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Duluth man charged with fifth OWI after road rage incident

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A report of a road rage incident in Superior the afternoon of May 25 led to a fifth drunken driving charge against a Duluth man.

Bradley Thomas Johnson, 43, who also goes by the name Bradley Lehman Johnson, faces one felony count of fifth offense operating while intoxicated and misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. He waived time limits for his preliminary hearing June 5 in Douglas County Circuit Court.

Johnson was released on a $1,500 cash bond and his next court appearance was set for Aug. 28.

According to the criminal complaint, Superior Police Officer Brad Esler stopped the truck Johnson was driving after it was reported that the vehicle’s driver was involved in a road rage incident.

A witness told Esler that Johnson's truck was speeding up behind people and riding them so tight that others were slowing down on the Blatnik Bridge. The witness said the truck tailgated people, cut in and almost hit other cars, like the driver was trying to cause an accident.

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Witnesses reported that another driver signaled for Johnson to pull over and the two got into a screaming match before Johnson drove off, again driving dangerously. The man who confronted Johnson told officers that there was a brief scuffle when he tried to get out of his own vehicle. He said Johnson was ranting and asked "Do you want me to punch you old man?"

Esler reported that he could smell the odor of an intoxicating beverage on the Duluth man, and that Johnson was physically resistant and slow to follow law enforcement commands. A search of Johnson's truck turned up six small empty bottles of alcohol and a blue glass pipe that smelled of burnt marijuana.

When taken to Essentia Health-Superior, Johnson was reportedly slow to follow law enforcement commands and was verbally abusive and foul-mouthed with both officers and hospital staff.

Johnson has four previous operating while intoxicated offenses out of Colorado, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the most recent in 2012.

The felony OWI count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.

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