Cloquet police officer faces DWI charge
August 21, 2020
A Cloquet police officer is facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing a car and fleeing the scene earlier this month.
Andrew Michael Murray, 34, was cited for fourth-degree driving while impared as well as DWI-operating a motor vehicle under influence of alcohol, both misdemeanors, by the Minnesota State Patrol on Aug. 6. There was no blood alcohol content level available, but a blood sample has been sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol incident report:
Murray, who lives in Carlton, was arrested Thursday, Aug. 6, after law enforcement agencies were called to a single-vehicle crash near 223 Gillespie Road in Carlton. The driver (later identified as Murray) of the 2005 Pontiac G6 was reported to have fled from the crash into the woods nearby. He was located a short time later and placed into custody without incident. Because Murray is a Cloquet police officer and there could be a conflict of interest, local agencies (including Cloquet and Fond du Lac police as well as the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office) assisting with the call, requested that the Minnesota State Patrol handle the investigation.
According to the MSP report, during the course of the investigation, the trooper observed that Murray showed signs of impairment. He was transported to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet and a search warrant was obtained for a blood sample. Murray was off duty at the time of the crash.
According to the MSP report, Murray remained at the hospital for further medical treatment. He was never taken to the Carlton County Jail, so his name did not appear on any intake forms or jail rosters.
Cloquet police chief Derek Randall released a statement regarding the arrest without naming Murray. He said the officer was placed on paid, nondisciplinary administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. As per department policy, an internal investigation will take place after the criminal matter is completed.
Randall apologized for his officer’s conduct, and thanked the people who reported the suspected impaired driving, and the professional conduct of the law enforcement officers who responded.
“I am disappointed this officer failed to recognize that we represent this organization on and off duty,” he wrote in a press release distributed on Wednesday. “Actions such as this are not just upsetting personally: they undermine the entire police department. When an officer violates the very law we are trying to enforce, it weakens the trust and confidence we have with our community. This conduct is unacceptable, is not representative of the Cloquet Police Department, and will not be tolerated.”
Randall did not identify the officer in the press release, only the fact that a CPD officer had been charged with a DWI on Aug. 6. In a response to the Pine Knot News Wednesday, he stressed that he could not identify Murray as the CPD employee who was arrested. He did confirm that Murray has been with the department for one year and 10 months.
Murray is scheduled for an arraignment at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 15 in front of Sixth District Judge Robert Macaulay. Attorney Frank Yetka (who is the city attorney for both Carlton and Cloquet) is the prosecuting attorney in the case. Yetka had not responded to requests for comment when the Pine Knot News went to press Wednesday evening.
The investigation is still active, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.