A Minnesota man charged with driving a vehicle while intoxicated for the fifth time was arraigned following a preliminary hearing Jan. 5 in Douglas County Circuit Court.
James Frederick Harper, 55, of Sturgeon Lake, is facing criminal charges of fifth offense while intoxicated and fifth offense with a prohibited concentration of alcohol. He appeared in court during the January 5 hearing, according to online court records.
Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy found probable cause that a crime had been committed and bound him to be arraigned.
A cash bond of $850 and a signature bond of $3,000 have been set for Harper. He was ordered not to use or possess alcohol and not to operate a motor vehicle without a valid permit or license.
Senior Police Officer Joshua Sislo was called to a car accident in the parking lot of the Builder’s Saloon, 619 Tower Ave., around 1:11 a.m. on September 26, according to the criminal complaint. CCTV showed a Volkswagen parked near another vehicle.
The driver left the vehicle and rolled forward, hitting the other vehicle. The driver was confronted by a group of people and left on foot, according to the criminal complaint.
About an hour and 20 minutes later, a man who matched the description of the driver of the Volkswagen was found walking towards Builder’s Saloon and was arrested by Constable Gregory Swanson.
The driver has been identified as Harper. He told Sislo that he left because he was afraid the group of people would gang up on him. Harper allegedly admitted he had been drinking earlier in the day, but did not drink anything after the accident, according to the criminal complaint.
Harper showed signs of intoxication during field sobriety tests. Sislo also noticed that his speech was slightly garbled and had a faint smell of intoxicants. A test of his blood alcohol level returned 0.086, according to court documents filed Jan. 6.
Harper has four convictions in Minnesota for operating while intoxicated or with a prohibited blood alcohol level. The most recent was in 2017. At the time of the incident, Harper had a restriction on his license prohibiting the use of alcohol or drugs.
Harper’s next court appearance has been set for March 25. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.