South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Chris Perkins and David Furones discuss the possibility of the Miami Dolphins winning this Sunday in Baltimore against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, and give their predictions.
South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Chris Perkins and David Furones discuss the possibility of the Miami Dolphins winning this Sunday in Baltimore against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, and give their predictions.
Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced late Saturday.
A settlement amount was not disclosed.
Richard Liu, who stepped down as the CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce company JD.com this year amid increased government scrutiny of China’s technology industry, has denied raping the woman, Jingyao Liu, and prosecutors never filed criminal charges. A joint statement from attorneys for both sides called the encounter “a misunderstanding.”
“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families,” the joint statement said. “Today, the parties agreed to set aside their differences, and settle their legal dispute in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.”
The settlement was announced just two days before the civil trial was set to begin Monday in a Minneapolis courtroom. On Friday, a jury of seven men and five women were picked to hear the case.
Richard Liu is a celebrity in China, part of a generation of entrepreneurs who created the country’s internet, e-commerce, mobile phone and other technology industries since the late 1990s. Forbes estimated his wealth at $10.9 billion on Saturday.
Jingyao Liu alleges the attack happened in 2018 while Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a weeklong residency in the University of Minnesota’s doctor of business administration China program, geared toward high-level executives in China.
Jingyao Liu, a Chinese citizen, was at the university on a student visa and was a volunteer in the program at the time. The Associated Press does not generally name people alleging sexual assault, but Jingyao Liu has agreed to be identified publicly.
Jingyao Liu was 21 and Richard Liu was in his mid-40s at the time, the lawsuit said. They are not related.
Richard Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, was arrested on suspicion of felony rape in August 2018, but prosecutors said the case had “profound evidentiary problems” and declined to file criminal charges.
Jingyao Liu sued Richard Liu and JD.com in 2019, alleging sexual assault and battery, along with false imprisonment.
The case drew widespread attention at a time when the #MeToo movement was gaining traction in China. Richard Liu’s supporters and opponents waged aggressive public relations campaigns on Chinese social media; censors shut down some accounts that supported Jingyao Liu for “violating regulations.”
Jingyao Liu said in her lawsuit that she had to withdraw from classes in fall 2018 and seek counseling and treatment. Her attorney said she has since graduated but has post-traumatic stress disorder. She sought compensatory as well as punitive damages from Richard Liu.
Her lawsuit said she was seeking more than $50,000, a standard figure that must be listed in Minnesota if a plaintiff intends to seek any larger amount. She was expected to ask a jury to award much more.
On the night of the alleged attack, according to the lawsuit, Richard Liu and other executives went to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis and one of the men invited Jingyao Liu at Richard Liu’s request.
She felt coerced to drink as the powerful men toasted her, and Richard Liu said she would dishonor him if she did not join in, her lawsuit claimed.
According to text messages reviewed by The Associated Press and Jingyao Liu’s interviews with police, she said that after the dinner Richard Liu pulled her into a limousine and groped her despite her protests. She said he raped her at her apartment. At one point, she texted a friend: “I begged him don’t. But he didn’t listen.”
Her friend notified police, who went to her apartment. Jingyao Liu told one officer, “I was raped but not that kind of rape,” according to police. When asked to explain, she changed the subject and said Richard Liu was famous and she was afraid. She told the officer that the sex was “spontaneous” and she did not want police to get involved.
Police said they released Richard Liu because “it was unclear if a crime had actually taken place.” In a later interview with an investigator, Richard Liu said the sex was consensual and the woman “enjoyed the whole process very much.”
Jingyao Liu told a police sergeant that she wanted to talk with Richard Liu’s attorney and threatened to go to the media if she did not, according to police. Richard Liu’s former attorney recorded the phone call, in which Jingyao Liu said she didn’t want the case to be in the newspaper and “I just need payment money and apologize and that’s all.”
A recording of the phone call was expected to be played as evidence at trial. Surveillance videos from the restaurant, the restaurant’s exterior and the halls of the woman’s apartment complex were also expected to be played for jurors.
She’d heard the stories from her father and grandfather — of late-night patrols, of days both nice and not-so-nice spent outdoors checking hunters and anglers, and of the adventures and occasional misadventures that go with a career in which no two days are the same.
For Felicia Znajda, that was enough to steer her toward a career in fish and wildlife enforcement.
