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Student charged with assault after high school dodgeball game turns violent

File photo of high school teams grabbing balls off the center line at the start of a dodgeball match. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

ELLSWORTH, Wis. -- A Maiden Rock, Wis., teenager was charged with a felony after a high school dodgeball game allegedly turned violent.

Pierce County prosecutors charged 18-year-old Jacob Sigler with one count of substantial battery in connection with the Oct. 11 incident at Ellsworth High School. A criminal complaint filed Dec. 15 alleges he slugged another student in the head after an intense volley of dodgeballs.

Court records state Sigler’s first court appearance is Feb. 3.

According to the complaint:

The victim and his mother reported the incident to Ellsworth police, where the then-16-year-old told police what happened.

He said he and Sigler were playing dodgeball during gym class. Sigler and three other boys were throwing balls at him, so he hurled a ball back at Sigler.

Sigler retrieved a couple balls and threw them at the victim, he said, but “when Jacob ran out of balls, Jacob closed his fist and punched (the victim) in the face.” He said he was knocked to the ground by the punch. One of the other boys confronted Sigler after the punch, the victim said.

The two students hadn’t been at odds in the past, the victim said, and they didn’t exchange words with each other when they went to the principal’s office afterward.

The victim’s mother told police that a CT scan revealed he sustained a facial fracture.

Police then interviewed Sigler. He said the preceding dodgeball volleys were “a friendly fight, just a competitive game of dodgeball.” He said he was struck from about 2- or 3-feet away in the face when he wasn’t looking by a ball thrown by the victim, which he thought was excessive.

From there, the ball-tossing got “really heated,” the complaint states, as the two students closed in on each other. Sigler said he thought the other boy was about to tackle him.

“Then, I punched him,” Sigler told police.

He also said he and the other boy weren’t at odds before the punch.

“I don’t have a problem with him now,” Sigler told police. “Just at that moment, I had a problem with him.”

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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