Franksville man arrested for his 5th OWI after freeway pursuit

MILWAUKEE -- A 44-year-old Franksville man was arrested and faces a potential fifth drunk driving conviction after an incident which included a freeway pursuit on Sunday, September 16th.

A Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy was passed by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed southbound on I-94 near W. Rawson Avenue on Sunday just before 11 p.m.

The deputy determined the car’s speed was in excess of 80 m.p.h., and activated his lights and siren. The driver failed to stop. 

The driver exited at Highway G, and was travelling at speeds in excess of 90 m.p.h. through a stop sign. Because of safety concerns, the deputy terminated the pursuit.

A short while later, Caledonia police located the vehicle where it crashed at Highway G and Highway H. They found the driver, Brent Fruth, hiding in bushes near the scene.

Fruth's vehicle had crashed through a guardrail, and came to rest in the front yard of a residence. Fruth was not hurt in the crash and was turned over to MCSO deputies at the scene. The crash is being investigated by the Caledonia Police Department.

FOX6 News spoke with the family that found Fruth's mangled car in their yard, and they said it's hardly the first time this has happened!

Sheri Laufenberg was asleep when Fruth's car crashed into her yard. At first, the Laufenberg's didn't see Fruth.

"I turned around and there's a guy standing there. He said 'you're not calling the police,' and I said 'I already did call them,' and he said 'you're not calling them,' and then he went to grab me," Laufenberg said.

Laufenberg said Fruth chased her to the front door, where Fruth met Laufenberg's husband.

When police arrived, Fruth was hiding in the bushes.

"Police had guns drawn. They told him to go down to the ground and he did," Laufenberg said.

Sheri's husband, Mark Laufenberg told FOX6 News the family has lived in the home for 21 years, and 18 drivers have crashed onto their property! The Laufenbergs have had three crashes just this year!

"We're averaging about one a year. Speeding down the road with too much to drink," Mark Laufenberg said.

The Laufenbergs say trees on their property have been knocked down and a shed has been struck more than once. The Laufenbergs say the accidents have caused thousands of dollars in damage, and once, the family had some kittens killed. They say police reports show most of the drivers were drunk.

The Laufenbergs say the county has tried to make the intersection safer by adding rumble strips, flashing lights and an island to divide the turning lane, but the accidents continue.

"I don't know how people miss a flashing red sign, but they do!" Mark Laufenberg said.

Fruth is being held without bail at the County Correctional Facility-Central.

MCSO will seek charges of Fleeing/Eluding an Officer, Recklessly Endangering Safety and Operating While Intoxicated - 5th. His prior OWI convictions occurred in December 1996, May 1999, November 2001 and July 2008.

If convicted on the current charges, Fruth faces up to 21 years in prison.