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Man gets three years in drive-by shooting

BENSON -- Charles Elmer Hoberg, 39, of Benson, was sentenced Friday to three years in prison on a felony charge of dangerous weapons - drive-by shooting toward a motor vehicle or building. The conviction stemmed from his role in shooting up a rural Benson man's home and attempting to run the man over with a vehicle.

Hoberg was also ordered to forfeit $1,000 in bail money to pay $500 in restitution to the victim and $500 in fines, according to Harry Hohman, assistant county attorney.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Swift County District Court, two additional felony charges, for second-degree assault and possession of a pistol or assault weapon after conviction for a violent crime, were dismissed.

Hoberg's co-defendant, David Gonzalez, 19, of Benson, faces two felony charges for drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, plus three counts of driving while impaired and open bottle charges. He failed to appear for a court hearing in August.

The charges were filed after July 24, when a Swift County sheriff's deputy was dispatched around 11:50 p.m. to a report that there were gunshots fired and cars chasing each other in the Swift Falls area.

At 12:03 a.m., a 911 call was received from a rural Benson address and a man reported he had fired on a car after almost being struck by the vehicle.

The man also reported he had an altercation with Hoberg earlier that day and had sprayed Hoberg with mace. The man, Hoberg and several others had been at the Swift Falls Bar and left. The man reported he was pulling into his driveway, saw headlights coming and a white car accelerating toward him.

The car sideswiped his vehicle and he had to jump behind it to avoid being hit. He said he saw a person in the back turning around in the back seat and believed he saw a weapon.

The man, who is licensed to carry a firearm, fired a handgun four times at the vehicle.

He then went to the house and found numerous bullet holes in the home, which were not there earlier in the evening.

The white car was stopped a short time later in Benson. Gonzalez was identified as the driver and Hoberg as a rear-seat passenger, and the officer observed two rifles in the back seat. The front-seat passenger was not charged in the incident.

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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