A drunken driver who injured a state trooper assisting in a car accident in Bloomington late Saturday remained in jail Sunday.
The driver, a 39-year-old man from Richfield, apparently didn't notice the flashing lights on emergency responders' vehicles and flares on the road before he sideswiped one squad and rear-ended a second. The troopers were investigating a rollover crash about 10:45 p.m. Saturday on the ramp from westbound Interstate 494 to northbound Interstate 35W. The ramp was closed.
The trooper in the first squad wasn't injured. The other trooper, Allen Thill, 39, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. He was treated and released.
The driver had a 20-year-old passenger and two children, ages 11 and 14. Nobody was seriously injured. The driver was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal vehicular operation.
Lt. Eric Roeske, a patrol spokesman, said the driver was over the legal limit to drive, but wouldn't give the man's specific blood alcohol result. Troopers noticed the man's slurred speech and that he had trouble keeping his balance.
The driver has an extensive criminal history, including numerous drug and driving convictions and tickets, and a refusal to take a blood alcohol test.
Thill is still feeling the effects of the crash, and Roeske said he didn't know how long it will take him to recover.
"You can never let your guard down when responding to an accident," said Roeske. "There is always the potential for harm."
The area of the accident was well lit and weather didn't play a role, he said. It could have been "much, much worse," said Roeske.
David Chanen 612-673-4465