Minneapolis, MN – Minnesota Governor Time Walz called for Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson to resign from office on Thursday after dashcam video and other evidence from the sheriff’s drunk driving arrest showed him lying to deputies after he crashed his county vehicle (video below).
The crash occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 8, 2021 on Interstate 94 near Alexandria, KARE reported.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Dylan Kriese was the first on the scene after the wreck and wrote in the police report that he found Sheriff Hutchinson laying on the side of the road.
Deputy Kriese wrote that he asked the sheriff where he was hurt and that Sheriff Hutchinson replied that he hadn’t been driving, KARE reported.
The deputy said he asked Sheriff Hutchinson who had been driving and he replied, “I have no idea,” according to the report.
A passerby who was the first person to discover the crash and stop to help told investigators a similar story, KARE reported.
“He was crawling away from the car in the bottom of the ditch,” the witness said. “The first thing he said to me was ‘I wasn’t driving the car’. I said so is there somebody else in there and he said, ‘I don’t know and it’s not my car, I don’t know whose it is’.”
The keys to Sheriff Hutchinson’s county-owned SUV were found by an EMT from North Memorial Ambulance in the middle of the interstate, KARE reported.
Deputy Kriese wrote in the police report that he thought the sheriff had thrown the keys into the roadway so they wouldn’t be on him when officers arrived.
Dashcam video from inside a patrol vehicle showed Sheriff Hutchinson continued to insist to a trooper that someone else had been driving the crashed vehicle.
The video showed the trooper was concerned there was another victim from the crash that hadn’t yet been found, KARE reported.
The sheriff insisted that he had taken a cab and that he had not been driving when the SUV crashed.
Minnesota State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer said Sheriff Hutchinson’s claims that he hadn’t been driving the Ford Explorer were the basis for an extensive investigation.
“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,” Col. Langer said in the statement. “That need dissolved with the admission by Mr. Hutchinson that he was driving while impaired.”
The sheriff admitted to driving intoxicated the day after the crash, and quickly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI before any of the toxicology or other evidence had been thoroughly analyzed, KARE reported.
When the reports came back, authorities learned that Hutchinson had a blood alcohol level of .13 three hours after he wrecked and flipped his SUV multiple times.
Then data recovered from Sheriff Hutchinson’s Explorer showed the sheriff was driving 126.2 mph three-and-a-half seconds before the SUV flipped, KARE reported.
Just taking a quick peek at the Sheriff Hutchinson DWI crash data and I found this interesting. Going 125mph 5 seconds before the crash, according to black box data. pic.twitter.com/ewTk2CYFUV
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) January 20, 2022
“There is no minimizing or defending the driving conduct and decisions involved in this situation,” Col. Langer said. “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.”
Photos of the scene that were released showed the sheriff’s uniform hanging out of the destroyed SUV, a bottle of liquor inside the Explorer, and a revolver lying in the snow next to the wreck, KARE reported.
Alexandria police investigators determined that Sheriff Hutchinson had actually called a taxi an hour before the crash and asked if there were any bars still open in the area.
The Alexandria Police Department said the taxi company said they told the sheriff that the bars would all be closed before they could take him to one, KARE reported.
Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, a resident of Hennepin County, called for Sheriff Hutchinson to resign on Jan. 20.
The governor joined her and called the sheriff’s actions “a breach of trust,” WCCO reported.
“I’m not a resident of the county and I’m speaking as an individual on this, but I think most Minnesotans know and most Minnesotans understand that there’s consequences for decisions like that,” Walz said. “I just wish that he gets the help that he needs to move on with his life.”
Five of the seven Hennepin County commissioners have also called for Sheriff Hutchinson to step down, WCCO reported.
The sheriff is up for re-election in November, and unless he resigns, there isn’t much that can be done to remove him from office before the election as the complicated and rare recall process would probably take just as much time to achieve.
Sheriff Hutchinson posted an apology to social media but has said he will not resign, KARE reported.
“I made the inexcusable decision to drive after drinking alcohol and I am deeply sorry,” the sheriff said in a statement. “As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Hennepin County, I am held to a higher standard. I regret the choice I made and apologize to the citizens I serve, the staff I work with, and the friends and family who support me.”
Watch the dashcam video here below: