Man Gets 28th DWI Arrest, Likely Breaking State Record

By Bowen Xiao

A man from Minnesota has been arrested for drunken driving—and for the 28th time.

Danny Lee Bettcher, 64, of New York Mills, was charged with felony-level drunken driving and refusing to submit to a preliminary breath test in Otter Tail County District, the Star Tribune reported.

“I am way over. Take me to jail,” Bettcher told police after refusing to take a sobriety test, according to the criminal complaint.

Bettcher had a valid, albeit restricted drivers license on him during the arrest. He now remains in prison with a $100,000 bail ahead of an Oct. 30 court appearance.

According to the Star Tribune, Bettcher, a construction worker has likely broken the state record for the number of drunken driving arrests.

Assistant County Attorney Jacob Thompson said Tuesday, Oct. 3, that if convicted of his latest charge, the maximum sentence is seven years, with two-thirds of that time spent in jail, and the rest on supervised release.

He could also serve another five years of probation.

Bettcher already spent four years in prison for a prior drunken driving offense and had been ordered into treatment at least a dozen times.

In a previous 2010 court appearance, Bettcher said, “I drink to get drunk,” according to the Star Tribune.

Bettcher’s 28th arrest came on Thursday in New York Mills when he left a VFW bar he had been drinking at. He was caught previously driving drunk in Nebraska and North Dakota.

According to a criminal complaint, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy in the bar saw Bettcher drinking, adding that he had a reputation for driving drunk. He is “well known to the law enforcement community,” the document said.

The deputy then alerted authorities that Bettcher was leaving the VFW in a car. The suspect had ignored a stop sign and drove about 10 to 15 miles per hour on Hwy. 10 and was swerving.

Bettcher only drove another 200 yards before police pulled him over. His eyes were bloodshot and watery and a beer was seen behind the passenger seat. The officer asked for Bettcher’s license and noted that it restricted him from drinking and driving.

Bettcher refused a field sobriety test and put his hands on the squad car to steady himself.

State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Leonard confirmed that Bettcher had a valid driver’s license at the time of his arrest and that it included “a restriction that any use of alcohol or drugs invalidates the license.”

Since Tuesday a move to revoke Bettcher’s license is pending.

In a court filing from a previous conviction, Bettcher revealed he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in connection with his military service.

“I’m trying to get my life back on track before I am released,” read the filing, written from prison in 2014, the Star Tribune reported.

 
 
 
 
 

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