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Man with 12 DWIs goes to hospital, not sentencing

William Lawrence Butcher

On the day he was supposed to be sentenced for his 12th DWI, William Lawrence Butcher was in the Park Rapids hospital.

"My understanding is that he was hoarding pills and took an overdose," said Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne.

Sheriff Frank Homer said the incident is under investigation. "It may have been that (a suicide attempt) but he may have been doing this to get maybe a little added high.

"I don't know what he was taking," Homer said of Butcher's medications. Butcher was hospitalized Monday and returned to his cell sometime after 5 p.m., said jail administrator Sherri Klasen.

"It's medical information, which is confidential, so I can't give you a lot of details," Klasen said. "He did have a medical condition, was treated and returned early last (Monday) evening."

Klasen declined to say if Butcher had attempted suicide or had overdosed on medications. He is supposedly housed in the jail's maximum security unit.

"I don't know where the information came from," Klasen said. "It sounds like people are speculating and such. He had a medical condition. I haven't received anything from the hospital saying" anything about an overdose.

"He's had a medical issue and was brought to the hospital," Klasen repeated.

Butcher, 48, of Ponsford, was found guilty in May of two counts of First Degree DWI and Driving After Cancellation Inimical to Public Safety. The Hubbard County District Court jury deliberated only an hour before reaching a verdict.

Butcher's breath test initially showed his alcohol level was .175 percent when he was pulled over Dec. 31, 2009 on the outskirts of Park Rapids. Later at the Law Enforcement Center the Intoxilyzer measured it at .16 percent.

Under state sentencing guidelines he faces 57-79 months behind bars. Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne said he would request the top end of the sentence range because of Butcher's extensive record of drunken driving arrests.

A new sentencing date has been set for July 12.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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