State Patrol releases files following Hennepin County sheriff’s impaired driving crash

The Minnesota State Patrol has released files after an impaired driving crash involving Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson in December.

The files contained photos and audio related to the crash.

On Dec. 8, a single-car rollover crash was reported around 2:30 a.m., about 5 miles east of Alexandria on Interstate 94.

A search warrant application stated Hutchinson told witnesses and deputies at the scene that he wasn’t the driver of the county-owned vehicle after it crashed near Alexandria.

Later in the day, Hutchinson released a statement saying he drove the vehicle after he’d been drinking and apologized for his actions.

Hutchinson was charged with four misdemeanors, one of which was carrying a pistol under the influence of alcohol. That charge is scheduled for dismissal.

A photo included in the files released Thursday showed a pistol in the snow.

He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor—fourth-degree DWI—in connection with the incident.

A state board is investigating the DWI misdemeanor conviction.

Since the crash, Hennepin County commissioners have called for Hutchinson to resign.

Regarding the investigation into the crash, Col. Matt Langer, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, issued a statement:

I commend the work of those who had a role in investigating this matter, including 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.

There is no minimizing or defending the driving conduct and decisions involved in this situation. 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. We are glad the injuries he sustained were not more severe and that no one else was injured.

We appreciate Mr. Hutchinson taking responsibility for his actions and hope others will learn from this situation by following our steadfast and simple advice to never drive impaired, obey the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and pay attention.