Semi driver arrested for drunk driving, semi caught fire prior to arrest

A semi-truck driver was arrested Sunday for drunk driving, after an incident where the truck caught fire.

According to a release from Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes, deputies responded to a reckless driving call on Highway 71 and while arriving, received a report of the truck, smoking, pulling into a business north of Park Rapids around 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Firefighters from the Park Rapids Fire Department were able to remove the driver, 57-year-old Shawn Nelson of East Grand Forks, as the truck was fully engulfed in flames.

Deputies detected an odor of alcohol and observed that Nelson had bloodshot and watery eyes, as well as slurred speech.

Nelson was arrested after failing a field sobriety test, and blew a .20 on the breathalyzer.

The semi truck that caught fire is considered a total loss, and was carrying a load of wheat from Thief River Falls to Hastings.

The business also sustained some damage from the fire and heat. The incident remains under investigation.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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