Oakdale City Council member charged with DWI


Mark Landis

Mark Landis

Charges stem from November arrest

 

Oakdale City Council member Mark Landis, 58, was in Washington County District Court March 15 dealing with DWI charges stemming from a November arrest during a traffic stop in Oakdale.

Landis was charged Nov. 21, 2017, the day after the traffic stop, with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration over the .08 legal limit. Both are gross misdemeanor third-degree DWI charges, each with a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $3,000 fine or both.

He was also charged with driving after his driving privilege had been suspended, a misdemeanor charge with a maximum sentence of 90 days, a $1,000 fine or both.

Landis did not return multiple requests for comment.

A March 21 statement from Oakdale City Administrator Bart Fischer said that Landis’s “position with the city remains unchanged.”

“The Council was informed of the charges against fellow Council Member Mark Landis several weeks ago, and we are encouraging him to seek help for the difficult issues he is facing,” Fischer’s statement said.

 

DWI arrest

Court documents state that a Minnesota state trooper was driving along Hadley Avenue in Oakdale around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, when his license plate reader indicated a vehicle driving in the opposite direction “was registered to an owner whose privileges were suspended.”

After the trooper was close enough to see that the driver matched the description of the owner, he pulled over the vehicle and identified Landis as both the driver and owner of the vehicle.

According to court documents, the trooper noticed the “odor of alcoholic beverage” in the car, that Landis’ eyes were watery and bloodshot and that his speech was slurred.

Landis was taken to the Washington County Jail where a breath test registered a blood alcohol concentration of .12, coming within two hours of him being pulled over, court documents say. His bail was set at $12,000.

Court documents state that Landis’s driving privileges had already been revoked at the time of the incident and that he had received an Implied Consent Revocation Aug. 27, 2017.  

According to state law, any person who drives a vehicle in Minnesota gives implied consent to a chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol or other controlled or hazardous substances, and Implied Consent Revocation could be caused either from failing a test or refusing to be tested. Wisconsin has similar laws on its books.

Due to privacy laws, the Review was unable to determine the cause of or additional details about Landis’ suspended driving privilege.

 

DWI consequences

“That’s a very serious deal,” Mayor Paul Reinke said of Landis’s DWI charges in a March 21 interview. “The public trust that he’s been given to help lead the city is one element that seems to make it more serious.”

Fischer’s statement acknowledged that Landis has served the community well over the past 20 years. 

He was appointed to the city council on April 25, 2017, to fill the seat vacated by Kristen Cici. Because there were more than two years left on Cici’s term when Landis took the seat, a special election is being held alongside the other Oakdale council races on Nov. 6 for the remaining two years of the term.

Before his appointment to the council, Landis served on the Oakdale Economic Development Commission, the Washington County Board of Commissioners Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Two Rivers Community Land Trust and the District 916 Education Foundation. 

“Mark now needs to address his serious issues relating to alcohol,” Fischer said in the statement, adding, “The challenges he is working through affect his personal as well as his professional life.”

Landis’ first appearance in court was March 15 and he will be back in court May 10. He has not yet entered a plea. 

He also attended a March 19 hearing regarding a related civil case he filed in order to have his driver’s license reinstated following the failed blood alcohol test on Nov. 20. His next appearance for the civil case is an implied consent hearing, which is scheduled for May 14.

Reinke said he believes Landis is taking the DWI charges seriously and is seeking help.

“He shared with me his steps for seeking assistance and help,” Reinke said, adding that he and the rest of the city council are “supportive of his actions to address his difficulties.”


 

–  Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com

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