Police Blotter

Burst pipes and a burnt steak bring officers to multiple dorms last week


Story by Reonna Huettner

Red light violation

A green, 2001 Mercury Grand blew through an intersection right in front of a police officer on Feb 16. 

At approximately 11:12 p.m., the officer noticed the car going the speed limit of 45 mph, but saw that the driver did not activate the brake lights at any time when running the red light. The witnessing officer pursued the vehicle which pulled over.

Once stopped, the officer approached the vehicle, introduced themselves and gave an explanation as to why the driver was pulled over. The driver was then asked for identification and the reason why they did not stop for the red light. 

The driver gave their driver’s license to the officer and proceeded to explain what happened. The driver said they believed there was not enough time to stop and was afraid of locking the vehicle’s breaks up if an attempt was made. 

When asked for proof of insurance by the officer, the driver said the vehicle was insured but did not have current proof with him in the vehicle. 

With the gathered information, the officer went back to the squad car to run checks on both the vehicle and driver. Both were valid with no wants or warrants.

Returning to the vehicle, the officer issued a $175.30 citation for running the light and added three points assessed to the driver’s license. 

The driver was given a verbal warning about failing to provide proof of insurance and also gave a letter of instruction regarding the non-mandatory court date. 

No further information is available at this time. 

Through the smoke and the steak

The Communications Center advised an officer around 7:24 p.m. on Feb. 17 about a fire alarm going off within the Aspenson Mogenson building that was reported by a resident assistant there.

As the police arrived at the scene, they located the room the alarm was coming from and made contact with the residents who lived there. 

They told the officer they were cooking steaks in the kitchen of the apartment and ended up burning the food. The smoke from the burning substance is what triggered the smoke detector and set off the alarm. 

The officer then entered the room, could hear the sounds of the smoke detector and was able to smell the burnt steak. After checking the rest of the room, the residents were told they should pay closer attention next time when cooking. 

Once they exited the room, the officer walked down to the panel, reset the alarm and then cleared the scene. 

No further information is available at this time. 

Sutherland smolder

An officer advised the Communications Center that they would be heading to Sutherland Hall in response to visible smoke coming from underneath a door located in the basement around 2:24 p.m. on Feb 18. 

Upon arrival, the officer did not see any unusual activity outside of Sutherland or within the dorm. The officer came across a male subject who said that he was the one who reported the incident. 

He told the officer that he witnessed smoke coming through from under the door in the basement  and the handle felt hot when touched. When opening the door a large cloud of smoke filled the hallway and he shut the door as quickly as possible. 

From there, he contacted the police to come and help assist with the situation. 

Heading into the basement to the scene, the officer observed what seemed to be water outside of the doorway and went to unlock the door. 

Immediately after the door was opened, the steam once again filled the hallway. It appeared that a pipe burst, which caused a leak of running water and smoke in the room.

The Eau Claire Fire Department then arrived on the scene to assess the situation, confirming it was only smoke and was able to clear the scene. 

The officer then reached out to a mechanic to come look into the burst steam pipe and was told one would arrive immediately. 

When they arrived, the mechanic assessed the situation, ensured the officer the water had been shut off and that there would need to be updates sent about the condition of the water in the room. 

As the officer was heading out of Sutherland Hall, they told the custodial staff about the situation and about the need to take care of the room. 

Huettner can be reached at [email protected].