MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities say a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office official admits he was drinking before he drove into a ditch.

A Wisconsin deputy discovered Robert Staupe’s work SUV in a ditch in Rusk Township last Saturday night.

When the Burnett County deputy searched the black Chevy Tahoe, among the things he found were a bag of Hennepin County Sheriff’s stars, a Hennepin County jacket, a gun locker safe that was locked, a bottle of Tito’s Vodka and a black purse.

Inside the purse was a Minnesota driver’s license belonging to Susan Staupe, wife of Major Robert Staupe.

According to the incident report, when reached by phone Susan had slurred speech and was argumentative. She told the Burnett County deputy that someone from Northwinds Bar had been driving the SUV when it went in the ditch.

But the next morning Major Staupe himself called asking to get his vehicle out of the impound lot.

During the conversation, Major Staupe admitted he was the one who drove into the ditch and that he had been drinking, though he said it was not that much.

Property records show Staupe owns a cabin near the Northwinds Bar.

Investigators said the lieutenant and his wife also tried to have the SUV towed before the deputy arrived.

Hennepin County retrieved the SUV on Monday.

In a statement, Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said, “I am aware of the incident that occurred in Burnett County, Wisconsin involving one of our vehicles. We have launched an internal employment investigation into this incident.”

According to a Hennepin County Sheriffs’ spokesperson, on Tuesday Staupe resigned his appointed position of Major and returned to the rank of lieutenant. He is currently on personal leave.

We called the Staupes for comment, but nobody answered.

John Lauritsen

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