Hennepin County sheriff admits to drinking and driving before crash in Douglas County

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson says he got into a crash after he had been drinking early Wednesday morning near Alexandria.

The Minnesota State Patrol said it was investigating a single-car rollover crash around 2:30 a.m., about 5 miles east of Alexandria on Interstate 94. Hutchinson said he was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to recover.

"I made the inexcusable decision to drive after drinking alcohol and I am deeply sorry," Hutchinson said in a statement. "As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Hennepin County, I am held to a higher standard. I regret the choice I made and apologize to the citizens I serve, the staff I work with, and the friends and family who support me.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am prepared to accept the consequences of my poor decision. I am relieved that no one else was injured in the crash. I will immediately address my personal issues surrounding alcohol and seek the help I need to continue to serve the people of Hennepin County."

The Minnesota State Patrol said impairment was suspected in the crash and charges are pending the results of a urine sample and a review of the case by the Douglas County Attorney’s Office.

According to the State Patrol, the vehicle Hutchinson was driving is owned by Hennepin County.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Douglas County sheriff’s deputies wear body cameras, but footage from the incident is not available for release because it is an ongoing investigation.

The Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Winter Conference was held in Alexandria from Sunday through Tuesday. MSA head Bill Hutton confirmed Hutchinson was at the conference and said the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office made him aware of the incident.

"The Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association strongly dissuades the use of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle," Hutton said. "Leaders should inspire accountability through their actions and the immense amount of responsibly that comes with that."