2 arrested as police remove children from La Vista 'pigsty'

Two children were taken from a La Vista house Thursday night by police after detectives searching for stolen property found them living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, police said.

The detectives, who served a search warrant at the house near South 76th Street and Susan Avenue, were looking for items stolen during the past three months from vehicles along the Harrison Street corridor from 66th Street to Highway 50, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said.

They found the suspected stolen property, and methamphetamine, heroin and the children, ages 7 and 6, Lausten said.

There was "no place for kids to sleep," he said. "Just a pigsty inside there."

A woman, the mother of the children, and a man, who is not related to them, were arrested. The woman was booked on suspicion of felony narcotics possession, felony child abuse and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. The man was booked on suspicion of narcotics possession.

Lausten said he did not know the genders of the children. — Dan Golden and Emerson Clarridge

2 men arrested after crashing car during traic stop

Council Bluffs police arrested two men late Wednesday after their vehicle crashed during an attempted traffic stop.

Police said the men, Johnathan Featherstone, 22, and Russell Barker, 20, both of the Bluffs, were arrested around 11:45 p.m. when their vehicle slid on a patch of ice and struck a fence after turning into an alley off North 21st Street between Avenues C and D.

Police said they attempted the traffic stop on the four-door Plymouth because the vehicle's driver, Barker, had an obstructed view due to a broken windshield.

Police said Barker was arrested on suspicion of eluding a police officer.

Featherstone was arrested on suspicion of two burglary counts, forgery and escape from custody, police said. — Jay Withrow


16-year-old driver killed in accident near Minden

A 16-year-old Minden youth was killed in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday night in the south central part of the state.

Austin Beitler died in the accident about 9:20 p.m. at the T intersection of 35 Road and R Road about 4 miles northwest of Minden, the Kearney County Sheriff's Office said.

Beitler, who was not using a seat belt, was driving a 2005 Pontiac G6, the Sheriff's Office said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. — Jay Withrow

Work to begin this month on $24.4 million road project

Work is scheduled to begin Feb. 29 on the Nebraska Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 75 interchange on the south edge of Nebraska City.

The Nebraska Department of Roads said the $24.4 million, 1-mile project will include constructing a new elevated interchange, with Highway 2 elevated over Highway 75; grading, paving, seeding, landscaping and lighting; and installing culverts.

The project will be constructed in phases to accommodate motorists, roads officials said. Traffic will be maintained at all times on both Highways 2 and 75, but head-to-head traffic will be required at various times, roads officials said. Temporary traffic signals, flaggers and pilot cars will be used to help with traffic flow.

The project is expected to be completed during the 2018 construction season.

Officials said Constructors Inc. of Lincoln was awarded the contract for the project. — Jay Withrow


Police chief disciplined for creating lewd images

DENISON — The police chief in the western Iowa city of Denison has been disciplined for creating lewd images that ended up on the department's shared computer drive, officials said.

Former Denison Police Officer Ray Ohl told Sioux City television station KTIV that Chief John Emswiler had pictures of his staff on his computer and that Emswiler would use editing software to put "their heads on different stuff."

City attorney Derrick Franck said information on the chief's computer somehow got onto the department's shared drive. Franck said the situation was investigated, the chief was disciplined and the city considers the matter closed. He declined to describe the discipline. — AP

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