A mighty hero has fallen. Or is it unrepentant supervillain? I think the latter, actually. Danny Lee Betcher, the man the Star Tribune refers to as Minnesota’s “Drunk Driving King,” has been arrested on his twenty-eighth DWI charge. Amazingly, the 65-year-old Betcher held a valid license at the time of his most recent arrest. Is it time for Minnesota to take a hard look at the case of the Drunk Driving King and revise its DWI laws?
Betcher got number twenty-eight in September after leaving the VFW hall in his hometown of New York Mills, Minnesota and pled guilty to felony drunken driving. The Star Tribune reports that Betcher has spent most of the past ten years in and out of jail for drunk driving arrests, yet he still had a valid driver’s license at the time of most of his arrests. After his 27th DWI in 2010, the on-and-off construction worker and handyman said, “I drink to get drunk.” Despite his obviously predictable and reprehensible behavior, the state of Minnesota could not legally take away his license for life. Thus, Betcher continued to drive and rack up close to thirty DWI arrests, somehow managing to avoid taking another’s or his own life.
According to a report of his 27th arrest, Betcher got his license back most recently by submitting proof of attending a rehabilitation course; passing a driving test and a written drug and alcohol test; forking over a $680 fee to reinstate his license; and submitting a written form declaring when he last used alcohol or drugs to a counselor. Legislators have claimed they’ll bring the issue up to revise state laws, but so far nothing has been done.
Danny “The Drunk Driving King of Minnesota” Betcher will now serve a little under three years of his four-year sentence in jail, thanks to credit for time served since his arrest. Will Minnesota legislators do something about the state’s inability to take licenses from chronic offenders? Should