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2010 story: As fire burned, tempers flared

Jonathan Eilen1 / 2
Thomas Eilen2 / 2

A Hampton father and son, Thomas Herbert Eilen, 56, and Jonathan Peter Eilen, 24, have each been charged with obstructing legal process in connection with their actions at a fire May 23 on their Hampton property. Thomas Eilen has also been charged with assault in the fourth degree after he allegedly struck a Dakota County deputy.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies responded May 23 on the report of a tractor trailer fire. Thomas Eilen, owner of the tractor, was contacted by dispatch and arrived at the scene with his son.

The Eilens attempted to put out the fire by using fire extinguishers and garden hoses. Because the fire was near a propane cylinder and diesel fuel tanks, a deputy repeatedly told the Eilens to move away from it. They refused to do so, and responded to the deputy with profanities.

After firefighters arrived, the deputy and firefighters instructed the Eilens to again move away from the fire and they refused. At one point, Jonathan Eilen apparently sprayed water on the deputy's face.

The deputy then approached Jonathan Eilen and told him he was under arrest. He physically resisted the deputy's efforts to handcuff him. As the deputy struggled with Jonathan Eilen, Thomas Eilen approached the deputy and struck the deputy in the chin, according to the complaint. Thomas Eilen also grabbed the deputy's shirt, ripping it and ripping two buttons from it. The deputy tried applying his taser at Jonathan Eilen, but it had no effect.

Another deputy arrived at the scene and used his taser on Jonathan Eilen. The deputies were then able to handcuff Jonathan Eilen. In a statement, Thomas Ellen admitted he pushed and shoved the deputy because he was angry at him. He could not remember specifically hitting the deputy in the chin.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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