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Kalamazoo County man enters plea five years after toxic materials found on his property
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Almost five years after hundreds of barrels containing toxic substances were found on a property in Kalamazoo County, Donald Haugen has entered a guilty plea to charges against him.
On May 6th, Haugen pleaded guilty to one felony count of knowingly releasing or causing the release of a hazardous substance. The Attorney General’s office tells Newschannel 3 that a second count of the same charge is expected to be dropped when Haugen is sentenced on June 17th.
Officials tell Newschannel 3 that Haugen is not likely to receive any jail time, but will be put on probation. He will also have to pay a restitution of $2.6 million to the EPA and $52,000 to the DNR.
The charges against Haugen stem from the discover of more than 500 barrels of hazardous materials that were found on his property on West O Avenue after a fire in a pole barn in August of 2008.
A previous effort to bring charges against Haugen ended when the case was dismissed in April of 2012, when a district court ruled that Haugen never intended to release or abandon the materials, but a Kalamazoo County judge overturned that decision in July of 2012, clearing the way for Haugen to stand trial.