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New London woman charged with DWI after driving into ditch

WILLMAR — A 49-year-old New London woman made her first court appearance Monday on a felony charge of driving while impaired for allegedly driving her vehicle Sunday into a ditch near Belgrade.

According to the complaint against Roxanne Kay Otterness, a snowplow driver with the Minnesota Department of Transportation stopped to help after spotting a vehicle in the ditch along County Line Road Northeast around 1:30 a.m.

The driver suspected the person in the vehicle, later identified as Otterness, was intoxicated and called law enforcement.

Unconditional bail was set at $12,000. Ottnerness also faces gross misdemeanor charges of driving while impaired, driving after cancellation – inimical to public safety and violating a restricted driver’s license, plus a misdemeanor for open bottle. Her next appearance is Feb. 10 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene and was informed by the snowplow driver that Ottnerness smelled of alcohol.

The deputy talked with Otterness, who showed signs of intoxication. Ottnerness, however, claimed she was not the driver of the vehicle and refused field sobriety tests.

The deputy noted that Otterness stumbled and had difficulty walking when she walked to the squad car. The deputy also noted that there were no footprints in the snow around the vehicle other than the prints left by the snowplow driver.

A search of the vehicle revealed four open containers of alcohol, including bottles of rum, vodka and a 16-ounce beer.

At the law enforcement center, Otterness refused to submit to a breath test.

She is charged with a felony for driving while impaired based on a December 2004 gross misdemeanor conviction for driving while impaired and her refusal to submit to a test.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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