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Charges: Father arrested at New Ulm Walmart was over 3x’s the legal limit

(New Ulm, MN) – An Owatonna father is facing allegations that he was over three times the legal alcohol limit when he drove with his teen children in the car.

Matthew Jason Wheeler, 43, was arrested in Brown County last Saturday afternoon in the Walmart parking lot in New Ulm.

According to the criminal complaint, a witness told New Ulm police that Wheeler was driving erratically, nearly hitting vehicles as he drove over a curb.  Wheeler was observed by another witness stumbling as he walked into Walmart with two minors.

Police were waiting for Wheeler at Walmart when he emerged from the store minutes later with his two sons, ages 13 and 15, according to the complaint.  He admitted to police that he had been driving the vehicle and his sons had been with him.  Wheeler failed multiple field sobriety tests, according to the complaint.

Court documents say Wheeler’s blood-alcohol level was .35.   Police discovered an open bottle of whiskey under the driver’s seat of the vehicle and an open bottle of rum in the trunk.

Wheeler faces charges 2nd-degree gross misdemeanor DWI and open bottle in Brown County Court.

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