Anderson found guilty of six charges in Westby's death

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/3/98.

John Carl Anderson, 35, Paynesville, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on six of the 14 felony charges last week in connection with the Oct. 15 accident which killed Gary Westby, New London.

After a day of deliberation, the Stearns County jury found Anderson guilty of criminal vehicular homicide, causing substantial bodily harm, causing bodily harm, causing a death while fleeing an officer, causing substantial bodily harm while fleeing an officer and driving under the influence.
Judge Skipper Pearson ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

In closing, Public Defender John Moosbrugger attempted to shift the blame for the accident away from Anderson to Paynesville Police Officer Joe Schmitz. Moosbrugger stressed Schmitz overstepped department policy during the chase and was negligent.

Assistant Stearns County Attorney Will Brost was satisfied with the juryís decision. Brost said the county attorneyís office will review Schmitzí status in due course.

In a Paynesville Police Department investigation, independent investigator Orvid LeBerge, said there was no evidence that Officer Schmitz used anything but sound judgment in his pursuit of Anderson. His report blames the chase and accident on Anderson. Officer Schmitz returned back to active duty in December.

Paynesville City Administrator, Dennis Wilde, said they (the city) were happy with the juryís verdict.

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