Partner of personal injury law firm charged with hitting construction worker on I-35
The president and managing partner of a local law firm has been charged after a construction worker was hit along Interstate 35 in Pine County on Friday.
James Patrick Carey, 64, from Edina, was arrested Friday night in Moose Lake, according to an incident report from the Minnesota State Patrol.
Charging documents filed Monday state that a construction worker wearing a high-visibility vest was walking on the shoulder of I-35 near mile marker 182 after picking up cones when he was hit by a passing vehicle.
Several witnesses told troopers that traffic had slowed near a construction area but an SUV drove on the shoulder and started passing vehicles, hit the construction worker and then continued on.
A trooper found pieces from a side view mirror on the shoulder of the road, and a part number on one of the pieces traced back to a 2016 GMC Acadia.
A criminal complaint adds that a Carlton County deputy found the Acadia with a missing passenger-side mirror near mile marker 217 and stopped it. Carey was identified as the driver, and authorities noticed he smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot and watery eyes.
Carey told law enforcement that he knew he’d hit something in the construction zone but thought it was a sign, not a person; otherwise, he would’ve stopped, according to court documents. He added that he hadn’t been sleeping for a few days due to a death in the family and had taken sleeping pills, although he only said he drank wine the previous day.
After showing further signs of intoxication, he agreed to take a breath test but failed to properly do so, the complaint states. However, a manual capture registered a 0.12 blood-alcohol content and another breath test showed 0.14.
He’s facing charges of criminal vehicular operation for leaving a crash scene and driving under the influence, as well as a DWI charge and an additional charge for failing to stop at a crash scene. Each charge is a gross misdemeanor and carries up to 364 days in jail, except the DWI, which is a misdemeanor and has a maximum of 90 days in jail.
The construction worker was treated at a hospital. While the exact extent of his injuries isn’t clear, the complaint notes he had severe bruising and swelling on the arm where he was hit.