County commissioner pleads guilty to DWILongtime Lake County Commissioner Derrick “Rick” Lee Goutermont pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Lake County Court on March 20.
By: Tom Olsen, Lake County News Chronicle
Longtime Lake County Commissioner Derrick “Rick” Lee Goutermont pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Lake County Court on March 20.
“It was my mistake,” Goutermont told the News-Chronicle Monday. “It was a bad judgment after a long day.”
District Court Judge Mark Munger sentenced Goutermont, 53, of Silver Bay, to three days of home confinement and two years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a total of $810 in fines and court fees and must also attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel, complete a DWI program and abstain from alcohol use.
Goutermont was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office near Beaver Bay in the early morning hours of Jan. 16 and booked at the Lake County Jail for driving while intoxicated.
According to the criminal complaint, his blood-alcohol level was 0.21, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
A second charge, driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 measured within two hours of arrest, was dismissed during Goutermont’s court appearance.
Goutermont, the vice-chair and former chair of the county board, said he had traveled to St. Paul the day of the arrest before returning to Lake County to attend a retirement party for a fellow commissioner.
“I had too much to drink (at the party),” he said. “As I was driving home, I pulled over to take a nap. I guess my mistake was that I didn’t get out of the car to take a nap.”
Goutermont said he wanted to quickly resolve the case and move on. He handily won reelection last
November and his term runs through January 2017.
“I’m not fighting anything,” he said. “It was a mistake on my part.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Lake County Deputy Greg Olmscheid was traveling northbound on Highway 61 just south of Beaver Bay at approximately 2:19 a.m. when he encountered a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. The vehicle was running with its lights on.
The deputy reported finding Goutermont slouched over the steering wheel and it took several attempts to get his attention. When asked if he was OK, Goutermont replied, “We’re fine,” and said he was waiting for his kids. He later said that he was driving to pick up his kids.
Goutermont had an odor of alcohol, his speech was slurred and his eyes were noticeably bloodshot and glossy, Olmscheid noted. He had a difficult time removing his driver’s license from his wallet and could not provide proof of insurance.
Goutermont told the deputy that he left a party in Two Harbors around midnight and was headed to Silver Bay. He said he had pulled over to “catch where I was at.” He admitted to having two or three drinks and said his last was about 45 minutes earlier.
He submitted to field sobriety test and performed poorly, Olmscheid reported. He was given a preliminary blood-alcohol test, which yielded a result of 0.18.
Goutermont was arrested and booked at the Lake County Jail. A blood sample drawn nearly two hours later showed Goutermont’s alcohol concentration at 0.21.
Olmscheid reported that Goutermont was cooperative throughout the process.