Originally published on Jan. 4, 2022
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- A newly-released warrant alleges Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson initially told law enforcement that someone else was driving his county-owned SUV when he rolled it while driving drunk last month.
The warrant, filed in Becker County, says the Douglas County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the crash at about 2:33 a.m. on Dec. 8 on Interstate 94 in Alexandria, and a county sergeant arrived first to the scene.
The sergeant told the Minnesota State Patrol trooper investigating the crash that Hutchinson -- who was driving back from a Minnesota Sheriff's Association conference -- was the only person in the vehicle. But "Hutchinson denied being the driver of the vehicle to both witnesses at the scene and deputies upon their arrival."
A deputy who also 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."
Hutchinson, whose blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit at 0.13, suffered broken ribs and a head injury in the rollover. He was convicted of fourth-degree DWI nine days after the crash, and agreed to undergo random alcohol and drug testing. He also can't consume alcohol or get any driving violations as part of his plea deal.
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 re-election.
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