Denny Hecker, one of the Twin Cities highest-profile auto dealers, is being charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
The Plymouth city attorney filed the charges stemming from a December car accident. The charges were delayed until the results of blood tests were received earlier this week. A criminal complaint filed says the tests found morphine, amphetamine and other drugs. Hecker's business is in a shambles with creditors suing and dealerships going on the block.
Court documents indicate that emergency responders thought Hecker was confused and disoriented after the wreck. Hecker's attorney, Marsh Halberg, said that's not surprising since Hecker had just rolled his SUV, cracked some ribs and had a big gash in his leg.
Hecker, 58, of Medina, eventually spent two days in the hospital.
Halberg said the wreck was an accident, and not related to medications. "Our position is that we acknowledge there was an accident, but dispute whether it was because was under the influence," Halberg said.
For both misdemeanor charges, Hecker could face 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A police report on the accident says Hecker told police he had received novocaine during a dental appointment the day of the accident. Police said Hecker appeared to be very confused and disoriented.
Hecker's auto empire has been declining since the economy turned down. He's recently shut or sold 18 of his 26 dealerships and last week the Denny Hecker Automotive Group blamed a temporary "unfavorable cash situation" for its failure to pay some employees.
Hecker could not be reached for comment.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)