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Willmar, Minn., man gets probation, must pay more than $12K for damaging crops

WILLMAR — Bronson Cody Evenson, 20, of Willmar, was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation, 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on a felony charge of first-degree criminal damage for driving his pickup through multiple crop fields near Willmar and Pennock, causing thousands of dollars in lost crop yields.

As part of his sentence handed down by District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court, Evenson was also ordered to pay $12,699.99 in restitution in the case, follow the recommendations of a chemical use assessment, submit to testing and not use or possess drugs or alcohol.

Evenson was ordered to serve 30 days in jail starting Friday and the remaining 60 days can be deferred if he complies with the conditions of probation. He received a stay of imposition on his sentence.

Under the stay, the felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if Evenson complies with the conditions of sentence.

As part of a plea agreement reached earlier, two additional felony property damage charges and a misdemeanor charge for driving after suspension were dismissed.

The charges were filed after the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office received reports July 28 and 29 from farmers that someone had driven a vehicle through their fields near the Willmar airport and north of Pennock. The volume of corn stalks left on the roadway near the fields near the airport led deputies to believe that there would be corn plants stuck to the vehicle.

On July 30, a citizen reported that he had seen a young man removing corn stalks from his vehicle along Ninth Street in the southeast part of Willmar. The citizen recalled reading a news report about damage to fields and thought the agricultural foliage on the vehicle was suspicious.

Deputies found the vehicle, a 1995 Chevy pickup registered to Evenson, and noted that it had soybean leaves in the front grill, wheat tops on and around the vehicle and corn leaves and plants hanging from the underside of the pickup.

The pickup, which was then towed by the Sheriff’s Office, was also missing pieces from the front end.

Evenson admitted to a detective that he and a friend had driven through the fields after leaving a party near Pennock.

Evenson was escorted to the damaged fields by a detective and admitted to causing the damage and to driving without a valid license.

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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