ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota man busted 10 times for DWI may be the first person in the state accused of breaking a brand new state law.

Investigators said Michael Andrist, 46 of Rochester, injected bath salts before getting behind the wheel on Sunday near Vermillion in Dakota County.

A law banning synthetic drugs in Minnesota went into effect on Friday, which makes that consumption illegal.

According to Dakota County Sheriff’s investigators, repeat 911 callers said Michael Andrist’s blue pickup swerved into the ditch of Highway 52, between 160th and 215th Streets, reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour on the shoulder.

According to court records, after a short pursuit, a Dakota County Sheriff’s deputy caught up with him without shoes, stumbling and swaying. But still, Andrist blew “all zeroes” into the breathalyzer.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said that’s when Andrist confessed, after changing his story several times.

“He basically admitted to the use of bath salts. That is what we believe it was. We are doing the tests to verify it,” said Backstrom.

When the deputy found a syringe on Andrist, he said he injects bath salts because “they have the same effects of shooting meth but without the high costs.”

The July 1 law bans substances with similar effects to illegal drugs, which range from bath salts to fake marijuana and even the chemical 2c-e, which was blamed for the recent mass overdose in Blaine that killed a 19-year-old.

“The law went into effect without scientific evidence,” said Minneapolis-based Trial Attorney Marc Kurzman.

Kurzman said there isn’t enough proof that the consumption is criminal. He represents stores including Down In The Valley, which sold bath salts until recently. Kurzman unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit to stop a ban he called too vague.

“There is no excuse for driving under the influence,” said Kurzman. But, he said, “The statute is unconstitutional and overly broad. Because of things like this, there will be scores,  hundreds of cases, that are going to be broad and in each one, there will be a constitutional challenge raised.”

Hennepin County Judge William Howard denied the group’s request for a temporary restraining order last week, saying it was too soon to decide whether the new law is too vague because no one has faced criminal charges under it.

Now Kurzman said the group of retailers will still fight to overturn the law, saying this first case will provide evidence for the court.

“My clients don’t want to be criminals and would like to know what is legal and illegal,” said Kurzman.

But Backstrom said he believes when it comes to the danger of designer drugs, Andrist’s case provides the proof. He testified at the State Capitol in support of the law.

“If it has negative impact on a few business, that is unfortunate, not okay to be selling substances harmful to our citizens,” said Backstrom. “This is a change that needed to happen and this case illustrates that. They were fortunately able to stop him before anyone was seriously injured or killed.”

Comments (18)
  1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

    “Andrist has 10 prior DWI convictions and four convictions of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, among other convictions.”

    Still not good enough to keep him in prison, eh, Minnesota? How many chances do you reckon he has left before you put a round in his temple? 20 or 30? Afterall, he’s the real victim, right?

  2. Jesse V says:

    Look at this guy…aka Brett Favre

    1. Ferris Lind says:

      your a p.o.s

  3. Michael Allan Andrunk says:

    How is this guy not a danger to society? He’ll clearly never be rehabilitated so he deserves life in prison.

    1. Brian says:

      I’ll do you one better, Michael. Forget life in prison. Save money and give him a needle in the arm.

  4. Del says:

    The article should say that he was arrested by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office (nowhere near Rochester) since the article is datelined “Rochester”.

    1. Justin says:

      he is from Rochester, if you read the article it said “Michael Andrist, 46 of Rochester”

  5. interesting says:

    I wonder how they determined that he was under the influence of this new synthetic drug?

    1. Mike Hawk says:

      My understanding is he admitted to using the “Bath Salts”.

  6. rachel says:

    I witnessed this guy in action on Sunday and contacted the police. This incident was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. I’ve never heard of injecting bath salts, but after seeing how “out of it” this guy was, I totally believe that it has the same effect as meth. Super scary. I’m so thankful the police were able to capture this creep.

    1. Mike Hawk says:

      Thank you. You probably saved lives.

  7. M B says:

    Soooooo…. Bath salts are banned now because some moron decided to try injecting it?

    You know cars can kill people too, so maybe we should ban those… Oh, and McDonald’s, because fat can kill. Maybe we should ban natural gas from our homes because it can make them explode. How about refrigerators because if you stuff someone in there they will asphyxiate… The dangers of guns are obvious too. How about we ban everything and save ourselves the trouble?

    Getting absurd enough for you politicians yet? It’s not the item, it what you DO with it that makes it illegal. But, as usual, our politicians have the “the sky is falling” mentality instead of actually having enough spine to create laws that are effective and fair.

    1. markH says:

      I couldn’t agree more with your comment. Government is so busy being “Big Brother” that it can’t solve problems that it IS charged with solving

      1. Brian says:

        @MB and markH
        I can’t wait till one of your loved ones gets mowed down my some guy who’s high on maple leafs. Then you’ll be the ones crying from the highest mountain tops, writing your congressmen, and crying to the government because smoking maple leaf isn’t illegal. Go back to playing World of Warcraft, idiots. Until you have some intelligent input, shut up.

    2. Ez says:

      Maybe we should ban morons like you. These “bath salts” are not really salt at all and they have already been banned in Europe. They are in reality an amphetamine which is also what meth is. Grow up and find the facts before you comment and show just how ignorant you are.

      1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

        Why is banning it the answer though…

  8. Steve says:

    So that’s why they quit making Mr Bubble bath salts….

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Best Of Minnesota

Watch & Listen LIVE