South St. Paul officer charged with DWI while off duty
The off-duty South St. Paul police sergeant who allegedly drove drunk and fled Rosemount police this week had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he struck mailboxes and gas pumps before an officer rammed his SUV to stop it, according to criminal charges filed Friday.
A field-sobriety test showed Cory Slifko, a 13-year veteran of the South St. Paul force, had a blood-alcohol level that registered 0.175 percent shortly after he was arrested about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, charges say.
The Dakota County attorney’s office Friday charged Slifko, 36, with felony fleeing a police officer, two counts of fourth-degree driving while impaired and criminal damage to property.
A motorist called 911 to report that an SUV headed north on Minnesota 3 in Farmington had gone off the road and into a ditch, hit several roadside mailboxes and signs and nearly ran a semitrailer truck off the road. The driver was later identified as Slifko.
Rosemount police officer Ryan Coughlin spotted Slifko’s SUV, which had significant front-end damage, stopped at a red light at Minnesota 3 and Dakota County 42. The officer then saw Slifko cross the road’s fog line, hit the curb and go up and over it, charges say.
Slifko then drove over a curb to get into a Kwik Trip parking lot, where he struck a trailer being pulled by another vehicle as well as gas pumps in the center island before continuing on, charges say.
In an attempt to stop Slifko, the officer bumped the back of his
SUV, pushing it into a parked car. But the move was unsuccessful as Slifko kept driving and headed toward the gas station’s exit, according to the charges.
The officer followed Slifko out of the lot and back onto Minnesota 3 before pushing his SUV into a curb and stopping him.
When officer Coughlin questioned him about his driving, Slifko, who smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot and watery eyes, said he was “very tired,” according to the charges. He said he had four to five drinks and that it had been about four to five hours since his last one.
Slifko, who lives in Farmington, said he was headed home. When asked if he knew where he was, Slifko said he was in “Empire,” charges say. He failed field-sobriety tests before failing the roadside preliminary breath test and another breath test he took later at the Rosemount police station.
Slifko was booked into the Dakota County Jail and released Tuesday after posting $30,000 bail set by Dakota County District Judge Tim Wermager.
Slifko, who was charged by summons, has been put on paid administrative leave from his job with South St. Paul police.
Nick Ferraro can be reached at 651-228-2173. Follow him at twitter.com/NFerraroPiPress.