Deputy arrested on suspicion of DWI
A Dakota County Sheriff's deputy convicted for his role in a fatal accident in Farmington is back in the court system this week.
Joshua Williams was arrested early on the morning of Nov. 15 on suspicion of drunk driving. Williams was in the final week of a field training program in August of 2007 when he made a U-Turn on Highway 3 and hit Farmington resident Bill Wallace.
This time around Williams was off duty and driving on 160th Street around 2 a.m. when a sheriff's deputy pulled him over for speeding. Dakota County chief deputy Dave Bellows said the deputy recognized Williams when she approached his car.
"She starts talking to Williams, I'm assuming about the speeding, and while speaking with him detected what she believed to be the odor of alcohol, possibly signs of intoxication," Bellows said.
Williams failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. A blood alcohol test administered at the county jail showed a blood alcohol content of .09, above the legal limit for driving.
It's also possible Williams should not have been behind the wheel at all. His license was suspended for one year as part of the penalty for his role in the accident that killed Wallace. But Bellows said it's unclear whether that was being enforced.
Bellows said Williams did not receive any special treatment during his arrest. He was handcuffed and sat with the rest of the inmates in the jail.
"I give a lot of credit to the deputy who made the arrest," Bellows said. "It's exceptionally difficult, because you're put in a situation you don't want to be in.
"(Williams) should know better. He's not been convicted of this, but clearly we expect all of our staff at the sheriff's department to conduct themselves in a legal manner at all times."
The sheriff's department sent its information to the Dakota County Attorney's office, which referred the matter to the Hennepin County Attorney's office to determine whether charges are warranted.
Williams had a prior DWI conviction on his record from North Carolina when he was hired to work in the county jail. He was in that position until 2005, when he was promoted to general deputy and assigned to court security. He was training to work in the field when he hit Wallace.
Bellows said the earlier DWI conviction was "not a disqualifier" to Williams working as a patrol deputy.
"He had it, but we had an individual who had demonstrated a pretty good work history to us," Bellows said.
Bellows feels differently about Williams these days.
"Clearly as an organization and me personally I'm very disappointed in what happened here," he said. This is not what we expect from our staff and our department. We enforce the laws. We don't expect them to be breaking the law. I want to see him prosecuted to the full extent. It's an embarrassment to us. He allegedly broke the law. We want to see him suffer the same consequences that anyone else would."
Williams is currently on administrative leave from his job providing courtroom security. Bellows said the sheriff's department will watch the outcome of any potential charges and "other factors that may come into play" while determining the deputy's future.