Second man charged in pipeline break appears in court

MARSHALL — The second of two men charged in connection with a Magellan pipeline break that spilled diesel fuel into a drainage ditch made his first appearance in Lyon County District Court this week.

Eric Weckwerth Pineda, 24, of Cottonwood, was charged with criminal property damage on Wednesday.

A criminal complaint alleges that Pineda and Tanner Sik, 19, of Ivanhoe, were shooting guns near the Cottonwood Lake dam on April 24 when a gunshot punctured the pipeline. Sik was charged with first-degree criminal property damage in July.

Damage to the pipeline cost about $167,000 in repairs, the complaint said.

Around 8,400 gallons of diesel fuel were also released from the pipeline in the incident, and got into a Yellow Medicine/Lyon County judicial ditch that flows into the Yellow Medicine River.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Pineda received a copy of the criminal complaint, and was told he qualified for a public defender. Bail was set at $30,000 without conditions, or Pineda would be released on conditions including that he make future court appearances, obey laws, and stay in Minnesota. A hearing date was set for Aug. 27.

Pineda had missed a July 17 hearing date. However, Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said at that time Pineda hadn’t received notices from the court — mail sent to him at a Cottonwood address had been returned. District Court Judge Michelle Dietrich said she would hold off on issuing a warrant for Pineda’s arrest, while Maes checked to see if Pineda’s address had changed.

Sik’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 10.