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‘I’m in constant pain here’: Video shows DUI arrest days before elderly Valley City man’s death

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A Valley City police officer escorts Warren Lindvold during Lindvold's arrest July 15. The image is from squad car camera footage released Wednesday, Aug. 1. Special to The Forum2 / 3
Warren Lindvold. Special to The Forum3 / 3

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Valley City authorities on Wednesday, Aug. 1, released squad car camera footage of the July 15 arrest of 72-year-old Warren Lindvold on suspicion of DUI.

Six days after his arrest, Lindvold died in a Fargo hospital, and his family members have said they have consulted an attorney to look into the circumstances surrounding his arrest and incarceration.

Barnes County Coroner David Hochhalter confirmed Wednesday that Lindvold was at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo for six days and that he was brought to the hospital with a cervical neck fracture. It’s unclear how Lindvold suffered the neck fracture and when it happened.

The squad car camera footage of Lindvold’s arrest runs about 24 minutes. It shows Officer Christopher Olson pulling over Lindvold after seeing his vehicle drift back and forth on the road and strike a curb while trying to negotiate a turn at about 12:45 a.m. July 15.

After pulling over, Lindvold gets out of his vehicle and displays obvious difficulty in moving around and tells Olson early in the encounter: “I’ve had a neck problem, turns me around.”

A family friend previously told The Forum that Lindvold was disabled by a progressive arthritis condition he'd dealt with since high school. She said his spine had been fused from about the waist up since a young age.

In the video, Lindvold is seen making several attempts to blow into a Breathalyzer, but Olson tells him several times that he either blew too hard or not hard enough for the device to get an accurate reading.

While Lindvold appears to get frustrated during some moments leading up to his arrest, the back and forth between Lindvold and the officer is largely verbal, though the officer cautions Lindvold when Lindvold raises a finger toward the officer’s face while making a point.

Ultimately, Lindvold is put in handcuffs and placed in a police car, complaining to officers that the handcuffs made it difficult for him to move without pain, and he cries out as police put hands on him to move him into the car.

At one point in the video, Lindvold tells police he had two drinks. He also states several times that the handcuffs are causing him great pain.

“Please, I beg you. I’m in constant pain here,” Lindvold is heard to say on the video.

At another point he said: “Let me die. Uff da.”

A police officer can be heard telling Lindvold that the handcuffs would be removed once they reached their destination.

Valley City Attorney Lilie Schoenack said Wednesday that officers handled a difficult situation to the best of their ability, and she said there is no need for disciplinary action.

“There's no wrongdoing on anyone's part. It's just an unfortunate situation,” she said.

After being arrested, Lindvold was first taken to the police station and later the Barnes County Jail, according to a Valley City police report. He was given several opportunities to provide a breath sample but was deemed to have refused the test based on lack of cooperation, the report stated.

After complaining of pain in his shoulders, Lindvold was taken from the jail to CHI Mercy Hospital in Valley City by ambulance where he was medically cleared before being taken back to jail, the report said.

When he was returned to jail, Lindvold grasped at anything he could get ahold of to stop officers from placing him in a cell, the report said.

At some point that same day, Lindvold was taken to Sanford Medical Center, where he remained until his death on July 21, according to family members.

Family members said Lindvold underwent a lengthy operation to address the neck fracture and was on a ventilator for a time but then was taken off the ventilator.

At one point during his stay at Sanford, Lindvold went into cardiac arrest and was revived. Later, it was determined Lindvold had a do-not-resuscitate wish on record, and when he went into cardiac arrest again attempts were not made to revive him, his family said.

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