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news Willmar, 56201

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

This is the records summary for Nov. 1.

School bus burns in Meeker County, kids safely evacuated

LITCHFIELD — A quick-thinking bus driver evacuated 43 children from a school bus Thursday morning, getting the children off the bus as smoke came from the control panel in the driver’s compartment near a rural Litchfield residence.

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According to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called at 7:48 a.m. to 65260 288th Street in Forest City Township and arrived to find the bus smoking heavily.

The students were loaded into a second bus and the driver said she noticed an odor and then smoke coming from the control panel, evacuated the children, expended the on-board fire extinguisher and then called for assistance.

By the time the Litchfield Fire Department arrived, the front of bus was fully engulfed in flames. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but the bus was a total loss and had to be towed from the scene. The estimated value of the bus is $60,000.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- Derrick John Blakey, 22, of St. Paul, made his first appearance Thursday on a felony charge of possession or sale of a stolen or counterfeit check for a check found in his possession Tuesday by Willmar Police officers.

Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. His next appearance is Nov. 12.

Blakey also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of giving a false name to a peace officer and a misdemeanor count for fleeing a peace officer.

According to the complaint, Willmar Police were called around 1:50 p.m. Tuesday to Wal-Mart, where a man had allegedly attempted to pass a fraudulent check. An officer located a man matching the description given by store officials in the parking lot. The man gave the officer a false name, but consented to a search of his person. When the officer located a checkbook in his pocket, the man later properly identified as Blakey, ran away. However, he tripped and fell down nearby and was taken into custody by police.

The checkbook contained a blank check in another man’s name, plus a driver’s license with a clipped corner and the yellow sheet that drivers receive from the DVS during their renewal.

Investigators later determined that the check was counterfeit, based on the routing and checking account numbers.

Video surveillance footage from the store showed Blakey attempt to purchase an iPad, headphones and a wireless keyboard with the check. The clerk was suspicious and went to get a supervisor, and Blakey walked away from the register.

Blakey was interviewed and claimed he’d come to Willmar to buy the items for a relative in Spencer, Iowa, on his way there from St. Paul. He claimed he wanted to pay cash and denied showing the check or the driver’s license and denied that he had the check on his person when he was arrested. He was searched and officers found $244.15 on his person. The total for the items he attempted to purchase was $995.83.

- Jesus Sanchez III, 28, of Willmar, made his first appearance Thursday on a felony charge of domestic assault by strangulation and a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault.

Unconditional bail was set at $15,000. His next appearance is Nov. 12.

According to the complaint, Willmar Police were called Tuesday evening to a residence on the southeast side of the city on a report of domestic assault. A woman reported that Sanchez had been abusing her at another residence and that the abuse included punching and pushing her. She said they had gone out to dinner and argued, with the argument escalating into him choking her. The woman had gone to another residence, where others persuaded her to call authorities.

Sanchez was arrested the same evening and refused to speak with officers.

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