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Prominent personal injury lawyer of Minnesota admits guilt in incident involving injury to construction worker after drunk driving

A renowned Minnesota attorney has admitted guilt to a misdemeanor charge. Last October, an award-winning lawyer from a prestigious firm for handling traffic accidents and personal injury cases struck a construction worker with his SUV. They fled the scene while under the influence of alcohol. He later claimed he was unaware he had hit a person, believing instead that he had collided with a neon orange road sign, and insisted he would have stopped had he known a human was involved.

On Tuesday, June 11, James Patrick Carey from Edina, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal vehicular operation resulting in bodily harm. Carey confessed to being intoxicated at the time of the incident during his appearance in Pine County District Court. The plea agreement with the Pine County Attorney’s Office stipulates four years of probation and a $900 fine, avoiding a potential 365-day jail sentence.

As part of his sentence, Carey is required to undergo chemical testing, participate in a drunk driving victim impact panel organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and submit to random alcohol and drug testing. Additionally, he must write an apology letter to the victim and complete 80 hours of community service, which cannot involve any pro bono legal work or tasks related to his profession.


The incident occurred on October 6 at approximately 11:40 a.m. on Interstate 35 near Hinckley. Carey struck Joseph G. Flanagan, a 27-year-old construction worker from Duluth, who was hospitalized for his injuries after being found in a ditch by a state trooper. Flanagan wore a neon construction vest, and tire tracks were discovered nearby. Carey was apprehended by police around 35 miles away near Moose Lake, where officers noted the smell of alcohol on his breath. His blood alcohol concentration was measured at 0.143 percent, significantly above Minnesota’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the 64-year-old lawyer admitted to consuming three glasses of wine and taking sleeping pills the previous day, stating he had been struggling with sleep due to the recent death of a family member.

James Carey, president of the esteemed firm SiebenCarey, will appear before a judge on September 4. The court will then determine whether to accept the plea agreement.


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