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September 18, 2019

7/23/2019 7:30:00 AM
Battery case against zoning official still pending
Jamie Taylor and Heather Schaefer
Of the River News

Five months after he allegedly hit a snowplow driver with a baseball bat, Oneida County assistant planning and zoning director Peter Wegner's misdemeanor battery case is still pending in Lincoln County.

According to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 28, Wegner was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct in connection with an incident on Town Hall Road, one mile north of State Highway 17,, Feb. 7.

According to the complaint, at about 7 p.m., the driver of a town of a Russell snowplow reported an SUV allegedly driven by Wegner cut him off, forcing him to stop. The driver said Wegner got out of his vehicle armed with a baseball bat which he used to first strike the snowplow and then strike the driver at least once in the shoulder.

The driver told the Lincoln County sheriff's deputy who responded to his 9-1-1 call that Wegner had tried to gain access to the cab of the truck, then tried to drag him out of the vehicle. He told the deputy that Wegner also tried to grab his cellphone, which he had already used to call 9-1-1. According to the complaint, dispatchers from Lincoln County heard "a lot of yelling and swearing" during the alleged incident, which the alleged victim told the deputy happened so fast he didn't have time to put the snowplow in park.

The driver also reported receiving threatening text messages from Wegner prior to the incident which he turned over to police.

"Mail box down again for the second time! 25 years without a scratch," one text allegedly said. There were several others where Wegner allegedly said he wanted to fight with the driver.

The man told the deputy that he could smell "a strong odor of alcohol coming from Peter during the attack," the complaint states.

Deputies went to Wegner's home to get his perspective on the encounter, but he refused to answer the door, although the deputy reported seeing him through a window.

According to online court records, Wegner made his first court appearance on March 4 with attorney Brian Bennett. He entered not guilty pleas and his $650 cash bond was modified to a $1,000 signature bond with conditions he maintain absolute sobriety, not enter tavern premises and refrain from contacting the alleged victim.

Both Wegner and the alleged victim have taken out injunctions against each other forbidding contact.

Wegner maintains his innocence, Bennett told the River News back in March.

"Mr. Wegner denies the spurious allegations that (the alleged victim) has made regarding the incident between them on February 7 of this year. He looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter," Bennett said.

According to online court records, since March there has been a substitution of judge and three events referred to as either status conferences or calendar calls.

The most recent status conference was held July 16. At that time, Bennett withdrew as counsel for Wegner.

In his motion to withdraw, Bennett states that the action was being taken "upon the client's request."

Another status conference is set for early August and court records note that Wegner was planning to meet with another attorney the same day.

If convicted of both charges, he faces up to a year in jail.

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