Deerfield man faces terrorist threat charge

Posted January 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

A Deerfield man, apparently tired of too many near misses with freight trains in Western Vernon County, has been charged with threatening to derail trains.

The class C felony count has been filed against 32-year-old Zachary Wolfe, 32, by Cedar County Prosecutor Rick Pohlsander, acting as a special prosecutor, because Wolfe’s aunt is Vernon County Circuit Clerk Vickie Erwin, a second aunt works in the office of the Vernon County clerk and one of his uncles takes office Jan. 1, 2013, as the county’s Southern commissioner.

The complaint alleges Wolfe made the terrorist threat during a telephone conversation Dec. 12 when he told Kansas City Southern railroad police officer Paul Tappana he was serious and was going to start derailing trains.

A probable cause statement filed by Vernon County Sheriff’s Investigator Steve Schlup says Tappana also said Wolfe has called the railroad several times to complain about near misses with freight trains.

Vernon County Associate Circuit Judge Neal Quitno recused himself from the case and 28th Circuit Presiding Judge James R. Bickel appointed Cedar County Associate Circuit Judge Dennis Reaves last Thursday.

The arrest warrant was served Sunday, Dec. 23, and Wolfe is free on bond with a formal arraignment pending.