Tag: legal problems

Dustin Byfuglien

Police expert: Dustin Byfuglien ‘high on drugs’ during arrest


Tuesday was a mixed-bag for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. On the bright side, he earned two assists during the Jets’ 6-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL’s preseason return to Winnipeg. His Tuesday didn’t start out so well, though, as he received four charges related to an intoxicated boating arrest he received on Aug. 31.

A strange detail emerged, however: Byfuglien passed a breathalyzer test at a level of .031 percent, which is less than half of the legal limit. The Winnipeg Free Press obtained documents that might illuminate the issue, though: a police expert judged some of Byfuglien’s symptoms as a sign that he might have been “high on drugs.”

Despite that legal breathalyzer reading, Byfuglien reportedly failed field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest and taken for further questioning, but refused to provide a sample of his blood or urine, which counts as an automatic offense that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

Mike McIntyre shares more details from the police report.

“Mr. Byfuglien stated that he had taken a muscle relaxer earlier that day, but that he could not remember the name of the muscle relaxer,” the police report said. “Mr. Byfuglien stated that he takes a ‘handful’ of supplements from 16 or 17 different bottles every day and that he does not know the names of the supplements.”

Byfuglien then refused to give a blood or urine sample, which is an automatic offence by law.

The drug recognition expert noted there was a mysterious “distinct brown stain on his tongue,” which police noted in their report. Police also say his eyes were glassy and showing a “lack of smooth pursuit” which, combined with the other factors, led to a belief he was “under the influence of a controlled substance and was unable to safely operate a watercraft.”

Along with refusing the blood and urine test, Byfuglien faces a maximum sentence of 90 days for the other charges.

The charge of refusing a blood or urine test carries a maximum one-year jail sentence, while the other charges of boating while intoxicated, failing to display proper lights and failing to provide enough flotation devices for himself and three other passengers on the boat carry a maximum of 90 days behind bars.

Byfuglien’s first court date is set for Oct. 21. That might be doable (if a bit of a challenge), as the Jets have a break in between games in Ottawa on Oct. 20 and a contest in Winnipeg on Oct. 22. It’s unclear if he could request that the court dates be deferred until after this season, which was what Nikolai Khabibulin did with his extreme DUI situation (which happened in 2010 but wasn’t resolved until this summer).

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out for updates regarding this troubling situation.

Dustin Byfuglien facing four charges for intoxicated boating

Dustin Byfuglien

Dustin Byfuglien’s brush with the law is going to get a bit more serious. After being arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated three weeks ago, authorities in Minnesota are stepping things up and charging the Winnipeg Jets defenseman.

Hennepin County sheriffs in Minnesota have hit Byfuglien with four charges of boating while intoxicated stemming from the incident on Lake Minnetonka. The details of the arrest help paint the picture of what allegedly went down the night he was booked on charges.

According to the complaint, a water patrol officer on Lake Minnetonka stopped Byfuglien’s boat because the navigational lights weren’t on. According to the officer, Byfuglien’s speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, he was unsteady on his feet and he smelled of alcohol. There were three people in the boat with him and Byfuglien refused to take a blood or urine test.

As CBC’s story on this notes, Byfuglien did take a breathalyzer test which he passed. His case in fighting these charges should be a contentious one.

It’s an unwelcome distraction for Byfuglien as he prepares for the start of a new season in a new location with the Winnipeg Jets. As it is, Byfuglien is preparing to play in tonight’s preseason game in Winnipeg as the Jets make their first game appearance at the MTS Centre. Byfuglien being a guy playing close to home (he’s from Roseau, Minnesota) in Winnipeg and having this off-ice legal problem to get a handle of creates a lot of distractions for the Jets blue liner.

After a breakout season last year scoring 20 goals as a defenseman, Byfuglien is being counted upon heavily to try and help lead the Jets to wins this year. With the rest of the team still being questionably low on scoring talent, they’ll need him to be locked in every night. Having these kinds of distractions will make it worth watching to see how Byfuglien responds on the ice. If he slumps, the Jets are set to be in more trouble than they could be headed for as it is.

Update (4:19 p.m.): The Star Tribune reports that Byfuglien had a blood-alcohol level of 0.031%, less than half the legal limit.

Update (5:07 p.m.): Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff issued a statement about Byfuglien’s sitauation:

“After allowing the legal process to play out to this point and gathering as much information as we could, we are fully aware of the charges against Dustin. While we will continue to support him in this situation, we understand the severity of the charges involved in this case. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and until the continuing legal process is completed, we will have no further comment.”

Brett Sutter charged with assault after alleged bar fight

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It’s been a tough couple years for the Sutter family in Calgary, but this off-ice incident is more embarrassing than any tough night on the scoreboard.

According to various sources including the Calgary Herald, Flames center Brett Sutter was arrested at 2 a.m. last night outside the Scottsdale, Arizona bar called American Junkie. He was arrested and charged with assault after an alleged bar fight.

According to an arrest report from the Scottsdale police, Sutter, 23, was booked and charged with assault after being arrested at 2 a.m. Thursday outside the bar American Junkie.

He was released on bond an hour after being booked.

Police allege Sutter punched a patron outside the bar.

The Flames released a statement saying that they are aware of the incident and then uttered a standard no comment message regarding any details on the matter. We will keep you updated if any more information is released or if the team/league decides to take any disciplinary action against Sutter.

(Mug shot via the Calgary Herald/Scottsdale police.)

Sex abuse charges against former Kings assistant coach dropped

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Back in May when then Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy was arrested for sexual abuse against his daughter, we expected an ugly incident to get an equally as ugly trial. As things can sometimes happen when dealing with the courts and the legal wranglings therein, things are not going to turn that way. After going through the awkward motions of dealing with such a seemingly ugly incident, the charges against Hardy are being dropped.

A charge of felony fourth-degree sexual abuse against former Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy has been dismissed in Washington.

Craig Renetzky, an attorney of Hardy’s, said by phone Tuesday that his client was happy and relieved.

“He’s very appreciative of the support he’s gotten from friends, family and fans,” Renetzky said, “and he’s really looking forward to moving on with his life.”

We don’t know exactly what happened with Hardy and his 21 year-old daughter, but prosecutors opted to not pursue the case against Hardy. In late June, Hardy’s attorney sought to get the charge against him reduced and now the case has been dropped entirely.  You can’t help but feel that perhaps this was a family squabble that got way too out of hand. As for what’s next for Hardy, he’s hoping to get back into coaching hockey.