East Grand Forks City Council member jailed after pleading guilty to breathalyzer refusal
Tim Johnson, who's been an East Grand Forks City Council member since 2019, pleaded guilty earlier this month to refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, and has been jailed at the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility since Friday, May 7. City prosecutors agreed to dismiss the fourth-degree DWI they charged Johnson with after police claimed they found him slurring his words and smelling of alcohol in a parked car near Sacred Heart School.
An East Grand Forks official was jailed late last week after he refused to submit to a breathalyzer following an incident earlier this year.
City Council member Tim Johnson was booked at the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility on Friday, May 7, according to jail staff and records. He reached a plea agreement with a prosecutor in late April that stays a one-year prison sentence and puts him on probation for six years. Johnson’s probation calls for him to be incarcerated for 45 days, pay $785 worth of court fees, complete a chemical dependency assessment at his own expense this month, and generally stay away from mood-altering substances, bars and restaurants. Polk County Judge Jeffrey Remick signed off on the agreement on May 1.
East Grand Forks police found Johnson, 71, in a parked car at Sacred Heart School shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. They claimed he was slurring his words and smelled like alcohol, and the council member reportedly said he was “just loaded” and “probably” had drunk too much to drive. He later fell into a snowbank and needed help making it to an officer’s squad car, police claimed. Police also say he was belligerent and said “(expletive) you” numerous times to officers at the East Grand Forks police station.
Johnson was charged with a DWI and for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, but only pleaded guilty to the second charge. The city agreed to waive the DWI charge as part of the plea deal. City Attorney Ron Galstad recused himself from the case. He was replaced by Crookston City Attorney Tanner Holten.
Johnson was first elected to the East Grand Forks City Council in 2019, and he drove a garbage truck for the city from 1990 to 2012. He was convicted of a DWI in Polk County in 2001, according to Minnesota court records.
City staff said in March that there is no provision in East Grand Forks city code that would reprimand or otherwise punish Johnson as a council member. City Administrator David Murphy was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.
May 1 2021 Tim Johnson DWI Guilty Plea by Joe Bowen on Scribd