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Superintendent charged with DWI on school grounds in northwest Minnesota

Prosecutors say Tri-County Superintendent Michael Gadbois has been charged with DWI three times since 2015.
Credit: Kittson County Sheriff's Office

KITTSON COUNTY, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota superintendent is charged with DWI after prosecutors say he was found drunk inside a district vehicle parked outside a school building. 

Along with driving while intoxicated, 55-year-old Michael Gadbois is charged in Kittson County with open bottle and possessing alcohol on school grounds in connection with the incident, which took place Sept. 25 in the city of Karlstad. 

A criminal complaint says a Kittson County deputy on routine patrol spotted a Tri-County Schools van parked in front of a school in Karstad with the hatch open, radio playing and several cases of what appeared to be soda near the van. A door to the school was open so the deputy figured someone was unloading supplies. 

Approximately 30 minutes later the deputy returned to the scene and found Gadbois in the drivers seat of the van with his head resting between the steering wheel and the door. The deputy said Gadbois' eyes were watery and bloodshot, and there was a very strong smell of alcohol. The complaint alleges Gadbois was asked to identify himself but failed to, and did not have a wallet on his person. It was later found on the floor of the van.

Prosecutors say Gadbois was asked to exit the vehicle, and he was patted down in the interests of safety. When asked to perform field sobriety tests the deputy says Gadbois fell backwards into the van and could not keep his balance. The superintendent was then arrested and a breath test put his blood alcohol content at .21, more than twice the legal limit for driving. 

A school district employee who was asked to secure the van Sept. 26 told the Kittson County Sheriff's Office that he found a half-empty bottle of vodka in the driver's door under a plastic bag.

The complaint says Gadbois was twice previously charged with DWI, once in 2015 and another time in 2017. 

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