(FOX 9) - On Thursday photos as well as dashcam video and audio related to the arrest of Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson for drunk driving last month were released by the Minnesota State Patrol.
Hutchinson crashed his county-owned 2021 Ford Explorer at 2:30 a.m. Dec. 8 on Interstate 94 five miles east of Alexandria after the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association annual conference. The Minnesota State Patrol estimates Sheriff Hutchinson was driving in excess of 120 mph prior to the crash. Tests put the sheriff's blood-alcohol level at .13 at the time of the crash, which left him hospitalized for several days after.
Sheriff Dave Hutchinson's car at the scene of his DWI crash. (Minnesota State Patrol)
He was charged and ultimately pled guilty to drunk driving, as three other charges were dismissed under the plea deal including a charge of carrying a pistol while under the influence.
As part of the sentence, the sheriff avoided jail time but agreed to an alcohol treatment program.
Since the crash, several Hennepin County commissioners have called for him to resign from his position. But during an interview with FOX 9 in December, the sheriff said he had no plans to step down and even planned to run for re-election.
Evidence in the criminal proceeding was sealed for 30 days after Monday's sentence. In a court document filed in December, prosecutors said their evidence included 14 body camera and in-squad videos and 138 photos.
Search warrant says Hutchinson lied about crash
A search warrant by troopers unsealed on January 4 claims Hennepin County Sheriff Hutchinson initially lied about being behind the wheel of the vehicle after a drunk driving crash in northern Minnesota last month.
In the search warrant, an account from Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Rod Eischens states Hutchinson told deputies and witnesses he wasn't driving the vehicle when it wrecked. Instead, while speaking with deputies, the search warrant says Hutchinson claimed he had called a cab and the cab driver had used his vehicle.
As part of the search warrant, troopers were working to determine if Hutchinson's DNA was on the driver's side airbag. However, the investigation wouldn't matter as Hutchinson quickly pleaded guilty.
In a statement Thursday, Minnesota State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer said, "At the crash scene, Mr. Hutchinson claimed he was not the driver. The focus of the multi-faceted and collaborative investigation, which included the executed search warrants, set out to determine who was behind the wheel. That need dissolved with the admission by Mr. Hutchinson that he was driving while impaired… There is no minimizing or defending the driving conduct and decisions involved in this situation. Mr. Hutchinson's decision to drive impaired, at speeds in excess of 120 mph while not wearing a seat belt are the exact opposite of what we know helps to keep people safe on our roads. We are glad the injuries he sustained were not more severe and that no one else was injured."
After the Explorer crashed in Douglas County, troopers had it towed to their Detroit Lakes headquarters, where they searched it. Then, a private tow company, Miller Towing, brought it to the Hennepin County Public Works facility in Medina.
There, the story took another twist. Independent journalist Rebecca Brannon took photos of the wrecked Explorer while it was on the lot, which did not have "no trespassing" signs posted. Brannon posted the photos on her Twitter account.
County Administrator David Hough was among the county officials who requested Medina Police investigate how the photos were obtained. The investigation has since closed, with no charges being filed.
On Wednesday FOX 9 noticed that the county has posted a "no trespassing" sign on the gate outside the facility.
This is a developing story. Check back with FOX 9 for updates.