Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson was traveling at speeds of more than 120 miles per hour, with guns and liquor on board, when he drunkenly totaled his unmarked squad car last month.
He also wasn’t wearing a seat belt and repeatedly lied to the responding officers by claiming he wasn’t the driver of the vehicle, according to a case file released Thursday by the Minnesota State Patrol.
“At the crash scene, Mr. Hutchinson claimed he was not the driver. The focus of the multi-faceted and collaborative investigation, which included the executed search warrants, set out to determine who was behind the wheel. That need dissolved with the admission by Mr. Hutchinson that he was driving while impaired,” Col. Matt Langer said in a statement.
“Mr. Hutchinson’s decision to drive impaired, at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour while not wearing a seat belt are the exact opposite of what we know helps to keep people safe on our roads,” he added.
The first-term Democrat rolled his county-owned vehicle off the road around 2:30 a.m. Dec. 8 outside of Alexandria, where he was attending a police conference.
New photos released today by the Minnesota State Patrol from Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson's DUI crash. pic.twitter.com/KFIKyc0RaZ
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) January 20, 2022
According to documents released Thursday, Hutchinson called a cab company about an hour before the crash to ask if any bars were still open in the area.
The sheriff hasn’t consented to the release of any body-camera videos of the incident, which Minnesota law requires. However, police were able to release squad-camera videos from the crash scene.
These videos show Hutchinson stumbling along the side of the road as officers walk him back to their squad car. Another video captures a conversation between Hutchinson and one of the responding officers in which the sheriff repeatedly denies being the driver of the car.
“I have no idea,” Hutchinson told one Douglas County sheriff’s deputy when he asked who was driving the car.
Hutchinson apparently threw his keys into the road so they wouldn’t be in his possession when police arrived, according to one police report. He was still armed after the crash and was “attempting to grab [the] holster with his hand.”
“I then removed the firearm from Hutchinson and kept the firearm in my possession. I then assisted Hutchinson back to my squad car, where he was able to sit and wait for the ambulance. While I had been speaking with Hutchinson, I noted that his speech was slurred, and I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. While Hutchinson was attempting to walk, he was having a hard time maintaining his balance and I had to assist him, so he did not fall on multiple occasions,” a deputy wrote in his police report.
Police also found a full bottle of bourbon in the backseat of the vehicle as well as several guns and boxes of ammunition.
Hutchinson was treated for his injuries at Alomere Hospital and initially resisted requests to provide a urine sample.
Hutchinson was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to driving drunk in December. He won’t face consequences for carrying a pistol under the influence of alcohol if he abides by the conditions of his probation.
The sheriff has resisted calls to resign and is up for reelection in November.