WILLMAR -- Thomas Ralph Lungstrom, 52, of New London, made his first court appearance Wednesday on a second-degree assault charge for allegedly driving his vehicle at an Xcel Energy employee as the employee was cutting off his electricity.
Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. His next appearance is May 29 in Kandiyohi County District Court. Lungstrom also faces a misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault.
According to the complaint, Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were dispatched Monday to a home just outside of New London regarding an assault involving Lungstrom threatening to ram an Xcel worker and his truck. The worker was at the home to turn off the power due to non-payment for the service.
The utility worker said he was sitting in his truck at the corner of 187th Street and County Road 31 when Lungstrom drove by on the grass in ditch, turned his vehicle around and then drove at high speed, estimated at 50 to 60 mph, directly at the front of the utility truck. The worker said he had put on his seat belt and thought he was going to have to brace for a head-on collision before Lungstrom stopped his vehicle 10 to 15 feet from the front of the utility truck.
The worker said Lungstrom told him to leave or Lungstrom would ram him.
Lungstrom allegedly admitted to driving his vehicle at the worker to one deputy, but denied it to another deputy. He said he had refused to allow the man onto his property.