Motor vehicle death rate decreased greatly in 2011

By Greg Hunt

At the Feb. 15 Isanti County Board meeting, the annual report from the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office was shared. Two key stats jumped out in the report: 1) there were no homicides in 2011, and 2) the motor vehicle death rate dropped significantly from 2010.

Last year, three people died in motor vehicle accidents in the county, down from 12 in 2010. The three deaths were spread across accidents involving a motorcycle, snowmobile and an automobile.

Dr. Quinn Strobl, Chief Medical Examiner, walked the board through her office’s report. MMEO assumed jurisdiction in 33 scene investigations in 2011, performing 17 autopsies from that duty. Altogether, 12 deaths were classified as accidental, non-motor vehicle related (mainly from falls) and two deaths were classified as suicide.

Sheriff Russ Monson expressed his appreciation to Dr. Strobl and staff, saying “we have a rock-solid relationship with the their office.”

New K-9 dog coming to county

Also at the Feb. 15 meeting, Sheriff Monson’s request to purchase and train a dual-purpose drug and search K-9 service dog was approved. The county has been without its own K-9 since Nike, the county’s first drug/search dog, retired due to loss of sight back in 2010.

The new German shepherd was purchased from a breeder in Germany, and it will be trained at an academy in St. Paul. The total cost for the dog and training is $9,500 of which the Sheriff’s Office as already set aside $5,000 to cover. The office still has the K-9 SUV and equipment on hand from Nike’s tenure.

The new K-9 deputy will be Jonathan Vandervegt, who has been very strong in drug arrests, said Sheriff Monson, adding the K-9 unit should be on patrol beginning in May or June.

• In another action, the Sheriff’s office was approved to purchase a new squad car radar ($2,312 out of its Capital Outlay budget) and a new Ford Expedition as a jail transport vehicle.

In other action, the board:

• Approved the conditional use permit for a new auto repair shop in Spencer Brook Township for owner/operator Daniel Nordlund.

Next meeting: Wednesday, March 7, 9 a.m.