Just before 11 a.m. on Friday morning, a 37 year old Omaha man was clocked speeding on Hwy 275 by Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger at 91 mph in the 65 mph zone several miles west of Pilger.
The westbound motorcycle immediately accelerated when he observed the patrol unit turning around and began to drive at speeds of more than 100 mph on the two lane highway. A pursuit was initiated and the motorcycle continued to flee at high speeds passing multiple vehicles in No Passing Zones as it continued westbound on Hwy 275.
Speeds of more than 120 miles an hour were reached as the motorcycle entered the four lane of Hwy 275. About two miles west of Spurville the Sheriff was able to pull up along the speeding motorcycle and the motorcycle quickly slammed on his brakes and began to drive towards the ditch. The motorcycle and operator were blocked on the shoulder and the motorcycle operator was taken into custody at gunpoint. He refused to cooperate or obey commands and at one point reached into a pocket and retrieved a cell phone and began recording the orders for him to comply and get on the ground.
After several minutes he was physically restrained and placed in handcuffs. Jesse James Nettell now faces charges of Speeding at more than 100 miles per hour, Willful Reckless Driving, Operating a Motor Vehicle to Avoid Arrest, Resisting Arrest-third offense, and No Valid Registration. A knife was recovered from him during the arrest and Nettell also faces an Habitual Criminal charge as he has been in prison on more than two occasions for charges that include assault on a peace officer and use of weapon to commit a felony.
Nettell was jailed pending the setting of a cash bond.
A Leigh teen will serve up to 46 years in prison for committing sexual assault, terroristic threats and false imprisonment last April in Stanton County.
Gabriel Safty, who will turn 17 in four days and pleaded guilty in February to the charges, apologized for his actions before being sentenced in Stanton County District Court on Monday morning.
Judge James Kube said he received five letters, including from the victim and Safty's parents. Kube called the case “an extremely terrorizing situation” and asked Safty if there was anything he wanted to say before being sentenced.
Safty — who was wearing a bulletproof vest out of precaution — told the judge, “I want to say I apologize for what I did. I know it was terrible and I never want to do it again. I feel terrible about what I did. I want people to understand I’m sorry. That’s all I have.”
Judge Kube asked Safty why he raped the victim.
The teen shook his head and replied, “I don’t really know. I don’t know what came over me.”
Safty, who had a juvenile record for sexually assaulting a child, told the judge counseling didn’t help previously and that he still has “a little” sexual interest in children.
Judge Kube said he believed Safty is likely to reoffend.
“The risk is substantial that you will engage in further criminal conduct if I don’t incarcerate you,” Judge Kube said.
For the assault, Safty will serve not less than 30 years and up to 40 years in prison. For false imprisonment, not less than 2 years and no more 3 years. For terroristic threats, not less than 2 years and no more than 3 years. The sentences will be served consecutively.
For more on the sentencing, including additional statements from Safty and his family, please pick up tomorrow’s issue of the Stanton Register.
On Thursday afternoon just before 3: 00 p.m. an accident occurred on Hwy 15 and 822nd Road on the Stanton/Colfax County line, northeast of Clarkson that claimed the life of a 19 year old Schuyler youth.
The investigation by the Stanton and Colfax County Sheriff’s offices indicate that a Toyota SUV was northbound on Hwy 15 when it suddenly turned left off the highway towards 822nd Road and directly into the path of a southbound pickup that had no time to attempt to avoid the collision.
The driver of the SUV, Jeyco Gonzalez of Schuyler was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the southbound pickup, Tyler Regan, 24 of O’Neill was extricated from the wreckage by Clarkson Fire and Recue and transported to the West Point hospital where he was stabilized and then taken by medical helicopter to Bergan Mercy hospital in Omaha for treatment of his severe injuries.
The accident scene blocked a portion of Hwy 15 for more than three hours. Seatbelts and airbags did deploy in the Regan pickup. The collision caused the front transaxle of the SUV to detach from the frame and it ended up in a ditch off the roadway. Gonzalez was operating the SUV with a revoked license and authorities are still trying to determine if alcohol may have been a contributing factor. Stanton County Emergency Management also assisted at the scene. Both vehicles were destroyed in the high speed impact.
