MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Sheriff Dave Hutchinson is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the department to deal with health issues, Hennepin County officials told FOX 9 on Thursday.
It's unclear how long the leave may last for Hutchinson, who announced earlier this year he wouldn't seek re-election in the aftermath of his drunk driving conviction but would see out his final year in office. Deputy Chief Tracey Martin will head up the sheriff's office operations in his absence.
After his arrest and conviction, Hutchinson initially vowed to remain in office, saying he had accepted responsibility for the drunken crash and was facing consequences. But, as new details emerged showing Hutchinson lied to troopers about being behind the wheel on the night of the crash, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election in February.
Hutchinson wrecked his county vehicle along I-94 near Alexandria in the early morning hours of December 8. Troopers said Hutchinson was driving at speeds up to 126 mph and later registered a blood-alcohol content of .13.
Hutchinson ultimately pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge but avoided a more serious charge for violating Minnesota's extreme speed law for people who drive drunk at high speeds. Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson said that he did not know about Hutchinson's speed before the guilty plea.
Hennepin County officials say Hutchinson will be paid during his leave.