Police Report: vehicle crashes into home, former teacher refutes charges

Man crashes into an occupied home, dies
A Big Lake man was killed Saturday, Feb. 11 after driving his 2000 GMC Yukon into the side of a house in the 16800 block of 242nd Avenue in Orrock Township in Sherburne County.

Homeowners Lionel and Janene Callies were in the house watching TV just after 7 p.m. when they heard the crash from another portion of the house, according to Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott.

A call was placed to 911 after the Callieses discovered what had happened and attempted to render aid. Deputies arrived minutes later to find the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle unresponsive.  Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and Ray Kopponen, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death as well as the accident remains under investigation.

Former teacher refutes sex charges
The former Spectrum High School teacher who is accused of having sex with an underage student, says he’s innocent of criminal charges because their affair happened during the summer when he wasn’t in a position of authority over her. Matthew Ellsworth, 36,  is on trial in Ramsey County District Court for criminal sexual conduct. His attorney argues he also had no intention of returning to the school.