“It always changes,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a routine day.”
A 2013 graduate of Stephen-Argyle High School in Minnesota and 2017 graduate of the University of North Dakota, Felicia Znajda (pronounced za-NAY-da) spent five years with the East Grand Forks Police Department before getting accepted into the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Conservation Officer Academy. The 16-week program trains candidates for careers in natural resources enforcement.
Upon graduating from the academy on Sept. 13, she became the third generation in her family to work in natural resources enforcement.
Like father, like daughter, you might say. And like grandfather before her.
“I wanted to start out at a police department, but I knew I wanted to get into wildlife,” she said.
Felicia’s dad, Capt. Pat Znajda of East Grand Forks, who is retiring from the DNR on Oct. 4 after 17 years with the agency and nearly 36 years in enforcement, pinned the badge on his daughter during a graduation ceremony at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, Minn.
He also pinned a badge on his son, Taylor, who graduated in October 2021 from the Minnesota State Patrol Academy and now is a state trooper in Hibbing. The opportunity to pin badges on both children in the past year has been a career highlight, says Pat, a Warren native and 1987 UND graduate who spent 16½ years with the Minnesota State Patrol before joining the DNR in October 2005.
If not for those opportunities, Znajda says he probably would have retired a couple of years ago. “I’m very proud of them both,” he said of Taylor and Felicia. “They work for outstanding law enforcement agencies, and they both carry on a family tradition.”
Pat Znajda started his DNR career as a conservation officer in Karlstad, Minn., before being promoted to lieutenant and becoming District 1 Enforcement supervisor in October 2007. He became a captain and was Northwest Region Enforcement manager from January 2020 to July 2021, at which time he took his latest position as program manager for DNR Enforcement.
Felicia’s grandfather, Ted Znajda, started his career in 1949 as a “refuge patrolman” at Norris Camp, known today as headquarters of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area. Ted Znajda worked as a game warden and conservation officer in Warren from 1959 until retiring in 1989.
He died in December 2000 at the age of 76.
“I was pretty young when he passed away — I was like 5 or 6 — but I still remember sitting on the back deck at his house and listening to him and my dad talk,” Felicia said during a recent interview at the DNR’s Northwest Region Headquarters in Bemidji. “Listening to my dad and all the stories that he’s been able to tell me is what really drew me.”
Like his daughter, Pat Znajda says his interest in fish and wildlife enforcement came from his days riding around on patrol with his dad, something that wouldn’t be allowed for conservation officers today.
The DNR changed the title of its enforcement officers from “game warden” to “conservation officer” in the late 1960s to better reflect the nature of the job.
“I can remember lots of times as a little kid, waking up in the middle of the night — 3 o’clock in the morning — hearing people talk, and I’d go out in the kitchen,” he said. “I’d sit down on the floor and there’d be three or four game wardens around the table, and they’d just come in from the night working, and I’d sit there listening to the stories and probably fall asleep on the floor.”
Felicia’s graduation from the Conservation Officer Academy came with an emotional surprise. In a break from standard protocol, she now wears Badge No. 86, the same badge her grandfather wore as a DNR conservation officer.
Originally, Felicia says, she thought she was going to receive Badge No. 671.
“On graduation day, when they gave me Badge 671, my dad pulls out my grandpa’s badge from the ’60s and then pinned Badge No. 86 on me,” Felicia said. “So, I think I’m the first one ever to be able to reuse a badge number.”
Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR’s Enforcement Division, gave the OK to reuse the badge, Pat Znajda says.
“He was all for it,” Znajda said. “In the late ’60s, when they went from game wardens to conservation officers, they issued badge numbers by seniority, and my dad was Badge No. 86 — and he’s the only one that ever wore that badge.
“I know he would be extremely proud.”
Felicia now is spending four months in field training with DNR conservation officer Jordan Anderson in Wadena. She’ll be stationed in Osakis beginning in January.
“Ideally, I kind of wanted to get anywhere like the Alexandria or Detroit Lakes kind of area, so Osakis was perfect,” she said.
There have been many changes in a conservation officer’s job duties even since he joined the DNR in 2005, Pat Znajda says; technology is a big one.
“Even when I started, we had tickets that we’d write out — now they’re all computerized,” he said. “People (Felicia’s) age know no different, but for me, it was a huge adjustment.”
