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

This is the records summary for Jan. 7.

Sheriff’s Office names man killed Saturday in crash east of Willmar


WILLMAR — The man killed in a two-vehicle crash Saturday just east of Willmar was Steven Joseph Szalma, 38, of Kandiyohi.

According to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office Szalma was driving a vehicle that collided with a vehicle driven by Dustin Hoting, 37, of Willmar.

The crash was reported around 12:46 p.m. Saturday on 15th Avenue Southeast (County Road 23), about a quarter-mile west of County Road 9. When emergency services arrived, they found Szalma had died.

Two passengers in the Szalma vehicle, Stacy Gilberts, 37, and 7-year-old boy, were transported by Willmar Ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

Hoting was westbound on 15th Avenue when his vehicle lost control on the icy roadway, crossed the center line and collided with the Szalma vehicle.

Swift, Kandiyohi drunken driving patrols net 24 arrests during statewide campaign

WILLMAR — Law enforcement officers in Kandiyohi and Swift counties arrested 24 people on drunken driving charges during the recent DWI enforcement effort.

According to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, the average blood-alcohol concentration of those arrested was 0.22, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.

The Nov. 27 to Dec. 31 campaign was part of the statewide enhanced enforcement and education effort was coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The enforcement was conducted to prevent traffic deaths and injuries from the day before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, both historically popular party nights.

“Drunk driving is totally preventable and we can avoid these tragedies when we plan ahead and make smart decisions,” said Swift County Sheriff John Holtz.

During the past three years, 2010 to 2012, 336 people were killed in Minnesota drunk driving crashes. Each year in the state, around 30,000 people are arrested for driving while impaired.

Missing Hector man found safe

HECTOR — The Renville County Sheriff’s Office said Casey D. Clark, 36, of rural Hector who was initially reported missing Saturday was found a short time later.

The sheriff’s department said it received and corroborated information that Clark was seen and spoken to in central Minnesota at about noon Saturday and was in no apparent danger.

The sheriff’s office thanked volunteer searchers, the news media and the citizens who provided information in the case,

Clark was last seen driving a white 2002 Chevrolet 4-door Super Duty pickup Thursday evening near Hector, and had not contacted his family, nor had his family been able to contact him.


WILLMAR — Willmar Police received a report Saturday of the theft of an iPhone and man’s wallet from the Carmike movie theater in the 1600 block of First Street South. The individual who reported the theft said he left the items in the cup holder while at the movies.

LAKE LILLIAN — The theft of a wallet from a vehicle was reported around 11 a.m. Monday near the intersection of 45th Street and 210th Avenue Southeast.

District Court, Kandiyohi County

- Farah Hirsi Awale, 19, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to a second-degree burglary charge for his role in breaking into an apartment Sept. 10 on the southwest side of the city.

As part of a plea agreement, a gross misdemeanor for theft and a misdemeanor for damage to property will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Feb. 24.

Awale and Mohamed Ahmed Omar, 27, were charged in the case. Omar was sentenced in December to 28 months in prison, which was stayed, 10 years of probation and 109 days in jail, plus paying $600 in restitution, remaining law-abiding, participating in victim/offender mediation and writing a letter of apology.

The charges were filed after a citizen reported they saw the burglary happen and then took photos of the men taking away the stolen items that helped identify Awale and Omar as the perpetrators of the crime.

Willmar police were called just before 3 p.m. Sept. 10 to Ninth Street Southwest. A woman there reported that she had seen two men, a man in a yellow shirt and another in a red sweater, enter a nearby apartment and take items, which they put into the trunk of a silver car. The woman had taken photos of the men as they left the location.

An officer found the vehicle and the men matching the description given by the woman in the downtown area. The woman later identified the men as the burglars.

The owner of the vehicle allowed officers to search the trunk, where they found a game system and accessories and a laptop computer.

- Christopher Cody Johnson, 22, of Redwood Falls, was sentenced Monday to 14 months in prison, which was stayed, five years of probation, 121 days in jail and a $1,500 fine on a felony charge of failing to comply with predatory offender registration requirements.

 Johnson was given credit for 121 days already served and ordered to register as a predatory offender.

The charge was filed after April 19, when Willmar Police received a report that Johnson was not compliant with predatory offender requirements, as he is required to register because of a juvenile adjudication for criminal sexual conduct.

Johnson had provided information that he lived in an apartment complex in Willmar and worked at a local establishment. The investigation revealed that he’d worked for the place for two months and that he’d left the apartment because he wasn’t allowed to live there. Johnson had also failed to register a new address.