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Man with BAC nearly three times the legal limit faces DWI charges in Nobles County

Gabriel Bassette

WORTHINGTON — A man who admitted to previously killing his best friend as a result of a drunk driving incident was arrested and charged this week after driving through Nobles County while allegedly having a blood alcohol concentration nearly three times the legal limit.

Gabriel D. Bassette, 34, faces felony charges for refusal to submit to a chemical test and driving while impaired. A conviction of either offense is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, a $14,000 fine or both. Nobles County District Court files listed Bassette’s address as Rapid City, S.D., and Winnebago, Neb.

While a preliminary breath test indicated Bassette had a blood alcohol concentration of .228 percent at approximately 10 a.m. Monday, alleged undetected testing attempts following his arrest led to the refusal charge. The legal limit in Minnesota is .08 percent.

According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Nobles County District Court, a Nobles County sheriff’s deputy witnessed a vehicle driven by Bassette driving very slowly and nearly stopping in the middle of Minnesota 91 in Nobles County. The vehicle — which did not display license plates — had been reported early by a concerned motorist who claimed to have seen the vehicle driving all over the road.

Upon contact, the deputy observed Bassette’s eyes to be watery and bloodshot and he spoke with slurred speech, the complaint continues. Bassette claimed to have purchased the vehicle privately and admitted to consuming a bit of alcohol.

Bassette allegedly demonstrated indicators of impairment during a field sobriety test conducted by a Minnesota State trooper. He agreed to submit to a preliminary breath test on site and was arrested.

At the Nobles County Jail, Bassette agreed to provide another chemical test. The criminal complaint details that Bassette blew short, quick breaths and one hard breath at the end. The machine did not accept the test. Bassette provided another sample, which was again not accepted. Bassette allegedly told the trooper that he gave two breaths and was not taking more tests, despite the trooper giving him multiple opportunities to comply, the criminal complaint states.

The vehicle’s owner told law enforcement that Bassette took the vehicle from her residence that morning without her permission. He never drives the vehicle, which she claimed to have purchased weeks prior, the complaint concludes.

Bassette is also charged with felony motor vehicle theft and misdemeanor driving without a valid license.

A review of his criminal history indicates he has three previous DWI convictions — two in 2012 and one in 2015.

According to U.S. District Court of Nebraska court records, Bassette was adjudicated guilty of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injuries in 2012. According to court documents, Bassette was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and ordered to pay $99,519.66 restitution on a scheduled payment plan.

Bassette’s conditional bail was scheduled at $30,000 and his unconditional bail at $75,000.

He is scheduled to make an Oct. 9 initial appearance in Nobles County District Court.