Compared with his father’s days in fish and wildlife enforcement, the changes are even more considerable, he says.
“You go back to the 1970s, even when they were doing boat and water enforcement, they weren’t allowed to carry guns,” Pat Znajda said. “That has evolved into we’re fully armed all of the time.”
Also gone are the days of blowing up beaver dams and picking up roadkill deer.
“We’ve gotten away from some of that,” he said. “From some of that fish and wildlife (focus) to more law enforcement and education — education is a big part of what we do, as well.”
Today’s conservation officer workforce also is more diverse, both in terms of female officers and minorities, Pat Znajda says.
“I don’t know the percentage, but we have a significant amount,” he said. “We can probably still do better attracting more females and attracting more minorities, but we’re striving for that. I think we’re doing better.”
Of the 18 recent academy graduates, Felicia was one of seven to come from traditional law enforcement backgrounds. The other 11 were “preppers” who came to the DNR through the agency’s Conservation Officer Prep Program for prospective officers with at least a two-year college degree.
The differences between now and her grandfather’s day are “like night and day,” she says.
Still, the goal remains the same: protecting the state’s fish and wildlife.
“It never fails,” Felicia said. “When I go up to Warren, kind of where my grandpa used to work, I will go into a gas station, and someone will come up to me, and they’ll be like, ‘Was your grandpa Ted?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes’ — I have no idea how they know this — and then they’ll tell me a story about a contact that they had with him 50 years ago.
“I hope to make the same impact that I think that my grandpa and my dad did, going into this field.”
The Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon will be remembered for many things. But Baltimore’s decision to forgo a chip-shot field goal that would’ve broken a 20-20 tie and instead go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line with 4:45 remaining left many at M&T Bank Stadium scratching their heads.
After having second-and-goal from the 1, and after Jackson’s scramble up the middle on third down came up 2 yards short, coach John Harbaugh elected to keep the offense on the field instead of sending kicker Justin Tucker out to attempt what would’ve been a 19-yard go-ahead field goal. The result? An interception, Jackson’s second of the day, in the corner of the end zone. Baltimore never had another possession, but Harbaugh said it was a decision he thought gave Baltimore “the best chance to win the game.”
“Because seven [points], the worst that happens is if they go down the field and score — and I think we’ll get them stopped — but if they go down the field and score a touchdown, the worst thing that can happen is you’re in overtime,” said Harbaugh, explaining his thought process on the Ravens trying to score a touchdown. “But [if] you kick a field goal there, it’s not a three-down game anymore, it’s a four-down game.”
Harbaugh said he didn’t want to put the defense at a disadvantage, adding: “[The Bills] got four downs to convert down the field and a chance to again score seven, and then you lose the game on a touchdown.”
Instead, Harbaugh’s plan backfired.
As a pair of Bills defenders closed in on Jackson, who had to escape the pocket while backpedaling to his right, he threw to wide receiver Devin Duvernay in the corner of the end zone, where the ball was intercepted by Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer.
Harbaugh was confident in the defense’s ability to stop the Bills near the goal line, but the interception gave Buffalo the ball at its 20-yard line, and it would go 77 yards on 12 plays to set up Tyler Bass’ game-winning 21-yard field goal as time expired.
“It didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately, and we lost the game,” Harbaugh said. “So, in hindsight, you could take the points, but if you look at it analytically, understand why we did it.”
Jackson said he was fine with going for it on fourth down, adding: “If we had executed on third down, there wouldn’t have even been that question. Nobody would be disappointed.”
The numbers agree, albeit only slightly. According to the fourth-down decision bot created by The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin, going for the touchdown instead of the field goal increased the Ravens’ chance to win by roughly 2 percentage points. A field goal in that situation gave the Ravens a 63% chance to win, but a touchdown gave them a 65% chance of victory. The Ravens had a 47% chance of scoring from the 2-yard line, according to the decision bot, while a field-goal by Tucker from that distance would be virtually automatic. However, if the Ravens had succeeded in scoring a touchdown, their chance to win would increase to 83% as opposed to 63% with a successful field goal.
Jackson said he had a hard time looking over Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson as the play was breaking down.
“I couldn’t see what was going on,” Jackson said. “I tried to get back some more but it was too late.”
