A Minneapolis man with four previous drunken-driving convictions is facing a felony DWI charge after police say he refused to submit to a chemical test.
Charles Edward Bryan, 42, is charged with first-degree DWI/refusal to submit to a chemical test, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison.
Bryan is also charged with driving with a canceled license, a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Minnesota State Patrol troopers were called to investigate a reported hit-and-run accident just before 3:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the intersection of westbound Highway 62 and Interstate 35W, according to the criminal complaint, signed by Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Dan Beasley.
Troopers spoke to a witness, who said she saw a red Chrysler Sebring swerve off the road and hit two different road signs. She said that when she checked on the car’s occupants, she found Bryan, the driver, and a female passenger in the front seat.
The woman said she asked Bryan and the woman if they were all right. They didn’t answer, but suddenly got out of the car and ran across the highway, northbound along the shoulder.
Troopers spotted Bryan running and stopped him. He was visibly intoxicated and was swaying, stumbling and having trouble staying on his feet, according to the complaint.
Troopers asked Bryan, who smelled strongly of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes, if he was injured, and he said he was not. He initially told troopers that he hadn’t been driving, then said another vehicle had cut him off and forced him to drive off the road, according to the complaint.
Troopers found a number of bottles of liquor in the front seat and open bottles of beer in the front and back seats, the complaint says. They found the female passenger farther up I-35W on the shoulder; she told them that Bryan had been driving, and they were on their way home from a bar, according to the complaint.
Bryan told troopers that he wanted to talk to an attorney. He was given a phone. Ten minutes later, troopers asked if he would submit to a breath test, and he refused twice, according to the complaint.
Bryan’s criminal record includes convictions for DWI in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009. Unlike an Otter Tail County man recently charged with his 20th DWI, Bryan is in no danger of breaking any records for attention from police.
Bryan remains in the Hennepin County Jail on a $60,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in his case is scheduled Jan. 2 in Hennepin County District Court.