Police Arrest Possibly Impaired Driver On Scene

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A 50-year-old suffered serious injuries after being hit by a car while trying to fix a flat tire.

The accident happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning on Lafayette near University Avenue.

Police say Debra Johnson, of Glenwood, was standing near her vehicle, trying to flag down passing motorists for help with a flat tire when she was hit by 47-year-old Kevin James, of St. Paul.

Johnson was taken to Regions Hospital and is expected to survive.

James was arrested at the scene, suspected of driving impaired. Officers transported him to Regions Hospital for a blood draw. Lab results are pending.

The crash is being investigated. James is not in custody at this time and has not been charged.

Comments (36)
  1. ascherber says:

    WCCO, why do you use these ridiculous stock photos with articles? No photo is better than some random close-up shot of a tire. Just like the article a few months back about some guy getting beaten with a baseball bat and you included a stock photo of a bat… it’s bordering on insulting to the victims.

    Use a relavent photo or no photo.

    1. Dont tread on me photo? says:

      Ah ha

    2. Terri says:

      I agree! These stock photos add no value at all and actually detract.

  2. tom says:

    When will the COPS realize that if they sit outside the bar parking lots, wait for the impaired person to get in his or her car, arrest them and dwi s would go down. This has got to be a priority of police officers. Why wait for them to kill someone!!! A foot officer with a breathalyzer outside the bars, would deter the drunks from driving.

    1. Sarah says:

      Tom- I live in Hutchinson, MN and the cops out there circle/sit in parking lots of the bars. I had one follow me to my house, but I was sober cab. One cop also followed my roommate’s sober cab home the same night, leaving the two people remaining in the parking lot the ones who were drinking, and they did not follow them!
      so cops do circle the bars, but in my case they followed the two sober people home, leaving two people driving drunk! and this was right at bar close too!

    2. MetroCopper says:

      A great idea in theory, Tom. However, who then would handle all of the calls for service if each cop was babysitting a bar parking lot. Not only that, but don’t forget, people do still have 4th Ammendment rights. I can’t walk around the exit of a bar and shove a PBT (preliminary breath test) in the face of everyone who walks out. We officers would LOVE to be able to do all of this stuff, because we know it would reduce DWI violations/crashes/injuries. Sobriety checkpoints would also go a long way to combat this problem, but our MN Supreme Court has literally handcuffed us with regard to that……no go

      1. truth says:

        You’re not happy with your dwi arrest zone areas? Basicly it gives you a stretch of highway you can pull any car over. Ah sure you were swervivng over the line lol, standard fake excuse.

    3. Blake says:

      OMG Tom, I think you’re on to something! We should look into stationing a police officer outside of every jewelry store and maybe we could get one at every gas station too.

      While we’re at it we should place a fireman outside of every house so they can be on hand to assist immediately. Get a grip.

    4. mckyrlz says:

      I completely agree with Tom!!! But the foot officier idea…. then the bar owners who cry harrassment of the CIty and file lawsuits. What happen to the good ole days when law enforcemnt would walk the lots and ink blot license plates (state property) with flourescent dobbers and then pull folks over on the the public side streets.

    1. Chris says:

      After cut backs due to budget issues-who would be answering the 911 calls, when a foot officer is stationed at bar? Having few police officers on the street related to cut backs and other issue makes a suggestion such as this look like something out of Utipa.

  3. JoBob says:

    Better yet, why we just require that bars and restaurants install breathalyzers at the front door and have people blow into them as they leave. If a little red light goes on then they and everybody will know they are too drunk to drive. Then we can all relax a little, lay off a few cops and save everybody money, hassle and quite a few drunk driving accidents like this one.

    1. St Paul says:

      Great idea JoBob. I’d vote for this!!!! I think the bar owners have a bit of responsibility also.

    2. Cindy says:

      Very well said JoBob–It should be a requirement fo every single establishment that has a liquor license.

    3. MN Cop says:

      Way too much liability for the bar…a person’s BAC can still be on the rise when they leave the bar. could blow a .06 and 20 minutes later be over .08. And then there is the issue of mouth alcohol…you can also take one drink, then blow over if you don’t wait for it to evaporate out of your mouth. Law enforcement officers need to make a priority (if time allows) to make as many traffic stops as they can at night. No need to hover around the bars, just stop every thing that is moving and breaking a traffic law…no matter how minor. That is how it’s done.

    4. katie says:

      this unfortunatly doesnt cover the idiots that drink at home or other peoples houses before getting behind the wheel.
      great idea though

  4. James says:

    THat’s the dumbest idea i’ve ever heard. So this is your answer to drunk driving? I’ve got news for you. .08 blood alcohol is a number that means nothing to the average person. It’s a political metric. If you want to have a zero policy law, then you’d better not discriminate against one group over another. You’d better remove all GPS units, all radios, all cigarettes, all cell phones, all little children that don’t behave in the back seat, you’d better install sound proof dividers between each passenger in the car, and you’d better put a ride-along police officer in each vehicle on the road to ensure nobody breaks the law. If this sounds ridiculous to you, then imagine how ridiculous it is to station enforcers at the doors of a legal business. The point is, you can’t fix stupid people.

