The adult son of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has been charged with damaging a tree and a horse trail at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve near Delano.
Ryan James Stanek, 21, is charged with three counts of criminal damage to property, including a first-degree felony charge.
According to the criminal complaint, officers from the West Hennepin Public Safety Department were sent to the park on April 30 on a report of multiple vehicles stuck on a horse trail. Upon arriving, officers noted three vehicles on the trail, two of which appeared to be stuck in the mud.
Ryan Stanek and the other drivers, Lee Kalkbrenner, 21, and Trevor M. Anderson, 18, had decided to go four-wheeling in the park, according to the complaint, and Stanek told police he had tried to drive his four-wheeler up a hill on the trail but couldn't make it.
Then while driving back down, he hit a tree and became stuck in the mud, the complaint said.
Anderson also got stuck, and Kalkbrenner tried to get both four-wheelers out of the mud by wrapping a tow strap around a tree but the tree was uprooted, the complaint said.
Three Rivers Park District officials estimated that damage done to the trail totaled $5,438. Anderson and Kalkbrenner face similar charges.
The three defendants are eligible to participate in Hennepin County's De Novo diversion program. If they successfully complete the program, which includes the requirement to pay restitution for the property damage caused, the charges will be dismissed.
"This is a personal situation for our family, and I love my son very much," the sheriff said in a statement. "Like everyone else, he will need to be accountable for his actions, and the process will move forward to make sure that happens."
DAVID CHANEN and PAT PHEIFER