A collision between a Brainerd City Council member's car and a city police squad car damaged both vehicles a week ago, it was learned today.
The collision occurred about 6:17 p.m. July 11 in the driveway of council member Frank Asplund's northeast Brainerd home.
Brainerd Police Officer Mike Weinhandl was delivering Asplund's city council packet, agenda and information, in preparation for city council meetings and city business. Police officers routinely deliver the packets when they have time.
Weinhandl stated he did not see Asplund in the vehicle.
Today Asplund said he was beginning to drive his Lincoln Town Car into the garage after dinner when the officer arrived. Because the officer was off to the side he did not see the Crown Victoria squad car in the rear view mirror. Asplund estimates he was going 3 mph at the time.
The collision caused an estimated $1,100 damage to the squad car and few hundred dollars damage to Asplund's vehicle. Asplund hit the squad car in the rear panel past the passenger's side rear door and toward the rear fender.
Weinhandl called for a Crow Wing County sheriff's deputy to write the accident report, which is standard procedure when a city squad car is involved in an accident. Deputy Michael Ruuhela was the investigating officer.
Today Sheriff Dick Ross said the officer and the deputy involved ascertained Asplund had something to drink.
Asplund said he had a drink during dinner and had no intentions of driving anywhere. Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said the officers did not observe slurred speech and Asplund's eyes were clear. In Ruuhela's report he stated Asplund's speech was "smooth and coherent." And Ruuhela stated, "Asplund exhibited no clues, which lead me to believe that he was intoxicated."
Officers did not administer a breath test.
"Alcohol was not a factor," Asplund said, adding he had one drink, tonic water and vodka, over an hour's time.
Asplund said it was obvious to the officer that alcohol was not a factor, but people who want to see him out of office could make it an issue. Asplund is running for re-election this year.
Ross said today the collision is being investigated and a report is expected later this afternoon or Friday.
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