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Court news: Man accused of trying to burn down his own house

According to court records, on the morning of Dec. 19, a deputy responded to a residence in rural Becker County on reports of threats being made and a couch being on fire.

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Osage man accused of trying to burn down his house

DETROIT LAKES — Ryan Lee Kruger, 34, of rural Osage has been charged in Becker County District Court with felony first-degree arson, for allegedly trying to burn down his own house.

According to court records, on the morning of Dec. 19, 2022, a deputy responded to a residence in rural Becker County on reports of threats being made and a couch being on fire. A woman had received a text message from Kruger with a picture of Kruger's couch on fire inside his residence.

It was also reported that Kruger wrote that "someone else was going to die" by end of the day. Krueger's residence was confirmed to be on Becker County Road 47, and law enforcement soon located him at his girlfriend's father's residence in Wadena County.

The deputy asked Kruger if he sent a picture of a couch on fire at his house and he replied: "My house is on fire, yes. It is my place, I burnt it down and it is not insured. I can burn it down legally."

The deputy later informed Kruger that he did not believe his house had burned down and he responded by saying "well, that's a bummer." Kruger said that to start the fire, he lit toilet paper and newspapers on fire and placed them on his couch. He was arrested on suspicion of arson.

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Meanwhile, other deputies and members of the Carsonville Fire Department responded to Kruger's home in Becker County. The deputies noticed smoke coming from the mobile home, and photographed the residence and the damage from the fire.

At the Becker County Jail, Kruger told an investigator that his trailer house is located on his aunt's property, adding that he just wanted to get rid of the trailer so he could move forward. "It needs to go," he said.

On Dec. 28 Kruger posted a $10,000 bond and was released under standard conditions.

On Jan. 13 his attorney asked the court to reschedule an omnibus hearing scheduled for Jan. 17 until after Jan. 31, because Kruger is currently in the Hubbard County Jail and does not expect to get out until after Jan. 31.

Man accused of 23-mile police chase in Becker County

Ethan Dean Smith, 30, of Moorhead has been charged in Becker County District Court with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

According to court records, on Oct. 8, 2022, at 5:21 a.m. a deputy was patrolling Highway 34 in Becker County and pulled Smith over for driving with expired registration.

When the deputy returned to his squad car to run Smith’s information, Smith sped away and a pursuit began. It went for about 23 miles at speeds of 60 to 70 mph. Stop spikes were used, and the vehicle later came to a stop. Smith was arrested and taken to jail. He said he fled because he knew he was going to jail due to being on probation.

On Dec. 20, District Judge Michelle W. Lawson sentenced Smith to a year and a day in prison at St. Cloud, stayed four years. Credit was granted for 54 days served in jail. He was fined $1,000 plus $1,150 in court fees, and was ordered to complete a comprehensive assessment and follow the recommendations, including aftercare. He was placed on supervised probation for four years.

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Osage man charged for police chase

James Lee Hale, 43, of rural Osage has been charged in Becker County District Court with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and gross misdemeanor DWI.

According to court records, on the evening of Oct. 9, 2022, a report was received that a dark-colored truck had damaged a pole at Byre’s Liquor store in Osage and was driving all over the road on Highway 34.

The officer traveled eastbound from County Road 121 on Highway 34 and saw a blue 2000 Chevrolet Silverado weave over the center and fog lines traveling about 72 mph.

The officer activated his emergency lights to stop the Silverado, which slowed to 62 mph and then sped up to 74 mph. The pickup truck turned into a driveway on the 46000 block of Highway 34 and parked by a garage. The driver, Hale, exited the vehicle. He had poor balance, slurred speech and a strong alcoholic odor emanating from his person. At the jail, his blood alcohol concentration tested at .24%, three times the legal limit.

On Nov. 11, he posted $300 cash bail and was released with standard conditions. An omnibus hearing is set for Feb. 6.

Related Topics: BECKER COUNTY DISTRICT COURTCRIME AND COURTSPUBLIC SAFETY
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