A suspected drunken driver was charged Wednesday after he rammed his pickup truck into a business on the northwest edge of the Twin Cities metro Monday and left two people who were inside injured and fighting for their lives.
Robert Allen Johnson, 63, was arrested and charged in Sherburne County District Court with criminal vehicular operation and drunken driving after he drove into a wall of Reliant Systems, located in the 12600 block of Fremont Avenue in Zimmerman, early Monday afternoon, according to the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office.
Johnson, who has two drunken driving convictions on his record, suffered minor injuries, according to the Sheriff's Office. He remains jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail ahead of an Oct. 11 court appearance.
His blood-alcohol content at the scene was measured at .103 percent, above the legal limit for driving in Minnesota, according to a preliminary breath test administered at the scene by a sheriff's deputy. Johnson told the deputy that he had at least two drinks before leaving the American Legion.
He also said that the accelerator on his pickup stuck before the crash, according to the criminal complaint. A man inside the building looked inside the truck and saw Johnson's foot had the gas pedal pushed to the floor, the complaint continued.
Law enforcement located a near-empty bottle of whiskey in the center console, according to the charges.
The crash left the pickup 30 to 40 feet into the equipment inspection business' building, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The employees inside who were hurt have been identified as Kim Ann Mills, 51, of Anoka; Heidi Jo Olerich, 47, of Zimmerman; Michael Wayne Milano, 44, of Zimmerman; and Daniel Mark Elliott, 51, of Hamburg.
Elliott and Mills were in critical condition Wednesday at North Memorial Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Milano, also at North Memorial, was in serious condition. Olerich was taken to a hospital in Princeton with noncritical injuries. An unidentified fifth victim was taken to a hospital by a private party, and was treated and released.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482