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Charges: Sauk Rapids Mayor Drove Drunk, Crashed Into Snow Bank

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 48-year-old Sauk Rapids man is accused of driving drunk, crashing into garbage cans and getting stuck in a snow bank, according to charges filed Friday in Benton County Court.

Bradley Charles Gunderson, who is the mayor of Sauk Rapids, has been charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of driving while impaired in connection with the Feb. 17 incident.

According to the charges, Sauk Rapids police were called to an accident at about 2:47 p.m. near the area of 9th Avenue North and 18th Street North. When authorities got to the scene, they saw several garbage cans that had been knocked down and scattered along the street. A street sign had also been damaged, and a Chevy Blazer was stuck in a snow bank in the yard of a residence.

Authorities spotted only the driver in the vehicle, later identified as Gunderson, and he was spinning the wheels trying to get out of the snow bank. The complaint states officers told him to shut off the vehicle and while speaking to him, they noticed a strong odor of alcohol from Gunderson and he showed signs of being impaired.

Gunderson even needed help from an officer to be walked back to a squad car for alcohol testing. According to the complaint, Gunderson told police he had two 22-ounce beers at a Sauk Rapids bar and was on his way home. He told the officer he was “not that intoxicated” and asked the officer to bring him home.

A preliminary breath test showed Gunderson was over the .08 legal limit for driving in Minnesota. A subsequent urine test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Police noticed damage to his car that was consistent with the garbage can and street sign damage, and a resident in the area told police they heard a crash, then saw the Blazer stuck in the snow bank. Gunderson failed several field sobriety tests, and when asked by a State Patrol officer what happened, Gunderson said “I’m not sure,” according to the complaint.

If convicted, Gunderson faces up to two years in jail and $6,000 in fines. He is not currently in police custody.

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