Stanton Community Schools will have counselors available following the death of a student, according to school officials on Wednesday afternoon.
"We have counselors available to help our school community deal with this sad loss," officials said.
Counselors will be available in the middle school/high school library until 6 p.m. Wednesday. They will be available on Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m.
"Please remember to keep routines for your students as they work through this difficult time. If there is no one available at the school, please call 988 as that hotline is staffed by national mental health providers," officials said.
The Stanton Register is not releasing any other details at this time.
A semi and pickup collided nearly head-on on Thursday morning in rural Stanton County.
Just after 7 a.m., the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to and investigated a semi-tractor and pickup accident that was nearly head-on on 564th Avenue southwest of Stanton. The accident occurred when a southbound semi and trailer loaded with more than 900 small pigs driven by Micheal Doring, 60, of Stanton and a northbound pickup driven by Julio Carrillo-Carilo. 56, of Columbus collided at the crest of a hill.
A passenger in the pickup was treated at the scene by Leigh Rescue and declined transport to the hospital. Seatbelts appeared to be in use and airbags did deploy. The county road was closed for more than three hours as the roadway was cleared. Carrillo-Carilo was also cited for No Operators License and the pickup was considered a total loss.
Speed Believed To Be Factor In Rollover
A 26-year-old man was transported after a rollover accident in Stanton County on Saturday afternoon.
At about 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to and investigated a one vehicle rollover accident that sent the lone driver to the hospital with severe facial/head injuries, according to the Stanton County Sheriff’s Office.
Ignacio Mercado-Rodriguez, 26, of Sioux Falls, S.D., was southbound on 566th Avenue about seven miles north of Stanton when he lost control of his car and it entered the west ditch rolling and landing on its top.
Mercado-Rodriguez was wearing a seatbelt and airbags did deploy. He was transported to Faith Regional in Norfolk by Stanton Fire and Rescue. The vehicle was a total loss and Mercado-Rodriguez was cited for No Operators License.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, speed was believed to be a contributing factor in the accident.
Two men were arrested on felony drug charges in rural Stanton County on Thursday morning.
At about 7:05 a.m. on Thursday morning the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to a report of a suspicious pickup parked near the historic Bega school, north of Stanton, according to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office. Upon arriving the Sheriff’s office had contact with two males who were found to be trespassing at the location and were further found to have possession of Methamphetamine, Marijuana and Drug paraphernalia in their possession. Zachary Price, 36, of Norfolk and Brit Blanchard, 34, of Pollock Pines, CA were arrested on felony drug charges.
Both men were booked at the Sheriff’s office on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia and Criminal Trespass with initial court appearances set for next month. Both men have prior felony drug convictions.
Local law enforcement are investigating an accident involving a stolen vehicle.
At about 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning the Stanton County Sheriff’s office was notified of a one vehicle rollover accident near 838 1/2 and Hwy 15 South of Pilger. Upon arrival no one was located in or near the vehicle and the destroyed pickup that had rolled several times off the highway was found to have been recently stolen from Kansas.
The Sheriff’s office ask everyone in the area to be vigilant and report any suspicious person(s) or activity and to remove vehicle keys and secure your residences. No suspects are known according to Kansas authorities. The pickup had been northbound on Hwy 15 at high speed when it left the highway and rolled several times.
Ten national awards are on their way to Stanton — including four categories where the paper was named the best in the nation.
Fresh off of being named the best weekly newspaper in Nebraska in its circulation division, the National Newspaper Association recognized the Stanton Register in 10 categories — advertising, editorial content, page design and community involvement.
Beginning with the national championships, there were two top awards involving the Stanton Health Center. Carrie Pitzer won first place for localizing the national COVID story with the nursing home and assisted living reopening its doors to the public after nearly a year.
