Hennepin sheriff hit 126 mph drunk before crash; Walz calls on him to resign

A photo of a wrecked vehicle
A newly released Minnesota State Patrol report says Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson was driving drunk at high speeds in a county-owned vehicle before he rolled it over on Interstate 94 last month near Alexandria.
Courtesy of Douglas County

Posted: Jan. 20 | Updated: Jan. 21

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson was driving drunk at extremely high speeds in a county-owned vehicle, topping 126 mph before rolling it over on Interstate 94 last month near Alexandria, Minn., according to a newly released Minnesota State Patrol report.

Thursday’s disclosure later led Gov. Tim Walz, a fellow Democrat, to say Hutchinson should step down from his elected post. Walz said though he's not a resident of the county, he thinks Hutchinson should be held accountable.

"Most Minnesotans understand that there's consequences for decisions like that,” the governor said during a press conference Thursday.

Walz, the highest ranking DFLer to call on Hutchinson to quit, made his remarks in response to reporter questions following a state budget briefing.

The sheriff has previously resisted growing calls for him to resign, saying he’ll let voters decide his fate. Hutchinson can stay in the elected office unless he decides to resign, doesn't run again, loses the next election or is recalled by voters.

Meanwhile, the state agency that licenses law enforcement is considering next steps.

The investigative documents say Hutchinson claimed that he'd called a cab and a cab driver had been driving his SUV at the time of the crash.

a portrait of a sheriff
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson
via Hennepin County Sheriff

Cab companies called by investigators said they received a call from Hutchinson's number earlier asking them to take him to a bar, but the company explained that the bar would be closed by then and the conversation ended. He did not ask anyone to drive his SUV.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor charge of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. Documents reported his blood alcohol level at 0.13 percent three hours after the crash. Hutchinson said at the time he had been drinking before the wreck.

He was originally charged with four counts of misdemeanor DWI offenses, including driving under the influence while carrying a firearm. He was sentenced to two years probation and a $610 fine.

A photo of a wrecked vehicle
Hutchinson's car after the sheriff was drunk driving and crashed his car in December
Courtesy of Douglas County

He was hospitalized for several days with unspecified injuries. He has since returned to work and said he’s participating in outpatient treatment.

The sheriff did not respond to a request for comment.

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