Two men accused of inflicting heavy damage on soccer fields in Hastings made their first court appearance Friday.

Edward L. Mears, 26, and Asa A. Soine, 27, both of Hastings, were each charged with one count of criminal damage to property in relation to a Sunday night incident at Veterans Athletic Complex, where the two allegedly drove a vehicle onto the fields and tore up about 200,000 square feet of turf.

According to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, on the morning of March 25, 2019, police were called about extensive damage at the soccer fields. The fields were wet due to snowmelt and the tire tracks made the fields completely unusable. The damage was estimated at $137,000 to replace the sod. There was also damage to a handicapped-parking sign at the complex, which appeared to have been run over by a vehicle.

A few hours before the damage was discovered, about 12:19 a.m. Monday, a Dakota County sheriff’s deputy had stopped a Ford Explorer driven by Soine on suspicion of DWI. Mears was a passenger.

Soine was arrested as a result of the DWI incident, authorities said. The deputy noticed that the Explorer was covered in fresh mud.

Video obtained from businesses near the fields showed a vehicle similar to Soine’s Explorer traveling on the road leading to the complex at 10:02 p.m. on March 24.

Police recovered a plastic piece from a Ford vehicle in one of the tracks located near the sign that had been damaged at the athletic complex. A search of Soine’s Explorer found a plastic piece missing from the driver’s side wheel well that matched one found at the athletic complex.