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Video Shows Hennepin Co. Sheriff Hutchinson Claim He Wasn't Driving After DWI Crash In Dec.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Photographs and squad car camera footage taken on the scene of Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson's DWI crash in early December were released Thursday morning, along with dashcam footage from responding officers.

Still not released, body-worn camera video from deputies responding to the crash scene. State law says Hutchinson, 41, must give consent in order for that video to be released, and so far he has not given that consent. WCCO called his attorney and is waiting for a response.

Hutchinson earlier pleaded guilty to driving drunk when he rolled his county-owned SUV. It happened on Interstate 94 in Alexandria last month. The sheriff totaled the vehicle.

Hutchinson, whose blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit at 0.13 according to a urine sample taken roughly three hours after the crash, suffered broken ribs and a head injury in the rollover.

Sheriff David Hutchinson DWI crash
(credit: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)

It was a witness who first noticed the crash just five miles outside of Alexandria.

"Saw a guy crawling along the bottom of the ditch, decided to turn around and go help," the witness said to authorities. "First thing I asked is if he was OK. He was laying on his right side. The first thing he says to me is, 'I wasn't driving the car.' So I said, 'Is there someone else in there?' He said, 'I don't know, it's not my car.'"

The video and audio released Thursday shows what happened moments after Hutchinson crashed the vehicle assigned to him. According to reports, Hutchinson was driving impaired at more than 120 mph, and he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Dash camera video from deputies responding to the crash scene outside Alexandria show a dazed Hutchinson getting into the back seat of a squad near his wrecked SUV.

Deputies question him about where he was coming from and where he was going. Hutchinson said he was at a sheriff's conference in Alexandria. He was breathing very heavily and only complained of his tooth hurting.

Sheriff David Hutchinson DWI crash
(credit: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)

In the footage released, Hutchinson can be seen in the back of the squad car. He asks a deputy, "Where are we right now?" and tells the deputy multiple times he wasn't driving. He also asks the deputy what kind of car was involved in the crash.

Officer: Who was driving?
Hutchinson: I'm from Hennepin.
Officer: You're from Hennepin?
Hutchinson: I took a cab from some person.
Officer: So you were a passenger?
Hutchinson: I wasn't driving.
Officer: I'm concerned because I don't see somebody else inside. You're telling me you were not driving.
Hutchinson: No, absolutely not.

Among the audio files, some of which have been redacted, are discussions with an apparent witness and an investigator talking with a lawyer representing Hutchinson.

Another audio file includes a conversation between the Alexandria Police Department and a taxi driver whom Hutchinson called the morning of the crash. The driver tells police the caller asked if any bars were still open.

Evidentiary files released show three firearms -- a revolver, a 9mm pistol and an AR-15 -- were recovered from Hutchinson's vehicle. A sealed bottle of bourbon was also among the items recovered.

Weapon recovered from Sheriff David Hutchinson's vehicle
(credit: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)
Weapon recovered from Sheriff David Hutchinson's vehicle
(credit: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)
Weapon recovered from Sheriff David Hutchinson's vehicle
(credit: Minnesota Department of Public Safety)

In an incident report from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, a deputy wrote Hutchinson said he had "no idea" who was driving. The deputy also said the keys to Hutchinson's vehicle were found "in the lane of traffic a short distance away" from the crash.

"I believe Hutchinson threw the keys out of his pocket so the keys would not be in his possession," the report states.

According to a state patrol field report, Hutchinson's initial statement on the crash was released while he was still in the hospital, and he declined to submit to an interrogation.

Hutchinson eventually admitted to driving impaired and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge. Hutchinson was sentenced on Dec. 20 to two years' probation and fined $610.

Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol released the following statement Thursday:

"I commend the work of those who had a role in investigating this matter, including the Minnesota State Patrol.

"At the crash scene, Mr. Hutchinson claimed he was not the driver. The focus of the multi-faceted and collaborative investigation, which included the executed search warrants, set out to determine who was behind the wheel. That need dissolved with the admission by Mr. Hutchinson that he was driving while impaired.

"There is no minimizing or defending the driving conduct and decisions involved in this situation. Mr. Hutchinson's decision to drive impaired, at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour while not wearing a seat belt are the exact opposite of what we know helps to keep people safe on our roads. We are glad the injuries he sustained were not more severe and that no one else was injured.

"We appreciate Mr. Hutchinson taking responsibility for his actions and hope others will learn from this situation by following our steadfast and simple advice to never drive impaired, obey the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and pay attention."

After the crash, Hutchinson said he was going through treatment for chemical dependency and mental health. As part of his sentencing, Hutchinson has to complete a chemical assessment, have no alcohol or controlled substance violations, no driver's license violations, and submit to random testing.

Dave Hutchinson DWI Crash
Officers attending to Dave Hutchinson on side of the road. (credit: Douglas County Sheriff's Office)

There have been calls for Hutchinson to resign following the drunken crash, including on Thursday from Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. Nearly all Hennepin County's seven commissioners and a Minneapolis City Council member have also demanded Hutchinson's resignation.

Warrant details allege he told law enforcement that someone else was driving his county-owned SUV when he rolled it.

One of the deputies who responded to the crash told the trooper that they found an open bottle of bourbon in the vehicle, and there was "a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from Hutchinson," who also had slurred speech and was off balance. The deputy also said Hutchinson told them multiple times that he wasn't driving the SUV, and once said "he had called a cab and that the cab driver was driving the vehicle."

The sheriff told WCCO's Jennifer Mayerle in late December that he has stopped drinking for good, but he won't resign, and he will run for reelection.

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