Bismarck School Board member sentenced for obstructing justice during traffic stop

Emily Eckroth pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will serve almost a year of unsupervised probation.

Emily Eckroth.jpeg
Emily Eckroth.
Contributed photo
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BISMARCK — A Bismarck School Board member has admitted to obstructing justice while a sheriff's deputy stopped her husband on suspicion of DUI, according to Burleigh County District Court records.

Emily Suzanne Eckroth, 47, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Dec. 6, to a misdemeanor charge of physical obstruction of a government function. She was allowed to enter the plea without appearing in court for sentencing.

She was given almost a year of unsupervised probation.

Eckroth yelled and swore at officers when her husband, Ryan Eckroth, was stopped by the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office at 12:19 a.m. Sept. 3 on Interstate 94 in Bismarck, according to a citation. Ryan Eckroth was not cited for the traffic stop.

Two deputies warned Emily Eckroth to stay in the vehicle during the DUI investigation, but she exited the vehicle and walked toward a squad vehicle, the citation said.


“It got to the point where Ryan was so flustered by Emily and the situation that he couldn’t provide an adequate breath sample for an on-site breath screening test,” the deputy wrote.

Ryan Eckroth was "extremely cooperative" with the deputies, Sheriff's Maj. Jim Hulm said.

Deputies detained Emily Eckroth in a squad vehicle, the citation said. A police report said she urinated in the vehicle before she was released.

The Eckroths were allowed to call for a ride home from the traffic stop, the major said.

Emily Eckroth was first elected to the Bismarck School Board in June. Her term expires in 2026.

She also is a family medicine physician for Sanford Health in Bismarck.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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