The idea of cellphone use in a motor vehicle has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years across the country. Some commentators and highway safety officials say that distracted driving is an epidemic. Yet, law enforcement often receives reports via cellphone from motorists reporting pother drivers.
Dakota County officials accuse an off-duty South Saint Paul police officer with several serious charges after someone called 911 last week to report an alleged erratic driver on Minnesota Highway 3 in Farmington, Minnesota.
The caller claims seeing a sport utility vehicle running into the ditch and striking signs and mailboxes along the highway. A Rosemount Police officer responded to the area and claims that the same driver continued driving erratically before pulling into a gas station and running into a trailer and gas pumps in a Kwik Trip parking lot.
The officer claims that he tried to stop the SUV in the parking lot by running his cruiser into the bumper of the SUV, shoving the vehicle into a parked car, but the driver continued to try to drive away. Once back on Highway 3, the Rosemount officers says that he rammed the SUV again, shoving the vehicle into a curb.
The man behind the wheel reportedly is an officer from South Saint Paul, who is now on administrative leave. Dakota County officials claim that the man said that he was tired during the mid-morning stop last Tuesday in Rosemount, Minnesota. But police also claim that the man had admitted drinking several drinks, but had not consumed any alcohol for four to five hours.
The off-duty cop is now accused of a string of charges related to the incident. Later this week we will continue discussing the recent arrest, which involves allegations of felony fleeing, criminal damage to property and DWI charges.
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, “South St. Paul officer charged with DWI while off duty,” Nick Ferraro, June 14, 2013; Minnesota Statutes section 609.487, Minnesota Statutes section 609.595