    The story makes no mention of the ridiculous nature of someone trying to flag down a passing car at 2:30 AM in a suspicious neighborhood on a saturday morning. Give me a break, the 50 year old woman was probably returning home as well, probably from an all-night bender with her red hat club. She obviously wasn’t using the best judgement by standing in the middle of the road flagging someone down, but hey, let’s not mention her BAC level. There should be a law against anyone changing a tire and flagging someone down at 2:30 AM in the morning.

    Common sense folks. You guys are quick to point fingers. I think you should ban all fat people, all stupid people, everyone that wears the color blue, people in basketball shoes, women with purses, and men with cowboy hats as well. They’re all suspicious. When are we going to learn? We need more police for this criminal activity. The speeders are crazy. We should have a no tolerance policy for people driving 1 mile over the limit. Throw them in jail for life. They could kill someone.

    WCCO, if the results of the lab tests show that Kevin James was not impaired by alcohol, you owe this man a serious apology whoever he is. Irresponsible reporting at its worst. People are innocent until proven guilty, unless your name’s been slammed through the mud by the news media. SLANTED and BIASED. go bite your pillows folks.

    1. Seriously, James? says:

      Did you seriously just backhandedly blame the woman for getting his by a car? What an a$$.

    2. JamieinMN says:

      WOW! You are a COMPLETE idiot….

    3. Michael Clark says:

      James, are you all there? Obviously not if you wanna ban all fat and stupid people ( yeah and stupid people shouldn’t breed,either) Men with cowboy hats? I think you must have gotten hit by a bum steer when you were a kid. Make sure you don’t get hit by a woman with a small purse,either.

    4. GrAnNy says:

      James you are an idiot, lets blame the woman for trying to get help, she was trying to get someone to help her, not parading in the road. you are an A$$!!!!!

  5. Will says:

    Don’t make this a police officer problem. I’m sure the lobbyist for the bar league of minnesota would love the idea of coppers sitting in parking lots waiting for people to leave…..not!!
    What are you going to do? Keep people against their at bars because they blow over the legal amount? Do you think patrons will keep going back to those places?
    It’s called being a reponsible adult. Being able to drink in moderation and having enough sense to either stop drinking or call for a sober ride. Stop blaming the cops….

  6. Barry says:

    There are two ways, and two ways only, to reduce DWI offenses: more cops and more stringent DWI laws. Neither of these are likely to happen. First of all, with regard to the laws, I bet many of you would be surprised to learn just how many state lawmakers have a DWI on their record. Think they’re going to pass tougher DWI legislation on their own? Not gonna happen…not without a great deal of pressure from MADD and other groups. With regard to cops, the State Patrol is largest traffic-based enforcement agency in the state. They arrest more DWI offenders every year than any other department. Now the Republicans want to cut the state work force by 15%. Not wise…

    1. Comsense says:

      Yes Barry – States should be able to print money just like the feds do. PUHLEEZE!

  7. disgusted says:

    What good does it do to stop them for DWI when the courts just release them with a slap on the hand? I had the misfortune of spend a couple days observing a couple of district court rooms last year thanks for a lying corrupt cop and super incompetence in the court administration, and I saw one DWI offender after another sent on their way with nothing more than a little fine and maybe a bit of community service. Some were repeat offenders. It was sickening. And here’s another instance. The guy was arrested for DWI, and the article says he is no longer in custody. Really? He put a woman in the hospital, and now he’s driving around again?

    1. JeffB says:

      You’re right…this is a huge problem. After reading Barry’s comments above regarding lawmakers and DWI violations, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some judges out there with whiskey tickets on their records as well. Last year my cousin was popped for DWI in Hennepin County. Grant total on the fine there was $150. The judge stayed a bunch of money and jail time for him because he’s broke and its his first offense. Then I get a ticket in Hennepin Co. for 75 in a 55 zone. Cost me over $200. Im not saying I didn’t deserve the tag, but my fine for a petty misd. was more of a fine than my cousin payed for DWI.

      1. Chris says:

        We really doubt he got by with $150…
        The rdeinstatement fee alone is $700…
        don’t go by what you have heard….
        check the MN Courts website for the real deal!

  8. Duh says:

    If you drink…don’t drive. It’s as simple as that. I don’t understand why some people are so stupid.

  9. Sandyh says:

    Trooper, average citizen on the side of the road, move the f over people, it is NOT that diffiicult!

  10. fedupp says:

    Back to the stock photos. I’t them for months.I’ve complained about them for months. They must be computer generated. Any human of average intelligence, who possesses even a miniscule amount of empathy would find these ridiculous and offensive. Please omit them.

  11. raptured says:

    cops usually let other cops drive drunk, go law enforcement!!!!

    1. Chuck says:

      That is absolutely true!
      I know of a few of the biggest drunk drivers (cops) around….
      Even call ahead to their buddies when they leave the bar!!!!
      Get real people, that is the reality… some things never change…

      1. PS says:

        maybe we should reinstate proibition !

  12. Tina Meier says:

    It seems rediculous to me that non of you felt the need to mention the woman that was hit…THAT was the story…not a bunch of arm chair law enforcement wannabees trying to interject their ideas on how to make everything better. My prayers and thoughts to the woman who was hurt.

    1. TINA says:

      Thank you for the prayers Tina… It is really hard to handle when a loved one is in the hospital….

  13. TINA says:

    Just to let wcco know that the woman that was hit by the car changing her tire,her name is susanne johnson ,not debra … she is family. Had to call the pioneer press also because the police station gave everyone that name, but they fixed it before it was released.

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