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Drivers checked by ambulance personnel after two-vehicle crash

WILLMAR -- The drivers of two vehicles that collided at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Fifth Street Southeast around 4:10 p.m. Thursday were evaluated for injuries by ambulance personnel, but not transported to the hospital.

According to the Willmar Police Department crash report, Donald T. Knopps, 44, of New London, was driving a 1998 Mazda westbound on 19th Avenue and Jennifer Ann Johnson, 26, of Clontarf, was driving a 1996 Chevy Blazer northbound on Fifth Street. The vehicles collided and both drivers told officers they had a green light to proceed into the intersection.

Raymond woman to hospital by private party after crash

WILLMAR -- A 56-year-old Raymond woman was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital by a private party after a two-vehicle crash Thursday at the intersection of 19th Avenue and 30th Street Southwest.

Janice Mae Leuze was driving a 2002 Pontiac on 30th Street and attempting to make a left turn to go east on 19th Avenue when she turned out and was struck by a 1997 Chevy driven by Travis Jon Dekruif, 19, of Chandler.

Property damage

WILLMAR -- Damage to a hedge was reported around 9:45 a.m. Thursday along the 700 block of 10th Street Southwest. The caller reported someone had driven a vehicle into the foliage.


SPICER -- Fraudulent charges on a debit card were reported around 2 p.m. Thursday along the 14000 block of 10th Street Northeast.


WILLMAR -- The theft of items from the trunk of a vehicle was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday along the 400 block of Becker Avenue Southwest.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 38, of Spicer, made his first appearance Thursday on felony charges of third-degree burglary and theft for allegedly breaking into a rural Spicer storage garage and stealing go-cart equipment.

He was released on his personal recognizance and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim, that person's home or an alleged accomplice. Schaeffer's next appearance is Dec. 14.

According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy was called on Aug. 4 to an Irving Township home to investigate a burglary. A man there said someone had entered his storage garage and taken a go-cart, parts for another go-cart and numerous tools. The value of the property was more than $3,000. He said that Schaeffer was the only person who could be responsible.

Schaeffer was interviewed, but nothing suspicious was disclosed. Investigators interviewed a woman who told them Schaeffer knew where the items were located, had expressed interest in them and had a reputation of being a thief.

On Sept. 30, an anonymous letter arrived at the Law Enforcement Center stating that Schaeffer had taken the items and sold them to an accomplice. The accomplice was interviewed and admitted to possessing some of the parts and that he bought them from Schaeffer. He showed the items to investigators and the rightful owner later properly identified the items.

Schaeffer was interviewed again, and denied selling the parts and the theft from the garage.

He has prior convictions including two third-degree burglary convictions in December 2001 and June 2005.

- Alexander John Cookson, 20, of Hawley, made his first appearance Thursday on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Unconditional bail was set at $3,000. His next appearance is Dec. 14. He also faces charges of driving after revocation, careless driving and for failure to signal a turn and stop at a stop sign.

According to the complaint, two Willmar police officers were in the Ridgewater College area around 5:45 a.m. Nov. 21 and heard a vehicle, southbound on 24th Street, revving its engine and traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle made an abrupt turn, revved the engine and spun out. The officers pursued as the vehicle continued to drive, make turns and not stop for a stop sign.

On 27th Street Northwest, the driver parked the car, exited and began walking toward the officer, who drew his firearm and ordered him to the ground. When questioned about why he didn't stop, Cookson said he didn't have a driver's license, had driven three hours to see a girl and then was disgusted because he had to follow a slow driver.

He said he knew the squads were following him and that he had seen the lights. While waiting with the officer for a tow truck, he said he was trying to be "sneaky" and park the car quickly.