Driver pleads not guilty to 1st set of charges

Published 10:45am Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A man who was stopped twice in early May for hauling a radio tower that took up the entire road and interfered with power lines pleaded not guilty Thursday to two of 24 charges against him in Mower County Court.

Ron Crews, 24, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor public nuisance and reckless driving charges. He also faces 22 other misdemeanor charges, no warning lights, inoperable lights, no driver’s license on hand and no proof of insurance on hand, exceeding load size and 16 charges for unsafe equipment. He has not yet pleaded to those charges.

According to the court complaint, Crews obtained the proper moving permits on May 7 after he originally snagged a power line in Lansing while hauling a very large radio tower on May 6.

Crews said the structure touched a power line, but he was able to get underneath it. However, law enforcement stopped him underneath the power line for about an hour and half on May 6. Crews then drove forward and left the structure outside of Lansing, he said. Crews attempted to move the item again by a different route on Monday after he obtained the proper permits from the county; however, a Department of Transportation Officer stopped Crews because he did not have escort vehicles. According to the complaint, Crews had a crude structure on the tower to push power lines out of the way.

Crews said on May 7 that he was upset because he obtained the proper permit, which did not list at what size load one needs to arrange a vehicle escort. Therefore, he attempted to move the item again.

“They never specified if I did or didn’t need escort,” Crews said.

Crews said he cut down a branch near a power line on Monday to get underneath and said he did touch that power line but didn’t snag it. He was later pulled over by the DOT officer.

According to the court complaint, Crews called dispatch but the Sheriff was unavailable, so he decided to move the tower without consent. Crews was reportedly hauling for Wallace Bustad and taking the tower to his shed in Lansing.

Crews’ pretrial for the remaining charges is not until Nov. 29.

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