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Hennepin County sheriff charging decision expected early next week

The top law enforcement official of Minnesota's largest county admitted to drinking before crashing a county-issued vehicle near Alexandria.

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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — A prosecutor says he expects to reach a decision early next week on whether to pursue criminal charges against the Hennepin County sheriff, who admitted this week to drinking before rolling his vehicle on a highway in western Minnesota.

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson was brought to Alomere hospital in Alexandria for noncritical injuries after crashing a county-issued SUV on Interstate 94 in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Dec. 8, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The sheriff, who was attending the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association winter conference in Alexandria, admitted to drinking before crashing 5 miles east of the city.

Douglas County sheriff's deputies responding to the scene suspected Hutchinson was under the influence and took a urine sample from the sheriff to determine his level of intoxication, according to the patrol. In a statement, Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is analyzing the sample and his office will make a charging decision based on the results early next week.

Larson declined to offer further details in the case, citing an ongoing investigation.

Hutchinson was elected sheriff of the state's largest county in 2018. Hennepin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Andy Skoogman said command staff and a chief deputy will oversee the agency's operations in Hutchinson's absence.

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In a statement, Hutchinson called his decision to drive after drinking alcohol "inexcusable." He said he took full responsibility for his actions and plans to address his personal issues with alcohol.

Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
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