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Hennepin County deputy admits to drinking, driving, ditching squad in newly released accident report

Updated: October 03, 2019 10:21 PM

In a newly released accident report from the Burnett County Sheriff's Office, a high-ranking deputy from Hennepin County admitted to drinking, driving and ditching his county-issued, taxpayer funded Chevrolet Tahoe.

Bob Staupe, a member of the Command Staff, was demoted Wednesday from the rank of major to lieutenant. He oversaw several units, including patrol. He's been a deputy since 1995.

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The three-page report described the circumstances of finding an empty vehicle deserted along County Road G, on a dark, rural road across from a local watering hole. 

The black Tahoe was registered to Hennepin County. A closer look by a Burnett County deputy revealed controls for emergency lights. The deputy also noticed a group gathered in the parking lot of the bar. When questioned, no one cooperated.

Inside the SUV, the Burnett deputy found a purse, a bottle of vodka, a Hennepin County jacket and sheriff's stars in a bag. The investigator noted there were no keys inside, and the doors were locked because of a secured gun safe. Information at the scene, according to the reports, led to Staupe, who owns a nearby cabin.

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office investigating how one of its vehicles ended up in Burnett County ditch

At the time, Staupe was a Major, and as top brass, he had a take home vehicle and was considered on-call, making him responsible for responding to emergencies back in Hennepin County, more than 100 miles away.

When asked, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, "there is not a distance radius written into the policy." And, because an "internal employment investigation" had been launched, there was nothing further the department could say.

A day later, however, the report states Staupe called to get his squad back. According to the document, Staupe admitted he was driving the Tahoe, and he had been drinking before he put the vehicle in the ditch.

The investigator told Staupe his bosses had been notified.

When contacted at home, Staupe had "no comment."

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has yet to respond to inquiries on whether there were any emergencies that night that Staupe was called about and if his radio would even work once in Wisconsin? Also, since it was an accident report, was the incident considered a crime for leaving the scene?

Staupe is on personal leave.

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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