Bemidji man sentenced to 3 years in prison for third DWI
BEMIDJI — A 50-year-old Bemidji man, who was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in 1990, was sentenced to three years in prison last week for driving drunk for the second time since the fatal accident 23 years ago.
Thomas Allen Gardner, of 185 Gemmel Ave. SW, will serve his time at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility after being sentenced July 24 by Beltrami District Judge Paul Benshoof.
Gardner was arrested Jan. 12 after police pulled him over following a fight at Corner Bar, 602 2nd St. SE, according to court documents. A detective with the Bemidji Police Department observed a vehicle in which suspects in the fight were said to be travelling make “an erratic turn.” The detective pulled the vehicle over and found Gardner behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .14 at the scene.
Twenty-three years and 12 days before he was arrested for this DWI, Gardner was responsible for the death of one person in a drunken driving accident in Todd County, according to court documents. He was placed on five years probation for the crime, and three years later, was convicted of another DWI in Todd County.
Gardner’s incarceration comes as a result of legislation that treats any DWIs accumulated following a conviction for criminal vehicular homicide or operation as felonies punishable with prison time.