Highway 169 DWI arrest second in nine days

An Elk River man was arrested June 27 for driving a truck under the influence of alcohol — the second such arrest by Princeton Police over a nine-day period in mid- to late-June.

Police arrested Ronald Walz, 68, of Elk River, at 1:09 p.m. on June 27 on Highway 169, in front of the Princeton ice arena.

Nine days earlier, on June 18, Patrick Zabinski, 42, of Holdingford, was arrested at about 12:30 p.m. on Highway 169 at Rum River Drive for driving a semi while intoxicated.

Princeton Police received a report of a truck with a flat tire on Highway 169, Police Chief Brian Payne said. The anonymous caller suggested that the driver, Walz, was possibly intoxicated, Payne said.

Officers were dispatched to Walz’ location and helped the stranded motorist change the flat tire. It was then that officers themselves observed signs of intoxication, Payne said.

Walz was given a field sobriety test, including a preliminary breath test on which he registered a .245 — more than three times the legal limit. He was taken into custody and booked into the county jail.

Zabinski’s incident just nine days earlier also occurred around the lunch hour, less than a mile from where Walz was arrested on similar charges.

The first call police received regarding Zabinski was that he was northbound in a southbound lane of Highway 169 near Marv’s True Value Hardware. Another call received shortly afterwards reported that Zabinski was trying to get off the highway, Payne said. It appears that Zabinski, who was pulling a trailer full of hay bales, was trying to pull onto Highway 169 from the frontage road and turned north into the east lane of southbound Highway 169. Zabinski was allegedly confused because a former crossroad at 313th Avenue has been closed off, prohibiting drivers on 313th from crossing the southbound lane.