A 9-1-1 call came in to the local law enforcement center shortly after noon on Wednesday, July 13, reporting a woman was screaming for help as she was clinging to a branch of a downed tree in the Upper Iowa River near the 5th Ave Bridge. Decorah Police, Decorah Fire and Rescue, as well as First Responders and Winneshiek Medical Ambulance services were dispatched to the area. When officers arrived on scene, they learned that people passing by the area, who heard the screaming assisted the woman from the river. They were unable to locate a 10-year-old child and a second adult who had been tubing with the woman. It was believed that they continued down the river within their inner tubes. Officers and fire personnel quickly located the child and second adult and assisted them from the river a short distance away. They were still in their inner tubes.
Officers interviewed the woman (Ying Xiao from Florida) and learned that she was tubing with her 10-year-old daughter and an adult friend. As they rounded the bend in the river above the 5th Ave Bridge, Xiao got tangled up in a downed tree that was in the river. She lost her tube and began screaming for help as she clung to the downed tree. The rest of her group safely made it past the tree and continued down the river. No injuries were observed or reported by the subjects. They were given a ride back to the tube rental business.
Decorah Police Chief David Smutzler said, “the Decorah Police Department would like to thank the Decorah Fire and Rescue Squad, the 9-1-1 call center, Winneshiek Medical Center Ambulance Service, and the First Responders assisting with this successful mission; and also, to the people that assisted the woman and got her out of the river before we arrived. I am sorry that I did not get to thank you in person; but you get the biggest thank you.”
Decorah Police conducted a traffic stop July 15 at 12:58 a.m. at the intersection of College Drive and Heivly Street. After investigation, Police arrested 40-year-old Vanessa Gonzales of Union Grove, Wis., for operating while intoxicated, 1st offense. She was transported to the Winneshiek County Jail without incident.
While incarcerated in the Winneshiek County Jail on July 11, Scott Williams, age 42, of Calmar, was served an arrest warrant for violation of probation.
An unidentified 15-year-old juvenile from Ridgeway was traveling west on 270th Street on July 10. The 2007 Chevy Suburban began to fish-tail back and forth several times on the gravel, ultimately entering the north ditch and rolling once before landing on its wheels. The driver was cited for no valid driver’s license and failure to maintain control.
Trisha Kountkofsky, 39, of Ridgeway, was arrested and booked into the Winneshiek County Jail on Monday, July 11, at 8:35 p.m. on an arrest warrant for theft 2nd degree, violation of pre-trial supervision.
Winneshiek Sheriff’s Office was called to an accident Sunday, July 17, near Old Stage Road in Decorah. 51-year-old Mark Price of Decorah was driving to his residence on Dogwood Road when he made a turn too early, lost control of the vehicle and went into the ditch. The driver then struck a phone box and a retaining wall. He said he attempted to get his vehicle out of the ditch, creating damage to a yard at 2462 Cottonwood Road. The driver said he is blind in one eye and also had bad peripheral vision. Damages totaled $200 to Price’s vehicle, $500 to a yard owned by Theodore Cahalan, $1,000 to a phone box owned by Centurylink, and $500 to a retaining wall owned by Daniel Downing. The driver was cited for failure to provide proof of financial liability.
Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of stranded kayakers Saturday, July 16 at around noon on the Upper Iowa River north of Kendallville. The kayakers were two adults and two children from the Homestead and North Liberty areas. The Decorah Fire Department boat was able to locate and retrieve the kayakers on a small island in the river near Kendallville. Decorah Fire Department, Harmony Fire and the Iowa DNR assisted the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office.