Monday, November 9, 2009

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Minn. man assaults worker with backhoe

Nov 09 2009

DULUTH, Minn.— Prosecutors charged the co-owner of a Hermantown construction company with assaulting a construction worker with a backhoe. The criminal complaint said a 48-year-old man told investigators he wanted to "nudge" the victim, but didn't want to hurt him. He also said it was a stupid thing to do. Even his business partner and his son agreed it was a colossally stupid thing to do.

The investigating officers and 10 or 12 onlookers all agreed it was a really, really stupid thing to do, that it would be difficult for the backhoe guy to do anything stupider if he spent the rest of his life trying. Even the victim got in on the blaming and told the man he was the stupidest boss he ever had worked for.

It happened at 11:14 a.m. Wednesday, when the 24-year-old victim sought care in an emergency room. He reported he was at a job site when he was intentionally struck by the suspect.

Hermantown police Sgt. Mark Gunderson said it appeared the suspect didn't think the construction worker in the trench was doing his job right, so he hit him with the backhoe. Less contrite at the police station, the backhoe opera said he frequently used his backhoe to urge lazy workers to work harder. He said he never had any complaints from any of his workers before, backhoed or not.

The victim was diagnosed with bruises, but no broken bones.

The backhoe operator was charged with second-degree assault.

The backhoe was arrested and taken to the station, also, because it was a material witness to the assault and perhaps had skin scrapings from the victim which could be introduced into evidence if the owner or his lawyer tried to suggest it was not the same backhoe, but a rogue backhoe that acted of its own conviction. Court watchers said they thought that would be a stupid defense which would only incense the jury.

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