The following story, "Lawmaker arrested for DWI, threatens suicide," appeared in the Oct. 12 edition of The Ohio State Lantern, Ohio State University's student newspaper:
A state legislator spent hours driving drunk around Minnesota on Oct. 11, threatening to kill himself with a BB-gun and talking by car phone to people who begged him to stop and get help for his alcoholism.
Rep. Bob Johnson was arrested on a well-traveled two-lane highway just outside Bemidji and was extremely intoxicated, according to Beltrami County Sheriff Dee Wayne Rognstad, who said Johnson was driving erratically. Johnson was taken to the county jail under a suicide watch.
"He was not in good shape," Rognstad said.
The state representative has had two other recent drunken driving arrests, which were made public the night of Oct. 10.
He's been heavily criticized for threatening to cut the State Patrol's budget because officers refused to give him a ride to former Gov. Rudy Perpich's funeral on Sept. 25. Johnson blamed his behavior on a "viral infection."
Wednesday's situation was so tense that state Democratic leaders asked media to hold off reporting details until it was resolved.
"I was worried he was going to do danger to himself or to other people," said House Speaker Irv Anderson, who talked with Johnson by phone throughout the morning and into the afternoon. A doctor and a counselor also spoke with Johnson on his car phone.
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