Ex-Robbinsdale City Council member pleads guilty to leading police on wrong-way chase while drunk

ROBBINSDALE, Minn.(FOX 9) – Former Robbinsdale City Council member Tyler Kline pleaded guilty in a hearing Tuesday to charges stemming from leading police on a wrong-way chase while drunk in January.  

Kline, who resigned his city council position in May after months of criticism, entered guilty pleas for three charges: fleeing officers, a felony that can carry up to a three-year sentence, and two gross misdemeanor DWI counts that each can carry up to a year sentence.  Judge Tamara Garcia will sentence Kline during a hearing at 9 a.m. on Aug. 12.

According to prosecutors, Kline was driving a minivan when he was involved in a wrong-way crash near Highway 100 at Brooklyn Boulevard around 12:36 a.m. on Jan. 24.

After the crash, police say Kline drove away from the scene, continuing to drive southbound in the northbound lanes of Highway 100. Shortly after, the charges state a Crystal police officer spotted him headed the wrong way on the exit ramp at France Avenue North.

Investigators say the officer tried to block the van from re-entering the highway. But, prosecutors say Kline drove around the patrol car and sped away, making eye contact with the officer in the process. Officers trailed the minivan onto County Road 81, still going the wrong way, until they used a PIT maneuver to stop the van.

At that point, police say Kline refused to exit the vehicle after the crash and had to be pulled from the driver’s seat. At the time, he smelled of alcohol, officers noted.

A breath test conducted at 1:22 a.m. showed Kline’s blood alcohol limit to be 0.20, more than double the legal limit of 0.08, police said. 

In the hearing Tuesday, Kline’s defense attorney said he had blacked out and did not remember the incident but was basing his admissions on police reports and dash cam footage. Prosecutors noted the roads were covered in ice and snow, and more than half a dozen officers had responded with their lights and sirens activated, potentially risking their lives to pursue and stop Kline’s vehicle. They said he made contact a police vehicle at one point during the chase.

In April, Kline told FOX 9 he completed a five-week rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse. At the time, he had ignored calls to step down but changed his position when he submitted a letter of resignation on May 27. “I have regrets about why I am resigning, but my past mistakes won’t keep me from being my best,” he wrote.