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Man with 27 DWIs back in Otter Tail County Jail

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Man with 27 DWIs back in Otter Tail County Jail
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

New York Mills, MN - A man who has become notorious in the state of Minnesota for multiple DWIs is back in the Otter Tail County Jail, but this time he was sober when police stopped him.

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Fifty-nine year-old Daniel Allen Bettcher also goes by several other names. He was back in the Otter Tail County Jail Tuesday night after he was caught driving a car in New York Mills, a violation of his probation.

It is believed Bettcher holds the record in Minnesota for his 27 DWIs. He most recently got out of state prison in January. Even with no driver's license or permission to drive, Bettcher was still on the road.

In an interview with WDAY years ago, Bettcher confessed that he drinks to get drunk, admitting that he indeed had a problem. Since that interview, he has been back in court and jail and prison. His DWI criminal history reads like a crime novel.

Most recently in New York Mills, Bettcher was arrested not for DWI, but for driving after cancellation, which is also a violation of his probation. There is a good chance he is headed back to prison just months after getting out.

Tria Mann, of the Otter Tail County DWI Court, said, "I really feel if this program was there, it could have helped him."

Mann helps run the county's DWI court for repeat offenders. Started in 2008, graduates are giving the program a good reputation. There have been few repeat offenders.

"I really feel it works, it does work, and I see it work," Mann said.

Ironically the state of Minnesota has beefed up penalties in recent years, but in cases like Bettcher, unless he is in prison or someone is holding his hand 24/7, there is no physical way to keep him out of the car or off the street.

Bill Iverson has done more than a thousand interventions at Trinity Lutheran's Lost and Found Ministry. He has seen some go through treatment 20 or more times, others just once.

"Nothing easy about it at all. I wish there were better answers. I wish we could say this guy is going to get sober and stay sober, but there's no magic bullet," said Iverson.

For law enforcement and the courts, it comes down to public safety. Bettcher has used numerous aliases and birth dates to try and get back on the road.

The most recent law in Minnesota to address repeat DWI offenders creates stiffer penalties. Those with four DWI convictions in 10 years get a three year minimum.

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