An Owatonna woman with two drunken driving convictions was charged last week in Rice County District Court with driving with a blood alcohol more than 2½ times the legal limit.
Tanya Ann Artmann, 46, faces two felony counts of first-degree driving while intoxicated.
Court documents state Artmann was charged after a Minnesota State Patrol trooper was dispatched at about 11:19 p.m. June 4 for a possible injury crash approximately 1 mile south of the County Hwy. 1 exit on Interstate 35 north. A Ford Explorer was seen against a cable median barrier partially in the left lane, and several other vehicles were reportedly parked on the right shoulder and appeared to have been involved in the crash.
Court documents state Artmann appeared to be “frantic” on scene, was “incoherent and not making sense as she was trying to explain what had occurred.” Artmann reportedly said she had swerved to avoid a vehicle in front of her and had been struck by three vehicles.
“The trooper detected an overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle,” court documents state. “(Artmann) had bloodshot and watery eyes. The trooper also observed a bottle of alcohol on the floor in the backseat. (Artmann) denied drinking alcohol.” However, Artmann’s preliminary breath test was reportedly measured at .21 blood alcohol content. A blood alcohol content .08 or higher is considered legally impaired.
A witness said Artmann’s vehicle had been in the right lane but suddenly swerved to the left, losing control and crashing into the barrier. Following the crash, the witness said Artmann requested the person help get her vehicle off the barrier and not call 911. While on the right shoulder, a truck pulling a trailer with a vehicle on it allegedly went by in the left lane and struck Artmann’s vehicle. The person who struck the car reported that he had been in the right lane when he saw multiple vehicles on the right shoulder with their flashers on. He then moved to the left lane and struck Artmann’s vehicle, which was partially blocking the left lane.
“He did not see (Artmann’s) vehicle until after the crash,” court documents state. “(Artmann’s) vehicle did not have any lights on. He received several cuts on his right arm, caused by the shattered glass from the crash. One of the cuts could have received stitches but he decided not to get them.”
Court documents state Artmann has two DWI convictions dating back to September 2017, one in Hennepin County and the other in Steele County. Also, she has a pending Steele County case involving an alleged drunken driving incident from last October.
Artmann’s first appearance is scheduled for Sept. 1.