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Dave Hutchinson, the Hennepin County sheriff set to step down this year in the wake of a high-speed DWI crash, is taking a leave of absence for "health-related reasons."

The sheriff's absence was confirmed by Hennepin County on Thursday, saying his absence will be for the "indefinite future," with Chief Deputy Tracey Martin taking over his role on an interim basis.

Hutchinson will be on full pay and benefits during his absence. No details have been provided regarding the health reasons.

It comes just months before Hutchinson is due to stand down as sheriff, after announcing earlier this year he would not be standing for re-election.

He had refused to leave his post early despite calls from, among others, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to do so following his DWI conviction.

On Dec. 8, Hutchinson was behind the wheel of a county squad car returning from a sheriff's conference in Alexandria when he crashed. It emerged that he was over the limit and traveling at speeds of 125 mph shortly before the crash.

He also attempted to blame the crash on a non-existent cab driver he claimed was behind the wheel. 

Investigators found bottles of alcohol in the vehicle as well as three firearms.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty of 4th-degree DWI and has agreed to reimburse the county $47,000 for the totaled squad car.

Although he said he regrets his actions, describing it as an "inexcusable decision," he resisted calls to resign, saying he refuses "to be pushed out of my role ... by political figures with alternative motives..."

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