Sheriff Hutchinson won’t face consequences for carrying gun while driving drunk

Hutchinson has been convicted of a misdemeanor DWI charge.

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson and Gov. Tim Walz pose for a picture in November 2018 when they were both candidates for their respective offices. (Sheriff Dave Hutchinson/Facebook)

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson has been sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty last week to driving drunk.

According to court documents, Hutchinson’s 90-day jail sentence was stayed and he will instead do two years of probation. Under the terms of his probation, he is not allowed to consume alcohol or controlled substances and must submit to random testing.

A sentencing order published Monday states that Hutchinson’s charge for carrying a pistol under the influence of alcohol was “continued for dismissal.” This means the charge will be dismissed if he has no probation violations. Hutchinson has been convicted of a misdemeanor DWI charge.

Several reporters have criticized the lack of transparency in the process. No mugshot of Hutchinson was made public and Monday’s sentencing took place with no notice to the media or the public. Several media outlets petitioned for access to Hutchinson’s court hearings, court records show.

Hutchinson rolled his county-owned vehicle off the road while traveling home to Minneapolis from a sheriffs’ conference. After the accident, his urine revealed a blood alcohol content of .13 — nearly twice the legal limit of .08.

He was reportedly “crawling along the road” after the Dec. 8 crash, according to police scanner audio released Thursday by photojournalist Rebecca Brannon. Brannon also published photos of Hutchinson’s mangled squad car.

According to Brannon, the vehicle came equipped with several customizations and cost taxpayers around $75,000.

Alpha News was also provided with photos of the crash scene, where an Alexandria man said he found two 50-round boxes of ammo.

“As Sheriff, I made the wellness of my staff a priority; however, I didn’t practice what I preached. This incident is a wake-up call for me. I understand the seriousness of my actions, for which I take full responsibility,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

The sheriff said he is now enrolled in an outpatient treatment program to address his issues with alcohol. He appears to have no intention of resigning, concluding his statement with: “I have returned to work and will focus on my duties as Sheriff.”

The Democratic sheriff was elected in November 2018 and received the endorsements of Gov. Tim Walz, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and the Minnesota DFL, led by Chairman Ken Martin. None of these officials have commented on the incident.