Racine County OWI arrest, 2 children in vehicle

A 35-year-old Eau Claire man was arrested on Sunday, Sept. 5 for OWI with children in the vehicle. It happened around 11 a.m. in Racine County on northbound I-41.

According to the Racine County Sheriff's Office, a deputy observed a vehicle going 97mph in the posted 70mph zone. The operator of the vehicle accelerated to103 mph before finally stopping for the deputy. 

At the stop, the deputy spoke with the driver. While speaking with him, the deputy could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Also in the vehicle were a one-year-old and three-year-old child, the 33-year-old mother of both children, and a 17-year-old. The three-year-old was also not properly secured in a child seat. The driver is the father of the one-year-old. 

According to the Racine County Sheriff's Office, the driver refused all standard field sobriety testing and was subsequently arrested for operating while impaired. He later admitted to the deputies that he is a functioning alcoholic. He said he consumed approximately two bottles of vodka that morning. He further told them that he drinks anywhere from five to eight bottles of vodka daily and will start to withdraw if he does not have alcohol within nine hours.

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During the investigation, the deputy found that the driver had a suspended Wisconsin driver's license, and two prior OWI arrests. While checking the criminal history and for open cases, the deputy also found the following – the driver is on active probation for felony possession of methamphetamine case. He is also out on bond for a case from Rusk County that involved the 33-year-old passenger. Conditions of his bond for that case include absolute sobriety, and no contact with her, or the children. 

He was transported to the Racine County Jail where he was held on the following criminal charges:

  • 2 counts reckless endangering safety
  • 6 counts felony bail jumping
  • 2 counts operating under the influence with passengers under 16
  • Operating under the influence 3rd
  • Traffic citations included – speeding on the freeway, operating while suspended, violation of child safety restraints, vehicle operator fail to wear a seatbelt, and fail to obey traffic officer signal/order

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The deputy also referred two counts of child neglect on the mother of the children to the District Attorney’s office.

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