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Man faces charge for taking minivan from bar, crashing it into mailboxes, snow bank

WILLMAR -- A 23-year-old man from Osakis made his first court appearance Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court on a felony charge of motor vehicle theft for allegedly taking a running minivan and crashing it into some mailboxes and a snow bank in New London.

James Russell Parks Jr. also faces misdemeanor charges of property damage and driving after revocation. Unconditional bail was set at $5,000 with conditional bail at $1,000. His next appearance is March 1.

According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County Sheriff's deputy was called to the New London Bowl around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 14 on a report of a stolen vehicle. A man reported he'd found the missing vehicle crashed into a snow bank along Main Street in town.

The vehicle, a 1999 Ford Windstar, appeared to have traveled northbound in the southbound lane and destroyed mailboxes before striking the snow pile on the west side of the street, which caused substantial front-end damage.

The owner of the vehicle said she'd started it around 1:20 a.m. and left it running and unlocked and returned to find it missing minutes later.

A patron told the officer he'd seen a man he knew as "Jimmy" get into the vehicle and drive away at a high rate of speed.

The investigation showed that the man had used a credit card recently at the establishment, which revealed Park's full name, which was used to search the Department of Vehicle Services. Several others involved in the case identified Parks in a photo lineup.

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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