Shopko crasher sentenced to year in jail, $52,668 in restitution

ShopKo crasher sentenced to jail, fines

HART, MICH. - The 36-year-old Mears man who crashed his pickup truck through the Shopko store in Hart last spring was sentenced to one year in jail in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 4.

Matthew Lawrence Krueger, of 2813 N. 34th Ave., pleaded “no contest” to malicious destruction of a building $20,000 or more last October.

Krueger was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $52,668.04.

In exchange for Krueger’s plea, one count of felonious assault (with his truck) and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving were dismissed.

Krueger was found competent to stand trial following testing at a psychiatric facility in Ypsilanti.

However, he qualified for pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity,” his defense attorney, Julie Springstead Waltz, said previously. Springstead Waltz told Judge Bradley G. Lambrix that she advised Krueger to plead “not guilty by reason of insanity,” but he “elected to enter a plea of ‘no contest’ against my wishes.”

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said both victims in the case — the woman who Krueger almost hit with his truck and the store owner — agreed to the plea agreement.

►Related: Man who drove through store previously crashed into Coast Guard station

“Compliance with community mental health or an equivalent will be a part of his probation order,” Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said previously.

“The issue is your mental health,” Lambrix said Monday. As long as he continues with mental health treatment, Krueger does well. But when he deviates from treatment, he runs into problems, the judge said. Krueger was also ordered to 18 months of probation.

Krueger was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” in August of 2015 for burning down his parents’ hobby garage in Mears the previous February and then going on a rampage at the US Coast Guard Station in Grand Haven, ramming the facility’s gate with his vehicle and assaulting a service member after calling in a bomb threat.

►Related: Man who drove through Shopko was still being treated for mental illness

The most recent incident involved crashing through the Shopko Hometown store in Hart with his pickup truck last May while customers and employees were inside. The store received extensive damage, but no one was injured.

“I was angry at the pharmacy clerk,” Krueger said previously when asked why he crashed through the store.

Malicious destruction of a building $20,000 or more is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Krueger received credit for 216 days served in jail.

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© 2017 Oceana County Press


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