Carlton County's chief prosecutor arrested, suspected of drunken driving

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 18, 2012 - 9:14 PM

The Carlton County attorney is jailed in Duluth on suspicion of drunken driving, authorities said Wednesday.

Thom Pertler, 48, of Cloquet, was pulled over in his car by the State Patrol and arrested about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on southbound Hwy. 61 just north of Duluth, Sgt. Curt Mowers said.

Pertler, the county attorney since 2005, remains jailed on suspicion of refusing to submit to sobriety testing, a gross misdemeanor, and fourth-degree drunken driving, a misdemeanor. His arraignment in St. Louis County District Court is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Mowers said at least two motorists called in "driving complaints [about Pertler's car]. People believed it was drunk driving."

Responding troopers then saw Pertler's car cross the center line shortly before they stopped him.

In light of Pertler's position in law enforcement, Mowers emphasized that "we treat any DWI case the same."

While an assistant county attorney in Carlton County, Pertler helped win convictions in the 1999 murder of Moose Lake convenience store clerk Katie Poirier and in the kidnapping, beating and killing of Two Harbors teenager Paul Antonich in 1996.

In March, Pertler told the Duluth News Tribune that he left his post as an adjunct instructor at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in February because he was embarrassed by being unable to communicate with students when he came to class after drinking at a bar. He also told the newspaper that his trouble that day was aggravated by the pain medication he was taking and that he didn't have a drinking problem.

PAUL WALSH

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