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Haug accepts plea bargain

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HARTINGTON — A nearly year-long criminal case against Kevin Haug is drawing to a close as the 45-yearold Fordyce man agreed last week to accept a plea bargain in the case.

Cedar County District Court Judge Bryan Meismer accepted Haug’s plea of “no contest” to three felony charges and a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle to avoid arrest.

Under the plea bargain arrangement with Cedar County Attorney Nick Matney, Haug pleaded “no contest” to the three felonies, while two attempted murder charges and two other felonies were dropped.

Haug faced charges of attempting to kill James Olson with a knife. He was also accused of attempting to kill a Cedar County deputy when he rammed a vehicle into a patrol car in an attempt to escape from law enforcement.

After accepting the plea, Judge Meismer set Haug’s sentencing for July 27. The charges could put the Fordyce man behind bars for over 20 years. The sentence could be even longer, though, as the Judge isn’t bound to follow the plea deal in his sentencing hearing.

Haug was arrested July 2, 2019, after the stabbing was reported at his former residence in Fordyce.

In a previous courtroom appearance, Cedar County Chief Deputy Chad Claussen said it appeared Haug had broken into the home where his estranged wife, Rhea Haug, and their children lived. Claussen said a fight between Haug and James Olson took place.

According to court documents, Olson suffered a cut on his forehead, a stab wound in his upper right abdomen that required surgery, a deep laceration to his left hand and cuts on his lower left abdomen. Olson ended up undergoing several operations at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton, S.D.

Court records say Haug then exited his wife’s residence, washed his hands and the weapons in a swimming pool and fled the scene.

Upon investigating the scene, Claussen found a knife in the back yard swimming pool.

A two-state manhunt for Haug then began. Haug was later seen driving a stolen U-Haul and headed for Yankton, where he turned around after encountering South Dakota law enforcement officers at the Discovery Bridge over the Missouri River.

Nebraska law enforcement then chased Haug down Highway 81 through Cedar County. That chase ended when the U-Haul truck he was driving crashed at the Highway 81-84 intersection west of Hartington.

As part of the plea deal, the prosecution dismissed two other cases against Haug involving drug charges and violation of a protection order.

Besides the two counts of attempted murder, the original eight charges included one count of first-degree assault and one count of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, both Class 2 felonies; one count of possession of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class 3 felony; one count of assault on an officer using a motor vehicle, a Class 3A felony; and one count of operation of a motor vehicle to avoid arrest and one count of criminal mischief, both Class 4 felonies.

During Monday’s court proceedings, the state recommended the following sentences:

• Count I: Assault in the First Degree, a Class II felony, 12-18 years of incarceration;

• Count II: Operation of Motor Vehicle to Avoid Arrest, a Class IV felony; 1 year of incarceration to be served concurrently (at the same time as other sentences) and two years license revocation;

• Counts III and IV: Attempted Assault on an Officer Using a Motor Vehicle, a Class IV felony, each 2 years of incarceration to be served consecutively (one sentence after another).