An Owatonna man is facing multiple felony charges after he was pulled over for suspected drunken driving and refused to submit to a chemical breath test, according to court documents.
Seti Fernandez, 42, was charged Monday in Steele County District Court with two felony counts of DWI, including refusal to submit to a chemical test. He is also facing one gross misdemeanor count of driving while in violation of restrictions imposed in a restricted driver’s license issued to him and one misdemeanor count for having an open bottle containing alcohol in a private vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint, a Steele County Sheriff’s deputy was alerted at 4 a.m. on Sunday that a vehicle driving north on Highway 218 from Blooming Prairie had hit a guard rail, was driving on curbs and going into the opposing lane of traffic. The deputy located the vehicle which was reportedly travelling 84 mph in a 60 mph zone and crossing the center line repeatedly.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop and approached the passenger side of the vehicle when he saw Fernandez allegedly holding a can of beer out of the driver side window. Fernandez, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, dropped the can outside the vehicle, but a second open can of beer was in the center cup holder of the car, according to the report. The deputy allegedly reported a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle and Fernandez to have watery, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The report shows Fernandez became confrontational when asked for his license and proof of insurance.
The deputy attempted to perform standardized field sobriety tests, but Fernandez reportedly remained confrontational throughout the process and eventually refused to continue to the tests. According to court document, Fernandez had poor balance during the interaction with the deputy outside the vehicle.
Fernandez was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and transported to the Steele County Detention Center. Court records show Fernandez continued to refuse the breath test and called the deputy a “liar and manipulator.”
According to court documents, Fernandez has no qualifying DWI convictions within the past 10 years, however, he has DWI related convictions in 2003, 2004 and 2008. Fernandez has two prior felony DWI convictions from 2002 and 2008, both in Mower County. In those cases, Fernandez also refused to submit to chemical breath tests.
The next court appearance for Fernandez is scheduled for Oct. 14.