Cannon Falls Man Sentenced For DWI While Hauling 35 YMCA Campers
Carlton, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Cannon Falls man who was caught drunk behind the wheel of a charter bus transporting dozens of children to a YMCA camp has been sentenced to two years on probation.
Patrick Bullard, who marked his 50th birthday on Monday, earlier entered a guilty plea to a gross misdemeanor DWI charge in Carlton County Court. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed another DWI charge and two misdemeanor counts of violating Minnesota's open bottle law. In addition to probation, Bullard was ordered to pay a $1000 fine and perform 40 hours of community work service.
He was arrested on August 21 after State Troopers pulled over the charter bus he was driving on I-35 in an area south of Duluth. The criminal complaint against Bullard indicated the traffic stop was initiated in response to a report that a charter bus was being driven from "shoulder to shoulder and almost into the ditch" along the freeway. The responding state troopers also reported seeing the bus drive across the lane of traffic onto the shoulder.
The court document says the troopers described Bullard as "quite dazed and disoriented." A preliminary breath test performed along the freeway measured his blood-alcohol-concentration at . 257, which is more than three times the legal limit.
One of the two adult chaperones on the bus with the 35 children told the troopers he had seen Bullard drinking from a plastic container while he was driving. According to the criminal complaint, the container found next to the driver’s seat contained an alcohol-mixed beverage that smelled like Fireball. A one-third empty 1.75-liter bottle of Fireball whiskey was also found in Bullard's backpack.
The charter bus was transporting the children, who ranged in age from 11 to 14 years old, to a YMCA summer camp in northern Minnesota when the incident occurred.
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