GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — A search warrant filed in Becker County last month alleges Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson first denied driving the vehicle he later admitted to crashing while driving drunk near Alexandria on Dec. 8.
The warrant, filed on Dec. 10, states Hutchinson told both witnesses and responding deputies at the time that he was not the person behind the wheel of the county-owned vehicle involved in a rollover crash on Interstate 94. The documents go on to say a Douglas County sheriff's deputy at the scene noted a "strong odor of alcoholic beverage," "slurred speech," and "poor balance" from Hutchinson, as he repeatedly told the officer that he was not driving. The warrant states Hutchinson told the deputy "he had called a cab" and that "the cab driver was driving the vehicle."
According to the warrant, deputies also observed a bottle of Rare Eagle Bourbon inside the passenger compartment.
As authorities worked to obtain and investigate DNA and other physical evidence in the days after the crash, Hutchinson pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree DWI.
A judge sentenced him to a 90-day stayed sentence, a $610 fine and two years of probation. Hutchinson must also complete a chemical assessment, have no driver's license or alcohol violations, and must abstain from alcohol and controlled substances.
Hutchinson released a statement after pleading guilty, saying in part that he is enrolled in an outpatient treatment program to address his "issues with alcohol" and his "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," the statement went on to say. "I have returned to work and will focus on my duties as Sheriff."
Hutchinson had attended the Minnesota Sheriff's Association 2021 winter conference at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria on the night of the crash. He suffered non-life threatening injuries.
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