

Ice-covered roads and sidewalks caused mayhem across central and southern Minnesota late Saturday and on Sunday, and caused hundreds of crashes, two of them fatal.
Over 75 crashes involved injuries, 57 occurring in the metro area, the Pioneer Press said. The State Patrol reported 438 crashes in Minnesota, with 376 in the metro area.
A 12-year-old girl died after being thrown from a pickup truck when it slid into a ditch at about 10:15 a.m. Saturday on Stearns County Road 35 in Millwood Township. The girl was not wearing a seat belt. The driver, Frank Luna, of Long Prairie, and four other passengers were not injured, the Star Tribune reported.
Kimberly Mead, 44, of Willmar, was also killed when she was thrown from a vehicle driven by Ronda Malvin, 43, of Raymond, at about 11 p.m. Saturday, in Meeker County, west of the Twin Cities. Their car was driving southbound on Hwy. 22 when it slid sideways into the northbound lane and was hit by another car. Two other passengers in Malvin's car were hospitalized in critical condition, the Star Tribune said.
More than 100 people went to the emergency room at St. Paul's Regions Hospital with injuries related to the ice, the Pioneer Press said.
Four State Patrol cars were involved in accidents, but no troopers were injured. St. Paul and Minneapolis police were also involved in accidents, some with injuries to the officers, the Star Tribune said.
Runways at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were closed from midnight until 5 a.m. Sunday because of the ice, the Pioneer Press said.

2 injured, 10 displaced in Wayzata fire

Two people were injured and 10 displaced in a townhouse fire early Saturday morning.
Two adults were treated at Hennepin County Medical Center for smoke inhalation. One lived in the home where the fire originated, the Star Tribune reported.
Everyone made it out of the townhouses safely, KARE 11 said.
The fire was reported at 12:40 a.m. Saturday in the townhouses, which are located on Hampton Street near the intersection with LaSalle Street, east of Wayzata's downtown area, the Star Tribune said. They are connected side by side.
Wayzata Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich said he thinks the complex will have to be torn down, due to the extensive damage.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Wayzata police Lt. Mike Murphy said there was nothing to indicate a suspicious origin, the Star Tribune reported.
About 80 firefighters from multiple departments responded to the blaze, KARE 11 said.

Maplewood man arrested in St. Paul church arson

A Maplewood man has been arrested on suspicion of setting a St. Paul church on fire Friday night, almost trapping a youth group.
Tou Chai Lee, 18, was arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage to property, the Pioneer Press said.
Lee is accused of setting the fire and slashing the tires of four vehicles in the church parking lot. Witnesses told police they saw him at the church and watched him drive away, the Star Tribune reported.
18 members of a youth group were inside Faith Alliance Church, at 520 Howard Ave. They tried to leave the building when they heard the fire alarm about 8:30 p.m., but were forced to escape out a side door when the entryway was blocked by flames, the Pioneer Press said.
A passing officer called fire crews. No one was injured, the Pioneer Press reported.
The suspect's motives are not known, but he knew people in the building, including an ex-girlfriend, the Star Tribune said.

Federal officer's gun and body armor stolen in Stillwater

A federal officer's gun and body armor were stolen out of his unmarked car in Stillwater late Friday or early Saturday.
About $4,000 of equipment was taken from the car, parked in the driveway of a single-family home in the 1900 block of Oak Glen Lane. Several vehicles at the home were broken into and other items taken. The thieves unsuccessfully tried to steal a stereo, the Pioneer Press said.
The .223 caliber rifle was locked to a ceiling gun rack, which was ripped out of the car. Stillwater police Sgt. Jeff Stender said ammunition, binoculars, a camera, GPS units, and a recorder were also taken, the Star Tribune reported.
The thieves may be area teenagers who did not understand what they could be charged with for taking the rifle, Stender said.
"We are very concerned that it is on the street," Stender said, the Pioneer Press reported.
"It's kind of ironic that they then couldn't remove a stereo," Stender said, the Star Tribune reported.
Stender said there were no signs of forced entry, "but the agent is positive he locked his vehicle," the Pioneer Press reported.

Chanhassen priest cited in sex sting resigns

A priest cited Thursday in an undercover police sting has resigned as pastor of a Chanhassen church.
The Rev. Michael John Krenik, 53, "exposed himself to a police officer in the park area" near Eustis Street and Mississippi River Boulevard at 1:20 p.m., police said.
He was taken into custody and cited for "indecent exposure - lewd conduct" and released, according to a police incident report. He was then released, the Star Tribune said.
Krenik "voluntarily resigned" as pastor, according to a written statement by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday. It said he would be restricted from all public ministries until the case was resolved, the Star Tribune said.
Krenik was the pastor at St. Hubert Catholic Community. The archdiocese said it was unaware of any previous instances of misconduct, the Pioneer Press reported.
Three other people were cited at Crosby Farm Regional Park and Meeker Island Thursday. Police said the operations were in response to complaints of lewd acts in public, the Pioneer Press reported.

St. Paul Police investigating attempted child luring

St. Paul police are investigating 6 attempts by strange men to lure young girls into cars.
A St. Paul police department spokesman, Officer John Keating, said there has not been a clear relationship established between the cases, which have occurred across the city over the past two weeks, the Pioneer Press reported.
"We are aggressively working to identify who is involved," Keating said. "At this point, we don't know the men's intents."
He said there are "notable differences" among the cases, the Star Tribune reported.
The most recent attempt occurred on Syndicate Street, between Portland and Summit avenues, at 6:15 p.m. Thursday. A white man in his 30's in a "boxy" white van or station wagon asked a 12-year-old girl who was riding a bike if she'd like to "make some money," police said. He then followed her until she reached a nearby grocery store, the Pioneer Press said.
Residents in and around the Frogtown neighborhood, especially families with children, have said they no longer feel safe, the Star Tribune reported.
"We always felt a lot safer, and now we're scared," Teri Breton said.

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