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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

This is the records summary for Oct. 3.

Grass fire burns 10-15 acres north of Olivia; cause undetermined

OLIVIA -- The Olivia Fire Department was called around 8 p.m. Monday to a grass fire of undetermined origin along U.S. Highway 71 about three miles north of Olivia.


According to Fire Chief Tim Seehusen, the fire was started at multiple locations along the road ditch and burned into a plot of Conservation Reserve Program acres, consuming between 10 and 15 acres before firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The fire crew also put out a very small fire that was about one-half mile away from the larger fire.

Deer on roads

SPICER -- It's the time of year when restless deer become a big problem on area roads. One Kandiyohi County deputy was reminded of that early Tuesday.

At 1:20 a.m., a citizen hit a deer with a vehicle at Highway 71 and 122nd Avenue Northeast west of Spicer. The deer was still alive but seriously injured, and the deputy needed to discharge his firearm to kill it.

At about 3:30 a.m., the deputy hit a deer with his squad car at North Shore Drive and 85th Street Northeast, along the north shore of Green Lake. The squad was damaged. The deer survived the crash, so the deputy again needed to use his firearm to end its suffering.


WILLMAR -- Two bicycles were reported stolen from the Kennedy Elementary School area Monday evening.

The theft was believed to have taken place between 5:30 p.m. and 6:20 p.m.. The bikes are a yellow boys bike and a black and red bike with blue lettering. The theft is under investigation.


WILLMAR -- A Willmar woman reported receiving a telephone call from a man who said he was from Medicare and asked for her bank account number. The woman did not give him any information. She hung up and contacted police.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- Erica Rachel Cruz, 25, of Crete, Neb., was sentenced Monday to seven days in jail, 10 days of probation, a $500 fine and $597 in restitution on a felony charge of check forgery - liability for crimes of another for her role in stealing a state-issued check and forging a signature to cash the check.

District Judge Donald M. Spilseth ordered that when Cruz had paid the fine and the restitution, the case would be closed.

Cruz and Maria Julia Saldana, 34, of Willmar, are both charged in the case. Saldana faces three felonies and a warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear for court on Dec. 15.

The charges against Cruz were filed after Willmar police began investigating the case on Oct. 24, 2011, after a woman reported that she never received a check from the state Department of Revenue for $575. She had been informed by the state that someone had cashed the check at Quick Funds and signed her name on the check.

The investigation revealed that Cruz had presented her identification when cashing the check.

She was interviewed and at first said that she had cashed the check at the woman's request. She later admitted that she and Saldana had cashed the check. She said that the woman had previously lived in the apartment where Saldana was living. Cruz claimed that Saldana received all of the money.

Saldana was also interviewed and allegedly admitted to receiving the check. She said that Cruz cashed it because she did not have an ID. She claimed they split the money.

- Darren Gregory Melges, 40, of Spicer, was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison, which was stayed, five years of probation, 60 days in jail and a $250 fine on a felony charge of terroristic threats.

Melges was also ordered to serve 125 hours of community service work, follow the recommendations of a chemical use assessment and treatment and have no contact with one of the victims in the case.

As part of a plea agreement, another felony for second-degree assault, plus a gross misdemeanor for driving while impaired and misdemeanors for disorderly conduct were dismissed.

The terroristic threats and second-degree assault counts and one disorderly conduct charge were filed after a March 29 disturbance at Mel's Sport Shop in Spicer when Melges threatened to harm a male relative and a female employee at the business.

The drunken driving charge and another disorderly conduct charge stemmed from an April 3 incident in which Melges physically assaulted the male relative. While in the parking lot, he started driving his pickup directly at the female employee, making her think he was going to run her down before he swerved to the side.