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Snowmobiler charged after crash with train

Plenty of people would be in the mood for a drink after nearly getting hit by a train, but police believe Christopher Brula started his drinking a little earlier than he claims.

Brula's snowmobile was on the railroad tracks near 275th Street in Castle Rock Township last February when the train came along. The train's conductor told police he saw someone jump off and run from the scene just before the train hit the snowmobile. When he stopped the train and walked back, he found nobody there. He found Brula, 39, about 25 minutes after the crash as he walked back toward the engine.

According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office Brula smelled of alcohol when sheriff's deputies talked to him. He told deputies he'd driven his snowmobile to the bar to buy a six-pack and was on his way home when he crashed. He said he'd had three beers after the crash while waiting for someone to find him. He said when nobody showed up he started walking home.

A breath test given at the Farmington police station registered .23, nearly three times the legal limit.

Brula has been charged with two counts of third-degree driving while impaired. Each carries a maximum sentence of one year and a fine of up to $3,000.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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