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Emily Welker, Published August 28 2013

West Fargo man arrested in drive-thru liquor store lane for drunken driving

FARGO – A West Fargo man faces what police say is his fifth drunken-driving charge after another driver reported him driving drunk into one of the metro’s only drive-thru liquor stores.

Kevin James Smith, 57, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with one count of driving under the influence, a Class C felony.

According to court documents filed with the case:

- A witness, Bryce Huseby, told West Fargo Police Officer Kyle Hinrichs that he was pulling into a parking lot in West Fargo about 7 p.m. Saturday when another car, driven by Smith, almost hit him.

- Huseby began following Smith’s car northbound on Eighth Street West in West Fargo. Huseby told Hinrichs that Smith’s car was swerving from lane to lane and nearly hit several parked and moving vehicles. At one point, it took Smith nearly a minute to change lanes, Huseby said.

- Huseby said Smith’s car eventually pulled in to the drive-thru at Ace Beer and Liquors, 102 Main Ave. E., and parked.

- Hinrichs, who wrote in his report he’d had contact with Smith over the course of the previous two days, spoke with Smith while Smith was parked in the drive-thru. Hinrichs wrote that he smelled alcohol on Smith’s breath, and that Smith was wearing the same clothes he had the past two days, and that they were full of urine and blood.

- Smith admitted to Hinrichs he was drinking earlier in the day. A breath test showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.252 percent. Hinrichs took Smith to Essentia Hospital for a medical clearance and a blood draw. The state’s legal driving limit is 0.08 percent.

Greg Anderson, the owner of Ace Beer and Liquor, said he did not recognize Smith’s name, and that his policy is to refuse to sell alcohol to “habituals.”

“If you see people coming into the store intoxicated, even if they’re on foot, we’re not allowed to sell to them,” said Anderson, adding that it’s against state law to do so.

“We try to do everything in our power and in our judgment to not sell to minors or [people] who are impaired,” he said.

Anderson said he did not know if any staff members sold liquor to Smith, but he did not believe they had. He plans to follow up with the store staffer who had worked that day to find out.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541