DWI is a serious issue in several communities around the country. One Minnesota state county has had more than their share of issues with drivers under the influence.
Dakota county has had a host of DWI’s in one particular location with no apparent correlation whatsoever. All of the incidents were epically tragic, dangerous and two were fatal in nature. The community has called into question its DWI laws and whether harsher penalties would have any effect on these horrific accidents from occuring.
The One That Got Away
A drunken driver was surprisingly rescued from a burning SUV after he managed to jump a median and collide into a parked tractor trailer. The tractor trailer blew up; Dakota County police said.
Joe Johnson, 25, was charged with driving while intoxicated after his near death encounter at 2:00 a.m.
Johnson was severely intoxicated when he was headed west on 25A, lost control of his Honda CRV out of nowhere, drove over the median and a giant field of grass before landing in the parking lot of a Seven 11 gas station, where he sideswiped a light pole and ricocheted into a tractor trailer.
The driver passed out while the engine was still running and the vehicle ignited.
First responders put the fire out with several fire extinguishers and rescued the young man. The jaws of life were used and the man regained consciousness during the rescue.
The one person in the tractor trailer was not injured.
This comes only three months after another Dakota county man was charged with felony DWI for driving the wrong way while intoxicated.
A St. Paul MN man was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison. Chris Smith, 56, drove drunk the wrong way on 35W when he hit and killed a 57 year old man.
Smith was so drunk that he was aiming at cars to run off the highway, said police.
The Police Get DWI’s Too
A former Dakota County police officer pleaded guilty to killing a man after driving the wrong way on the same highway as mentioned above. For a great Dakota County DWI attorney click here.
Officer Robert Scheel, 26, drank 10 pints of beer and a mixed drink, prosecutors said, before the fatal collision. In return for the guilty plea to aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges, state Supreme Court sentenced Robert Scheel to 3 to 9 years in prison.
The Assistant District Attorney recommended a sentence of 4 to 12 years. The maximum sentence former officer Scheel faced was 8 1⁄3 to 25 years.
Scheel was fired by the Dakota County Police Department after he was indicted. He had only been an officer for one year.
The victim was 37 and his van caught fire and he was trapped inside; burned alive.
The former officer was caught on video drinking ten beers and mixed drinks before driving away. The officer was drinking for 5 hours with fellow officers before getting behind the wheel. His blood alcohol content was .17. The officer lost a leg in the crash and was very remorseful.