ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutor charged with DUI in Ward County

BISMARCK - A Ward County prosecutor was arrested for driving under the influence after crashing her pickup into a car and submitting to a breath test that registered her blood-alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit, court documents say.

BISMARCK – A Ward County prosecutor was arrested for driving under the influence after crashing her pickup into a car and submitting to a breath test that registered her blood-alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit, court documents say.

Deputy State’s Attorney Kelly Ann Dillon, 50, of Minot, was charged with DUI Monday in Minot Municipal Court.

Reached by phone for comment Wednesday, Dillon said, “I have nothing to say,” and hung up.

Ward County State’s Attorney Rozanna Larson said via email that Dillon is still employed with the county and the matter has been taken under review.

“She will continue with her assigned duties,” Larson stated.

ADVERTISEMENT

A police affidavit says the man who reported the crash at 11:33 p.m. Saturday in the 500 block of 17th Ave. S.W. said it appeared as if Dillon was trying to leave the scene in her 2014 Honda Ridgeline. It appeared the Honda Civic hit by the pickup had been pushed about 20 feet forward, the officer noted.

The officer found Dillon in the pickup with the airbag deployed. She had bloodshot and watery eyes, was slurring her words and “appeared to be ‘out of it’ and was staring off into the distance while speaking with me,” Officer Ross Lakoduk wrote in his affidavit of probable cause.

The vehicle was still in drive, and Dillon said she was unable to remove the keys. She told the officer that she had reached down to grab her cell phone before the crash occurred, the affidavit states.

Dillon said she had a few glasses of wine earlier, the officer wrote.

Dillon was uninjured but paramedics recommended she be transported to the emergency room at Trinity Health, where the officer clearly smelled alcohol on her breath, the affidavit states. Dillon initially refused to answer questions or take sobriety field tests, it states.

After the officer got authorization from the doctor to request a breath test, he saw Dillon trying to leave the ER without being discharged, he wrote, adding, “I physically had to step in front of Dillon and put my arms out to stop her from leaving.”

After speaking with her lawyer, Dillon consented to a breath test at 1:22 a.m. Sunday, nearly two hours after the crash was reported. The test indicated a blood-alcohol level of .179 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent, the affidavit states.

Dillon was arrested and cited for DUI and taken to the Minot Police Department. She posted $750 bond for her release Sunday and is scheduled for her first court appearance on April 1.

ADVERTISEMENT

The misdemeanor DUI charge is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Stiffer DUI penalties adopted by state lawmakers in 2013 require a mandatory minimum sentence of two days in jail and a $750 fine on a first offense with a blood-alcohol level of .16 or greater. But it’s not unheard of for a defendant to plead guilty to a DUI charge without the BAC component to avoid the mandatory jail time, said Aaron Birst, executive director of the North Dakota State’s Attorneys Association and a former Cass County prosecutor.

A pending DUI charge doesn’t legally prohibit a prosecutor from continuing to do his or her job, he said, adding that decision is up to the state’s attorney.

First-time DUI offenses usually stay in municipal courts in the larger cities that have them, Birst said. However, to avoid a conflict of interest – especially if the case gets moved up to district court – officials could request an out-of-county prosecutor or the attorney general’s office to handle the case.

What To Read Next
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.