Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 25, 2003

Drunk driver hits several things including police chief's landscaping

By Ryan Gueningsman

A drunk driver hit a tree, struck and moved a large landscaping rock at the home of Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson, and proceeded in reverse down the entire length of a street with a flat tire Aug. 17.

Edwin Albert Dlugopolski, 42, of Dassel struck a tree at the end of the alley on Hickory Street, proceeded north on Juniper Street and struck Carlson's landscaping, then drove in reverse the entire length of Juniper Street South, missing a stop sign, and ending up back on Hickory Street.

Lester Prairie Police Officer Mark Thiry, responding to a complaint of "dangerous driving," located the car and its two occupants.

According to a police report, the two men were in conversation, appeared to be pointing at the flat tire, and did not notice Thiry, even though he "parked right behind them with emergency lights activated."

Dlugopolski, who was the driver of the vehicle, a red 1987 Chrysler Le Baron, took a portable breathalizer test (PBT) and failed with a reading of .286, according to the criminal complaint.

After this finding, Thiry went to place Dlugopolski under arrest for driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety, and felony driving under the influence. According to the report, Dlugopolski "became combative and started to resist."

Thiry told Dlugopolski to stop resisting, to which he did not, and Thiry proceeded to take Dlugopolski to the ground, and handcuffed him with the assistance of another officer, according to the report.

"Officer Thiry also asked him where he was, and he said he did not know," Carlson said. "They had indicated that they had been bar-hopping."

Dlugopolski's passenger, an adult male from the East Grand Forks area, was not charged with anything, but does have six past DUI (driving under the influence) violations, Carlson said.

Dlugopolski was taken to the McLeod County jail, and charged with first degree driving while impaired, which bears a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment, and/or a $14,000 fine.

Since 1994, Dlugopolski has had nine other DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges, according to the complaint, including one for DUI child endangerment in 1999.

"The only way to keep him out of a car is jail," Carlson said. "It's a felony ­ give him prison time."

The vehicle was towed, and the license plates were revoked, according to the report.

Dlugopolski appeared in court Wednesday, with bail being set at $56,000 or $15,000 plus alcohol monitoring, said McLeod County Attornry Mike Junge. He was scheduled to appear again Friday.

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