Joseph Kadlec got so mad at a motorcyclist who passed him on a Minnesota highway that he pulled over and shot the man in the face — in the parking lot of a police station. The incident happened almost two years ago, but a court finally handed down its punishment to Kadlec on Wednesday.
And the sentence has the victim’s family pretty upset.
Kadlec, 73, has a history of road rage. Prosecutors say he was involved in at least five previous road rage altercations. Despite his history of road rage, Kadlec owned a legal permit to carry the gun he used to shoot 31-year-old motorcyclist Kyle Ronning in the face on September 29 of 2012.
Fortunately, Ronning survived the gunshot which tore through he jaw, destroying many of his teeth, and a large amount of facial tissue, leaving him permanently disfigured and with lack of feeling in his jaw. But it could have been much worse.
Kadlec’s penalty for shooting unarmed man, as handed down by Isanti County District Judge James Dehn? No time in state prison, and only one year in county jail — though Kadlec won’t have to report until next week, to give the county time to prepare to care for Kadlec’s various medical conditions.
“It’s yet to be seen whether the jail can in fact meet his needs,” said his lawyer Dan Guerrero. “I would have liked for him to be able to stay at home on electronic home monitoring because he almost needs total care.”
Kadlec is a diabetic who must wear an insulin pump, and he also suffers from a serious heart condition.
Kadlec’s conviction, on charges of assault and reckless use of a firearm, stems from the incident on Minnesota’s Highway 65 when Ronning and another motorcyclist attempted to pass a vehicle driven by Kadlec, in which the man’s wife was a passenger.
But according to witness accounts, Kadlec first sped up as the two men tried to pass, then repeatedly swerved his car toward them when they tried again. One of the two motorcyclists kicked Kadlec’s car in response, and then made a raised middle-finger gesture in Kadlec’s direction.
Kadlec followed the two men into the parking lot of the Isanti, Minnesota, police station. At some point during the ensuing argument, Kadlec shot Ronning through the chin.
“I’m way, way disappointed,” Ronning’s father, Norman Ronning, told WCCO-TV after the sentencing. “So we let him go. You give him a year. My hope is that he never makes it out.”
Prosecutors said they may appeal the sentence. Jeff Edblad, Isanto County Attorney, said that in Minnesota, a first-degree assault conviction involving a gun carries an 86-month prison sentence.
Edblad told the judge that of the 109 defendants sentenced in Minnesota over the previous decade for first-degree assault with a firearm, 106 went to prison.
Norman Ronning would like to see the same for Joseph Kadlec. “I would have liked to see him get the maximum. He doesn’t belong out here,” the victim’s father said.