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Felony DWI charged, suspect has 10 prior convictions

Michael Allan Andrist

A 46-year-old Rochester man with 10 prior drunk driving conditions is in trouble in Dakota County following a July 3 incident in Vermillion Township. He is also believed to have been under the influence of a synthetic drug banned by the Legislature.

Michael Allan Andrist, faces three felony charges of first-degree driving while impaired (DWI), a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer, and petty misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with the most recent incident.

According to the complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office, Dakota County deputes were dispatched the area of southbound Highway 52 and 160th Street on the report that a blue pick-up truck was having difficulty staying on the road. Several people had called 911 about the vehicle. At one point, the truck was mostly traveling on the shoulder.

The deputy pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his squad vehicle's siren. The tuck did slow down, but continued traveling on the shoulder. The truck did not stop until another half mile.

When the deputy approached the vehicle, he observed the driver, identified by license as Andrist, as being jittery and excited and confused about why he had been stopped. When Andrist stepped out of the vehicle, he had no shoes on. He was stumbling and swaying. Andrist said he didn't drink and had taken no drugs. He later changed his story and said he taken some prescription drugs, but was unable to tell the deputy which ones. Andrist performed poorly on some field sobriety tests.

The deputy believed Andrist was under the influence of a controlled substance and placed him under arrest.

As the deputy did a pat down search, he felt a cylinder type object in Andrist's pocket. Andrist said he did not know what it was.

A drug recognition test was done on Andrist at the Hampton Fire Hall, and he then was transported to Regina Medical Center in Hastings for a blood test. He told officers he had used meth, but no longer using it. He claimed that bath salts he was using had the same effect, but without the high cost.

Based upon field sobriety tests and statements made by the defendant, officers concluded that Andrist was under the influence of a controlled substance, believed to be a synthetic drug recently banned by a new Minnesota law that went into effect July 1.

"I commend the Legislature for criminalizing the use of synthetic drugs," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "Without such legislation, cases such as this could not be prosecuted as DWIs under Minnesota law. This new law will help us hold offenders accountable for endangering the public while driving impaired."

Andrist made his first court appearance July 6. Judge Edward Lynch set bail in the amount of $150,000 without conditions and $100,000 with conditions. His next court appearance is set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in Dakota County District Court.