Moose Lake School Board chair pleads guilty to DWIKristine Marie Lyons, chairwoman of the Moose Lake School Board, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree driving while impaired at a settlement conference Wednesday in Carlton County Court.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Kristine Marie Lyons, chairwoman of the Moose Lake School Board, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree driving while impaired at a settlement conference Wednesday in Carlton County Court.
Lyons was arrested on Aug. 15, 2012, on the DWI charge – 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.
As part of Wednesday’s plea bargain, Lyons entered a guilty plea to the first count and the second gross misdemeanor charge was dismissed. The standard sentence is one year in jail, to be stayed for two years, as well as a $3,000 fine, with $1,000 of that fine also to be stayed during the defendant’s probationary period.
According to Assistant Carlton County Attorney Jesse Berglund, the plea agreement is commensurate with standard guidelines for third-time DWI offenders. Lyons has already undergone 45 days of treatment at Hazelden Treatment Center in Center City, Minn., which Berglund said covers the chemical assessment portion of her expected sentence.
Judge Robert Macaulay ordered a pre-sentence investigation through Arrowhead Regional Corrections. Lyons is set to be formally sentenced at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.
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 two counts of second-degree driving while impaired and released the next day after posting $1,200 cash bail.
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.
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.