Chairwoman of Moose Lake School Board faces latest DWI chargesKristine Marie Lyons, chairwoman of the Moose Lake School Board, was arrested for driving while intoxicated last Wednesday, the latest in a string of similar offenses that stretch back as far as 1992. Following the arrest, she was subsequently charged with two counts of gross misdemeanor second-degree driving while impaired.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Kristine Marie Lyons, chairwoman of the Moose Lake School Board, was arrested for driving while intoxicated last Wednesday, the latest in a string of similar offenses that stretch back as far as 1992. Following the arrest, she was subsequently charged with two counts of gross misdemeanor second-degree driving while impaired.
Lyons, 59, was stopped by Minnesota State Trooper Dave Vereecken at 11:47 p.m. after Carlton County dispatch received a call about an erratic driver on Interstate 35. According to the complaint filed in the incident, Vereecken located Lyons’ vehicle and stopped the car after observing her driving pattern. He reported that Lyons had difficulty responding to his commands and acknowledged that she had consumed alcohol.
Vereecken said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol in Lyons’ car and she showed signs of impairment on an initial sobriety test. When the trooper tried to have her perform more sobriety field tests, Lyons attempted to go back to her car. Lyons appeared too inebriated for further tests, he wrote in his report. A preliminary breath test showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.151 percent, according to the criminal complaint. By law, a driver is considered impaired with blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or above.
Lyons was taken to the Carlton County Jail, where a blood test put her blood-alcohol content at 0.18 percent, the complaint said. She was charged with second-degree driving while impaired and released the next day after posting $1,200 cash bail. A court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 12.
According to court records, Lyons was first charged with DWI in 1992 and later found guilty of a lesser charge of blood alcohol content of over .10. She was placed on two years’ probation.
In April 2007, she was charged with two misdemeanor counts of DWI. She later pleaded guilty to one count and the other was dismissed. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was stayed for two years and she was placed on probation.
Then, on Aug. 28, 2009, Lyons was arrested again and charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving. According to the complaint filed against her at that time, Vereecken responded to a report of a blue PT Cruiser crashing in the area of milepost 240 on I-35 at 10:37 p.m. Upon arrival, Vereecken noted the vehicle in question had sustained heavy front end damage and smoke was coming from under the hood.
As Vereecken approached the vehicle, he found a woman later identified as Lyons in the driver’s seat. Both air bags had been deployed and Lyons was on her cell phone. Vereecken noted that tire tracks led through the median, and witnesses at the scene said Lyons had been traveling southbound on I-35 prior to rear-ending a truck in the right lane. They said after crashing into the truck, Lyons’ vehicle went through the median, into the northbound lanes and then crossed again into the southbound lanes before coming to a stop.
Vereecken stated he detected an odor of alcohol in Lyons’ car and noted her eyes were bloodshot and her speech was slurred. When he asked her if she had been drinking she mumbled something indecipherable. She did indicate that her ankle hurt, however, and he said she appeared to be unable to stand on that leg unaided. She was then transported to the hospital for medical treatment and while there, she consented to a blood test. Her blood alcohol content at that time was .27, well in excess of the legal limit.
Lyons later pleaded guilty to one count of DWI as well as reckless driving, and the third count against her was dismissed. She was sentenced to one year in jail, with 11 months stayed for two years. The judge ordered her to serve 48 hours in the Carlton County Jail and the balance on electronic monitoring. She was also ordered to serve two years on probation.
When contacted about any possible School Board action pending against Lyons, Board Vice Chairman Pete Steen said: “At this point the matter is not a School Board matter but a court issue.”
Despite repeated efforts to contact Lyons, the Pine Journal was unable to reach her for comment.