February 6, 2016

Madison police investigate year’s first homicide

Christopher O'Kroley

Christopher O’Kroley

Madison Police are investigating the first homicide shooting of the year. Officers arriving at the parking lot of Metro Market on Cottage Grove Road on the city’s east side at around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday found a 24-year-old woman shot in the head. She was taken to an area hospital and Chief Mike Koval said she was pronounced dead about 8:30 p.m.

A witness across the street from the store alerted police after hearing shots fired.

Police have been searching several locations for a suspect, identified as Christopher O’Kroley. He’s described as a 26-year-old, white man, 6′ tall and weighs 180 pounds. O’Kroley is believed to be driving a 2000 VW Jetta with a Wisconsin license plate 720-KRW. Officers were outside O’Kroley’s residence, a duplex in the 800 block of North Thompson Drive, on Wednesday morning.

Koval said preliminary information shows that O’Kroley and the victim knew each other; however, the relationship is not known at this time. The victim’s name has not been released, but police say she was from Stoughton.


Wisconsin DHS epidemiologist addresses Zika virus concerns

The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported  by local health officials in Texas on Tuesday.

In a potentially alarming development, the Texas case is believed to have been  contracted through sex, and not a mosquito bite. News of the Texas case came a day after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency.

Zika virus poses a special concern for pregnant women — with an enormous increase in birth abnormalities in South America. Wisconsin Division of Public Health epidemiologist Diep Hoang Johnson said this week that pregnant women should avoid travel to the affected regions.

She said there are specific recommendations — including ultrasounds — for pregnant women who have made such a trip.

“There is a concern that even if they don’t have symptoms, the virus can cross the placenta, and can affect the fetus,” Johnson said. “If they come back and they don’t have symptoms, they still need to talk to their physicians.”

Zika virus can be transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. The virus has been reported in more than 30 countries and linked to microcephaly, in which babies have abnormally small heads and improperly developed brains.

Zika is in the same family of viruses as West Nile, another mosquito borne illness that has become familiar in Wisconsin.

About 80 percent of people who are infected with Zika virus may not have any symptoms. Illness may develop in 20 percent of infected people within 3 to 7 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms are generally mild and can last for several days to a week. Common symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), photophobia (sensitivity to light), muscle pain or headache.

Severe symptoms and fatalities are uncommon. There is presently no vaccine, prophylactic or specific medication available to treat Zika virus illness.

Advice to snow shovelers: take it easy

If you’re clearing away snow this morning, make sure to take it easy on yourself. “If you aren’t the most active person the world, or have history of heart trouble, make sure you’re talking to your doctor even before you’re going out and doing this kind of thing,” said Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management.

“If you’re feeling tired, like your heart is beating strong, you just don’t feel right, stop. Take a deep breath, take some time off, don’t push yourself.

Up to a foot of heavy, wet snow fell across a significant portion of Wisconsin — and there are almost certain to be some emergency room visits resulting from heart attacks and back injuries.

Even if you’re using a snowblower, you still need to play it safe. “The classic problem in these kinds of wet, heavy snowstorms is the snowblower getting jammed up, and someone sticking a hand in there to try to clear it out. Never, ever do that,” Pritchard said.

It’s also important to dress appropriately, and to make sure you’re adequately hydrated, before you tackle that sidewalk or driveway. Mayo Clinic has some advice from physicians on how to stay safe while shoveling.

Two Wisconsin drivers killed in Minnesota crash

Two Wisconsin residents died early Monday on an icy highway in southeast Minnesota. A car driven by 42-year-old Fay Bailey of La Crosse lost control on a curve, and crossed a median before colliding with an oncoming SUV driven by 42-year-old Jeffrey Meixner of Eau Claire.

Both drivers died at the scene, and a passenger in the Bailey auto was taken to a hospital in Winona with undisclosed injuries. It happened about ten miles south of Winona on Highway 61.

Traffic crashes in Wisconsin killed 28 in January

Traffic deaths in Wisconsin during the month of January were at their second lowest level since the 1940s.

Preliminary figures released by the state Department of Transportation show 28 people were killed in traffic crashes last month. Those numbers include 21 drivers, six passengers and one pedestrian.

There were eight fewer traffice-related deaths compared to the same month last year, and 11 less than the five year average. The safest January on record for the state was in 2010, with 20 fatalities. January of 1964 marked the deadliest, with 82 fatalities.

David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety says the best thing people can do to prevent crashes is to eliminate distractions while driving, such as using a cell phone, eating a meal, or searching for items in the car.