ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Man who said ‘Jerry Springer was driving’ in high-speed chase crash that damaged homes is sentenced

BENSON, Minn. - Pinned beneath the steering wheel May 29 after a crash following a high-speed chase with a Benson police officer that damaged multiple homes, Bernard Michael Drivdahl offered a creative excuse: "I wasn't driving. Jerry Springer wa...

BENSON, Minn.  – Pinned beneath the steering wheel May 29 after a crash following a high-speed chase with a Benson police officer that damaged multiple homes, Bernard Michael Drivdahl offered a creative excuse: “I wasn’t driving. Jerry Springer was driving.”

It appears Drivdahl, 59, of Benson, has now admitted to driving the vehicle. He pleaded guilty in September in Swift County District Court to felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and gross misdemeanor driving while impaired, and was sentenced a week ago to serve 250 days in jail. He received credit for 46 days already served.

According to court documents, Drivdahl caught the attention of a Benson police officer around 1 a.m. May 29 for incorrectly using turn signals. The officer turned on his emergency lights, but Drivdahl did not stop, accelerating through Benson up to 70 mph.

The police officer noted 25 moving violations during and after the pursuit.

Drivdahl lost control while traveling through an intersection, went off the road, and traveled through a fence into a yard, damaging three yards and multiple houses.

ADVERTISEMENT

When the vehicle came to rest after the damage, it was still in gear, spinning its tires. Drivdahl had crashed into a parked pickup truck that then crashed into a home, and slammed into another home with his own vehicle. The impact with one home broke a gas line.
The police officer recognized the driver as Drivdahl, according to the criminal complaint. He could smell alcohol on Drivdahl, who was pinned beneath the steering wheel and buckled into the driver’s seat. Drivdahl was extracted from the vehicle and transported by helicopter to the St. Cloud Hospital.
Test results from a blood draw there showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.13 percent, according to the criminal complaint. The threshold for DWI is 0.08 percent.

At his Jan. 20 sentencing hearing, Drivdahl was also sentenced to serve three years of probation, and a 17-month prison sentence was stayed during that time.

He was ordered to pay $5,334 in restitution and a $550 fine, and must write two letters of apology.

Drivdahl was originally facing additional charges for driving after cancellation, third-degree driving while impaired and reckless driving. Those were dismissed at sentencing as part of the plea agreement.

He was also identified in his sentencing order as a high-risk offender, which means he is subject to immediate arrest and jailing if he does not comply with probation appointments or testing.

What To Read Next
Navigator CO2 Ventures is hoping to streamline the application process in Illinois as they add an additional pipeline to the mix.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the Wednesday, Jan. 25, crash.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.
Rep. Fred Deutsch, an opponent of last year's failed cannabis ballot measure, introduced a proposal to disallow consecutive attempts at statewide referenda. A House committee rejected the bill 10-2.