Hospital CEO hit with DUI
By Tram Whitehurst, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
January 23, 2012
St. John’s Medical Center acting CEO John Kren was charged with DUI earlier this month after allegedly flipping his truck and later being arrested in the hospital’s emergency room.
According to the probable cause statement by Teton County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Dunlap filed Jan. 17 in 9th Circuit Court, Kren, 45, lost control of his Chevrolet pickup truck shortly after 9 p.m. Jan. 13 while heading north on Spring Gulch Road near the Cattlemen’s Bridge. The truck rolled and came to rest on its cab.
Sheriff’s deputies noticed Kren showed “several signs of intoxication” after the crash, the court document states. There was a “very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath,” his eyes were “red and watery” and his speech was “noticeably slurred,” the document states.
A portable breath test measured Kren’s blood alcohol content at 0.18 at the time of his arrest, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to the probable cause statement. Kren told deputies he had two drinks that night, the document said.
St. John’s Board of Trustees President Michael Tennican learned about the incident from Kren on Jan. 20. In a written statement, trustees said that, although they have not met to discuss the matter in detail, they “are not aware of any evidence that this was [anything] other than an isolated incident occurring outside of work hours.”
“John has been a strong contributor to the work of the hospital for more than 10 years,” the statement reads. “His performance has been exemplary, and there have never been any questions raised in regard to his conduct or behavior.”
Kren sustained minor abrasions and a cut to his nose in the crash, according to Dunlap’s statement, and was transported to St. John’s Medical Center by ambulance. Kren had not been wearing a seat belt.
There were no passengers in his truck, and no other vehicles were involved, the statement said. However, due to an earlier report that multiple persons were trapped in the vehicle, emergency responders were called to the scene, Dunlap reported.
“I am distressed and embarrassed that I was involved in a single-car accident on Jan. 13 and have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol,” Kren wrote in a statement. “I’m terribly sorry that this happened. This has never happened before in my life, and I will work diligently each and every day to make sure it never happens again.”
Kren, the hospital’s chief financial officer, has served as acting CEO since Nov. 1, after the early retirement of CEO Pam Maples. She and several trustees recommended him for the position.
According to Dunlap’s report, deputies were notified of the crash at 9:08 p.m. Wyoming State Highway Patrol-man Dave Richelderfer was the first on the scene and had to kick out the driver’s side window to pull Kren from the truck, Dunlap reported.
Sheriff’s deputy Kurt Drumheller arrived soon after Richelderfer, and Dunlap arrived shortly after that, at 9:21 p.m., Dunlap wrote. He found the grey pickup resting on its cab and turned sideways in the road, blocking both lanes of traffic, he reported. Tire tracks showed that Kren’s truck left the road, drove up the snow bank and rolled, he wrote.
Kren told deputies he had gone to pick up a pizza at Calico Italian Restaurant on the Moose-Wilson road, the court document stated. While waiting for his order, he had two drinks, Dunlap reported.
Deputies found Kren was not wearing a seat belt, documents state. They also found a cup in the truck with “traces of a liquid, the odor of which was consistent with an alcoholic beverage,” records state.
Kren was taken to St. John’s for further evaluation, with Dunlap following along. The emergency room doctor who treated Kren told the deputy Kren was “heavily intoxicated,” according to Dunlap’s statement.
Dunlap administered a portable breath test and, based on the results, his observations and the ER doctor’s assessment, he arrested Kren at 10:44 p.m. at the hospital on suspicion of driving under the influence, his probable cause statement says. The deputy also administered a blood test at 10:55 p.m., the results of which are pending.
Kren was handcuffed and taken to the Teton County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. He was released 24 hours later with a citation for the DUI, according to the sheriff’s office.
Kren entered a plea of not guilty Jan. 17. He is being represented by attorney Christopher Leigh, according to court documents.
Court records show no prior offenses for Kren. If convicted, he faces a fine of up to $750 and a six-month jail sentence.