Man dismissed of criminal vehicular operation, found guilty of DWI

Published 7:06 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Austin man who faced felony charges for allegedly crashing into a tree, injuring himself and a passenger, was dismissed of felony charges and convicted Friday of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a gross misdemeanor.

Sherman James Haugland, 28, was summoned to appear in Mower County court on Jan. 21 on one count of criminal vehicular operation, as well as two lesser charges.

Haugland pleaded not guilty to all three charges, including driving while under the influence and driving without insurance, in January. He later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in June — the same time he was dismissed of felony charges.

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Haugland was sentenced to one year probation and $585 in fines.

Haugland was driving the car with passenger Matthew Lee Haugland, 26, near Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street Southeast at around midnight on Oct. 14.

According to a police report, a 35-year-old resident in the neighborhood heard the car coming at a high rate of speed and then heard it careen into a tree along the boulevard.

The front windshield smashed in, and both men likely hit their heads on it.

Neither were wearing a seatbelt, the report states.

Sherman and Matthew Haugland were both taken to Austin Medical Center. Matthew Haugland was later airlifted to Rochester’s Saint Marys Hospital with more serious injuries, including severe facial cuts and a fractured knee cap. He has since been released.

Sherman Haugland, who was in stable condition the morning after the crash, told police he had five or six drinks before driving.

He said he was going about 45 to 50 mph when he went over the curb and hit the tree. He said he blacked out after that.

The report states that wet road conditions were not a factor in the crash.

Reporter Mike Rose contributed to this report