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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 05, 2012, 07:12 PM

Minnesota man with 27 DWIs back in jail for driving under cancellation

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

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

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

Fifty-nine year-old Daniel Allen Bettcher goes by several other names, but we do know he is back in the Otter Tail County Jail tonight 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 is still on the road.

In an interview years ago, Bettcher confessed that he drinks to get drunk, admitting to us during the jailhouse interview that he indeed he 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, Minnesota 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 – Otter Tail County DWI Court: “I really feel if this program was there, it could have helped him.”

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

Tria Mann: “I really feel it works, it does work, and I see it work.”

Ironically the state of Minnesota has beefed up penalties in recent years, but in cases like Danny Bettcher, unless he is in prison or you are 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.

Bill Iverson – Lost and Found Ministry: “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.”

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. After 27 DWI’s it is hoped his lack of honesty doesn’t cost the county an innocent life.

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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