UPDATE: Lakeville North Athletic Director Pleads Guilty to DWI

Robert Ertl, the activities and athletic director at Lakeville North High School, pleaded guilty in December to driving with a .13 percent blood-alcohol content in June.

The original story has been updated to include information and a statement released by the Lakeville Area Public School District, and Bob Ertl.

The athletic and activities director at Lakeville North High School has pleaded guilty to drunken driving after he was arrested with a blood-alcohol content of .13 percent.

Robert Lorenz Ertl, 47, of Northfield, pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to gross-misdemeanor DWI. Dakota County District Judge Mary Theisen immediately sentenced him to one year in jail, stayed for two years, along with two years of supervised probation, 10 days of electronic home monitoring, $615 in fines and court fees and 240 hours of community service.

Ertl also was ordered to undergo a chemical evaluation and to abstain from alcohol and drugs. During his probation, he was ordered to have no driver’s license violations and no alcohol-related offenses.

According to a statement made by the Lakeville Area Public School District, Ertl informed Superintendent Dr. Lisa Snyder and Lakeville North Principal Marne Berkvam of the incident in June, shortly after it occurred.

"The Lakeville Schools’ administration fully supports Mr. Ertl and is confident that he will continue to provide positive leadership to our staff, students, and athletes," the statement said.

In the statement released by the district, Ertl said he's taking actions to get his life in order.

"I entered treatment seven months ago and have been sober since. I informed my supervisors about the issues when I began treatment and I am sorry and apologize to the district and the community for the negative impact this may have on our district," Ertl said.

According to the criminal complaint, a Lakeville police officer on routine patrol June 7 drove pastBabe’s Sports Bar three times, and each time saw a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a green Jeep in the bar’s parking lot.

At 11:30 p.m., the officer saw the Jeep make a “very slow” left turn from northbound Hughes Avenue onto 206th Street West. The driver, later identified as Ertl, came to a stop at a dead end, turned off the Jeep’s headlights and then turned them back on.

The officer pulled up behind Ertl’s Jeep and approached the vehicle. Ertl told him that he had stopped to make a phone call because he didn’t think he should be driving.

While he was speaking with Ertl, the officer smelled a “very strong odor” of alcohol, and noted that Ertl’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech slurred. Ertl admitted that he had had “a few drinks” at Babe’s that evening.

Ertl was unable to perform field sobriety tests satisfactorily. He provided a sample for a preliminary breath test, which he also failed, according to the complaint.

Ertl was arrested and taken to the Lakeville police station, where he provided another sample for a breath test. Those results showed a blood-alcohol level of .13 percent 45 minutes after his arrest.

It wasn’t Ertl’s first drunken-driving arrest. In 2008, he was charged with DWI and careless driving, but under the terms of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty only to careless driving and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and 40 hours of community service.

However, because that was a DWI-related offense, the latest charge was a gross misdemeanor.

Editor's note: The original story posted at 11 a.m. on Jan. 3 included an incorrect photo—that of Lakeville North head volleyball coach Walt Weaver. It was a procedural mistake we apologize for. We regret the error.

