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Long-time Twin Cities reporter released from job after DWI charge

In the immediate wake of a drunk driving arrest, a person's head might be swimming with the potential consequences. For some people, being able to maintain employment might be a major concern. As we covered in blog post on Jan. 23, some people may face termination at work as the result of a drunk driving conviction, depending on specific workplace policies.

Recently, one familiar face among Minnesota residents found out how being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated can affect employment. Rusty Gatenby, who has spent more than 30 years with a local television news affiliate, was let go from his post after being charged for driving while intoxicated.

As a staple of Twin Cities news broadcasts, the reporter's sudden exit from his role came as a shock to many. However, Gatenby confirmed his departure via Facebook, but stopped short of speaking about his arrest, which could prove to be beneficial. Any public statements about criminal proceedings have potential to be used during court proceedings.

Law enforcement says that Gatenby was stopped by officers in Excelsior for apparently failing to completely stop at a posted sign. The newsman's blood-alcohol concentration was measured by police at 0.13 percent, which is over the legal limit. As a result, he was struck with fourth-degree DWI charges.

Reports from the St. Paul Pioneer Press do not provide explicit details about what happened with Gatenby and his employer. However, Gatenby’s change in employment has been connected to his arrest. At this time, Gatenby is only facing charges, so he has yet to be convicted. Still, his employment was impacted. There is no work as to whether the station he worked for has a specific policy addressing this type of legal challenge.

Ultimately, the hope is that Gatenby will be able to sort through these challenges and move forward. After all, the reporter contributed to the local community for decades, and many probably hope he can continue to do so.

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Reporter Rusty Gatenby let go at KSTP after DWI arrest," Ross Raihala, Feb. 4, 2014

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