Body pulled from Crow River is identified

A body recovered from the Crow River in Wright County has been identified as Samuel Adam Scherna Gustafson, a 26-year-old Rockford man who had been missing for more than two weeks.

The body was located shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, 2 to 3 miles from Rockford, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office identified the body on Wednesday.

Gustafson was last seen leaving a friend’s home about 5 a.m. April 21. He suffered from schizophrenia and was without his medication at the time, according to his family. His younger brother, Owen Gustafson Jr., had expressed concerns that being off the medication could make his brother harder to find because he could be frightened of people and try to hide.

It was not yet known how Gustafson fell or got into the river, Martha Weaver, a spokeswoman for Wright County, said Wednesday evening.

JOY POWELL, Paul Walsh

Coke truck crashes, leaves slippery mess

A big rig packed with Diet Coke crashed early Wednesday and shut down eastbound Interstate 94 in western Minnesota for several hours while authorities cleared the soda slick and chased down the sleepy driver and a passenger accused of getting in trouble with cocaine.

The crash occurred about 3:50 a.m. near Alexandria, ending with the semitrailer truck on its side and its liquid load scattered about the road and median, according to the State Patrol.

The driver, Shane Bembenek, 33, of Mosinee, Wis., had fallen asleep before losing control of his truck, State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said. Bembenek and his passenger ran from the scene but were quickly apprehended, Grabow added.

The truck had been put “out of service” about six hours earlier at the Moorhead weigh station along I-94 because Bembenek “had a false logbook and [was] operating a commercial motor vehicle while disqualified” from doing so, the sergeant said.

Bembenek was charged with a slew of offenses, including failure to use due care, driving after an out-of-service order, having a false logbook and not keeping it current, and not wearing a seat belt.

Bembenek’s passenger, Kenneth Sherman, 35, has a warrant out from Wisconsin on a charge of cocaine possession, according to Grabow.

Paul Walsh

Body found in river near downtown St. Paul

A body was discovered underneath a barge in the Mississippi River near downtown St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.

About 1:30 p.m., emergency dispatch received a call that a body was under a barge in the river just south of the Robert Street Bridge, said Randy Gustafson, spokesman for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews from the St. Paul Fire Department were pulling out the body about 2:15 p.m., Gustafson said.

It’s not known if the body was male or female or how it came to be there, he said.

St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said the body was transferred to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office.


Disruption from train, truck crash drags on

The crash of a train with a tanker truck freshly loaded with anhydrous ammonia in west-central Minnesota will keep a key highway in the area sealed off and a nearby fertilizer terminal closed for days to come, authorities said Wednesday.

The collision prompted the closing of nearby Hwy. 12 for several miles from Murdock northwest to De Graff. The key thoroughfare’s closure “could [continue] for another four days” until the truck, its tanker and the anhydrous are cleaned up, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The cleanup will also keep the terminal idled over that period.

Paul Walsh