Smashed: The toll of driving drunk in Minnesota

One face, one case: Michael C. Vincent

  • Updated: March 31, 2010 - 12:29 PM

Michael Vincent

Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff, Star Tribune

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Latest incident: About 11:40 a.m. on March 5, near Penn Avenue S. in Bloomington

Description: Acting on a tip that Vincent was probably drunk and headed to a nearby liquor store, police pursued and arrested him after they caught him changing lanes in a black Ford F-150 without signaling, according to the criminal complaint.

He made no attempt to hide his intoxication, according to the complaint. He was caught with a bottle of vodka in his jacket and admitted drinking half a liter of booze that morning. He refused to complete field sobriety tests, saying "I know that I'm drunk and I don't need any tests to prove it," the complaint said. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.25 percent, or more than three times the legal limit to drive.

Vincent told police he lives with his parents, who are aware of his drinking problem and previous drunken driving convictions. He said he was driving a truck belonging to their company.

Status: He spent two days in jail and posted a $50,000 bond. He is charged with two counts of felony drunken driving and with driving without a license, a gross misdemeanor. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

History: Vincent's license was revoked for refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test following his arrest for drunken driving in September. He posted a $12,000 bond and pleaded not guilty. Vincent was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 and 2008. He spent a total of two days in jail and was sentenced to 28 days on electronic home monitoring. His license was revoked for 18 months and he paid $600 in fines.

JANE FRIEDMANN

  • about this series

  • In Minnesota, drunken drivers who kill someone with their car sometimes get less time behind bars than nonviolent offenders. Public safety advocates say it's part of a culture of forgiveness surrounding drunken driving, a social problem that killed 893 people on Minnesota roads in the past five years. Read the Star Tribune's in-depth look at the scourge of drunken driving, the victims it claims and the public safety questions it raises.

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