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Lethbridge’s top stories of 2019

Snow piled high in a Lethbridge yard on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Twitter/@cmhrose

As we prepare to close out 2019, it’s time to look back at the stories that resonated the most with our Global News audience in the Lethbridge region.

10) Anesthesiologist practising in Calgary, Lethbridge charged with sexual assault

WATCH: (Jan. 17, 2019) Staff at Hall Dental Centre say they just learned an anesthesiologist who practiced at the clinic was charged with sexual assault. The accused lawyer says the alleged incident was not work-related. Quinn Campbell has more.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge dental office shocked after anesthesiologist charged with sexual assault' Lethbridge dental office shocked after anesthesiologist charged with sexual assault
Lethbridge dental office shocked after anesthesiologist charged with sexual assault – Jan 17, 2019

In January, news broke that Dr. Barry Wollach, a southern Alberta anesthesiologist, who practiced in Calgary and Lethbridge had been charged with sexual assault.

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The charge was initially laid in Dec. 2018, and related to an incident in Calgary.  His lawyer said the alleged victim was not a patient.

9) Taber man crushed by hay bale

WATCH: (Nov. 5, 2019) A southern Alberta man is in critical condition at a Calgary hospital after being crushed under a 1,000-pound hay bale for at least eight hours on Saturday night. Emily Olsen reports.

Click to play video: 'Taber man crushed under hay bale' Taber man crushed under hay bale
Taber man crushed under hay bale – Nov 5, 2019

In early November, a volunteer firefighter with the M.D. of Taber was rushed to the hospital, after he was crushed under a 1,000-pound hay bale for at least eight hours.

According to his mother, Cody Petrone had been unloading hay bales, in the dark, at a farm near Barons when his truck sank into the mud at an angle that caused most of the load to tumble down towards him.

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Hypothermia had fully set in by the time a farmer found him the following morning, and his organs were beginning to fail.

He was transported to the Foothills hospital in Calgary via STARS Air Ambulance.

So far the GoFundMe campaign for Petrone has raised more than $10,000.

According to the fundraising page, he continues to undergo treatment for his injuries.

8) 1 dead following collision at Coalhurst intersection

WATCH: (Nov. 26, 2019) RCMP said only driver error is to blame for a fatal collision that killed a 66-year-old woman. Emily Olsen reports.

Click to play video: 'Driver error to blame in fatal Coalhurst collision: RCMP' Driver error to blame in fatal Coalhurst collision: RCMP
Driver error to blame in fatal Coalhurst collision: RCMP – Nov 26, 2019

In late November, a 66-year-old woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash at the infamous Coalhurst intersection on Highway 3 west of Lethbridge.

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RCMP said a car was heading west on the highway when it collided with an SUV that was stopped at the stop sign at 51 Street in Coalhurst.

Mounties believe alcohol was a factor in the collision.

A Lethbridge man, Brian Phillip Wesley, was charged with refusing to provide a blood sample, which carries the same penalties as an impaired driving charge.

7) 4.6 magnitude earthquake hits central Alberta near Red Deer

WATCH: (Mar. 4, 2019) The epicentre of Monday morning’s earthquake was about four kilometres south of Red Deer, near Sylvan Lake. Albert Delitala has reaction as some question fracking’s role in the 4.6 magnitude quake.

Click to play video: '4.6 magnitude earthquake shakes central Alberta' 4.6 magnitude earthquake shakes central Alberta
4.6 magnitude earthquake shakes central Alberta – Mar 4, 2019

In early March, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit central Alberta near Sylvan Lake and Red Deer just before 6 a.m. according to Natural Resources Canada (NRC).

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A professor of Geophysics at the University of Alberta said this particular earthquake, according to current data, is one of the largest the region has experienced.

This wasn’t the first time Alberta has been rocked by seismic activity; in 2018, two seismic events were detected near Alberta Beach, and in 2014 a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit Rocky Mountain House in August, followed by another small earthquake in Banff in October.

6) Teenage girl killed in fiery head-on collision between car and semi near Taber

Police responded to a two-vehicle crash near Taber on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Chris Chacon/Global News

Police responded to a two-vehicle crash near Taber on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.

In early August, a young woman was killed and a man was injured in a two-vehicle collision near Taber.

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A car had been driving west on the highway when it collided head-on with a tractor-trailer going east.

Both vehicles became engulfed in flames and came to rest in the north ditch, police said.

