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Probation for driver in Willmar cornfield crash


WILLMAR — A man who crashed a car in a cornfield south of Willmar and then fled on foot — leaving three injured children and an adult woman behind — will not serve prison as long as he successfully completes probation.

Jason John Fobbe, 31, of Buffalo, was sentenced Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court to 22 months in prison for a charge of criminal vehicular operation and 21 months in prison for a charge of domestic assault.

As part of a plea agreement, Judge Jennifer Fischer stayed the concurrent sentences and placed Fobbe on probation for five years for one charge and three years for the other.

Five other assault and driving-related charges were dismissed.

Fobbe was also sentenced to 174 days in the county jail, and given credit for 174 days already served.

During sentencing, Fobbe's attorney said his client has shown remorse for his actions and is working to turn his life around. The attorney has agreed to work directly with Fobbe to help him meet a lengthy list of conditions.

Fobbe told the court that he has supportive friends who are helping him maintain sobriety. He said his past record has made it difficult to get steady work, which would make it difficult to pay fines.

Judge Fischer gave Fobbe the option to pay fines and fees of $1,340 by doing community service work in Wright County.

According to the criminal complaint, Fobbe and a woman consumed alcohol Aug. 6 at a family party in Kandiyohi County. When they left the party, the woman took the driver's seat of the vehicle, with Fobbe in the passenger seat and three children in the backseat.

When the woman began to drive away from the party, Fobbe opened the driver's side door and pushed the woman out as the vehicle was moving. The woman ran back to the car and got into the passenger seat.

According to the complaint, Fobbe punched the woman in the face several times as he was driving.

Fobbe ran a stop sign at a highway intersection, lost control of the vehicle, drove into a ditch and then a cornfield south of Kandiyohi.

A passerby administered first aid to the woman who had swollen black eyes, as well as a fractured nose and chipped tooth, but Fobbe fled once sirens from emergency vehicles were audible.

Fobbe, who was briefly listed on Kandiyohi County's most wanted list, was arrested two months later in Wright County on a probation violation for previous domestic assault convictions.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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