A Hermantown woman has been charged with her 10th impaired driving offense after allegedly crashing into a ditch in Duluth's Kenwood neighborhood Friday night.
Kristy Ann Hren, 58, had a blood-alcohol concentration of more than three times the legal limit when a breath test was administered about an hour after the incident near Arrowhead Road and Blackman Avenue, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
Hren is actively enrolled in the South St. Louis County DWI Court program. Records show she had made a regular appearance on the court's Friday afternoon calendar just hours before her arrest.
"The fact that the defendant was able to drink to intoxication despite being subject to the most stringent supervision available in southern St. Louis County should represent a grave concern to the court," prosecutor Michael Hagley wrote in a Tuesday memorandum.
Hren's vehicle was not equipped with an ignition interlock device, in violation of the conditions of both her driver's license and the DWI Court, Hagley said. The complaint states that she had several unopened containers of alcohol with her at the time of her arrest.
Duluth police DWI investigator Todd Simmons was called to the scene just before 9:45 p.m. after officers found the car stuck in the ditch and reported that the driver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, according to the probable cause statement.
When asked where she was going, Hren reportedly told Simmons she "was just driving around." Asked how the crash occurred, she allegedly pointed to another police officer in a squad car and stated, "That man ran me off the road."
Simmons reported a "strong odor of alcohol coming from her breath, noticed that her eyes were watery and glassy and noticed that she had difficulty maintaining her balance," needing to lean on the car to stay upright. Hren allegedly denied consuming alcohol.
The defendant "performed poorly" on a series of field sobriety tests and refused to provide a sufficient breath sample to capture a preliminary alcohol test result, the complaint states.
Once arrested and taken to the Public Safety Building, Hren ultimately consented to a breath test, which allegedly showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.25. The legal limit for driving in Minnesota is 0.08, and Hren is not allowed to consume any alcohol under the terms of her probation.
Police said a search turned up several unopened cans of Miller Lite on the front passenger floorboard of Hren's car, as well as three unopened bottles of Fireball whiskey in her purse. The keys remained in the ignition with the transmission still in drive, according to the complaint.
Hren's nine prior impaired driving offenses occurred between 1990 and 2019, according to court records, and she was previously enrolled in the DWI Court following a 2012 conviction.
The specialty court seeks to reduce recidivism and allow repeat offenders an opportunity to avoid prison time by incorporating strict community supervision, treatment services and regular court appearances in a program that typically takes more than a year to complete.
Hren is charged with two felony counts of first-degree driving while impaired and a misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock. She faces a presumptive prison sentence, with the DWI offenses carrying a maximum of seven years.
Judge Dale Harris set Hren's bail at $10,000 with conditions or $30,000 without. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 9.