On July 13, 2021 at approximately 7:00 a.m., the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Vernon County Highway Department that highway department employees were being threaten by a man with a firearm, later identified as Kaden D. Hartje, 25 of rural Viroqua. Authorities learned that the Vernon County Highway Department was doing highway maintenance on County Road S and STH 82 near Brush Hollow, east of Viroqua. Witnesses at the scene reported that Kaden Hartje came out of his house with an AR-300 Blackout pistol with brace and was angry that a Vernon County Highway Department dump truck turned around in his driveway. Hartje was also angry and felt the highway department employees were working too early in the morning. After the encounter with the dump truck driver, Hartje went back into his house.

Shortly after deputies arrived, Kaden Hartje was taken into custody without incident. Deputies recovered a 9mm handgun on Hartje’s person. The AR-300 Blackout pistol with brace was recovered from inside Hartje’s home. Hartje was taken to the Vernon County Detention Center to await a bond hearing at the Vernon County Courthouse. Hartje was later released on a $300 signature bond.