Today’s news update – Northfield man recharged in pedestrian death, attorney comments; 2014 street reclamation projects move forward; City Hall makeover mostly complete

Northfield man recharged in pedestrian death

New charges have been filed against a Northfield man in the death of a pedestrian.  57 year old Michael Wayne Moreland has been formally charged with Criminal Vehicular Homicide, a felony and Careless Driving, a misdemeanor.  A Rice County grand jury had indicted Moreland with criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Kimberly Motzko.  A neighbor, she was out walking her dogs on the morning of July 26, 2012 when she was hit. In the criminal complaint, Moreland told Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, that “I didn’t see her because of the sun, she just popped out”.  A Minnesota State Trooper who is a reconstruction specialist said he believes the cause of the crash to be inattentive driving. Moreland’s defense team, Northfield attorneys David Hvistendahl and Mary Hahn, fought the indictment arguing that the prosecutor in the case failed to properly instruct the grand jury by not including the lesser charge of careless driving and that Beaumaster had made egregious errors.  The indictment against Moreland was dismissed by the District Court.   Rice County Attorney, Paul Beaumaster then appealed the decision.  In November the appeals court dismissed Beaumaster’s appeal, however after reviewing the transcripts, they did not believe there were egregious errors committed, opening the door for recharging.  Yesterday the formal charges were filed including the lesser charge of Careless Driving.  There is a dispute between the attorneys as to whether Moreland was texting at the time and whether the sun was truly in his eyes.  Hvistendahl commented in an email “Stale fish does not get better with a second serving, and neither will this case.  We believe that the criminal court process will vindicate Mr. Moreland.  Unavoidable accidents are not crimes”.  He added, “I’m very upset that the county attorney is continuing to waste resources on this unnecessary case”.  Moreland’s first court appearance is set for February 4th.

2014 street reclamation projects move forward

While it took an hour to approve a resolution for the 6th street reconstruction project, it took less than 5 minutes to approve the same type of resolution for the rest of the 2014 Street Reclamation projects which involve the Veteran’s Park and Sheldahl areas.  Mayor Graham said there are varying degrees of modifications. You can view details on all the street projects on the City’s website.

City Hall makeover mostly complete

The City Hall project is complete according to Assistant City Engineer Brian Erickson except for some “punch list” items such as touch up painting, hanging signs and some furniture work for the DMV.  There is an issue with some floor tiles that were broken during construction.  Erickson said the estimate for repair is $17,000 for upstairs and down.  City Administrator Madigan said the dollar amount is small enough to come out of the general fund.  However there was some confusion between DeLong and Madigan as to exactly what fund the money comes from.  Madigan will bring this back to council for a vote.   The entire meeting is archived online at kymnradio.net.

HRA rescheduled

The HRA meeting has been rescheduled to next week as they did not have a quorum last night.  While there were some technical glitches last night, we do have most of the Planning Commission archived online at kymnradio.net.

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