Trooper smelling of alcohol at training is cited on suspicion of driving drunk

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2012 - 9:13 PM

A breath test at the St. Louis County jail measured .08.

A Minnesota state trooper who showed up for a morning training session smelling of alcohol was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on Wednesday.

Trooper Nick Morse, of Two Harbors, has been placed on paid investigative leave pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations.

Morse drove his squad car to the Minnesota State Patrol district office in Duluth, arriving at 8:10 a.m., when a supervisor there noticed the alcohol odor, according to the Department of Public Safety. Officials administered sobriety tests, and Morse was taken to the St. Louis County jail. A breath test there registered an alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit in Minnesota, a department statement said.

Morse, 29, a state trooper since 2009 who has neither disciplinary actions nor commendations in his file, was then booked into the jail and issued a citation for 4th-degree DWI.

"State troopers are dedicated to taking impaired drivers off the road, which makes this incident even more egregious and unacceptable," Col. Kevin Daly, chief of the State Patrol, said in a statement. "We don't tolerate impaired driving, regardless of who is behind the wheel."

Morse could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.

State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said Morse did not answer any questions or make any statements regarding the incident.

"Obviously this is a very disappointing situation ... We certainly hold our people to a high standard, and we will hold this person accountable," Roeske said. "It also demonstrates the fact that state troopers are human beings and can make mistakes and poor choices ... The criminal proceeding will be the same as it would be for anyone else."

Roeske said the internal investigation will look for violations of policy or conduct.

"We'll have to wait until the criminal and internal investigations are complete before we make any decisions on what actions will take place," Roeske said.

Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102

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