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Lake Lillian woman pleads to assault in ramming case

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News Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A Lake Lillian woman pleaded guilty to assault Thursday for ramming her vehicle into another as she chased a woman trying to flee her.

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Sandra Kaye Block, 44, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of second-degree assault for a Aug. 25 incident that involved ramming her vehicle into another car in an attempt to prevent the woman from getting away.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault will be dismissed and Block can seek a lesser sentence than what would be recommended by sentencing guidelines. Her sentencing date is Jan. 10.

Block and Rachel Anne Hartwig, 21, of Wheaton, were both charged after the incident along County Road 8 near Lake Lillian. Hartwig faces three felonies, two for second-degree assault and one for child endangerment. She allegedly had a 2-year-old child in her vehicle as she rammed it into the other vehicle. Her next appearance in that case is Tuesday.

Hartwig also faces a felony charge of aiding an offender for allegedly refusing to cooperate with officers who came to her home on Oct. 7.

The officers came to Hartwig's home searching for Block, who had violated the terms of her release. An officer saw Block through a window, but Hartwig allegedly denied Block was in the home. Eventually, officers searched the home and found Block in a closet. Both women were arrested. Her next appearance in that case is Nov. 29.

According to the ramming case complaint, Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 to the area of County Road 8 and 75th Avenue Southeast to investigate an assault by vehicles with injuries.

The woman who was trying to get away, along with three others in the same vehicle, reported that Block and Hartwig had repeatedly rammed their two vehicles into theirs. The woman trying to flee them was injured in the incident.

Deputies and the ambulance met the woman and the three others south of Willmar. The woman was then taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The woman told deputies that she had been living with Block for two months and they had an argument during the day, with Block upset about the woman's relationship with the man who had come to get her. The woman had left the home and walked down County Road 8. She was followed by Block's and Hartwig's vehicles.

The woman had contacted the man from Willmar to come and get her. The man had picked up another man and a woman in Willmar before traveling to the Lake Lillian area.

When the man's vehicle arrived, the woman attempted to get into the vehicle, at which time Block allegedly drove her vehicle into the passenger-side door where the woman was entering the vehicle. She was then pinned between the door and the frame of the vehicle. Block then backed up and rammed the vehicle again. Meanwhile, Hartwig allegedly rammed the other side of the vehicle with her car.

A deputy examined the vehicle, which appeared to have been hit in at least six locations.

Block and Hartwig were interviewed and told the deputy that the woman suffers from seizures and that they did not want her to leave the residence until the seizures were under control. They claimed that the man who had come from Willmar rammed Block's vehicle and then Hartwig's vehicle when the woman was getting into his vehicle. Block claimed that someone had kidnapped the woman and claimed that the woman is a vulnerable adult.

"Vulnerable adult" is the legal term used in Minnesota to describe a person who has a physical or mental condition that impairs the person's ability to care for him or herself.

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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