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November 15, 2019

11/7/2019 7:30:00 AM
County zoning official accused of violating restraining order

Jamie Taylor
River News Reporter


New charges have been filed in Lincoln County Circuit Court accusing Oneida County assistant planning and zoning director Peter Wegner of violating bond conditions and a restraining order when he allegedly yelled obscenities at a snowplow driver, who has accused him of battery, when the two crossed paths at an local gas station in late October.

According to a complaint filed Oct. 28, the snowplow driver reported he pulled in to a gas station in the town of Russell during the evening of Oct. 24 and immediately noticed Wegner by the gas pumps. To avoid a potential conflict, the snowplow driver said he drove to the far side of the parking, near another local business, where he planned to meet another individual to discuss a business deal.

As the two began discussing their business deal, the snowplow driver reported Wegner began yelling across the parking lot and waiving his arms. According to the complaint, Wegner directed obscenities toward the snowplow driver. A person who accompanied the snowplow driver to the gas station confirmed the use of vulgar language, the complaint states.

The person who was discussing the business deal with the snowplow driver also confirmed that Wegner was yelling in their direction, however that person could not confirm what was said.

When police attempted to get Wegner's side of the story, he allegedly refused to answer the door to his home, the complaint states.

He was later arrested and charged with knowingly violating a harassment restraining order and misdemeanor bail jumping. He is free on a $1,450 cash bond and is not expected to make a court appearance on the new charges until late January 2020.

Wegner is also due in court Feb. 10 for a pretrial conference in the other case involving the snowplow driver. In that case, which dates back to last winter, Wegner was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct after he allegedly struck the snowplow driver in the shoulder with a baseball bat.

Following that incident, a judge granted the snowplow driver's request for an injunction prohibiting Wegner from having any contact with him for four years. Wegner also agreed to have no contact with the driver as a condition of bond in the battery case.

The alleged baseball bat incident took place Feb. 7 on Town Hall Road, one mile north of State Highway 17, according to court records.

According to the complaint in that case, at about 7 p.m. the snowplow driver reported a 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 man at least once in the shoulder. 

The driver told the deputy who responded to his 9-1-1 call that Wegner tried to gain access to the cab of the truck, then tried to drag him out of the vehicle. He told the deputy 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.

Prior to the alleged incident, the driver claimed to have received threatening text messages from Wegner, which he showed to the deputy.

"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.

Deputies went to Wegner's home to get his perspective on the encounter. Although he could be seen through the window, he refused to answer the door, according to the officer's report.

According to court records, Wegner made his first court appearance on the battery charges on March 4. He later 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.

Later that spring the Lincoln County district attorney's office confirmed it had offered Wegner a plea deal but declined to elaborate on the terms.

A district attorney's office spokeswoman said this week she does not know the status of the agreement or if the new charges might affect the deal.

Meanwhile, Wegner remains employed by Oneida County.

When asked Monday if the new charges will affect Wegner's employment status, Oneida County zoning director Karl Jennrich declined to comment. Each of the new charges carries a maximum sentence of 9 months in jail.





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