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Roberts man charged with OWI-fourth, threatening officer

Matthew P. Bonnin

A Roberts man arrested on suspicion of his fourth drunken-driving offense was charged with three felonies, one of which allegedly involved some choice words for the arresting officer.

Police said the incident occurred after the 40-year-old man was warned by an officer not to drive, but was later found swerving on the interstate, where construction crews were working. The arresting officer reported the man swore profusely at him while being driven to jail and made repeated threats to assault the policeman.

St. Croix County prosecutors charged Matthew P. Bonnin with three felonies — OWI-fourth offense, threatening a law enforcement officer and discharging bodily fluids at a public safety worker — on Friday, April 20. Judge Michael Waterman set Bonnin's cash bond at $2,500.

According to a criminal complaint:

Hudson police officer Charles Welbourn checked on a man leaning next to a parked minivan at 2:25 a.m. April 20 outside the River View Athletic Club on Second Street. The man, later identified as Bonnin, said there were people at nearby Pudge's Bar who wanted to fight him.

Welbourn suspected Bonnin to be drunk and told him not to drive while he went to check on a group of men outside Pudge's. Those men, also appearing drunk to the officer, said the man in the parking lot had been trying to "start something."

Welbourn left after about a minute with those men and returned to the parking lot to find the minivan gone, but noticed a vehicle's tail lights headed south on Second Street toward the on-ramps for Interstate 94.

Welbourn got behind the vehicle as it traveled eastbound on the interstate. The vehicle was seen swerving sharply between lanes near construction barrels. The officer, who noted that construction crews were working on the freeway at the time of the incident, turned on his emergency lights and pulled the vehicle over.

Welbourn identified the driver as Bonnin, the same man from the parking lot, and reported smelling alcohol coming from him, along with other indications of intoxication.

Bonnin told Welbourn he'd been drinking beer at Pudge's where he was attending a pool-league party.

After unsuccessfully performing field sobriety tests, Bonnin provided a preliminary breath test showing a 0.21 blood-alcohol concentration. Welbourn then handcuffed Bonnin, which prompted him to announce he was now mad.

"He stated something to the affect that when he sees me outside that I am going to get beat down," Welbourn wrote in his report, which goes on to outline more profane and racially tinged threats allegedly made by Bonnin.

Welbourn then read Bonnin the "informing the accused" sheet that OWI offenders must be read as part of the state's implied consent law; he turned to find the suspect humming in the backseat with his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears. Bonnin then repeated the process after being asked again by Welbourn if he could read the form.

"He said he would kill me if he had to and did not want me to read this form to him and did not want to hear my voice again," Welbourn's report states.

The officer later reported being spat on by Bonnin from the backseat — an allegation he denied but that a squad camera confirmed.

Bonnin continued threatening violence against Welbourn after being brought to Hudson Hospital for a blood draw.

The complaint lists prior OWI convictions from 1998, 2005 and 2011 for Bonnin. Court records show he has prior convictions for disorderly conduct from 2011 and a January 2018 conviction for knowingly violating a restraining order.

Bonnin's next court hearing is Friday, April 27.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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