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Willmar man faces drunken driving, gun charges for Saturday incident

WILLMAR — A 60-year-old Willmar man made his first court appearance Monday on gross misdemeanor charges of driving while impaired and carrying a pistol while under the influence of alcohol.

Gary Lee Mattson also faces a misdemeanor charge for failing to stop for a property damage crash. Unconditional bail was set at $12,000. His next appearance is June 4 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the court records, Mattson has two prior convictions for driving while impaired, in 2004 in Otter Tail County and 2008 in Kandiyohi County.

Mattson was also sentenced in June 2010 to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a year of probation on a misdemeanor charge of failure to stop for a blind person. In November 2009, Mattson drove his vehicle over Thomas Sykora, 58, of Willmar, who suffered significant injuries and was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital.

According to the complaint in the current matter, Willmar police were informed by a citizen around 4:25 p.m. Saturday that a green Ford pickup had run over a mailbox in the area of 15th Avenue and Hanson Drive Southwest. The first responding officer located a similar vehicle going eastbound on 19th Avenue, noted that the side mirror was hanging off of the vehicle and that the vehicle crossed the centerline of the roadway.

The officer stopped the vehicle in a parking lot and noted that the driver showed signs of alcohol consumption. While the man, identified as Mattson, was looking in his pockets for his license, he stepped out of the pickup and another officer saw a handgun on the seat of the vehicle.

Officers patted Mattson down and found a concealed carry holster on his person. They noted that the pistol was a Bersa Thunder .380 with seven rounds in the clip and one round in the chamber. Mattson provided his carry permit to the officers.

Mattson failed field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.207 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08. He was arrested and another test at the Law Enforcement Center showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.23 percent.

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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