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Women from Lake Lillian ramming incident in trouble again


WILLMAR -- Two women charged with felony assault charges for ramming their vehicles into a third vehicle in an attempt to prevent another woman from getting away from them are in more trouble with the law.

Rachel Anne Hartwig, 21, of Wheaton, made her first appearance Friday on a felony charge of aiding an offender for refusing to cooperate with law enforcement officers who came to a residence in search of Sandra Kaye Block, 44, of Lake Lillian.

Hartwig's bail was set at $10,000 with conditional release allowed on her personal recognizance. Her next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court is Oct. 18. She also faces a misdemeanor charge for obstruction of the legal process.

According to the complaint, officers went to Block's home on Thursday looking for Block because she had allegedly violated the terms of her release and was wanted on a warrant. One officer went to the side of the home, where he saw Block through a window. Another officer went to the door, where he was met by Hartwig, who denied that Block was in the home. Eventually, officers searched the home and found Block hiding in a closet.

Both women were arrested. Hartwig allegedly admitted to knowing that Block was in the home and to calling someone for her and bringing her the phone.

Also on Friday, Block pleaded not guilty to a felony second-degree assault charge and a misdemeanor domestic assault charge in the ramming case. Her next appearance is a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 2. A two-day jury trial is set for Nov. 16 and 17.

Hartwig faces three felony charges in the ramming case, including counts for second-degree assault and child endangerment, as she had a 2-year-old child in the car during the incident. Her next appearance in that case is Nov. 23.

According to the ramming case complaint, Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 to the area of County Road 8 and 75th Avenue Southeast to investigate an assault by vehicles with injuries.

The woman who was trying to get away, along with three others in the same vehicle, reported that Block and Hartwig had repeatedly rammed their vehicles into them. The woman was injured in the incident.

Deputies and the ambulance met the woman and the three others south of Willmar. The woman was then taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The woman told deputies that she had been living with Block for two months and they had had an argument during the day, with Block upset about the woman's relationship with the man who had come to get her. The woman had left the home and walked down County Road 8. She was followed by Block's and Hartwig's vehicles.

The woman had contacted the man from Willmar to come and get her. The man had picked up another man and a woman in Willmar before traveling to the Lake Lillian area to pick the woman up.

When the man's vehicle arrived, the woman attempted to get into the vehicle, at which time Block allegedly drove her vehicle into the passenger-side door where the woman was entering the vehicle. She was then pinned between the door and the frame of the vehicle. Block then backed up and rammed the vehicle again. Meanwhile, Hartwig allegedly rammed the other side of the vehicle with her car.

A deputy examined the vehicle, which appeared to have been hit in at least six locations.

Block and Hartwig were interviewed and told the deputy that the woman suffers from seizures and that they did not want her to leave the residence until the seizures were under control. They claimed that the man who had come from Willmar rammed Block's vehicle and then Hartwig's vehicle when the woman was getting into his vehicle. Block claimed that someone had kidnapped the woman and claimed that the woman is a vulnerable adult.

"Vulnerable adult" is the legal term used in Minnesota to describe a person who has a physical or mental condition that impairs the person's ability to care for himself.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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