Claremont man faces felony DWI

Published 11:35 am Monday, November 16, 2009

A Claremont, Minn., man was charged Friday in Mower County with drunk driving after police found his abandoned truck burning a day earlier.

Jack Steven Nelson, 51, faces a felony first-degree DWI, as well as a felony for refusing to submit to a breath test. He also faces a lesser count for driving after cancellation.

According to a criminal complaint, officers responded Thursday afternoon to a call regarding a burning truck in the Shopko parking lot.

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The front end of the vehicle, which officers discovered was registered to Nelson, was completely engulfed in flames.

Officers also found a case of beer on the ground near the burning truck.

While investigating the incident, an officer received a radio call regarding a male looking into the back windows of some properties on the 2000 block of Eighth Street Northwest.

The officer arrived to find Nelson sitting on the patio of a townhouse. He was arrested on-site and taken first to the Shopko lot and later to the Law Enforcement Center.

Nelson, who had watery, bloodshot eyes and seemed noticeably drunk, said the truck did not belong to him and said he didn’t know who was driving it. However, a witness at the lot said they saw Nelson leave the vehicle.

Nelson also said the home he was found at belonged to his aunt and he was trying to contact her, the complaint states.

At the LEC, Nelson asked to call an attorney before taking a breath test. After making several calls, Nelson still refused to take a test, saying, “I don’t need to be implicated on anything.”

Nelson is being held on $35,000 bail, or $12,000 with court conditions, including no alcohol use. He is set for arraignment Nov. 19.

According to the complaint, Nelson’s driving status is “canceled.” He was also convicted of a felony DWI in Dodge County in January 2008.