David Allen Johnson, 44, Swanville, was charged Jan. 27 in Morrison County District Court with one felony count each of refusing to submit to a chemical test and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. He was also charged with one gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation.
A Minnesota State Patrol officer responded to an area on southbound Highway 371 when several calls to dispatch reported a vehicle nearly struck another, went into the ditch and that the driver left the vehicle, crossed both lanes of the highway and walked into a wooded area.
The trooper found both the vehicle in the ditch and footprints heading up a wooded hill. He followed the tracks until he found the alleged driver who was identified as Johnson.
According to the criminal complaint, Johnson admitted he had crashed his vehicle and that he did not have a driver’s license.
While speaking to Johnson, the trooper allegedly detected an overwhelming odor of alcohol coming from him. While Johnson was unsteady on his feet and swayed as he walked, he denied he had been drinking, the complaint said.
When the two returned to the highway, Johnson was given a portable breath test which came back as 0.154 alcohol concentration. He was then placed under arrest and transported to the Morrison County Jail.
When asked to give another breath test, Johnson allegedly refused.
An examination of Johnson’s record showed his driving privileges had been cancelled as inimical to public safety due to DWI convictions from November 2004, August 2005 and December 2005, along with four other convictions.
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and/or a $14,000 fine.