“Very good lede,” the NNA wrote. “Nice spin on a story that probably every newspaper in the nation told or would have told.”
Pitzer also won best serious column on spending time with a resident after the doors reopened.
“Her 10-minute interview lasted 90 minutes and she can’t stop thinking about it. The woman in the assisted living facility was alone and loved the visit. It had been a year since anyone but staff had been with her. Her daughter almost died without seeing her and her husband did die in the facility, and the 80-year-old had more to tell. Her family would be coming to get her soon. Nothing more timely than this and what the reporter felt. Well written,” the NNA said.
There were two first place advertising honors as well. Pitzer’s “Don’t Worry” series with Stanton State Bank was named the best in the nation.
“Love the photos used in these ads. The ads are simple — not a lot of clutter — but they tell a powerful message. The similar look to the ads helps keep this bank in people’s minds,” the NNA said.
Angelique Boyer won best small ad in the nation with a unique ad featuring The Greenhorn, which was for the Thanksgiving season and featured a turkey holding a shot glass and the words “Let’s Get Basted.”
“This is by far my favorite! Love the play on words. And the layout of the turkey — SO funny! Great job!” the NNA wrote.
The Register was named runner-up in the nation in two categories, both sports. In design, a sports page by Pitzer featuring the Mustang wrestling team was honored.
“Nice job with the headline, cutout photo to put the story on and the text wrap around the wrestler. I like the schedule at the bottom of the page,” the NNA said.
Also finishing second was Pitzer for best sports story involving Sutton Pohlman at state track in 2021, where he changed his routine and prayed before running the 400 final. The photo included him and the sign of the cross before he went into blocks, which the reporter recognized as not something he always did before running.
“Well told story with nice photos. Great quotes. Solid writing,” the NNA said.
There were two third place awards for the Register, both involving the community and through a team effort between Lisa Wilke and Pitzer. The efforts to work with the community on events from Easter to Christmas was recognized for best community service honors.
“This is a genuine and generous demonstration of cooperation between a publication and its community, at a time when that cooperation is most needed. This passionate, engaged publisher is going above and beyond to redirect the narrative about her community,” the NNA wrote.
Another third-place award went to Wilke and Pitzer for working with the Stanton elementary students on “spreading the news” and selling subscriptions as a school fundraiser.
“Good series of appeals for subscribers to support not only the newspaper, but community resources as well. The ‘community’ full-page ad was dynamic,” the NNA wrote.
The Register received several honorable mention awards, which is fourth place. Pitzer was recognized for a story on the Northern Data building wanting to build in Stanton County. Pitzer also won for using local photography in ads. A Memorial Day ad for Stanton State Bank used a photo she took during a World War II veteran’s funeral after he was identified from Pearl Harbor wreckage.
Another newspaper owned by Pitzer Digital was also honored by the NNA. The Antelope County News received 15 awards, including four national championships. Pitzer earned best sports photo in the nation for the second time in three years. She also teamed up with managing editor Jenny Higgins for first place in breaking news as they covered an emotional accident story involving an Amish buggy and a juvenile automobile driver, which resulted in the death of an unborn child.
Boyer earned two national championships in ad design. The first was with Stealth Broadband’s “size matters” ad as they offered 1 GIG service and also for a tree cutting company that “went out on a limb” for its customers.
Since 2019, Pitzer Digital has won 48 awards from the National Newspaper Association, more than all other Nebraska newspapers combined.
On Thursday afternoon the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to a complaint of an unlawful entry and theft at a Stanton residence on the east side of town.
According to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office, the investigation identified a suspect had entered the attached garage and taken several items of value and left the scene on foot. The suspect was quickly identified as Kenneth Claussen Jr., 57, of Stanton and he was later located in Stanton by the Sheriff’s office and placed under arrest for Theft, Criminal Trespass and Obstructing a Police Officer.
A press released stated that Claussen ultimately admitted to the the thefts and the stolen property was recovered at his residence. Claussen was booked at the Sheriff’s office and is scheduled to appear in court in August.