The Ravens under Harbaugh have never had a problem taking risks. During last year’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Harbaugh asked Jackson whether he wanted to go for it on fourth down with 1:04 left. Jackson said, “Hell yeah,” before running up the middle for a first down to secure the Week 2 victory.
Still, those gutsy decisions from Baltimore didn’t always have happy endings. In a Week 13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, Jackson’s pass to tight end Mark Andrews on a 2-point conversion attempt with 16 seconds left fell incomplete in a 20-19 loss. Two weeks later, the Ravens again decided to pass up on the chance to tie the game and failed to convert a go-ahead 2-point conversion against the Green Bay Packers.
Andrews said the Ravens needed to be “a little bit sharper” on that fourth down play on Sunday, but he remains confident in their ability to execute in those situations moving forward.
“I love that Coach [Harbaugh] trusts us to do that,” Andrews said. “Hopefully, we get another opportunity like that, and we will be ready to go.”
As the Bills’ field goal unit came out to win the game in the final seconds, cornerback Marcus Peters was clearly upset and was seen screaming in frustration as he walked toward the sideline.
Peters began to take his anger out on Harbaugh. They exchanged words while getting in each other’s faces before the veteran cornerback was held back by passing game coordinator and secondary coach Chris Hewitt and went into the locker room.
“Emotions run high. We’re on the same page, he and I. We have a great relationship; we have an honest relationship. I love him, I hope he still loves me; we’ll see,” Harbaugh joked. “I’m a Marcus Peters guy.”
Veteran defensive end Calais Campbell said he doesn’t think the team’s frustrations after blowing another double-digit lead at home will impact them moving forward.
“We all just want to win,” Campbell said. “The goal is to win the ball game, and I think with the brotherhood we have, we’re going to challenge each other, we’re going to communicate with passion because it’s a passionate game. At the end of the day though, everybody here is on the same page.”
The Giants have three wins after four games. Now they have to make sure they have a healthy quarterback to face the Green Bay Packers in London next Sunday.
Daniel Jones scampered for two rushing touchdowns, and the Giants ran for 262 yards in Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Chicago Bears behind Saquon Barkley’s 146 on a career-high 31 carries.
But Jones (left ankle) and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (concussion) both sustained significant injuries that forced head coach Brian Daboll to put Barkley at quarterback in the fourth quarter and also reinsert Jones.
“When I saw Tyrod go down I kinda realized, like, I’m up next. I’m the quarterback,” said the dynamic Barkley, who ran all day like he was shot out of a cannon.
Jones underwent X-rays after the game and said he will “do everything I can to play” at Tottenham Stadium next Sunday. But he was limping badly after Bears safety Jaquan Brisker sacked him and landed awkwardly on his ankle with 3:30 left in the third quarter.
Asked to compare his injury to high ankle sprains he has had in the past, Jones said: “Each one’s different. I still don’t know exactly what it is. So we’ll look at it.”
The Giants surely weren’t planning on needing a third quarterback in London, so it will be interesting to see if they need to expedite a passport and international clearance for practice squad QB Davis Webb.
They managed to hold on Sunday when Taylor got hurt, though, because Daboll literally grabbed a white board on the sideline and drew up plays that he and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson had run before with the Buffalo Bills.
“Like when you were eight years old playing with your friends,” Barkley said with a smile.
Barkley played QB in a Wildcat formation the next three plays, twice out of the Pistol with running backs Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell flanking him. He handed to Breida twice for 14 yards and kept it once for four yards to set up a Graham Gano field goal.
Jones came back into the game after Taylor got hurt to relay the play calls to Barkley from his head set. He lined up as a dummy wide receiver on those three plays.
Then Jones played quarterback the Giants’ final two drives, handing a total of seven times to Barkley and never attempting another pass.
It was odd to see Jones return to the game after head athletic trainer Ronnie Barnes and Daboll had been seen on the sideline telling him he was out following the ankle injury.
Daboll said they took Jones out initially because the coach told Jones: “I’m not risking you getting injured to try to protect yourself with that limp.”
But Jones, with his ankle heavily taped, said he could return to the game if needed and remained available.
Jones said he believed “part of the decision” was that his ankle injury left him unable to execute the game plan. So he knew he would go in if Taylor got hurt.
