Duluth representative Huntley will plead guilty to DWI

Mike Creger , Duluth News Tribune
Rep. Tom Huntley
Rep. Tom Huntley (File / News Tribune)

Rep. Tom Huntley told the News Tribune on Friday evening that he was arrested Feb. 2 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

“I was guilty,” Huntley said. “I will plead guilty.”

The longtime Duluth representative and former faculty member at the University of Minnesota Duluth was driving on Minnesota Highway 6 near Deerwood when he was pulled over at 4:47 p.m. by a Minnesota State Patrol officer for speeding. Huntley said he had been driving 8 mph over the limit.

After talking with Huntley, 71, the trooper took a breath analysis and his initial blood-alcohol level showed a reading of 0.083, Huntley said. That’s just over the 0.08 limit to drive legally in the state.

A State Patrol spokesman confirmed the circumstances of Huntley’s arrest Friday evening, although he did not have access to Huntley’s blood-alcohol test results nor did he know how fast Huntley was driving when he was pulled over. Huntley was warned, but not ticketed, for speeding.

An officer from the Crow Wing County Jail confirmed that Huntley was taken into the facility Feb. 2 and released the same day. Huntley said he was released about 11 p.m.

Huntley said he had drinks during lunch at his cabin near Deerwood, which is in the Brainerd Lakes area. About 4 p.m., he drove to get dinner.

“Obviously, I had one too many,” Huntley said.

Friday was Huntley’s first day back in Duluth after spending time in St. Paul for the current Legislative session. Huntley is chairman of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee and serves on the Health and Human Services Policy Committee.

“I just wanted the people of Duluth to know,” he said. “I’m very sorry.”

Huntley’s only other brush with the court system was a speeding violation in 2007. He was stopped after driving 64 mph in a 55 mph zone near Aitkin. It was a petty misdemeanor, and he was fined $117, according to court records.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a first-time DWI conviction with a guilty plea carries a penalty of 30 days without driving privileges along with fines and requirements such as classes on the impact of drinking and driving and attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving panel.

Huntley said he expects to hear about his court date early next week.

Talk About It Talk about it