- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Divers pull 3rd Minn. friend from Chicago River

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A University of Minnesota student who survived after he and two others fell into the icy Chicago River said Wednesday that he lost two good friends in the tragedy that started with a dropped cellphone.

Police have said the three friends ended up in the icy river earlier this week after Ken Hoang jumped over a fence in downtown Chicago to retrieve a cellphone he’d dropped in the water. Lauren Li and Quoc-Viet Phan Hoang tried to help, but fell in after their friend.

Quoc-Viet Phan Hoang, 23, was rescued and treated at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Hospital officials say he was released Wednesday.

Hoang, a senior from Vadnais Heights, issued a statement through the hospital Wednesday that said one of his friends died in his arms and he saw the other drift away. Hoang said he’s never felt so helpless.

Ken Hoang, 26, of St. Paul, a former University of Minnesota student, was pronounced dead after he was pulled from the river Monday. Chicago police divers pulled another body from the river on Wednesday. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the person pulled from the river as Li, 21, of Burnsville.


Man sentenced for hit-and-run of Army recruiters

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis man who struck two U.S. Army recruiters with his vehicle - dragging one of his victims for almost a mile before the man freed himself - was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 16 years in prison.

Enrico Taylor, 53, pleaded guilty last November to assault and criminal vehicular operation. At Friday’s sentencing, he wept loudly and asked Staff Sgt. Travis Torgerson for forgiveness.

Torgerson suffered severe injuries when he was dragged by Taylor last September.

“The time he gets, in my eyes, is very short,” Torgerson said. “I’ve seen atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have to go through this in my own backyard?”

Ramsey County District Court Judge Judith Tilson gave Taylor 189 months, the maximum allowed under state law.


Senate committee backs controversial building plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota Senate committee approved plans Wednesday for a new legislative office building that’s become entangled in partisan politics.

The $63 million building is intended to house offices for state senators and their staff, and it will include adjacent parking facilities totaling another $27 million. The building is to open in 2015 and be located directly north of the Capitol building across University Avenue.

The full Legislature authorized the construction last spring, but the state Department of Administration cannot proceed with the planning until rules committees in both the Senate and House sign off on preliminary designs and cost estimates. The Senate Rules Committee approved those Wednesday on a party-line vote, with majority Democrats in support, but the House Rules Committee still needs to do so.

Republican committee members complained the project has moved forward without proper scrutiny. Legislation enabling its construction was included in a tax bill, not the usual route for approving state building projects.

“There was no bill on it and there was no hearing on it,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. “I think we ought to have a committee hearing on this project.”


Shots fired as fugitive chased in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Gunfire broke out in northeast Minneapolis as police and federal agents chased a wanted man and then took him into custody.

Police say apparently no one was wounded by the gunfire Wednesday afternoon. Authorities say it’s not clear yet who had fired, but Minneapolis police say they were not involved.

Authorities were serving a warrant on Buck Otto White of New Ulm. He was indicted last year on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police say a federal warrant was issued for White’s arrest in July.

Authorities say White crashed his vehicle, was taken into custody and treated at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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