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West central Minnesota man sentenced for drunken joyride through cornfield

Calvin Lee Woodin, 32, of Benson, was sentenced to 120 days in jail after he pleaded guilty in April to felony first-degree driving while impaired. Two other felony charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. He will serve five years of probation while a prison sentence is stayed.

DWI cornfield 1.jpg
Damage done to a cornfield, allegedly by a 32-year-old Benson man who was arrested Saturday after a drunken joy ride through cornfields southeast of Benson, according to the Swift County Sheriff's Office. (Photo courtesy of the Pope County Sheriff's Office)

BENSON, Minnesota — A Benson man was sentenced Thursday, July 29, in Swift County District Court to 120 days in jail for a 2020 drunken joyride through a cornfield in Swift County.

Calvin Lee Woodin, 32, appeared before Eighth Judicial District Judge David Mennis, who also sentenced Woodin to 50 months in prison stayed for five years, during which time he must serve probation.

The prison term will not be executed provided Woodin follows the conditions of his release, including not using alcohol or drugs, completing a chemical dependency evaluation, random testing and writing a letter of apology to the victim.

Woodin was also ordered to pay $1,620 in fines.

He pleaded guilty in April to felony first-degree driving while impaired. A second charge of first-degree driving while impaired and a felony charge of first-degree damage to property were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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Calvin Woodin
Calvin Lee Woodin

According to the criminal complaint, a Swift County Sheriff’s Office deputy received a call from a local farmer in August 2020 of a black truck driving through cornfields south of Benson.

The farmer had noticed tire ruts at the intersection of 30th Street and 20th Avenue Southeast south of Benson and saw a black truck exit a cornfield on the northeast side of the intersection.

The truck was later identified as a 1989 black Ford with a Minnesota license plate registered to Woodin.

The farmer said he followed Woodin south on 20th Avenue and then east on County Road 14 where he saw Woodin go into the ditch in front of a residence before coming back onto the road before eventually following him north onto 40th Avenue where a deputy intercepted Woodin just before getting onto U.S. Highway 12 east of Benson.

The deputy pulled over to the side of the road, letting Woodin pass, noticing cornstalks and other vegetation on Woodin’s bumper, before pulling him over for a traffic stop.

DWI cornfield 2.jpg
Damage done to a cornfield, allegedly by a 32-year-old Benson man who was arrested after a drunken joy ride through cornfields southeast of Benson, according to the Swift County Sheriff's Office. (Photo courtesy of the Pope County Sheriff's Office)

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When asked if he was driving through cornfields, Woodin told the deputy that he was just turning around.

When asked by the deputy why he decided to turn around in a cornfield, Woodin responded with “Just for something to do, I was having fun.”

According to the complaint, the deputy noticed signs of alcohol use including bloodshot eyes and alcoholic odor.

When asked how much he had to drink, Woodin replied “little bit.”

At this point, the deputy went back to his squad car to talk with the farmer who said he caught Woodin driving in the cornfield and doing doughnuts in the intersection.

Woodin failed several sobriety tests and was placed under arrest after a preliminary breath test registered at 0.217 percent blood alcohol.

Woodin declined to speak with a lawyer at the Swift County Jail and blew a 0.17 blood alcohol from a test administered there, still more than double the legal limit.

The deputy also went back to the scene and noticed multiple vehicle entry and exit points whose tire markings appeared to match Woodin’s truck.

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The owner of the field told the deputy that he estimated about $1,000 in damage was done by Woodin.

Woodin has a history of contacts with law enforcement including a 2007 misdemeanor DWI conviction and a 2011 felony conviction of criminal vehicular operation.

See June 2011 story :

Woodin gets jail, fine, probation, host of conditions BENSON -- Calvin Lee Woodin, 23, of Benson, was sentenced Monday to 243 days in jail, a $500 fine and three years of probation on a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation for the Feb. 26 drunken-driving crash where his pickup struck three ...
In the latter case, he was convicted of hitting three teenagers in Benson and, according to court records, initially blamed his mother for letting him drive drunk. The teens suffered minor injuries.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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