This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Jeffrey David Tol, petitioner,
Commissioner of Public Safety,
Filed August 24, 1999
Meeker County District Court
Brian M. Olsen, P.O. Box 988, Tower Center Mall, Cokato, MN 55321 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Sheila M. Fitzgerald, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district courtís decision sustaining the revocation of appellantís driving privileges after being arrested by an off-duty police officer outside of his jurisdiction. We affirm.
On August 8, 1998, Officer Steve Bonnick, a Dassel, Minnesota police officer was on his way to work. Officer Bonnick was driving his personal vehicle, but was in uniform when he heard a report on his portable police scanner of a carelessly driven vehicle and its description. Officer Bonnick was driving westbound on Highway 12 in Dassel, approximately one to one-half mile inside Meeker County, when he observed the described vehicle of Jeffery Tol driving eastbound and crossing over the centerline and the fog line.
Officer Bonnick followed Tol while flashing his lights and honking his horn, but Tol did not stop. In Cokato, Tol failed to stop at a stoplight before making a right turn, and while turning, drove over the curb and continued driving. Tol then approached a stop sign and stopped to wait for traffic, Officer Bonnick got out of his car, approached Tolís vehicle and identified himself as a police officer. Tol drove away at a high rate of speed, squealing the tires. Tol finally stopped, and when Officer Bonnick approached him, he noticed that Tolís eyes were bloodshot, that he smelled like alcohol, and that his speech was slurred. Officer Bonnick asked a local resident to call 911 for an officerís assistance. Officer Bonnick then asked Tol to turn the motor off and step out of the car. He administered field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test; Tol failed the tests. A county deputy responded to the 911 call and placed Tol in her squad car until Officer Bonnick could go to Dassel and get his squad car. After retrieving the squad car, Officer Bonnick arrested Tol and transported him to the Meeker County Law Enforcement Center. Tol came before the district court for a joint omnibus and implied consent hearing. The court sustained the revocation of Tolís driving privileges, and denied the motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the arrest.
D E C I S I O N
A district courtís findings of fact will only be disturbed if they are clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. A district courtís finding is clearly erroneous if the appellate court has a definite conviction that a mistake was made. State v. Kvam, 336 N.W.2d 525, 529 (Minn. 1983). Conclusions of law can be overturned if the district court erroneously construed and applied the law to the facts. Dehn v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 394 N.W.2d 272, 273 (Minn. App. 1986). Yet, the interpretation of a statute is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Hibbing Educ. Ass'n v. Public Employment Relations Bd., 369 N.W.2d 527, 529 (Minn. 1985).
The district court found that Officer Bonnick could (1) as a licensed police officer, pursue and apprehend a person outside of his jurisdiction whom he observes commit a criminal offense within his jurisdiction; (2) as an off duty police officer outside his jurisdiction, arrest Tol as a private citizen; and (3) as a private citizen, arrest another for a public offense committed in his presence. Tol rejects the district courtís reasoning, arguing that Officer Bonnick had no power to pursue a private citizen for a petty misdemeanor offense he claims was committed outside Officer Bonnickís jurisdiction.
The factual question whether Tol was in Officer Bonnickís jurisdiction at the time of the initial contact was decided by the district court and is not clearly erroneous. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 (findings of fact will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous); First Trust Co. v. Union Depot Place Ltd., 476 N.W.2d 178, 181 (Minn App. 1991) (holding that a district courtís fact findings are reviewed for clear error), review denied (Minn. Dec. 13, 1991). Officer Bonnick was off duty, but within his jurisdiction when he observed Tol weaving over both the center and fog lines.
We carefully reviewed the statutes and case law governing arrests by both off duty officers and private citizens, and we determine that the district court did not err by sustaining the revocation of Tolís license under the statutes.