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Bath salts suspect pleads guilty

A 46-year-old Rochester man with 10 prior drunk driving convictions has now pleaded guilty (March 1 in Dakota County District Court) to a felony charge of driving while impaired last July in Vermillion Township.

At the time of his arrest, Michael Allan Andrist is believed to have been under the influence of a synthetic drug banned by the Legislature.

He will be sentenced April 6 in Dakota County District and remains housed in the Dakota County Jail in Hastings. He has been there since his arrest July 3 by Dakota County deputies.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies had been called to the area of Highway 52 and 160th Street on the report of a vehicle having a hard time staying on the road. The truck, with Andrist driving, was stopped. Andrist got out of the truck, had no shoes on, and said he had not been drinking, and had taken no drugs. He later changed his story and said he had taken some prescription drugs, but was not able to tell the deputy which one. He performed poorly on field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest. A drug recognition test was completed on Andrist and he was taken to Regina Medical Center for a blood test. He told officers he had used meth, but was now using bath salts because they were cheaper. The blood tests determined he was using an illegal stimulant, which had just been banned by Minnesota legislation

Three other felony DWI charges and a misdemeanor fleeing a police officer charge were dismissed against Andrist.