Lakeville Resident January 05, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Concerned Lakeville Parent: You are entitled to your opinion on this whole issue, as am I and everyone else. But to say the School Board should fire him or not be re-elected is irrelevant. Like I stated previously, I am sure the School Administration has known about this issue since June. They have probably had meetings with Mr. Ertl and have some sort of plan in action. Mr. Ertl is not the first person to have a DWI. Have you read any other recent articles? Here's one: "Michael V. Sovis, a Dakota County District Court judge was arrested and charged Dec. 27 with two misdemeanor counts of third-degree driving while impaired (DWI) after the Lexus SUV he was driving at about 8 p.m. Dec. 24 allegedly struck at least two cars. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.29 percent. His current term expires in January 2015." He's a judge! A teacher should be fired, but a judge, the one who makes final decisions on crimes and so on, can keep his job? Or try this. Lets say you received 2 DWI's and you had members of your community saying how horrible of a person you are and you should no longer be employed, although you have changed your ways. Would your opinion on this issue still be so strong, or would you change it? Some people do not learn after one mistake. Everyone learns differently.
Lakeville Resident January 05, 2013 at 05:28 AM
Community Member: Agreed. Well said!
Community Member January 05, 2013 at 06:56 AM
To Concerned Lakeville Parent - If you have no compassion for Mr. E and the circumstance that he has found himself in, please consider filtering your comments to show compassion for his family who may be reading these comments. It is possible to express an opinion without judgement. There is a fine line between opinion and judgment that being an aggressive and absolute tone which serves no purpose but to harm.
Community Member January 05, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Your tag indicates that you are a parent, have you ever done anything that you have told your kids not to do and then turned around and grounded them for doing exactly as you have done? I know I have but that doesn't mean that I don't believe in what I preach to my children nor does it mean that I am an incapable parent and that I should be "suspended" from parenting my kids for a period of time. What it means is that I am human, I am not always going to be a good and perfect role model to my children and that when I screw up, I acknowledge it and use it as a lesson to myself and to my child. I in no way condone drinking and driving however the abstinence message that Mr. E has been sending to our kids at LNHS over the years has never been louder or clearer than it is now and perhaps, if he should continue as AD, that message may hold greater weight to our children then it did a few months ago. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. ” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Absolutely, no question. He should definitely either resign or be terminated. The school board needs to step up and do their job. A DUI is 100 percent avoidable. How can a person in his position dictate the future of kids making a similar mistake. We need someone in the position who tries harder.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Basically, if the school board and superintendent don't step up and remove this man from his current position, the message is - go ahead, drink & drive, no real consequence.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:54 AM
This isn't about gossips, this is about doing your job and being a role model. He did neither and deserves to lose his job.
Community Member January 06, 2013 at 05:07 AM
Unfortunately, Mr. E's actions have to some degree made him a counterintuitive anti-role model, showing our kids what NOT to do but surprisingly, examples of bad behavior can often have a profoundly positive effect on our children, especially when there are negative consequences attached to that bad behavior. However, to say that the message our school board is sending to our children by not removing Mr. E is; "go ahead, drink and drive, there is no consequence" is irresponsible. The court has imposed some very serious consequences that are far more dire than anything the school board could ever deliver and in no way say "go ahead, drink and drive, there is no consequence". Parents and teachers are our children's blueprint for living and therefore I agree, it is important they are good role models however, an often overlooked but important part of being a role model is admitting mistakes. This teaches our children that no one is perfect, it also teaches our children the importance of taking responsibility and the importance of taking steps to repair the damage, all of which Mr. E is doing.
Beatrice Zander January 06, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Community Member, You make some valid points but the facts are he was caught drinking and driving. I'm a very active social drinker and I'm DUI/DWI free. If I'm out drinking I make a plan ahead or I don't drink. The position he holds in our community carrys a higher sense of integrity to social issues, like driving and driving. I'd have a different prospective along with empathy for Mr. Ertl if the headline was; LNSH A.D. seeking treatment for chemical dependency. I'd also like to thank the Lakeville Police Dept. for keeping tabs on patrons at our local establisments for keeping our streets a little safer.
