FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - The superintendent of the Hawley School District has been charged with two misdemeanors after a vehicle went through the ice on Otter Tail Lake last month and concerns arose that another man would be arrested for drunken driving.
Superintendent Philip Leroy Jensen, 56, of Ottertail, Minn., faces two counts of obstructing the legal process.
Facing the same charges in the incident are Michelle Renae Jensen, 51, of Ottertail, and Zachary Anthony Jensen, 32, of Fargo.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department received a call from Philip Jensen about 11:10 p.m. Feb. 3 that a vehicle had gone through the ice near Balmoral Creek near State Highway 78 and County Highway 128, according to a call-for-service report.
Jensen told an emergency dispatcher no one was hurt and that everyone involved was taken by an unnamed third party to Jensen's home in Ottertail, the report said.
The report said a vehicle driven by Michelle Jensen broke through the ice on Otter Tail Lake when it was too close to open water.
However, a Feb. 4 update to the call-for-service report said that, based on interviews and evidence, it was determined that Zachary Jensen had been driving at the time of the incident and he was concerned about being arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The report noted that Philip, Zachary and Michelle Jensen were each given two citations for obstructing the legal process. All three have entered not guilty pleas, court records show.
Detroit Lakes attorney Robert Thorwaldsen, speaking on behalf of Philip Jensen, said Thursday, March 15, that because the case is still pending, "we don't think it's appropriate for Phil or I to be making a statement at this time or making a comment about the facts of the case."
The Hawley School Board "is fully aware of the situation," board Vice Chairman Todd Heiberg said Thursday. "We're letting the legal process take its course."
Philip Jensen's next court appearance is a pretrial hearing set for April 3.