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Living history: Family sues county for wrongful death

15 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 29, 2002 Pioneer Journal

• Family sues county for wrongful death

A wrongful death lawsuit seeking $50,000 has been filed against Wadena County and a Wadena County Sheriff's Department deputy.

Patricia Cooney and the heirs of her late husband, William Peter Cooney, filed the lawsuit Aug. 5 at the Wadena County courthouse.

William Cooney was killed in an accident on Nov. 14 when his Buick collided with an unmarked squad car driven by Chief Deputy Stephen Young.

"The county is also being sued because Steve is a county employee," County Attorney Jon Edin said.

The accident occurred at the intersection of 14oth Street and 141st Avenue. According to the lawsuit documents, Young failed to yield the right of way to Cooney. Young and Cooney's son and passenger, Jeffrey, were both injured in the accident.

"No settlement has been made, and the county has denied it is responsible for the accident," said Steven Drummond of Alexandria, the Cooney's attorney.

Patricia Cooney is asking in excess of $50,000 plus costs and disbursements.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 31, 1977 Pioneer Journal

• Friday's twister causes heavy property damage

High winds or tornadoes roared through parts of Wadena County shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, causing heavy property damage but only minor personal injuries to residents affected by the storm.

The storm system, which was brewing all day, included heavy rains, lightning and small hail, causing extensive damage to homes, barns, trees, corn and sunflower crops at Wadena, Verndale and Bullard township north of Staples. The storm system passed through a large area of Otter Tail, Wadena and Crow Wing counties also causing power and telephone outages.

The twister, which struck Wadena at 7:42 p.m. Friday, flattened the home of John and Lucille Lieder, Kevin Bagley's trailer home and the Harold Skov residence. Five other trailer homes were damaged at Pine View and the Skov's large shop and other buildings were torn apart by the twister, the Sheriff's Department said.

Mrs. Lieder said the storm struck with fury when she and her husband were in the living room of their new home. She was knocked unconscious when the structure was literally torn apart. Her husband carried her into the basement of the home for protection from the storm.

Mrs. Lieder suffered minor cuts on her face.

Chuck Sartell's cheese mart sign was damaged along Hwy 10 and debris strewn about the premise. Broken tree limbs were found on sidewalks and streets in most areas of this city.