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Arrests made in bowling ball drop that left trucker injured

FAIRMONT, Minn. (AP) — Four boys and an 18-year-old man were charged Friday for an incident in which someone dropped a bowling ball off an Interstate 90 overpass onto the freeway in August, seriously injuring a truck driver from Montana.

A 17-year-old Fairmont boy was charged with first-, second- and third-degree felony assault and first-degree criminal damage to property, along with conspiracy to commit for allegedly dropping the bowling ball that hit truck driver Theodore Maki, 54, of Missoula, Mont.

Andrew J. Fellersen, 18, of Fairmont, told authorities he was with the boys when they stole a bowling ball off a fence post from a backyard in Fairmont and drove to the overpass, where they were rolling the ball around in the early morning hours of Aug. 26 as Fellersen told them about someone who had thrown a cinder block off the bridge and hit a trailer.

According to Fellersen’s statement, the group then dropped the bowling ball off the bridge onto Interstate 90 to see if they could make the ball crack. He said they went down and retrieved the bowling ball and returned to the overpass, where they were going to try to drop it on the trailer of a semi.

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Fellersen told authorities they saw a semi approaching and tried to time the drop, but the 17-year-old dropped the ball too early.

Maki was hit in the head by the ball and knocked unconscious. His truck crossed the median and westbound lanes before going through a fence and crashed 200 feet into a cornfield. Maki was airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, but has since recovered.

The other boys, when interviewed, told stories similar to Fellersen’s account, authorities said.

Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma says his officers, acting on a tip from a school resource officer, conducted interviews most of the day Wednesday and made the arrests.

Because Fellersen was 18 when the incident occurred, he was arrested and placed in the Martin County Jail. The other four were held at the juvenile detention center in New Ulm after they were arrested.

Fellersen, another 17-year-old from Fairmont, a boy from Granada who is now 18, and a 15-year-old are charged with are charged with aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit first-, second- and third-degree assault and aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal damage to property.

At their initial hearings on Friday, all the defendants were released on their own recognizance, except the 17-year-old accused of dropping the ball. He was given the option of staying in the juvenile detention facility in New Ulm or voluntarily being admitted to a mental health clinic.

The defendants were placed on house arrest with electronic home-monitoring, with school attendance being the only exception. They are not allowed to have more than incidental contact with each other, and are not allowed to drive a vehicle.

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Information from: Sentinel, http://www.fairmontsentinel.com

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