Community Member January 06, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Yes, the facts are the facts, he was caught drinking and driving and he should have either abstained or made arrangements for a designated driver as many responsible people do, there is no disputing that. This is a moral standard that we all should be upheld to regardless of position or title. The question is, given the charge, can he effectively continue to do his job, part of which is delivering the message of abstinence, with some credibility? I don't know the answer to that and my opinion wavers but what I do know is that sometimes it appears as though credibility has been lost but often what makes a source credible is having first hand knowledge and experience in a particular subject matter. No doubt our kids need positive role models because we as parents allow our kids to be innundated daily with negative role models through the music they listen to, the video games they play and the television programming that they watch. Many parents invite negative role models into their homes to interact with their kids in games like Grand Theft Auto, all in the guise of entertainment, yet somehow they are quick to condemn a man who has made a grave mistake, has admitted it, is trying to right it and is suffering the consequences of it. All I am saying is show a little humility and compassion in the wake of imperfection and don't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of condemnation becuase who knows you might find yourself or someone you care about run over by it one day.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 06:02 PM
So, do we wait until it's his third, or maybe, fourth DUI before we look at getting someone who cares about being an affective role model and community leader? I have a lot of empathy for his situation and feel sad that he made such a huge blunder, for the SECOND time. That shows me that lessons still need to be learned. Let's not make our kids go along with him. He's old enough to know better. We need someone else in the position ASAP. If the school board does not take immediate action, now that the "cat's out of the bag" then that speaks volume about the Lakeville Dist. 194 school board and superintendent. I expect more, you should too.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Also, lakevillelea - doing a great job would be following his own guidelines which he delivers to his students. I would argue his "awesomeness" and "great job" abilities. A DUI is 100 percent avoidable! He didn't "learn from his own mistakes" since this is clearly his SECOND DUI! Please, consider the facts and stay logical. This is really a no brainer as to whether or not he should remain in the Activities Director position. Common sense says NO! Lakeville parents - let's expect more from our community leaders, school board and superintendent. Let's expect them to value character, hard work, and excellence.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM
No, I'm not saying he needs to be treated disrespectfully or badly. Everyone makes mistakes and there are natural consequences for mistakes. The natural consequence of his second offense should be loss of the Acitvities Director position. I'm saying he is no longer qualified for this particular job, which is all about abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Perhaps there is another job in the district that he would be better suited for - just not this one.
Lakeville Mom January 06, 2013 at 06:50 PM
laevillelea, you are right, we are both entitled to our own opinions. Let me ask you one more thing though. If this was a Team Captain of the North Football team or some other sport, and he had the same situation as Mr. Ertl, would he still be able to continue as the Team Captain, especially, f he was an "awesome" person and "did a great job?" If that's a no, then how we explain to our children why the same rules do not apply to the biggest captain of all, the Activities Director?
Community Member January 06, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Lakevillelea you pose some valid points and don't need to justify your opinion by crossing the line into judgement.
Community Member January 06, 2013 at 07:08 PM
Lakeville Mom I agree with much of what you say but to say that Mr. E doesn't care about being an effective role model or doesn't value character, hard work or excellence is unfair, his actions may indicate that he does not but we are all more than our actions and our failures. We don't all always do what is right but that doesn't mean that we don't believe in what is right any less. Teachers and parents, as I said earlier, are our children's blueprint for living and we do need to make sure that those plans are building a stable structure. I have confidence that the school board will look at the blueprints in their entirety and make adjustments if they feel it necessary to build a more stable structure.
Community Member January 06, 2013 at 07:17 PM
A very valid point, the school board will need to consider whether the consequences imposed by the court are consistent with the consequences the school board enforces for this type of offense and whether or not further consequence is necessary.
concerned lakeville parent January 07, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Community Member: As far as your comment insinuating that I have a lack of compassion, I can assure you that is not the case at all – however, my concern and compassion are for the students who attend LNHS everyday and need to have role models that can demonstrate the ability of knowing right from wrong – before their actions and after. Of course everyone makes mistakes, but the ones with integrity, when their mistakes affect the lives of others, they will do whatever they can to right their wrong (mistake) and try to do the right thing going forward – in this case for Mr. E it would be to resign from the position of AD. I would reiterate if Mr. E has any integrity he would resign from the position of AD immediately. If he doesn’t, I would hope the School Administration and School Board would dismiss him from that position.
