Landon Batenhorst abondoned vehicle

THE NEBRASKA State Patrol investigated a single-vehicle crash on May 14 in northern Norfolk. It was later learned that Landon Batenhorst, 27, crashed the vehicle into the field and fled the scene on foot.

MADISON — A judge gave a Norfolk man a chance at probation Thursday after he was convicted of multiple vehicle thefts and DUI.

Judge James Kube sentenced 27-year-old Landon Batenhorst to a 24-month term of Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision (SSAS) for three charges — two felonies and one misdemeanor.

Batenhorst’s charges arose from separate incidents in which he stole cars two days apart. He was found intoxicated following the second incident, according to police.

On May 12, law enforcement was asked to investigate a purported vehicle theft. The next day, deputies were dispatched to the area between First Street and Victory Road on Eisenhower Avenue following reports of a suspicious vehicle.

A Norfolk police officer recognized the vehicle description and proceeded to the area. The officer confirmed that it was the same vehicle that had been stolen and discovered several beer cans inside. Batenhorst was not near the vehicle when the officer arrived, and the vehicle was returned to its owner.

On May 14, two days after the vehicle was reported stolen, the Nebraska State Patrol and Norfolk Fire & Rescue were dispatched to the area of First Street and Industrial Road for a one-vehicle accident that sent another stolen vehicle into a field.

Troopers who arrived on scene were directed by witnesses to a grassy area about a quarter-mile south of the accident scene, where they believe Batenhorst had fled on foot.

After law enforcement located Batenhorst lying down in a field nearby, they noted a strong alcoholic odor emitting from his breath. Batenhorst was later treated by medical personnel, but he refused to submit to a chemical breath test.

Batenhorst had claimed he was out jogging and fell, which caused stains, minor cuts and abrasions to his hands and legs.

The 27-year-old said in court Thursday that he doesn’t think he has an alcohol problem.

“I don’t believe I have a problem. I just make poor decisions while I’m driving,” he said.

Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney, said Batenhorst wanted to steal the vehicles simply for the thrill of it.

“It states in the (presentence investigation) report that the reason he stole these vehicles is because he wanted a little excitement,” Kiernan said. “Depriving people of their property or their only means of transportation isn’t exciting. It’s cruel.

“This is something he did to spice up his life. It is a warped mentality to make himself feel better.”

Kiernan said incarceration in both cases was necessary.

Chelsey Hartner, deputy Madison County public defender, said that while Batenhorst didn’t think he needed alcohol treatment, he would still comply with probation terms.

“He has room to work on himself. It’s been seven years since he’s been on any type of formal probation, but (Batenhorst) tells me if he was placed on probation, he would be serious about it and follow through with it.”

Batenhorst declined to speak before being sentenced.

Kube told Batenhorst that there didn’t appear to be any reason for him to steal a pair of vehicles other than childishness.

“I suppose when I read this, I had the same take as Mr. Kiernan,” the judge said. “I don’t understand why you had to steal these vehicles. “... Quite honestly, when I read the reports, it struck me that this was almost just immature action — that you just wanted to do it for the fun of it.”

Kube disagreed with Batenhorst that he didn't need any treatment and subsequently ordered him to serve the two-year intensive supervision term. He also was fined $1,000 and had his license revoked for 15 years.

“I do think that you have an issue with alcohol even though you don’t,” Kube said. “Any time you’re in a situation where you're drinking and driving, it does just come down to a poor decision, but usually it’s deeper than that.”

Kube sentenced others Thursday for the following:

Attempted possession of a firearm by a prohibited person

— Gordon J. Davidson, 26, Bloomfield, 5 to 8 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 107 days served, costs.

Possession of cocaine, possession of alprazolam

— Estevan Sanchez, 19, 906 S. 13th Place, 24 months’ probation, 90 days in the Madison County Jail before probation ends with credit for 18 days served, costs.

Possession of methamphetamine (10 grams or more) with intent to deliver

— Howard J. Parson Jr., 34, Beemer, 6 to 10 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 96 days served, costs.

Third-degree assault of a pregnant woman, false information

— Jeremie J. Jung, 33, 409 S. Eighth St., 175 days in the Madison County Jail with credit for 93 days served, 12 months’ postrelease supervision, costs.

First-degree false imprisonment, terroristic threats, criminal mischief ($0-$500), resisting arrest

— Victor G. Burkholder, 41, 1001 W. Michigan Ave., 4 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 117 days served, 18 months’ postrelease supervision, costs.

Theft by deception ($1,501-$4,999), driving during revocation

— Jack J. McGuire, 35, 1001 W. Norfolk Ave., 90 days in the Madison County Jail with credit for 18 days served, sentence to begin Saturday, Nov. 20, 24 months’ probation, $2,388.93 restitution, costs.

Attempted possession of buprenorphine, theft by unlawful taking ($0-$500)

— Derrick J. Phillips, 26, 816 Forest Drive, 60 days in the Madison County Jail with credit for 29 days served, 18 months’ probation, 90 additional days in the Madison County Jail before probation ends, $34.77 restitution, costs.

Driving under the influence — third offense, driving while license revoked from DUI

— Patrick J. Harlan, 54, 701 W. Maple Ave., 18 months in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 1 day served, $1,000, license revoked for 15 years, costs.

Probation violation for attempted delivery of methadone hydrochloride

— Christopher A. Brown, 27, Pierce, 36-month probation period extended 6 months.

Assault by strangulation

— Teddy W. Kramp, 30, 111 N. Ninth St., 90 days in the Madison County Jail with credit for 90 days served, 24 months’ probation, costs.

Others were arraigned on the following charges:

Possession of methamphetamine

— Benjamin J. Blum, 39, 307 S. 10th St., pleaded not guilty.

— Derek R. Pedroza, 34, 1910 S. First St., pleaded not guilty.

— Sergio R. Salazar Pena, 37, Columbus, tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine; custody was remanded to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

— Dustin T. Wright, 36, 605 S. First St., No. 2, pleaded not guilty.

Theft by unlawful taking ($1,500-$4,999), conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking

— Bailey Dice, 24, Seward, pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, carrying a concealed weapon

— Nathaniel I. Dykes-Leach, 27, Lincoln, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Assault by strangulation

— Jeffrey L. Hoadley, 30, 808 S. 11th St., pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Possession of methamphetamine, obstructing a peace officer

— James B. Kyriss, 39, 2607 W. Madison Ave., tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine; custody was remanded to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

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