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Doctor pleads guilty to DWI

By Staff | Oct 20, 2008

A doctor facing two counts of gross misdemeanor DWI pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday in Faribault County District Court.

Michael Louis Sparacino, 51, of North Mankato was arrested May 15 while on his way to work at the United Hospital District emergency room.

He was charged with third-degree driving while intoxicated/alcohol and third-degree DWI/.08/ within two hours. Both counts carry a maximum penalty of one year and a $3,000 fine. In addition, he faced a traffic impeding-slow speed charge, a misdemeanor with a $300 fine.

Sparacino entered a guilty plea to fourth-degree DWI — a misdemeanor — for the DWI/.08 charge. The maximum sentence is 90 days and a $1,000 fine.

Mark Betters, Sparacino’s attorney, told Judge Douglas Richards his client has taken the incident “extremely serious.”

“He is seeing some opportunities to get out and talk to others about what happened to him. To prevent that from happening to someone else,” Betters says.

Sparacino says he remembers drinking that day but doesn’t recall the type of alcoholic beverage it was.

Betters says his client was taking medication at the time and that caused further complications.

In July, Sparacino entered treatment at the Menninger Center in Houston, Texas.

Betters told Richards his client submits to regular alcohol testing where he is employed and attends two recovery programs weekly.

Richards sentenced Sparacino to 30 days in jail, which can be completed through electronic house monitoring. He also was fined $705, placed on supervised probation and must participate on a MADD input panel.A court complaint says Sparacino was pulled over for impeding traffic on Highway 169.

The police officer reportedly smelled alcohol.

Sparacino admitted he had consumed a couple of alcoholic beverages, says court documents, and his eyes appeared bloodshot and glazed.

A preliminary breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of .265.

Results of a test two hours later at the county jail revealed a blood-alcohol content of .24.