concerned lakeville parent January 07, 2013 at 01:17 AM
To Community member and Lakeville Resident It was my understanding that this was a forum for anyone who wished to express an opinion on the above article regarding Bob Ertl could do so. That was my only intention. As both of my comments show, I was simply replying to other reader’s comments by starting both my replies with ”I agree” and then continuing on with what I had to say. Apparently by your remarks, you feel it necessary to personally attack those whose comments are in opposition to your own. That is certainly your right – it’s freedom of speech – but I am a bit surprised with the intensity of your attacks on others that are simply exercising that same right. Basically I was simply echoing the comments of the University of Minnesota Athletic Director who called the DWI arrest of a Gopher basketball coach this fall “embarrassing”. He went on to say “We cant have bad behavior; it’s embarrassing and I won't tolerate it." you can google the article if you dont believe me. I felt his sentiments rang true in this situation and thus my comment on this forum. I wasn’t name-calling, condemning, being self righteous or trying to humiliate, I was simply expressing an opinion – which obviously differs from yours.
Lakeville Resident January 07, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Concerned Lakeville Parent: I have not personally attacked anyone! If anything, there are people personally attacking Mr. Ertl and if you haven't noticed, I am over this conversation and moved on with my life. A lot of other people should do the same. It is out of our hands and in the hands of the courts. If parents or community members feel it is necessary to continue to bash Mr. Ertl, go ahead. Why don't they go outside his house and picket instead of threatening School Board members or the School Administration. Or maybe hold a public forum to where Mr. Ertl would be able to be a part of, listen to the concerns, and perhaps answer some of the questions people have. All I was trying to do was state my opinion on behalf of Mr. Ertl, since he is not involved in this discussion. I understand and respect your concern for him to not continue in his position of AD, but I cannot support your opinion, just like you cannot support mine.
Beatrice Zander January 07, 2013 at 02:01 AM
To lakevillelea; don't know how to take your question, it leads me to believe you're casting judgement on me for posting that I'm a "active social drinker" or maybe it's your "own opinion".... Since you asked, we've (my husband and I) taught our childrent to respect and value ones self and to respect the law. Mr Ertl broke the law, plain and simple, and with the position he holds with young adults (15-18yr's) he is held to a higher standard, now it's up to his superiors (and his contract) to determine what his punishment will be, my opinion.
Community Member January 07, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Concerned Lakeville Parent - If you read my comments you will see that I am indecisive on the matter and therefore cannot attack others who have an apparent opposing view to my non-view. Comments made in regards to showing compassion and showing humility in the wake of someone elses's mistakes were not made as an attack on anyone but simply to point out that we are all human and that we all, regardless of the blunders we make, deserve a little compassion. Labelling someone as an "embarassment to the community" is extremely harsh and truthfully, whether it was your intent or not, serves no purpose but to harm. This is an extremely unfortunate circumstance on many fronts and ultimately, regardless of our opinions on the matter I think what we all want is what is best for our children and hopefully the schoolboard will come to a resolution that ensures that.
Panther Parent January 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM
I am beginning to think Community Member and Lakeville Resident are Bob Ertl himself. No one here is condeming, seeking hangings, wishing ill will, throwing stones. We can appreciate your passion for defending Mr Ertl but enough is enough. I would argue that you maintain a minority position on the managing of this very sensitive issue by the school board. The fact the topic has escalated to the levels of both Twin Cities newspapers Minneapolis Star and Tribune and the Pioneer Press has with out a doubt put into serious question the direction the school board has chosen to date. I think we all can agree on second chances, but regardless of what you say, the fly in the ointment here in its simplest form can be summarized in two real simple words; hypocrite and credibility. We cannot take Bob Ertl seriously as it directly relates to his job description as AD at LNHS. ps - The judge mentioned should have been relieved of his duties too.
