Freeborn mayor declines to speak

Published 9:05 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The mayor of Freeborn questioned the timing of a story printed in the Albert Lea Tribune on Monday. Otherwise, Mark Gruben had little to say about the charges he faces.

Gruben faces charges of drug posssession and drunken driving in Spencer, Iowa, after being stopped Aug. 15. by a Clay County sheriff’s deputy for allegedly traveling 62 in a 35 mph zone. He also seeks re-election today to his mayoral seat. The challenger is Patricia Ann Kast, who works at Mrs. Gerry’s.

The Spencer Daily Reporter newspaper reported in its Aug. 21 edition: “Upon making contact with the driver, 47-year-old Mark Gruben of Freeborn, Minn., the deputy observed an open can of beer and noticed an odor of an alcoholic beverage. The deputy had Gruben step out and had him perform several field sobriety tests. The deputy determined that Gruben was operating while intoxicated. Gruben was placed under arrest. A search of the vehicle turned up approximately one-fourth of an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Gruben was then transported to the Clay County Jail.”

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He faces charges of operating while intoxicated, excessive speeding, open container-driver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gruben was unable to be reached prior to a story printing in Monday’s paper. He did speak with the Tribune this morning. He apologized for not returning the call. He declined to comment on the charges and said he felt the real story was the timing of the printing. When asked in which school district he teaches, he hung up.

Gruben teaches in Rochester.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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