A prominent Edina personal injury attorney has admitted to being drunk when he struck a highway construction worker with his SUV in east-central Minnesota and then left the scene before being located roughly 35 miles away.

James Carey agreed Tuesday to plead guilty in Pine County District Court to a gross misdemeanor of criminal vehicular operation while under the influence of alcohol in connection with the incident late in the morning of Oct. 6 along the right shoulder of Interstate 35 near Hinckley.

The plea deal between the prosecution and the defense includes avoiding a 364-day jail term and instead imposing up to four years of probation and a $900 fine. Other terms include he abstain from illicit drugs and alcohol, submit to chemical testing, participate in a drunken-driving victim impact panel and write a letter of apology to the man he struck.

The agreement also calls for Carey, 64, to complete 80 hours of community work service, but it cannot be satisfied through pro bono legal work or anything to do with his profession.

Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 4, when a judge will decide whether to accept any of the terms.

The worker, 28-year-old Joseph G. Flanagan of Duluth, was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, which included a severely bruised and swollen arm.

Carey is president and managing partner of SiebenCarey, the "Know Your Rights" firm that counts tens of thousands of clients over its more than 70 years of defense work. According to the firm's website, Carey focuses on cases involving traffic incidents, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and abuse and catastrophic personal injury.

According to the charges:

A trooper responding to the report of a crash located Flanagan down in a ditch. He had on a high-visibility vest and was walking on the dirt portion of the interstate when struck.

Tire tracks in the dirt indicated to the trooper the driver then got back on the road and continued north.

A woman driving in the same direction said the SUV ahead of her "was going on the shoulder to pass slower traffic in front," the charges read. She said the SUV passed one of two vehicles before hitting the worker.

A Carlton County sheriff's deputy spotted the SUV, its passenger-side mirror missing, on I-35 near Moose Lake. Carey was stopped by law enforcement and smelled of alcohol.

A preliminary breath test measured Carey's blood alcohol content at 0.143%, more than 1½ times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.

Carey explained that he thought he hit an orange sign. He said he would have stopped immediately if he had known he hit someone. He said he hadn't been sleeping for a few days because of a death in the family, had been taking sleeping pills and had three glasses of wine the previous day.