Weather Forecast


Willmar girl faces charges for stolen vehicle crashed into utility pole

WILLMAR — A 16-year-old Willmar girl made her first appearance Wednesday on a felony charge of motor vehicle theft for allegedly stealing a car in Willmar that she later crashed into a utility pole in northern Renville County.

Charliyn Justine Rodriguez also faces a misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle tampering. Her next appearance is Tuesday.

Felony charges against 16- and 17-year-old juveniles are public record.

This is Rodriguez’s second case involving the theft of a motor vehicle. She also faces a felony charge for allegedly stealing a vehicle in January in Willmar. In that case, she also faces misdemeanor charges of tampering with a motor vehicle and underage consumption.

Her next appearance on those charges is also Tuesday before District Judge Michael Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the petition in the new case, a 1995 Buick was reported stolen around 6:15 a.m. Tuesday along the 1300 block of 13th Street Southwest. Willmar police released information to area law enforcement agencies about the vehicle and received information from Renville County around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable had responded around 7:50 a.m. Tuesday to a crash about four miles north of Olivia, in which none of the four youths in the vehicle were injured when the car entered the ditch and struck a utility pole, according to information released previously by the Sheriff’s Office.

Rodriguez allegedly said that she was the driver of the vehicle, and that the others in the vehicle were encouraging her to “make doughnuts” while she was attempting to make a U-turn when the crash happened.

She was arrested and interviewed again at the county jail and allegedly admitted to taking the car, which had the keys in the ignition, and said that she had persuaded two of the others to be involved. She said she drove the car to Olivia and then to Bird Island to pick up the fourth person in the vehicle.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, two of the other juveniles were arrested at the scene of the crash at 340th Street and Renville County Road 11. Utility crews were called to replace the power pole, which was sheared off in the crash, and restore power to those in the affected area.

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. 

(320) 214-4373