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Deputy charged with DWI

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Joshua Williams, the Dakota County Sheriff's deputy convicted last year in connection with a fatal accident in Farmington, has been formally charged in connection with a November drunk driving arrest.

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The Hennepin County Attorney's office charged Williams this week with driving while intoxicated and driving with an open container of alcohol. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Jan. 26 in Dakota County.

Williams was sentenced to 40 hours of community service after he was convicted of careless driving in connection with an accident that killed Farmington resident Bill Wallace.

Williams' most recent legal trouble started Nov. 15 when Dakota County deputy Sharon Drews pulled him over for driving 68 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone on County Road 46 in Empire Township.

According to the complaint filed in Hennepin County, Drews noticed a strong smell of alcohol when she talked to Williams and saw an open, partially empty can of beer near the car's back seat. Williams failed field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showed a blood alcohol content of .111. A urine test conducted at the county jail showed a blood alcohol content of .09.

Williams has a previous drunk driving conviction from 1998. If convicted this time on a third-degree charge, a gross misdemeanor, WiIliams could face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $3,000. The open bottle charge, a misdemeanor, carries a potential sentence of up to 90 days and fines of up to $1,000.

Williams was in the final phase of training to become a patrol deputy when he made a U-turn on Highway 3 and hit Wallace. He has been assigned to courtroom security since then. Chief deputy David Bellows said at the time of Williams' current arrest Williams would be placed on administrative leave pending the results of the charging process and "other factors that may come into play."

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