Man's avoidable hit-and-run death shows why Minnesota needs lifetime DWI bans

The driver who allegedly killed Joshua Jones had five previous DWIs.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

A hit-and-run last week claimed the life of 21-year-old Joshua Jones and saw the suspected driver, Bruce Basswood held on felony charges.

The criminal complaint against Basswood alleges he was drunk and fled the scene.

Not only that, but the Star Tribune reports that Basswood had previously been convicted of DWI five times, as well as six times of driving with a canceled license.

Related: 

– How is a man with 27 DWIs still able to drive in Minnesota?

He was allegedly driving with a canceled license when involved in the fatal hit-and-run that killed Jones, of Ponsford, Minnesota.

This case once again throws the spotlight on Minnesota's lenient drunk-driving laws.

DWI laws in Minnesota

In Basswood's case, it appears as though having his license canceled didn't stop him from allegedly driving – and driving drunk – but there are still many others out on our roads who are legally allowed to drive despite multiple DWI convictions.

The state of Minnesota does ban people from driving for DWI offenses, but they start out as short as 30 days for a first offense (with a guilty plea), and if you've been caught driving drunk on dozens of occasions you can still get your license back.

If you commit a driving felony like criminal vehicular homicide (which Basswood has been charged with) three times in the space of a decade, the longest your license will be canceled for is 10 years.

We reported in October how Minnesota's laws still allow for a man with 27 DWIs to stay on the roads once he'd served license ban periods and fulfilled a few rehab requirements.

For the protection of all the law-abiding drivers in the state, there's an argument to be made for lifetime bans, ensuring the worst DWI offenders are not allowed back on our roads, period.

Alcohol-related deaths up in 2017

Recent drunk-driving death numbers make an argument that Minnesota needs stiffer penalties for DWI offenders.

Of the 348 deaths on Minnesota roads in 2017, more than a quarter of them – 98 – were alcohol-related.

This was the highest number since 2011, despite 2017 being the safest year on Minnesota roads since 1943.

That said, drunk-driving is reducing as a trend, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) statistics, which shows DWI arrests fell 40 percent between 2006-15.

Repeat offending was also declining, with 16 percent of first-time DWI offenders reoffending within two years, compared to 21 percent in 2000.

Next Up

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.

ambulance

Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.

vaccine, covid

Walz, Whitmer, and Evers call on Trump Admin. to buy more vaccines

It comes after The Washington Post reported that the country's COVID vaccine reserves have been exhausted.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

Related

Boy's death could bring end to DWI snowmobile loophole

Currently a driving ban doesn't lead to a snowmobile ban.

Arrest made in sinister hit and run on motorcyclist

The 18 year old says he was lucky to survive.

New bill toughens up Minnesota's DWI laws – but only slightly

It would introduce lifetime revocation for 5th time offenders.

DWI deaths, arrests down in Minnesota

The annual late-summer enforcement campaign is yielding fewer drunken-driving arrests this year and the number of fatal crashes involving alcohol is continuing a five-year decline, state officials say. Over the past two weekends, 605 drunken drivers were arrested as part of a statewide DWI enforcement campaign. During a similar summer's-end crackdown last year, there were 1,787 arrests over three weekends culminating on Labor Day.

Screen Shot 2020-12-23 at 8.33.10 AM

Whiteout in Minnesota: Video shows why you don't want to be driving today

No travel advisories are starting to be issued across Minnesota.

Family grieves for mother and daughter killed in Duluth crash

They were killed by a suspected drunk driver, who also died.