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Test: Patrol captain drove at nearly twice legal limit (with report attached)

BEMIDJI - A North Dakota Highway Patrol captain arrested near here for drunken driving last month registered an alcohol concentration nearly twice Minnesota's legal limit.

A urine analysis shows Kevin John Robson, 42, of Grand Forks, N.D., had a 0.15 percent alcohol concentration an hour after he was pulled over, according to a forensic lab report made public Monday.

The legal limit for drunken driving in Minnesota is 0.08 percent.

In addition, a Beltrami County Sheriff's Office report in the case said Robson denied drinking when pulled over March 10 by a deputy, who was called about a report of a hit-and-run accident.

Robson faces a charge of fourth-degree driving while intoxicated. The citation filed in the case states he must call to set a court appearance.

He was arrested after a deputy responded to a call reporting a collision shortly after 3 a.m. March 10.

The misdemeanor drunken driving charge was filed about four weeks after Robson's arrest because the test used to analyze alcohol in his urine was sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Bemidji.

According to reports filed in the case:

Deputies responded after receiving a call from a newspaper carrier who reported a sport utility vehicle nearly hit his parked vehicle, and mirrors of both vehicles came into contact with each other near Paul Bunyan Drive Southeast and 23rd Street Southeast.

"(Robson)began saying that he was not involved in any sort of crash and his vehicle did not come into contact with any other vehicle," Deputy Chuck Nelson wrote in a report. "I immediately observed watery glassy eyes, slurred speech, an extremely hoarse voice and slow mannerisms and movements."

The deputy then asked if Robson had consumed alcohol.

"Robson said he had not been drinking alcohol," wrote Nelson, who then asked Robson to take impairment tests.

Robson failed an eye test and was asked to step out of the vehicle, where he told Nelson how to conduct the tests, the report states.

"Robson had difficulty maintaining the line and keeping his feet heel to toe on each step," the report reads. "At least three times, Robson stepped off the line to regain his balance."

During a breath test Robson "was blowing around the straw, sucking back and/or not providing one long steady constant breath as directed," it reads.

Nelson then arrested Robson, who was taken to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, where he agreed to take a urine analysis test.

The report said Robson was allowed to make calls to his wife and colonel.

Deputy Nelson said an audio recording of an attempted interview at the Beltrami County Jail "may be difficult to transcribe as he claimed from coaching a basketball game." The deputy also wrote in the report that there were no indications Robson's SUV contacted or collided with another vehicle, although it appeared the rear passenger side fender had been wiped clean of dirt.

Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy Rob Fraik wrote in a separate report that he observed "Kevin's body language to become slightly defensive," and that another deputy began talking with Robson, who was initially "noncompliant" with commands to be placed in handcuffs.

Fraik then gave a woman, who as a passenger in Robson's vehicle, a ride to a Bemidji apartment building.

Col. Jim Prochniak, superintendent of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, said Monday that Robson remains on paid personal leave since the arrest.

The Highway Patrol is gathering information on the incident and has not seen the investigative reports, Prochniak said.

"For me to even comment ... is premature," he said.

However, Prochniak said his agency has policies, including for personal behavior, and Robson's return to the Highway Patrol isn't contingent on the court case.

"We're certainly taking this event seriously," he said. "We want to gather all the information we can."

Robson could not be reached Monday evening at his home.

Robson has been with the North Dakota Highway Patrol for 15 years and is the administrative commander for a seven-county region and supervises 29 officers.

Robson, as part of his duties, acted as a spokesperson for the patrol, commenting on a number of issues including drunk driving.

He also is a former University of North Dakota football player from 1990 to 1993, and was a captain his senior season. He also played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League, and named the team's rookie of the year in 1994.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

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