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Charges: Man Was Nearly 3 Times Over Legal Limit While Driving Duluth Basketball Team's Bus

Originally published Jan. 3, 2022

DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) -- A Sturgeon Lake man is accused of driving drunk while operating a bus full of Duluth high school student-athletes and coaching staff.

The St. Louis County Attorney's Office says 47-year-old Shawn Edward Zelazny is charged with two counts of second-degree driving while impaired, and a count of driving a commercial motor vehicle while impaired.

Shawn Zelazny
(credit: St. Louis County)

The criminal complaint says Minnesota State Patrol troopers responded to 911 texts from someone aboard a coach bus carrying the Denfeld High School boys' basketball team last Thursday evening, who said the driver was "acting erratic" and "saying things that weren't right."

When troopers found the bus pulled over off of Highway 53 in the town of Cotton, they said the driver -- later identified as Zelazny -- told them he "probably drank too much" before driving the team to and from a tournament in Hibbing. His breath allegedly smelled of alcohol, his cheeks and nose were flushed, and he had "abnormal" speech.

Zelazny's preliminary breath test, taken a half hour after pulling over, was .218. A blood sample was later taken at an area hospital.

A witness later told investigators Zelazny hit a stop sign on the way to the game. After the game, he drove the wrong way on a Hibbing road, missed several turns, argued with coaches about his condition, and was "exhibiting 'road rage.'" At one point, he argued with coaching staff about his ability to drive the bus, the complaint said.

In addition to coaching staff, there were eight student-athletes on board. Several of the students are under 16 years old.

Zelazny was convicted of fourth-degree DWI back in 2013. If convicted in this case, he could spend up to three years in prison. He is now out of jail and awaiting his next court appearance, which has yet to be scheduled.

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