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Atwater, Minn., man receives jail, probation for damaging crops

WILLMAR -- Dale Duaine Binger, 43, Atwater, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and five years of probation on a felony charge of first-degree property damage for damaging the crops in corn and soybean fields with a vehicle last summer near Atwater.

As part of his sentence handed down by District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court, Binger was ordered to follow the recommendations of a chemical use assessment, complete chemical dependency tr-eatment and not use drugs or alcohol.

Restitution was re-served in the case.

As part of a plea ag-reement, the charge was elevated fr-om misdemeanor level and a second-degree arson charge was dismissed. Binger received a stay of imposition on his sentence. Under the stay, the felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if he complies with the conditions of his sentence.

The charges were filed after July 24, when Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called to a rural Atwater address regarding a vehicle on fire in a cornfield. The vehicle was engulfed in fire when the first deputy arrived.

A citizen reported that there was damage to another field in the area and he had observed the vehicle in the field catch fire.

The fire was extinguished by the Atwater Fire Department and law enforcement determined the vehicle belonged to Binger and an Atwater woman.

Binger was located in a nearby soybean field, talking gibberish about radios and people in trees. He had orange spray paint on his body. Deputies also found orange paint on the burned vehicle.

One of the deputies followed the vehicle's tracks through corn and soybean fields, farm yards and marshlands southwest of Atwater.

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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