A 19-year-old woman, who was alone in the car, died on scene. The 65-year-old man driving the semi was taken to the Taber Health Centre in stable, non-life-threatening condition, and later released.

5) Lethbridge grinds to a halt amid September snow storm

WATCH: (Sep. 30, 2019) The city of Lethbridge is finding its footing in knee-deep snow after a record-setting storm hit the city this weekend. Nearly the entire city was shut down in a snow day on Monday, as crews worked to clear streets and sidewalks. As Emily Olsen reports, the work isn’t over.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge digs out after record snowstorm' Lethbridge digs out after record snowstorm
Lethbridge digs out after record snowstorm – Sep 30, 2019

In September, Lethbridge and southern Alberta was hammered by a record-setting fall snow storm.

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Schools were closed, public transit was impacted and first responders were only available for emergency calls.

The City of Lethbridge received nearly 60 centimetres of snow during the two-day weather event.

4) Medicine Hat man arrested for alleged sexual offences involving children and dogs

Cody Herrell was arrested in his Medicine Hat home on Sept. 26, 2019. Credit: Facebook/Cody Herrell

Cody Herrell was arrested in his Medicine Hat home on Sept. 26, 2019.

In late September, a 26-year-old Medicine Hat man was arrested in connection with an ALERT investigation for alleged sexual offences involving children and animals.

After a search warrant was executed, Cody Herrell was arrested and charged with sexual assault, bestiality, and accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s Internet Child Exploitation unit alleges he had been accessing child pornography online. His computers and electronic devices were seized.

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Officials stressed the accused does not work in a position of trust or authority.

3) Inaugural Green Shirt Day held to raise organ donation awareness in Alberta

WATCH: (April 7, 2019) The ATB Centre was the epicentre of activity to mark the inaugural Green Shirt Day in Lethbridge. The day honours the Logan Boulet effect, a nation-wide initiative to create awareness for organ donation. Chris Chacon has more.

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Lethbridge marks Green Shirt Day – Apr 8, 2019

April 7, 2019 marked a year and a day since the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

It also marked the first-ever Green Shirt Day in Canada, which honours the crash’s victims — including Broncos player Logan Boulet, a 21-year-old defenceman from Lethbridge —  and highlights the need for organ donors across the country.

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After being inspired by a coach, Boulet made the choice to sign his organ donor card and told his parents, Bernadine and Toby Boulet, about it.

Boulet’s heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and corneas were donated, saving or improving the lives of six people across Canada.

2) Lethbridge woman captures video of officer repeatedly running over injured deer

WATCH: (Jan. 8, 2019) A woman in Lethbridge captured video of a disturbing incident on her cellphone. It shows a police officer running over a deer multiple times with his patrol vehicle as the animal lay dying on a street in the city’s north end. Matt Battochio reports. WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing content. 

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge woman captures video of officer repeatedly running over injured deer' Lethbridge woman captures video of officer repeatedly running over injured deer
Lethbridge woman captures video of officer repeatedly running over injured deer – Jan 8, 2019

In early January, a woman in Lethbridge captured a disturbing incident on her cellphone of a police officer running over a deer multiple times with his patrol vehicle as the animal lay dying on a street in the city’s north end.

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Erica Pritchard said she was driving with her father along Scenic Drive North in the late hours of Jan. 5 when she witnessed a car slam into the rear end of a young deer, apparently breaking its back legs.

Pritchard said no humans were hurt in the incident, but when the Lethbridge officer arrived on the scene she was shocked to see the officer run back and forth over the injured animal twice with his truck.

The officer’s actions were investigated by ASIRT.

In June, the police watchdog said the constable would not be facing any charges.

1) Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party wins majority government

WATCH: (April 16, 2019) Liam Nixon recaps the 2019 Alberta election results for Lethbridge and southern Alberta.

Click to play video: 'Alberta election 2019: Lethbridge and southern Alberta recap' Alberta election 2019: Lethbridge and southern Alberta recap
Alberta election 2019: Lethbridge and southern Alberta recap – Apr 17, 2019

In April, Albertans voted for change again, electing a majority United Conservative Party government under Premier Jason Kenney.

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Voters ousted Rachel Notley’s NDP government, which had won a majority four years earlier.

Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips was able to retain her seat in a very close race.

In Lethbridge-East, the UCP’s Nathan Neudorf defeated NDP incumbent Maria Fitzpatrick.

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