Charges: Man was drunk when he crashed truck, ran into marsh with two children

A father is accused of driving drunk, crashing into the wall on Interstate 494 in Minnetonka, and then running into a marsh with his two young children, who were only in their underwear. 

Nicholas Patrick Laforce, 28, of Prior Lake, was charged Friday in Hennepin County District Court with three counts of criminal vehicular operation, two counts of DWI, and one count of transporting a child without a car seat in connection to an Oct. 15, 2021, crash. 

Laforce is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Oct. 3. 

The charges

According to the criminal complaint, around 3:34 a.m. the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnetonka Police officers responded to Interstate 494 and Highway 7 in Minnetonka on a report of a crash. Those who called 911 said a truck went into the wall in the northbound lanes, and a man and two children were seen on traffic cameras standing outside the truck as the man flagged down vehicles. 

While en route to the scene, an officer was informed the man and two children were running from the vehicle into a marsh, charges said. When officers arrived, they found the driver, who was identified as Laforce, and his two children, ages 5 and 2, in the marsh. Police ordered Laforce out of the marsh, and while speaking with him noticed an odor of alcohol, saw his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. 

The 5-year-old boy had several cuts and scrapes on his arms, legs and torso, as well as an abrasion across his chest/neck area. The 2-year-old boy had visible minor scrapes. Both children, who were just in their underwear, complained of neck and back pain, according to the criminal complaint. 

The truck had front-end damage and both front airbags were deployed. The engine was left running, with loud music playing and there were no car seats in the truck, charges said. 

Laforce was arrested and refused field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, charges said. Authorities obtained a search warrant for a blood sample, which Laforce provided at 5:59 a.m. The test revealed he had a blood concentration of 0.219, which is nearly three times the legal limit.

The charges note, "The average human burn-off rate for alcohol is 0.15 per hour, so [Laforce's] alcohol concentration as measured within two hours of the time of driving also would have been 0.16 or greater." 

Laforce's license had been revoked in 2017 after an implied consent test revealed a BAC of 0.08, according to the criminal complaint. He applied to get his license back in May, court records show.