The Giants had been killing the Bears’ defense with Jones’ back-to-the-defense play action rollouts. He had rushed for 21-yard and 8-yard TDs in the first half, the first Giants touchdowns scored in any first half this season.
It marked Jones’ first game with two rushing TDs since his first NFL start at Tampa in Sept. 2019. But his third-quarter injury left him immobile. And Taylor came in to run three times for 30 yards before his injury.
“That was the communication,” Jones said. “I wanted to go in and considering the game and how it was playing out, probably wasn’t the best thing for the team. So when Tyrod went down, I knew I was going back in.”
Jones admitted “it’s frustrating” to get shut down during a game. He was understandably not pleased on the sideline and even put his helmet on when Taylor entered the game.
“You want to play and be out there with your teammates at the end of a game where you’re fighting and trying to win,” Jones said. “But I thought guys stepped up, played great and finished off the game.”
It remains to be seen how the Giants will keep winning with this offense. Jones completed only one first-half pass to a wide receiver, David Sills, with under a minute left in the second quarter.
The Giants’ leading receiver was tight end Daniel Bellinger with three catches for 23 yards.
Primarily, Don Martindale’s defense was the difference, keeping Chicago’s NFC-best running game in check at 149 yards, 37 below their average. Jaylon Smith rotated in at inside linebacker in his season debut.
Martindale’s crew blitzed young Bears QB Justin Fields into indecision and sacked him six times, twice by Dexter Lawrence, who talked a lot of trash and backed it up.
“I’m just playing my game,” Lawrence said with a smile. “If they got beef, we got beef, you know what I mean? You wanna talk junk, I’m good at that. So it’s like, whatchu wanna do? Let’s line up.”
Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux recovered a second quarter Fields fumble forced by Azeez Ojulari that led to a Giants touchdown drive. And Brightwell recovered a fourth quarter muffed punt by the Bears’ Velus Jones Jr. to offset a second quarter muffed punt and lost fumble by the Giants’ Richie James.
But the Giants also lost a ton of players to injury: Jones, Taylor, safety Julian Love (concussion), right tackle Evan Neal (neck), corner Aaron Robinson (knee), receiver Kenny Golladay (knee), defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux (ankle), Ojulari (calf) and Thibodeaux (back spasms). Right guard Mark Glowinski (ankle) and Jihad Ward (unknown) missed time and returned.
The focus, though, is on the quarterback position and who will start against Aaron Rodgers next week.
The Giants’ inactives were LB Austin Calitro, OL Tyre Phillips, DL Leonard Williams (knee), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf) and CB Nick McCloud (hammy).
When New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones faked a handoff to Saquon Barkley in the first quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium and then spun to his left, a clear 21-yard lane to the end zone lay before Jones.
With Chicago Bears defenders Trevis Gipson, Jaquan Brisker and Dominique Robinson in chase mode, Jones picked up speed. Cornerback Kyler Gordon was unable to shake tight end Tanner Hudson’s block near the goal line, and Jones squeaked into the corner of the end zone behind Hudson for his first of two touchdown runs in the first half.
The Giants never trailed again in their 20-12 victory, and Jones contributed 68 rushing yards to his team’s 262 for the day, a season high by a Bears opponent.
“He’s a good athlete,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said of Jones. “He’s got some long legs, so he’s got a good stride and can get out there a little bit. But there are some rules we’ve got to follow to make sure we can contain some of those runs.”
Jones’ second touchdown came in similar fashion — a fake to Barkley, a sprint to the left corner of the end zone, an 8-yard touchdown.
Coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears made adjustments to stop similar bootleg plays in the second half, but they needed to come quicker. The damage of two touchdowns was done, and coupled with a Bears offense that failed to get in the end zone, it was too much to overcome.
“It’s just eyes — you’ve got to keep your eyes in the right spot,” safety Eddie Jackson said of defending Jones on play action. “They were doing a good job setting it up, running with Saquon. Running, running, then slip the boot here and there. We just have to do a better job with our eyes and on the edges.”
The threat Barkley posed helped the Giants pull off the plays. After injuries limited him the last couple of seasons, Barkley continued his bounce-back season with 31 carries for 146 yards and two catches for 16 yards.
His performance also continued a concerning trend, as the Bears have allowed more than 175 rushing yards in three of their four games this season.
