New Brighton mayor pleads guilty to DWI

New Brighton Mayor Val Johnson pleaded guilty to DWI on Jan. 22 after a weekend arrest and three days in jail.

After entering her plea in Ramsey County District Court, she was sentenced to two years of probation, a chemical dependency evaluation and attendance to an impact panel with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.

Johnson opened the Jan. 22 New Brighton City Council meeting and addressed the DWI conviction.

“There is no question that I was reckless and made a significant error of judgement that night,” she said.

On Jan. 20, New Brighton officers pulled over Johnson at 1:55 a.m. on County Road E and Old Highway 8, for driving 54 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone, according to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court on Jan. 22. Her vehicle also had expired registration tabs, court documents say.

The officers called on a St. Paul police commander to assist.

Johnson, 60, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, charging documents say. Field sobriety tests showed signs of impairment as well, and a breath test registered a 0.17 blood alcohol concentration.

She initially faced two DWI charges, both gross misdemeanors. One of the counts was dismissed at sentencing.

Johnson won election to her second term in 2017. Following her initial two-year term, she's serving through 2020 because the City of New Brighton switched from odd to even-year municipal elections.

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