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Pickup attacker gets stiff prison sentenceTell North Platte what you think
 
Courtesy Photo­Image
Tanner L. Matthies

Tanner Matthies of North Platte will serve 10-20 years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary for first-degree assault after ramming a man through the front window of Perkins restaurant on March 10.

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Matthies, 21, was sentenced Monday. He has been in the Lincoln County Jail since March, when he hit Blake Strecker, 25, a pipefitter at Bailey Yards, with his pickup in the parking lot at 5 a.m. and rammed him through the front window. He received credit for 183 days served in the county jail.

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling asked the court for a stern sentence.

“This could easily have been a homicide case and the victim still has issues with pain and memory loss,” she said.

Defense attorney Pat Hays pleaded with the court for a minimum sentence.

Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands was not inclined to issue a light sentence.

“Even though your prior record is very minimal, the court considers this a very major offense,” Rowlands told Matthies. “The victim suffered a fractured skull, broken pelvis and other injuries. He still has issues from the injuries with memory problems. He has $77,000 in medical bills and Perkins suffered a loss of $11,000 in damages.”

Matthies accepted a plea deal on July 15 from the county attorney and pled no contest to the charge. In return charges of attempted murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and criminal mischief were dropped.

Matthies was arrested March 10 after he hit Strecker. Police said at the time that the two men argued, but Strecker later told the Bulletin that he had never met Matthies.

With a split second to react, Strecker said he grabbed the front of the truck as it shot toward him and he was carried through the front window of the restaurant. When the truck stopped, Strecker fell to the floor with shattered glass around him and a couch from the waiting area on top of him. He suffered a fractured skull, a concussion, a fractured pelvis and he lost hearing in one ear.

In the beginning investigators thought both men were involved with the same woman, but in an exclusive interview with the Bulletin, Strecker said a girl he’d had breakfast with at Perkins that morning evidently knew Matthies but was not Matthies’ ex-girlfriend, and Matthies attacked him for no good reason.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/9/2013
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