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Carlton County corrections officer charged with criminal vehicular operation in rollover

A Carlton County corrections officer and former sheriff's deputy was charged Monday in Carlton County Court in connection with a one-vehicle rollover near the Scanlon Park and Ride that injured his passenger last fall.

Cloquet resident Michael John Laveau, 29, faces charges of gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation, misdemeanor fourth degree driving while intoxicated and misdemeanor fourth degree driving while intoxicated - .08 or more within two hours.

The criminal complaint and summons was filed in Carlton County Court on Jan. 11 by an assistant Pine County attorney, who received the case after Carlton County Attorney Thomas Pertler cited conflict of interest concerns. It was unclear Monday when Laveau would make an initial appearance and whether he would appear in Carlton County Court or Pine County Court in the case.

According to court documents, at 1:25 a.m. Oct. 18, Laveau was driving a full-size Dodge pickup truck north on Highway 45 near the Scanlon Park and Ride by Interstate 35 when he swerved to miss "some type of animal," that had run out in front of him. Laveau then lost control of the truck and it rolled, coming to a stop on the shoulder of the road on the driver's side.

Laveau and passenger Kaira Lee Wedin, 28, were not reportedly wearing seat belts and she was thrown from the vehicle.

Wedin was transported to St. Mary's Hospital with injuries to her neck and head. Officers reportedly smelled alcohol coming from Wedin and they observed lacerations and redness on her face and dried blood in her hair. She was treated and released. Officers at the scene also reported a strong odor of alcohol coming from Laveau and that his eyes were watery and glazed over.

Laveau was taken by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet where he was also treated for non-life threatening injuries and a blood alcohol test was administered. Laveau's blood alcohol concentration was found to be .12 more than an hour after the accident, according to a toxicology report from the State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Minnesota law states the legal limit for driving while intoxicated is .08.

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said Laveau has been a Carlton County Sheriff's Office employee since June 2004. Although hired as a corrections officer, Laveau is a licensed deputy and was on patrol for the county from March 2006 until July 2008 while another deputy was on military deployment, she said.

After taking sick leave due to injuries, Lake said in November that Laveau has been back to work in the jail.