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Man faces felony charge for assaulting Willmar officer

WILLMAR — Douglas Robert Blom, 55, of Willmar, made his first appearance Friday on a felony charge of fourth-degree assault of a peace officer for a Thursday afternoon altercation with a Willmar police officer that included hitting the officer in the head during a traffic stop.

Unconditional bail was set at $25,000. His next appearance is Oct. 2.

Blom also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of violating the conditions of a restricted driver’s license and a speeding charge for driving at 51 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Also on Friday, Police Chief David Wyffels said Officer Joshua Helgeson was recovering from his injuries, including cuts and scrapes and a bump on the head, and was expected to be back on patrol soon.

According to the complaint, Helgeson was on routine patrol around 4:30 p.m. Thursday along 15th Street Southwest and saw a vehicle exceeding the speed limit. Radar indicated a speed of 51 mph in a 30-mph zone. He turned around and caught up with the vehicle when it turned into a parking lot along the 500 block of 16th Street Southwest.

When Helgeson approached the car, the driver, later identified as Blom, was upset and cursing at him. Helgeson attempted to calm Blom and told him not to get out of the vehicle as he attempted to get out of the car.

Blom punched the officer in the left side of his head when Helgeson put his hand on Blom’s shoulder in an effort to keep him in his car. After the hit, the officer was lightheaded, in pain and dizzy and called for backup officers.

Meanwhile, Blom continued to yell and swear. Helgeson activated his Taser stun gun, which seemed to have no effect on Blom, who pulled the wires out of his chest. Blom continued to advance on the officer, who used Mace on him. Helgeson then wrestled Blom to the ground and Blom continued to fight, attempting to hit the officer and gouge his face.

Blom was subdued when other officers arrived. Helgeson was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital and treated for his injuries and released. Blom was also taken to Rice after he complained of skin abrasions and exposure to the chemical spray.

Blom’s driving record includes that his driver’s license is restricted and requires that he not consume any alcohol. A preliminary breath test administered after the incident showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.02.

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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