'Target practice' leaves 2 Minnesota men with $1.1M bill for causing 3,900-gallon fuel pipeline leak

Diesel fuel leaked into a creek and polluted river


October 8, 2021

Diesel fuel found its way to the Yellow Medicine River in April 2019. Credit: U.S. District Court filing

Two western Minnesota men have been ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $1.1 million for damage they inflicted when their gunfire punctured a pipeline and released thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into a creek that feeds a river.

Eric J. Weckwerth-Pineda, 25, of Cottonwood, and Tanner J. Sik, 22, of Ivanhoe, were sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis after having pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent discharge of a pollutant in connection with the incident on April 24, 2019, near Cottonwood Lake in Lyon County.

The men were each put on a year's probation, along with jointly being on the hook for a restitution amount that the U.S. Attorney's Office has acknowledged will not be recouped from the defendants.



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