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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

This is the records summary for Feb. 8.

Benson man to hospital after Highway 9 crash east of Sunburg

SUNBURG — A 62-year-old Benson man was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar for treatment of non-life threatening injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash around 3 p.m. Wednesday east of Sunburg.

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According to the State Patrol, Thomas Twitchell was driving an Oldsmobile passenger car eastbound on State Highway 9 and sideswiped a semi driven by John Houpt, 48, of Hot Springs, Ark. The semi was also eastbound on the highway.

Vehicle hits rural Kimball house, alcohol believed to be factor

KIMBALL — A 52-year-old Kimball man lost control of his vehicle, which struck an occupied residence around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday north of Kimball.

According to a news release from Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, Kyle Loy Christensen was driving eastbound on County Road 147 in Maine Prairie Township, lost control of the vehicle and drove into the ditch, striking a house at 9098 County Road 147, causing minor damage.

No one was injured in the incident. Alcohol is believed to have played a role in the incident. Also responding were the Kimball police, fire and rescue departments.

Brooten man arrested after drug investigation into meth sales

BROOTEN — A 44-year-old Brooten man was arrested Wednesday by a Stearns County Sheriff’s deputy who was assisting the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force in an investigation into methamphetamine sales in Brooten.

Kelly Grundseth was arrested after officers visited his workplace Wednesday. He had 7.2 grams of meth, plus the proceeds of selling controlled substances, on his person when he was arrested.

Grundseth was taken to the Stearns County Jail on charges of third-degree drug possession and sale.

The arrest was the result of a two-month investigation in which investigators purchased meth from Grundseth.

Theft

WILLMAR — The theft of an iPhone from a locker room was reported around 12:20 p.m. Thursday at the Willmar Middle School, 209 Willmar Ave. S.E.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- Allyson Nicole Snyder, 18, of Willmar, made her first appearance Wednesday on two felony charges of registering to vote in more than one precinct and voting more than once in the same election.

She was released on her personal recognizance. Her next appearance is Feb. 19.

According to the complaint, the Willmar Police investigation began on Dec. 14 when officials from the Kandiyohi County Auditor/Treasurer office reported that Snyder had voted in St. Louis County via absentee ballot and had registered to vote and voted in Willmar on Nov. 6, 2012.

Snyder was interviewed and reported that she is attending college in Willmar and that her parents live in St. Louis County. She said she did the paperwork for absentee balloting and sent it to St. Louis County on Nov. 3, but believed that her ballot would not be counted in St. Louis County. With that belief, she registered to vote and voted in a Willmar precinct on election day. She was shown both the St. Louis County and Kandiyohi County paperwork and said each piece contained her signature.

n Patrick Steven Lee Witthus, 27, of Stewart, made his first appearance Wednesday on a second-degree drug sale charge for allegedly selling 10 grams of methamphetamine to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant in May.

Unconditional bail was set at $50,000. His next appearance is Feb. 19.

According to the complaint, the informant allegedly purchased the meth from Witthus while parked in the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot in Willmar.

- Tyler Chase Sanders, 19, of Kandiyohi, made his first appearance Thursday on felony charges of third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal damage to property for allegedly breaking into a storage shed and damaging a vehicle in September.

Unconditional bail was set at $10,000. His next appearance is March 14.

According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputy was called to an address in Kandiyohi on Sept. 13 regarding a case of property damage. A man reported that someone had entered a storage shed and tampered with a pickup, including going through the glove box, scratching the paint on both sides and the tailgate of the pickup and taking the dipstick, air filter and air filter cover.

Investigators found a fingerprint on an aerosol can in the vehicle and sent it to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis. The print matched as Sanders’ left ring finger.

The investigation was aided by anonymous information that Sanders and another man were bragging about the incident. The other man said Sanders did the damage to the pickup and took the dipstick and air filter because he thought the items would fit his vehicle.

Sanders was interviewed and denied any involvement and said his fingerprint was not on anything in the shed because he wasn’t in the building.

The damage estimate for the pickup was $3,140.91.

- Jarod Jeffrey Hennen, 23, of Willmar, was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in jail, a $750 fine and five years of probation on a felony charge of first-degree tampering with a witness for breaking the windshield of a car belonging to a man who cooperated with a drug investigation.

Hennen was also ordered to pay $225.58 in restitution, have no contact with the victim and write an apology letter to be approved and sent to the victim by his probation officer.

The charge was filed after Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputies were called around 11:15 p.m. Sept. 29 regarding a case of vehicle damage in Kandiyohi. The person reporting the damage said they were following the suspect in a silver car to Willmar.

The car went to a home along Quincy Avenue Southwest, where deputies met the man reporting the incident. The man said he had aided the Stearns County Sheriff’s office in a drug task force investigation into the sale of marijuana. Hennen was charged with felony fifth-degree sale charges as a result of the investigation.

- Jonathan Roy Mead, 25, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge of third-degree burglary for breaking into an apartment in September.

As part of a plea agreement, the charge was reduced from second-degree level and another felony for theft will be dismissed. He will be sentenced March 26.

Mead and Ruben Lee Vallejo, 30, of Willmar, are both charged in the case. Vallejo faces felony charges of second-degree burglary and theft, plus a petty misdemeanor of possession of a small amount of marijuana.

The charges were filed after Willmar police were called around 11 p.m. Sept. 19 to the 400 block of 15th Avenue Southwest regarding a burglary in progress. A citizen reported observing the burglary from another apartment in the complex and that one of the two men involved had fled from the scene.

Officers arrived to find a damaged window and a man, later identified as Vallejo, in the apartment. Vallejo said he had come to the apartment to get his money back, funds that he had given the tenants to get him drugs that they never delivered. He handed over a bag of marijuana to the officer. He claimed he did not know the other man, who ran away, that the window was broken when he arrived and that he did not take anything.

The tenants said they had not taken Vallejo’s money and had never seen him before.

Vallejo was arrested and taken to the Law Enforcement Center.

Later, the tenants reported to police that $800 in cash and electronics, plus Social Security cards, were missing from the apartment.

Witnesses reported seeing a man they knew as “John Pon” run from the building. One of the witnesses picked Mead from a photo lineup provided by police.

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