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Charge: Unlicensed driver with 17 DUIs was high when he caused serious crash in Dakota Co.

August 20, 2018

A Twin Cities man with a relentless habit of driving drunk has been charged with being high on illicit drugs when he triggered a four-vehicle crash in southern Dakota County that caused serious injury last fall.

Marshall A. Knoll, 59, of Rosemount, was charged in District Court with criminal vehicular operation, drunken driving and driving after having his license taken away in connection with the wreck on Oct. 20, 2017. Knoll appeared in court late last week and remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail with conditions.

Knoll has 17 convictions for drunken driving dating back to 1979, according to the County Attorneys Office.

At the time of the crash last fall, he was behind the wheel after the state canceled his driving privileges.

Knolls attorney, Patricia Phill, said Monday that this case is winding its way through the court system and otherwise has nothing to say at this time.

According to the charges in the latest allegation:

Witnesses saw a truck pulling a trailer on northbound Hwy. 52 that was traveling erratically and speeding. Traffic stopped, but Knollwoods truck did not, and his vehicle rear-ended another at 50 miles per hour.

An occupant in the vehicle that Knoll struck suffered a broken sternum and fractured ribs, a broken arm and bleeding on the brain. Another person in the same vehicle required surgery to his spine.

At least one victim sustained substantial injuries as a result of the collision into the vehicle including multiple bone fractures and internal bleeding, the County Attorneys Office said Monday.

Officers at the scene saw that Knoll had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, lethargic movements and was unsteady on his feet.

Knoll completed field sobriety tests but showed signs of impairment, and a blood sample was collected for testing, which turned up the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Driving under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol poses a significant risk to public safety and too often results in serious injuries or death, said County Attorney James Backstrom.

Last fall, Danny Lee Bettcher, 64, received his state record 28th drunken driving charge, despite having spent the past 10 years in and out of jails and prison. Legislation last March proposed permanent license revocation for five-time DWI offenders. The measure did not pass.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482

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