By John Lauritsen

POLK COUNTY, Wis. (WCCO) — Police say a Stillwater man accused of driving drunk, causing a crash, then taking off and he had his 5-year-old son in the car the whole time.

Erik Steinkraus, 24, has been convicted of DWI’s twice in Minnesota. He now faces felony charges in Wisconsin, including child endangerment and hit-and-run.

Just after 11 p.m. last Friday night, Steinkraus allegedly rear-ended a truck with his suburban at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 8 in Polk County, Wis.

After agreeing to meet the other driver at a gas station to exchange insurance information, Steinkraus instead took off, making a U-turn and driving north on Highway 35, according to police. He didn’t get far.

Steinkraus ended up at a nearby rest stop. A sheriff’s deputy responding to that accident found him sitting in the suburban with his 5-year-old son.

Steinkraus admitted to the deputy that he hit the other vehicle and that he had been drinking. After failing a sobriety test, he was arrested.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, his blood alcohol registered at 0.19 in jail, which is more than twice the legal limit in Wisconsin.

His son was eventually picked up by a family member.

“It’s frustrating for us that someone whose been drinking will bring their 5-year-old child with them and endanger them,” said Captain Steve Smith.

In this case, law enforcement feel extremely fortunate that the boy, the other driver and Steinkraus himself weren’t seriously hurt.

“Luckily, in this case, no one was injured. It was a low-speed crash. I guess I would characterize it as, ‘we got lucky this time,'” said Smith.

Steinkraus’ father said his son wouldn’t comment on the incident.

If convicted, Steinkraus could face thousands of dollars in fines and jail time.

Comments (21)
  1. beyondareasonofadoubt says:

    I am a public defender. This happens everyday in Hennepin County. Is this really newsworthy? A WI arrest? Maybe having his photo enhanced the newsability of it all…..Obviously a slow news night.

    1. Jeff says:

      Arn’t you special!!! Moron……and send the drunk ass Cheesehead to N. Minneapolis….

    2. Karyn Roesler says:

      Its not really up to you to determine if it is newsworthy to everyone. It is simply reported-you chose to read it, so I guess the question is why did you read it if you didnt feel it was newsworthy? The man is from Minnesota, he was driving drunk with a chid, not his first time driving drunk, Id say its worth a mention.

  2. HNP says:

    beyondareasonofdout…state the open cases similar to this one…and also state why is isn’t “newsworthy” when a parent goes on a drunken melee while his 5 year old is in the car. If you are an example of a public defender…from ANY state…we are doomed. Your response was pathetic. Grow up and learn to be a real lawyer…

    1. Yup says:

      He’s never won a case

  3. Great State Laws in Wisconson says:

    In Wisconson this person who was drunk and ran into another vehicle will serve more time in jail than the S O B that was drunk and killed my nephew

    1. MNRN says:

      I’m so sorry about your nephew. The problem here is that the first two times this idiot got DWI’s he just got a little slap on the wrist. Start locking up the drunks for a few years the first time they get DWI’s and maybe they will start to learn!!

  4. thanks says:

    the other person was hurt and he also had his 5 year old asleep in the truck. thanks for stoping and making sure they were ok Erik!!! i bet ur dad is proud of you!!! o and what they didnt tell u was the truck erik was driving is his dads< good job dad thats the way u support our kid!

  5. TL the alligator says:

    i know many of the public pretenders, whoops, sorry, public defenders and most of them are incompetent liberal stooges not far below the lowly rung of prosecuting attorneys……they are assuredly despised by many as all lawyers are.

  6. concernedparty says:

    TL….this should have been apparent by our little public defenders screen name. hey lawyer man, its “beyond a reasonable doubt”, not reason of a doubt. no wonder you’re a low life public defender sworn to keep dirtbags on the street by cutting plea deals. you people have no conscious and no souls for what you do every day at work.

  7. Jake says:

    From looking at the mug shot, this guy looks like a classic meth-head. 3 DUIs by the age of 24….man, this guy has some serious issues.

    1. Jake says:

      He’s got a chemical issue no ifs-ands-buts
      I have sponsered 5 guys , all recovering drunks. He looks like an alcohol abusers, not a meth head.
      I sense you may have your own issues ….. you protecting some alcohol use yourself?

  8. just sayin says:

    Had a son at 19 – way to go jonny! Thats living the dream! Real winner here ladies!!

    1. at just sayin' says:

      yo just sayin’ – you a virgin at 19?????? If so it may explain the stupid comment you made.
      chit happens and takes 2 to tango……..someone blew it. chit happens
      the so-called Greatest Generation spit out as many bastids as any out of wedlock – orphanages were full up 😉

  9. Doug the Moderate says:

    Some of the ridiculous commenters here scare me as much or more than this guy. Grow up, people. We NEED public defenders much more than we need Monday morning quarterbacks who mix their sickening politics with idiot generalizations and stupid ass turf wars.
    But yeah, seems like a slow news day.

    1. bottom feeders says:

      When you can’t be a real lawyer, there is always a public defender job for ya.

  10. Just enforce says:

    We need PD’s no question. We also need the laws, when you convicted, ENFORCED to the hilt.
    10 days served and 4 years waived is BS ,,,,, and common

  11. NA says:

    People like that should have the license taken away when they put a childs life and someone elses life in danger, have family members whos life is messed up due to a drunk driver, the laws need to change and have longer punishment, or else they are just going to keeping reapeating it !!!

    1. OMG says:

      You just don’t get it do you!?
      They have the laws on the books to put these repeat offenders away.
      Take a look at the Judicial system itself and you can see the problem. They cut them free or a slap on the wrist.
      A 10000000 more laws will NOT DO A DAMN thing. Enforcement will of what is there.
      How many forum posters does it take to change a light bulb ???
      The answer is they never will get it figured out regardless of quantity

  12. wereyoubornlastnight? says:

    No matter how many times I read these drunk driver articles, there’s always someone or a few people that say “well jeeeeeez why dont they just take his license away??” hey. guess what. that does absolutely nothing for these repeat offenders. taking a little plastic card our of someones wallet makes little difference to these dirtbags and their decisions to continually drive drunk. tons of people get tickets every day for driving without a license. so those of you that apparently were once part of a 1950’s tv family, please dont post on here.

  13. joopin says:

    yeah there was a young girl present in the truck that got rear ended
    they need to list the facts

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