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Charging decision in Hennepin County Sheriff DWI case expected next week

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson was involved in a crash early Wednesday in which he admitted to drinking beforehand.
Dave Hutchinson

Officials will make a decision on whether to charge Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson next week following a Wednesday crash in which he admitted to drinking beforehand.

The crash occurred at around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on I-94 about 5 miles east of Alexandria, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. At the scene, deputies found a single vehicle, owned by Hennepin County, had flipped over.

The driver, Hutchinson, was taken to the hospital. His injuries were non life-threatening.

The circumstances led officials to believe impaired driving may have been a factor, according to Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson.

Officials obtained a warrant for a urine sample, which is currently being analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

But Hutchinson has already admitted to drinking prior to getting behind the wheel, having attended a Minnesota Sheriff’s Association conference in Alexandria, at which there was a cash bar.

His attorney told the Star Tribune that he believes the toxicology results will show that Hutchinson was over the legal limit for driving. The newspaper also reports he suffered three broken ribs and head and hip injuries.

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"As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Hennepin County, I am held to a higher standard. I regret the choice I made and apologize to the citizens I serve, the staff I work with, and the friends and family who support me," Hutchinson said in a statement earlier this week.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am prepared to accept the consequences of my poor decision."

The results of the urine sample will inform a charging decision, Larson says. Because the crash occurred outside the city limits of Alexandria, Larson’s office is responsible for reviewing the case. 

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