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Police officer suspended after drunk driving incident

Superior Telegram


A Superior Police officer has returned to work after a 20-day suspension without pay for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Officer James K. Olson, a nearly 15-year veteran of the force, will also spend the next two years on a last chance agreement. If, during that time, there is another drunk driving incident or other alcohol-related event that results in the Olson’s arrest, his employment could be terminated by the police chief. The chief’s decision is not subject to Police and Fire Commission review with a limited ability to appeal.

The disciplinary action, stemming from a May 6 incident, was outlined to the Police and Fire Commission during a meeting last week. Police Chief Charles LaGesse released the disciplinary letter to the Telegram following an open records request.

James Kirk Olson, 43,  was the driver involved in a one-vehicle crash in the village of Superior the evening of May 6, according to a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office report. The vehicle, which was southbound on Highway 35, crashed into a storage unit near North 76th Street. Olson was trapped in the vehicle but was able to exit through a rear door on his own power. He told Douglas County Deputy Casey Culhane that he was on his way home from a casino in Duluth, where he had consumed about five mixed drinks. A preliminary breath test showed Olson had an alcohol concentration of 0.156 percent, the report stated.

After completing his investigation of the incident, LaGesse found Olson’s actions were in violation of a number of general orders — conformance to law, unbecoming conduct and off-duty conduct. Olson was suspended without pay from June 16 through July 11.

Online court records indicate that James K. Olson, 43, pleaded no contest June 10 in Douglas County Circuit Court to first offense operating while intoxicated, an ordinance violation. He was fined $875 and his driver’s license was revoked for seven months. He was ordered to install an ignition interlock for one year and undergo an alcohol assessment.