Bismarck woman charged in overdose of 8-month-old baby

BISMARCK (FNS) — A Bismarck woman has been charged in Stark County with three counts of felony child endangerment.

Sierra Rose Toroitich, 25, appeared Monday, Nov. 4, before Judge Dann Greenwood in Stark County District Court on five counts total.

Toroitich was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, both Class A misdemeanors, and three counts of endangerment of a child, two Class C felonies and one Class B felony.

Toroitich, along with her brother and her three children, checked into a Dickinson hotel over the weekend and brought with them "a mixture of controlled substances," Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Engelstad said.

"(She) had smoked some marijuana while at the hotel and proceeded to take a nap along with her 8-month-old child," she said. "On that bed was a package of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. The child got into that and subsequently overdosed."

According to Engelstad, Toroitich did not call an ambulance.

"It was a lucky situation that the children's father happened to come to the hotel when he did," she said. "He does not live here. He had put them up in a hotel so he could visit with his children."

The child was unresponsive and not breathing, and the father called 911, Engelstad said.

The child was administered Narcan, a narcotic overdose treatment, and was taken to the hospital, Engelstad said.

The brother, identified in the criminal complaint as Lawrence J. Bearking in the criminal complaint, is believed to have brought the drugs, Engelstad said. Bearking fled the scene, and there is a warrant for his arrest.

In North Dakota, a Class B felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine, and a Class C felony carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

A Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 360 days in jail and $3,000 in fines.

Bond was set at $100,000 cash because of the "nature of the case" and Toroitich's criminal record, Engelstad said, which includes possession with intent to deliver, simple assault on a peace officer, and driving under suspension.

Toroitich is also currently on probation.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 2, at the Stark County Courthouse.

Bus crash in Walker injures 6

WALKER, Minn. (FNS) — Six adult passengers suffered injuries when a bus crashed into a tree off Highway 371 Saturday, Nov. 2, in Walker in north-central Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported the 1992 Ford bus, driven by 50-year-old Gary Charles Matthews of Clearbrook, was southbound on Highway 371 near Front Street at 8:41 p.m. when it swerved to avoid a vehicle that crossed the centerline. The bus entered into the right ditch and struck a tree.

Fifteen adult passengers from the Twin Cities area were on the bus. Six suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and were transported to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. Those injured were: Jacqueline Marie Bauer, 34, Hastings; Cassandra Marie Frandrup, 29, Hastings; Tara Marie Glad, 45, Hastings; Nicole Elizabeth, Link, 29, St. Louis Park; Deborah Karen Regenscheid, 62, Hastings; and Katie Lynn Regenscheid, 34, Hastings.

None of the passengers were wearing seat belts.

Intruder wakes Rochester resident, shoots him four times

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FNS) — Rochester police arrested a man Sunday after police said he broke into an apartment, woke a sleeping resident and then shot him four times.

Police were called around 6:30 a.m. Nov. 3 to an apartment complex in the 1300 block of Fourth Avenue Southeast for a report of a shooting.

In the apartment, police located a 25-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds, according to Capt. Casey Moilanen. The man was shot three times in the lower extremities and once in the upper extremities. The man was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Police said that a man, later identified as Abdusalam Omar Hussein, 38, of Rochester, had forced his way into the apartment where the 25-year-old man lived. Three other people, two men and one woman, were also asleep in the apartment at the time of the shooting.

After gaining entry, Hussein allegedly woke up the 25-year-old man, briefly spoke with him and then shot him four times before fleeing the apartment.

Police said that Hussein felt he was disrespected by the 25-year-old man at some point before Sunday's shooting.

A short time later, Hussein was spotted at the Holiday gas station on 37th Street Northwest.

At that location, he reportedly pulled up next to an employee and asked for a dollar. Hussein allegedly told the employee he had just shot someone in southeast Rochester and threatened the employee with a gun before leaving. Using a vehicle description police were able to locate Hussein a short time later in the area of U.S. Highway 52 and East White Bridge Road.

Before police located Hussein, he reportedly called police and said he would not turn himself in, he would "shoot it out with police" and didn't want to hurt anyone, according to Moilanen.

Police attempted to stop Hussein in the area of Fifth Street Northeast and White Bridge Road. Hussein kept driving and was eventually arrested in the area of White Bridge Road and Highway 63 after the van he was driving went into a ditch and then rolled.

Police found a handgun on Hussein, Moilanen said. Hussein was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys following the crash. After being evaluated by medical staff, Hussein was taken to the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center.

According to jail records, he was booked on charges of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, false imprisonment-intentional restraint, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and first-degree murder premeditated.

Former Lakeland Shores mayor struck and killed along I-94

LAKELAND SHORES, Minn. (FNS) — The former mayor of Lakeland Shores died Sunday, Nov. 3, after he was struck along Interstate 94 while adjusting a strap on a trailer he was towing, officials said.

Randy Kopesky, 65, died at the scene just west of the Wisconsin border, according to the Minnesota State Patrol, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The 51-year-old woman who struck Kopesky was booked into the Washington County Jail in Stillwater on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide. She has since been released. No charges had been filed against her as of Monday.

Kopesky was standing next to his Chevrolet Blazer on the shoulder of I-94 when he was struck by a Kia Sorrento driven by Brenda Hafemann.

Family members said Kopesky and his wife, Reggie, planned to meet in Lake Elmo and then drive together to Belle Plaine, Minn., to visit their new grandchild.

Kopesky served as mayor of Lakeland Shores for 10 years. 

Hafemann has a lengthy history when it comes to traffic infractions, including speeding, driving after suspension and careless driving, according to court records.

Applicants sought for councils, boards, commissions 

ST. PAUL (FNS) — The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office has announced hundreds of open seats on nearly 100 boards, councils and commissions that will be appointed by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

These bodies each have their own set of responsibilities, ranging from advising the governor and Legislature to overseeing professional licensing and environmental protection. Many of these bodies have public member positions, and all Minnesotans are encouraged to apply.

Residents can learn more about the appointments process on the governor's website, https://mn.gov/governor/

Those interested in applying for membership on any state board, council, or commission should complete an open appointments application through the secretary of state’s website, www.sos.state.mn.us/.

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