A Redwood County District Court jury found a Wood Lake man guilty of one count of Driving While Impaired in the Second Degree, County Attorney Jenna Peterson announced Friday. Richard Thomas Knutson, 68, was found guilty for driving while imparted in the second degree when he refused to provide a breath sample.
According to the criminal complaint and testimony at trial, the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office observed Knutson cross over the centerline while driving near the intersection of County Road 2 and US Highway 71 at approximately 2 a.m. on November 16, 2019. Deputies initiated a traffic stop and observed Knutson to have watery eyes and an odor of alcohol emitting from his person. Knutson informed Deputies he had been at Jackpot Junction Casino all day and “probably” had one alcoholic beverage. Knutson was asked to perform standardized field sobriety tests and showed signs of impairment while completing the tests. Deputies located multiple unopened beer cans and a water bottle containing a liquid that smelled of alcohol in his vehicle. Knutson was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired and transported to the Law Enforcement Center. Once there he refused to submit to a Breath Test to determine if he was under the influence of alcohol.
The jury deliberated for approximately an hour on Wednesday, April 14th, before delivering the guilty verdict around 3:45 p.m.
Kelsie Kingstrom, Assistant Redwood County Attorney, who prosecuted the case, told the jury in her closing argument, “the crime of refusing to take a breath test is very simple, either you took the test, or you didn’t.”
Knutson will be sentenced May 17th at the Redwood County Courthouse.