Lakeville Citizen January 11, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Students who participate in athletics and other school sponsored activities are held to a high standard when it comes to representing their school and their community. How can Bob Ertl garner respect, enforce the rules and be a role model for our youth if he doesn't have the moral fiber to respect the rules placed before him? His role in the community SHOULD be held to a higher accountability than the students he oversees and the rules he enforces. From the LNHS Student Code of Responsibilities: As a student participating in my school’s interscholastic activities, I understand and accept the following responsibilities: 1. I will respect the rights and beliefs of others and will treat others with courtesy and consideration. 2. I will be fully responsible for my own actions and the consequences of my actions 3. I will respect the property of others. 4. I will respect and obey the rules of my school and the laws of my community, state and country. 5. I will show respect to those who are responsible for enforcing the rules of my school and the laws of my community, state and country.
Lakeville Citizen January 11, 2013 at 04:37 AM
A student failing to abide by behavioral expectations may, in some circumstances, be in violation of school rules and the District Positive Discipline Policy and may result in consequences or discipline including, but not limited to: meeting with teachers, coaches, or administrators; a loss of practice time, removal from competition, activities or a team; or other consequences under the school’s discipline policy, such as suspension or expulsion from school. Additionally, students who attend school events, both home or away, are expected to display positive sportsmanship. Students who fail to follow this expectation may lose the privilege of attending all school events.
Lakeville Citizen January 11, 2013 at 04:37 AM
If you are a Captain you are held to even higher standards: Captain Qualifications: Students are expected to be positive leaders in our school and community. Students may lose their captain’s position for chemical, behavioral or academic violations. If any student is currently a captain/officer and receives a single chemical violation, he/she will be immediately removed from that position. If a student has a single chemical violation of MSHSL eligibility rules during his/her ninth or tenth grade year, he/she may apply for captainship/officer position, providing he/she discusses the incident with his/her coaches, describe what changes he/she has made in his/her lifestyle, and what leadership opportunities he/she has participated in at school to make himself/herself a stronger person/leader. A second chemical violation during his/her ninth or tenth grade year prohibits that individual from becoming a captain/officer. A single chemical violation during the eleventh or twelfth grade year will prohibit that individual from becoming a captain/officer. Students who have major behavioral or academic violations may lose their captain’s positions at the discretion of the building principal and activities director.
Lakeville Citizen January 11, 2013 at 04:48 AM
It really shouldn't be an issue. Bob should relinquish the AD position. It would set a real example for the youth of Lakeville, showing that even in adulthood you have a lot to lose by breaking the rules.
Ben There January 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM
The AD is only a messenger. He is not the captain of all sports. He does not get to play. He is not the rule maker. He is the enforcer. Some have an axe to grind with that, because they feel he unfairly delegated consequences to their children when they broke the rules. They want to believe that the AD made up the rules and the consequences. He didn’t. The AD meets 1 hour per year per sport to emphasize and clarify the Minnesota State High School League rules along with the consequences. Each athlete and their parents sign the compliance form in order to compete. If you don’t like the rules, don’t sign up. Mr. Ertl used bad judgment, but judgment is what alcohol impairs. The bottom line is that the rules and consequences for adults and kids are different. There are 2 sets of rules. One does not apply to the other. That is why this whole issue is not newsworthy. Mr. Ertl is not a student. He paid his dues for breaking the rules. But if you are going to treat him as a student, and apply the same rules, than he surely deserves a second chance just like the student athletes get
Lakeville Citizen January 12, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Ben There...this has nothing to do with anything you said in your first paragraph. I agree with all the rules the students have to follow. They are there for a reason. The only thing you need to reference regarding rules is contained in rule #4 above: "I will respect and obey the rules of my school and the laws of my community, state and country." You really think he only meets 1 hour per year per sport? He is out among the student body daily. When it comes to activities, I listed the info on captains because he meets with them regularly and there are no second chances for them. Tougher rules apply to leaders. What it comes down to is simple. Leaders in our schools are supposed to follow the rules as well as set an example for the students to follow. His ability to do that is questionable at best.
Lakeville Mom January 17, 2013 at 01:18 AM
Lakeville citizen - thank you for researching all of the details of the AD and Captain positions. In my opinion, you are absolutely right and I'm so glad there are many people like you on the forum who also have a similar idea about what is right and wrong here for our kids and the community. I feel bad for Mr. Ertl's decision to climb into his car that evening. That was an unfortunate choice. Because of that choice, there are consequences.


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