Snowmobile Driver Arrested for DWI in Minnesota

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In the state of Minnesota, there are more than 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails. During the winter season, these trails are full of snowmobilers looking for fun.

KBJR News 2 reminds snowmobile riders that along with the thrills, there are also dangers out on the snowmobile trails. Drivers can significantly lessen their chances of accidents and injuries by slowing down, wearing a helmet and obeying state laws.

Many of the same rules that apply to driving a car also apply to snowmobiles. The speed limit for snowmobiles is 50 mph and drivers must not operate a snowmobile, or any other vehicle, while intoxicated.

Snowmobile drivers who are arrested for DWI in Minnesota risk having the arrest and conviction put on their driver's licenses. They also face the same DUI penalties as if they were driving a car while intoxicated. The Mille Lacs County Times recently reported that a local snowmobile driver was arrested for DWI after a patrol officer was notified around 11 p.m. that a snowmobile was stranded on a trail. When the officer responded, he reportedly found Michael DeCoursey, 27, on a moving snowmobile with the headlight on. As the officer watched, DeCoursey allegedly turned the headlight off and approached the police vehicle on the snowmobile. The officer reported that DeCoursey then got off the snowmobile and approached the officer on foot.

According to the incident report, the officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from DeCoursey, noticed that his eyes were red and watery, and that he was unsteady on his feet. DeCoursey reportedly slurred his speech as he explained to the officer that his snowmobile had a spark plug problem.

As the officer was running a check on DeCoursey's driver's license, a man arrived and informed the officer that there was a complaint about the suspect driving the snowmobile in someone's yard.

DeCoursey was given, and failed, field sobriety tests. He agreed to take a breath test. However, while the officer waited for a sheriff's deputy to arrive with the portable breath test machine, DeCoursey reportedly told the officer that he planned to run and that the officer would not be able to catch him.

Eventually a breath test was administered, showing that DeCoursey had a blood alcohol content of .223 percent. As an officer attempted to place him under arrest, DeCoursey allegedly said "no," put his hands in his pockets and started backing away from the officers.

The officers put DeCoursey on the ground and attempted to handcuff him and he resisted. A deputy warned DeCoursey to cooperate or the Taser would be used. DeCoursey still struggled and the deputy used the Taser to subdue him. Afterwards, DeCoursey commented that the Taser's batteries were weak and got up and started to run. After a struggle, during which DeCoursey allegedly attempted to hit an officer, he was finally handcuffed and placed in a squad car.

DeCoursey was taken to the hospital and then to jail. He was charged with obstructing the legal process, two counts of fourth degree DWI and fleeing a police officer.

Law enforcement officials say that drivers should realize that driving a snowmobile, boat or other vehicle while intoxicated is dangerous and against the law. DUI or DWI can be charged for anyone found violating these laws on any type of vehicle. During 2008, nine people in Minnesota died from injuries sustained in snowmobile accidents. Four of those crashes involved alcohol.



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