“He came out and played a great game, but there were a lot of mistakes on our behalf,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “He’s a heck of a player, but that’s no excuse. We’ve just got to all get better and look ourselves in the mirror, including myself.”
Jones was hobbled by a left ankle injury midway through the second half, and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left to be evaluated for a concussion. The Bears held the Giants to two second-half field goals from kicker Graham Gano.
Jackson came up with a big interception early in the fourth quarter — his third in four games — but the Bears offense failed to capitalize on the takeaway that gave them the ball at their 4-yard line.
Through four games, the Bears defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown after halftime, giving up just 18 second-half points.
But the running thread in the Bears locker room from defenders was that mistakes here and there kept the unit from putting together the game-altering performance the team needed — especially as the offense struggled and special teams made costly mistakes, such as the muffed punt by returner Velus Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter.
Morrow lamented a missed tackle on a short pass from Jones to Barkley on the Giants’ second touchdown drive. On third-and-9, Morrow was right on Barkley when he caught the ball, but Barkley spun out of his grasp for a 15-yard gain.
Gordon was called for a 40-yard pass interference penalty on the Giants’ first field-goal drive of the second half. And Smith wasn’t pleased that Taylor twirled out of his grasp on third-and-4 on the Giants’ final field-goal drive.
“Self-inflicted wounds. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what hurts the most,” Jackson said. “Player for player, we felt like we had ups on them. We just have to do the little things right. We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot, myself included, and both sides of the ball I’m sure, even on special teams.”
Eberflus said a focus this week for the whole team as the Bears prepare for the 3-1 Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium will be putting together a full game after Sunday’s first-half miscues.
“We just have to be consistent all the way through,” Eberflus said. “That’s going to be something we’re going to preach this week and do a better job of. Apparently we’re doing some good things in this second half, but we have to play 60 minutes in this league.”
Three Twin Cities area residents were killed late Saturday night when the small airplane they were flying in crashed into a home and yard just south of Duluth International Airport.
Hermantown officials said Sunday afternoon that Alyssa Schmidt, 32, of St. Paul, and her brother, Matthew Schmidt, 31, of Burnsville, Minn., were passengers in the plane, while Tyler Fretland, 32, of Burnsville, was the pilot. All three died in the crash.
Two occupants in the house, Jason and Crystal Hoffman, were not injured in the crash that happened Saturday just minutes before midnight.
“I’m still not sure what to think. It doesn’t seem real, at all. We’re just lucky. The loss of life is heartbreaking. At the same time we’re grateful for making it through this,” Jason Hoffman said, recalling the crash on Sunday morning.
According to Hermantown Communications Director Joe Wicklund, the Hermantown Police Department was notified by the airport’s control tower that a small airplane had left radar and was believed to have crashed. The control tower advised the last location on radar was 1 to 1.5 miles south of the airport.
Police and fire departments from surrounding agencies responded to the area and located the wreckage of a Cessna 172 airplane in the 5100 block of Arrowhead Road. The airplane hit the second floor before coming to rest in the backyard of the property.
The plane took out much of the second floor of the home at 5154 Arrowhead Road. Pieces of the plane, and damaged vehicles that were parked in the yard, were strewn across the backyard. The largest intact piece of the Cessna appeared to be the tail section. Wicklund said the occupants of the small brick house were upstairs when the crash occurred and were unscathed.
“I remember waking up to a very loud explosion and my wife screaming,” Hoffman said. “The first thing I thought was that the furnace exploded.”
It wasn’t until he fumbled through the darkness and dust to get a flashlight that Hoffman noticed an airplane wheel next to his bed and realized it was a crash.
Neighbors quickly responded to the scene and warned the Hoffmans not to move yet as there were live power lines around the home. The couple found their cat unharmed in the basement and eventually left the home when the dust and rubble became overpowering.
The crash apparently caused extensive power outages in the area but Minnesota Power reported no customers without power at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Hoffman believes the house may be a total loss. He and his wife have lived there for seven years since moving from Worthington, Minn.
“This was actually the first house we saw when we came into town. My wife and I said to each other, we need to live there, and ended up buying it, amazingly,” Hoffman said. “It was kind of like a storybook tale that we found it and fell in love with it so quickly.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are performing an investigation, authorities said. Additional information will be released in concert with the NTSB.
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