Freeborn motorist reportedly robbed, assaulted

Published 9:18 am Thursday, September 11, 2008

A 39-year-old man was reportedly assaulted and robbed on the side of Interstate 90 Tuesday night after he ran out of gas about five miles west of Austin in Freeborn County.

Freeborn County Sheriff Mark Harig said a Minnesota State Patrol trooper called county dispatchers at 11:04 p.m. Tuesday notifying them he had checked out a vehicle that was off to the side of the road at about mile marker 169.

The driver of the car, Charles Owen Miller, of Freeborn, had run out of gas on his way to work in Austin and was waiting for someone to bring him help, Harig said.

Email newsletter signup

A short while after the trooper left, a white, mid-’90s Chevy Suburban pulled up near him, the sheriff said.

Two Hispanic men got out of the vehicle, asked Miller what was wrong, and Miller explained he was trying to get to work, Harig said. The men responded they could give him a ride to work, that they were headed that way, and then proceeded to ask him how much money he had.

Miller asked them why they wanted to know, and the men said it was because they were going to take it, Harig said. He gave them the $35 he had and then complained about them taking the money.

One of the men punched Miller in the stomach, and then they both left, Harig said, noting the report.

“To actually have somebody pull over and rob somebody alongside the road is very unusual,” Harig said. “We haven’t had any other reports of that.”

Because Miller wasn’t able to provide any more detailed descriptions of the men — including their hair length, hair color, body size, or height — or the license plate of the Suburban, it will probably be hard to track down the men involved, Harig said.

Dispatchers received a call of the assault and robbery around 11:30 p.m.