Saturday, July 4, 2009

Driver pleads guilty in road rage incident with undercover officer

Treptow pleads guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm in the 2007 road-rage incident.

By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune

Talk about bad luck!

A Coon Rapids man who shot an undercover Robbins- dale police officer during a road-rage confrontation in June 2007 has pleaded guilty to one of the three felonies originally leveled against him, according to a prosecutor who handled the case.

Martin S. Treptow, 37, pleaded guilty June 23 in Anoka County District Court to reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality. As part of a plea deal, charges of drive-by shooting and terroristic threats were dropped.

Treptow was indicted by a grand jury in connection with the incident in which Robbinsdale police officer Landen Beard, 29, was shot in the leg. Beard told authorities that Treptow pulled a gun after they got into an argument while driving their vehicles on the afternoon of June 7, 2007, in Coon Rapids, not far from Beard's home.

Beard admitted passing illegally on the shoulder in a line of traffic on Woodcrest Drive heading south toward 99th Avenue, causing Treptow to get upset and follow Beard. Treptow said Beard was driving erratically and yelling at Treptow and his wife. Treptow honked, and the feud continued, culminating as the two vehicles were stopped behind other cars at a traffic light.

Beard said he pulled his gun and identified himself as an officer after seeing Treptow brandish one. Treptow, who had a handgun permit, said he fired after Beard pointed his gun toward Treptow and his wife, who was in the front passenger seat. The couple's children were in the back.

Treptow's bullet grazed Beard's arm and one leg before lodging in the other leg, breaking the femur and knocking him down. Treptow drove away and called police minutes later to report the shooting.

The same grand jury that indicted Treptow indicted Beard on making terroristic threats, a felony. Washington County prosecutors, handling Beard's case to avoid a conflict of interest, dismissed the charge, citing a lack of evidence

Assistant Anoka County Attorney Kurt Deile said Treptow could get up to a year in jail but is not expected to serve the full sentence.

"The victim, Mr. Beard, has indicated to us he wished [Treptow] would get a more harsh sentence, but he is happy that there is some closure to the case," Deile said. "It's a little over two years old now."

A sentencing for Treptow was scheduled for Aug. 20.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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