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Bemidji man gets four years in drunk driving case

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

DULUTH — A Bemidji man who received a probationary sentence after driving drunk, crashing into a vehicle and seriously injuring a Duluth police officer has been sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of driving drunk again.

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Duane Klynn Porter, 27, pleaded guilty in March to the felony offense of driving while impaired in the first degree and to driving after cancellation of his driver’s license. Judge Mark Munger sentenced Porter on Tuesday to 48 months in prison on the DWI conviction and a year for driving after cancellation of his driver’s license, with both sentences to be served at the same time.

Porter has had problems with alcohol and following the law since he was a minor, when, according to a memo filed with the court by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, he amassed 10 underage consumption citations, eight felony auto thefts, two fifth-degree assaults, three instances of giving false names to police, a first-degree criminal damage to property conviction, and felony third-degree aiding and abetting arson.

According to the criminal complaint, when Porter was arrested by Proctor police Jan. 17 on suspicion of driving drunk, he was given the opportunity to call a lawyer. Police said that instead of calling a lawyer, Porter called someone and talked about buying more beer.

After taking a preliminary breath test, which revealed that he had imbibed more than three times the legal limit of alcohol to drive, police said Porter became argumentative and said: “You played your game and I’ll play mine and I’ll win. Remember when I hit your partner?”

Police believe Porter was referring to a March 14, 2011, crash in Duluth in which he was driving with more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his body. He ran his minivan through a red light and collided with a car being driven by Duluth police Officer Don Boso, seriously injuring the man who was days away from retirement after a 20-year career on the local force.

When a crash investigator asked Porter in 2011 how much he had to drink before running into Boso, he responded: “Not enough,” the complaint alleges.

Boso, the Duluth Police Department’s 2006 Investigator of the Year, suffered a concussion, internal bleeding of the brain, cuts near both eyes and bruising of two internal organs in the crash. He is now retired as a police officer.

After being convicted in the Boso case, Porter spent a year at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center, where he was ordered to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and treatment, and follow any recommendations. An Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer found that Porter violated his probation by entering an establishment where alcohol was its main source of income and by drinking alcohol. Judge Sally Tarnowski revoked Porter’s probation March 27, and he was sent to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

Porter was released from the St. Cloud prison on supervised release/parole on April 5, 2012, but on June 2 he absconded from reporting to his probation officer and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody by a U.S. Marshal and returned to prison. He was released Nov. 24.

Fifty-four days after his prison release, Porter was arrested for driving drunk in Proctor, leading to the four-year prison sentence imposed this week.

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