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Former Litchfield police officer sentenced for DWI

LITCHFIELD — A former veteran Litchfield police sergeant will not have to serve jail time after pleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.

Bryant James Blackwell, 50, of Litchfield, was sentenced last week to 365 days in jail; however, 363 days of that sentence was stayed and he was given credit for two days already served.

He was placed on probation for two years and ordered to complete a chemical assessment, attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel and pay fines and fees of $840.

As part of the plea agreement, a second DWI charge was dismissed.

Blackwell was arrested in October of 2016 after a Meeker County sheriff's deputy saw the off-duty officer driving a personal vehicle over the centerline and fog line.

Despite initially telling the deputy he had not consumed any alcohol and later saying he had only had a couple beers, a blood test indicated Blackwell had a blood alcohol level of 0.186 percent, which is over twice the legal limit.

Blackwell, who was at one time a finalist to be Litchfield police chief, was fired in January.

The Minnesota Teamsters Public and Law Enforcement Employees Union Local 320 filed a grievance on Blackwell's behalf and the case went to arbitration.

In an opinion published in September, an arbitrator determined the termination was justified.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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