Dan Nienaber, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn. –
MANKATO — An Iowa man is facing felony assault charges in Blue Earth County for allegedly using his SUV to chase two teenage girls on an all-terrain vehicle in November.
The mother of one of the girls called the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department Nov. 4 to report her daughter and a friend had been threatened by a man in a GMC Denali.
She said the girls were riding an ATV along Highway 22 south of Mankato when the man pulled into a field approach in front of them. When the girls drove around the Denali, the man continued to follow them along the highway before pulling into the ditch in front of them again.
The girls didn’t know what was going on, so they drove into a field next to the ditch in Beauford Township. The woman reported the man then continued to chase them across the field with the Denali until the girls were forced to stop at a grove of trees. One of the girls later told a deputy she estimated they were reaching speeds of more than 60 mph during the chase.
Once the girls stopped and started running into the woods, the man allegedly told them he had a gun and ordered them to the ground, they reported. The girls said the man, who had a walkie-talkie attached to his belt, told them he was a deputy and they were lucky he didn’t release his dog to chase them. He also claimed to be on his way to an accident in Mankato. Both girls said they were crying, shaking and afraid they were going to be hurt.
When one of the girls told the other girl to call her mother and tell her what was going on, the man told them to go home immediately. The man was later identified as 18-year-old Dylan James Kroupa of Northwood, Iowa.
When Kroupa was interviewed by deputy Tom Coulter on Nov. 26, he denied having anything to do with the incident.
Mapleton Police Chief Ben Honsey contacted Coulter on Dec. 1 and told him a witness, Zachary Garcia, had come forward, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday against Kroupa. Garcia told Coulter he wasn’t with Kroupa the night of the incident, but Kroupa had told him he had tried to stop two girls on an ATV because they pulled out in front of him and the ATV didn’t have tail lights. Kroupa told Garcia the girls had driven into a field when he tried to stop them, the complaint said.
Coulter also contacted law enforcement employees in Freeborn County. Northwood is near Emmons, Iowa, which is about 15 miles southwest of Albert Lea. A Freeborn County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher told Coulter that Kroupa had previous incidents of impersonating a police officer. An Albert Lea police officer also told Coulter that department had records of several incidents involving Kroupa.
Kroupa is scheduled for court March 29 for two felony charges each of second-degree assault and false imprisonment. He also has been charged with one misdemeanor count of impersonating an officer.