Minnesota running legend Garry Bjorklund was charged Monday with fourth-degree DWI (alcohol), a misdemeanor, for his involvement in a wrong-way crash in Eden Prairie earlier this month.
Bjorklund, 71, of Fort Collins, Colo., was also charged with two other counts, one for careless driving and the other for having an open bottle of liquor in his vehicle. Both charges are also misdemeanors.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court, the incident occurred at about 6 p.m. Aug. 8 near the Green Acres Event Center, 14150 Pioneer Trail.
Bjorklund was driving west along Pioneer Trail in his 2016 Ford Explorer when his vehicle veered into the eastbound lane, striking a westbound 2019 Tesla head-on. No injuries were reported in the crash.
A preliminary breath test (PBT) administered by Eden Prairie officers at the scene showed that Bjorklund’s blood alcohol content was 0.26%, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
Officers gave Bjorklund the PBT test after observing, among other things, that he lost his balance and fell backward onto the roadway. While speaking with Bjorklund, officers could smell the odor of “consumed alcohol beverages coming from his person.”
One of the officers asked him if he had anything to drink, and Bjorklund replied, “No. I don’t think so.” The officer asked him if he had anything to drink earlier in the day, and Bjorklund stated, “rum.” He estimated the rum was consumed two hours prior, and that he drank about an ounce.
When asked what day it was, Bjorklund believed it was the 8th of either October or November. Earlier, when asked police where he was, he believed he was in west Minneapolis.
After Bjorklund was arrested, officers found an open bottle of Bacardi Rum on the front passenger floorboard of his vehicle.
He was transported to M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina for further observation. While at the hospital, officers were granted a warrant to draw Bjorklund’s blood. His blood was submitted to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for further testing, the complaint stated.
Bjorklund, a Duluth native, won the first Grandma’s Marathon in 1977 and won it again in 1981. He represented the United States in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, placing 13th in the 10,000-meters.
He is the namesake of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. It was created in 1991 to recognize Bjorklund’s lifelong contributions to running throughout the area and state of Minnesota.
All three misdemeanor counts against Bjorklund carry a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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