CUSTER COUNTY— While Custer County District Court can be disheartening and depressing at times, on Thursday, August 6 those in attendance applauded the success of three individuals for their completion of North Central Nebraska Problem Solving Court. Ellen Sleicher, 36 of Broken Bow, Kendra Kluender, 32 of Arcadia, and Carolyn Comeau, 25 of Ord, completed the problem-solving court program and with their successful completion, the charges against the three women were dismissed.
Judge Karin Noakes congratulated the three women and stated that it is encouraging to see success through the program.
Julia Russell, 23 of Broken Bow, appeared for arraignment on one alleged charge of possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine (class IV felony). While the case was set for a jury trial in October following a not guilty plea, Russell’s attorney Michael Borders, stated that she was being considered for drug court. Russell will now appear back in court on August 27 at 10:15 AM for a progression conference to determine if she has been accepted into problem-solving court.
Raymond Wolcott, 33 of Elwood, was arraigned on one amended charge of theft of property valued $1,500-$5,000 (class IV felony) from Johnson Trucking. Through the plea deal, Wolcott pled no contest to the amended charge and when he appears back for sentencing, both the prosecution and defense will recommend probation.
According to the factual basis read by Custer County Deputy Attorney Kayla Haberstick, Wolcott had forged signatures on company checks and then deposited the forged checks into his personal account. Haberstick stated that there were five checks totaling $6,347.01 that were deposited into the account. Through the plea deal, Wolcott will have to pay the amount back in restitution. Judge Noakes ordered a pre-sentence investigation be conducted and set sentencing for September 10 at 10:45 AM.
Brent Safranek, 44 of Merna, appeared for a progression conference on five charges including flight to avoid arrest (class IV felony), driving without an ignition interlock device (class IV felony), driving under the influence of alcohol .15 or higher-aggravated (class W misdemeanor), willful reckless driving (class III misdemeanor), and speeding for driving 82 MPH in a 65 MPH zone (infraction).
Through a plea deal, Safranek pled guilty to flight to avoid arrest and driving without an ignition interlock and the state dismissed the other three charges. He was also accepted into problem-solving court where he will appear for the first time on August 13.
According to the factual basis, Safranek was arrested after a Nebraska State Patrol trooper performed a traffic stop on the orange Chevrolet Corvette he was driving for speeding. During the encounter, the trooper discovered Safranek was driving with a suspended license and asked him to sit on the passenger side of the trooper’s cruiser.
While talking with the NSP trooper, Safranek began acting erratically and eventually exited the trooper’s vehicle, ignored the commands of the trooper, got into the Corvette, and sped away. The trooper briefly lost visual of the vehicle, but found it crashed just a few miles away. Safranek was found standing next to the crash and the trooper arrested him.
Sentencing will be suspended pending the failure or completion of problem-solving court.