STEP Program

The holiday season is known for celebrations and traditions, but it is also known for being the deadliest season when it comes to drunk and drug-impaired driving. Iowa Law Enforcement, including the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this holiday season to remove impaired drivers from the roads and help save lives. From December 13, 2019 to January 1, 2020, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement.

As we prepare for festivities with family and friends, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau wants to remind all drivers of the dangers of driving impaired. You have to choose your role before the celebration begins. Will you drink, use drugs or will you drive? Remember, even if you have a little bit to drink, you could still be over the legal limit. Whether the drug is legally prescribed or illegal, driving while drug-impaired poses a threat to the driver, vehicle passengers, and other road users. Remember….if you feel different, you drive different!

Sobering Statistics:

In 2017, 45% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs, tested positive.

According to NHTSA, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December, 2017.

Despite the fact it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2017, one person was killed every 48 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.

On average, an OWI could set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and more.

The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes is devastating. Based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually.

From December 13, 2018 to January 1, 2019, Iowa law enforcement officers arrested 506 impaired drivers. Also, during this time frame in Iowa, there were 17 fatal crashes killing 18 people. Four of these seventeen fatal crashes involved an impaired driver.
Celebrate with a Plan:

Always remember to plan ahead if you will be celebrating with an impairing substance. If you plan to indulge, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Call a taxi, friend or Uber! Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take the role seriously and do not partake in alcohol or any other drugs. You are saving lives!

Cheers to not wrecking the holidays and making yours merry and bright!

Warrant Arrest

On 12/06/19 the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested Aria Nicole Harrison, (20) of Emmetsburg, on a valid No Bond Palo Alto County Arrest Warrant for Violation of a No Contact Order. Following her arrest, Harrison was placed in jail to await her initial appearance before a judge.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Accident

On December 6, 2019 at 7:56am, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a single vehicle accident with injuries located in the 4200-blk 430St.

A 2002 Ford Ranger, driven by Elyssa M. J. Flannegan age (16) of Emmetsburg, was east bound in the 4200-blk of 430 St when she lost control of the vehicle. The Ford entered the south ditch and rolled. The Ford came to rest in the field with Flannegan being ejected from the truck. A passing motorist observed the truck and Flannegan in the field and call 911.

Flannegan was transported to the Palo Alto County Hospital and then transferred to Sioux Fall, SD Hospital by air. The extend of her injuries are unknown at this time. The Ford was a total loss.

Assisting at the scene was the Emmetsburg Ambulance and the Iowa State Patrol.

Warrant Arrest

On December 5, 2019 at 6:15am, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested Franklin Clyde Vaughn II on three valid Palo Alto County Warrants. The warrants were for two counts of Burlary in the 2nd degree, one count of Assault, and one count of Criminal Mischief 3rd degree.

Vaughn could not post bond and was placed in the Palo Alto County Jail awaiting an initial appearance before a judge.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Warrant Arrest

On 12-04-2019 at 4:30, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38 year old Loni Atzenhoefer, Fairmont, Mn., on a Palo Alto County Warrant for Probation Revocation on an original charge of Forgery, Class D Felony. As there was no bond on the warrnt, Atzenhoefer was transport from Fairmont, Mn. to the Palo Alto County Jail.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Warrant Arrest

On December 4, 2019, at 7:05 a.m., the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested Justin Reese (27) of Mallard on a Palo Alto County arrest warrant. The arrest warrant was issued for Reese on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor. Reese was transported to the Palo Alto County Jail where he was served the warrant and given a court date to appear on the charge.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Car Deer Accident

On Monday, December 2nd, 2019 at 11:04 pm, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office investigated a car/deer accident involving a patrol vehicle with the Iowa State Patrol. Following the investigation, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office determined that Iowa State Patrol Officer Scott Studer was driving a 2019 Dodge Charger northbound in the 3000 block of 420th Avenue (Hwy 4). A deer entered the roadway from the east ditch and was struck by the patrol vehicle. There was an estimated $10,000.00 damage in the accident.

Tobacco Compliance

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Palo Alto County youth.

Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 91%. By participating in the program, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has committed to do its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.

I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.

I-PLEDGE’s retailer training is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product sale. The training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.

Palo Alto County Deputies will also be conducting compliance checks on local establishment as part of the I-PLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter establishments and attempt to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products. Clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot.

Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.

“By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community.” Sheriff Schultes said. “Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.”

To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to https://abd.iowa.gov/.

Single Vehicle Accident

On 12/01/2019 at 1:44 A.M. the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a one vehicle, personal injury accident that occurred in the 3400 block of 460th Ave. A 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, owned by Michael Murphy and operated by Kyle Harding (29) of Emmetsburg, was traveling west on a private driveway. The vehicle approached the intersection at 460th Ave and the driver lost control of the vehicle and it continued straight through the intersection, entered and proceeded through the ditch and came to stop in a field. A front seat and back seat passengers both reported minor injuries and were transported by Palo Alto County Ambulance Service to the Palo Alto County Hospital. The vehicle sustained damage estimated at $5000.00.
Kyle was issued a citation for failure to maintain control/reduce speed. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Emmetsburg Police Department, Emmetsburg Fire Department, and the Palo Alto County Ambulance Service.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Domestic Assault

On 11/26/2019 at 11:43 P.M. the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a physical domestic altercation that had occurred in the 4800 block of 455th Ave., Mallard, Iowa. Upon completion of the investigation Patrick Prentice (28) of Mallard was arrested and charged with domestic abuse assault resulting in bodily injury a serious misdemeanor. Patrick was taken into custody and transported to the Palo Alto County Jail without incident to await his initial appearance before a judge. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Mallard First Responders, and Palo Alto County Ambulance Service.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.