Fired Minnesota Senate aide Michael Brodkorb pleaded guilty Wednesday to fourth-degree drunken driving, saying he flirted with death when he crashed his SUV seven weeks ago on a south metro highway and suffered serious injuries.

“I accept complete responsibility for my behavior,” Brodkorb, 39, said in a statement issued online. “I have seen the pain and horrific tragedy of drunk driving affect those closest to me, and I should have made different decisions.”

Going on to cite statistics backing up the dangers of drinking and driving, and noting that he was not wearing his seat belt, Brodkorb added, “I should be dead, and I am alive today because of the speedy and caring work” of emergency personnel who arrived at the scene of the crash and medical staff at Regions Hospital.

“My message today,” he concluded, “is don’t drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.”

In exchange for Brodkorb’s plea to a misdemeanor, authorities dropped an additional fourth-degree drunken-driving count, as well as charges of careless driving and not wearing a seat belt.

Brodkorb will be on supervised probation for a year and will have to complete a chemical assessment, be involved with a victim-impact panel, and pay a $500 fine and fees of $336.

Testing determined that Brodkorb, of Eagan, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08, when he crashed into the base of a bridge on northbound Interstate 35E about 9:15 p.m. Jan. 23 and was thrown from the vehicle.

The longtime GOP operative lost his job as the Republicans’ Senate communications chief late in 2011, after then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch admitted that the two were having an affair.

She stepped down from leadership, and Brodkorb was fired. A lawsuit he filed against the Senate alleging wrongful termination is still working its way through the courts.