MINNEAPOLIS — Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson has pleaded guilty to a DWI in connection with a rollover crash near Alexandria on Dec. 8.
Hutchinson was facing charges on driving while impaired, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 within two hours and carrying a pistol under the influence of alcohol.
Hutchinson pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence but the two other misdemeanor counts he faced were dropped because he can only be convicted of one DWI charge per incident.
Prosecutors agreed to a continuance for a misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol while under the influence.
Sheriff Hutchinson released this statement Thursday:
This morning, I pled guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge stemming from my recent accident near Alexandria.
As Sheriff, I made the wellness of my staff a priority; however, I didn't practice what I preached. This incident is a wake-up call for me. I understand the seriousness of my actions, for which I take full responsibility.
I am now enrolled in an outpatient treatment program to address my issues with alcohol and my overall health. This is the first step in the road toward recovery and regaining the trust of the people I work with and the residents of Hennepin County whom I serve.
I have returned to work and will focus on my duties as Sheriff.
The single car rollover crash took place around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 8 five miles east of Alexandria on I-94. Douglas County Sheriff's deputies said Hutchinson suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken by ambulance to Alomere Hospital in Alexandria.
Investigators believed he was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Independent photojournalist Rebecca Brannon posted photos on Twitter Thursday showing a heavily damaged vehicle matching the description and license plate of the vehicle listed in official citations in the case. The photos showed significant damage to both the front and rear of the vehicle, as well as a broken windshield and deployed airbags.
Hutchinson was attending the Minnesota Sheriff's Association 2021 winter conference at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria on Dec. 8.
At the time of the crash, Hutchinson was the only person in the vehicle, which was owned by Hennepin County.
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