Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson pleads guilty in drunk driving crash

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson (FOX 9)

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson has pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated after a crash last week in northern Minnesota, the county attorney reports.

According to Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson, pled guilty to DWI in the fourth degree via a plea petition, which the attorney says is typical for a misdemeanor offense.

The remaining DWI charges in the case will be dismissed and the state has agreed to a continuance for a charge of carrying a pistol while under the influence.

The agreement allows for what Larson says is a standard sentence for a misdemeanor offense: the possibility of 90 days of stayed jail time, two years probation, a $500 fine, and a chemical-use assessment along with requirements to abide by the assessment. That would mean Hutchinson wouldn't serve any time behind bars as long as he meets sentencing conditions.

In a statement, Sheriff Hutchinson said he had returned to work and says he is now "focusing on my duties as Sheriff":

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.

Sheriff Hutchinson was charged last Friday with fourth-degree 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's blood alcohol content was 0.13, nearly twice the legal limit, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analysis of his urine sample taken after the crash.

State Patrol served Hutchinson a summons at Alomere Hospital Friday afternoon, according to the press release.

State Patrol said Hutchinson rolled the car he was driving around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 8, about five miles east of Alexandria. Hutchinson was transported to a nearby hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. As of last Wednesday evening, an attorney for the sheriff said he remained hospitalized.

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash scene and suspected impairment, according to the State Patrol. A state trooper obtained a warrant and collected a sample from Hutchinson to determine whether he was driving under the influence.

The State Patrol said the vehicle Hutchinson crashed was owned by Hennepin County.