December 31, 2021 – Washington Co., WI – Your Washington County Sheriff’s Office typically investigates about 200 drunk driving incidents in any given year. We do not normally post individual accounts of first offense drunk driving incidents, but this particular one has a lesson to be learned, or possibly a lack thereof.
Early this morning at 3:13 a.m., while most of us were sleeping, law enforcement was diligently keeping our communities safe. A deputy on routine patrol observed two vehicles traveling unusually close together on I41 southbound at STH 33. The deputy noticed the lead driver was continuously swerving, driving half on and off the shoulder, and not maintaining consistent speeds. The following driver was only traveling 1 to 1.5 car lengths behind the lead driver. The deputy pulled alongside the pair of vehicles and activated his emergency lights and turn signal to get behind the lead vehicle. The following driver failed to yield to the emergency vehicle and pulled even closer to the lead vehicle; the following driver would not allow the deputy to pull into the lane of traffic to make the traffic stop.
Eventually the lead driver stopped, but the following driver still would not allow the deputy behind the first vehicle.
The deputy made contact with the following driver and identified him as a 36-year-old Menomonee Falls man, and the stepfather of the driver of the lead vehicle. He indicated his stepdaughter was arrested for drunk driving in Fond du Lac earlier, and he took her back to her vehicle so she could drive home. The stepfather also indicted he was following her closely because he was worried about her crashing. He also acknowledged intentionally blocking the deputy so she would not get arrested a second time.
The driver of the lead vehicle, a 20-year-old Milwaukee woman, failed field sobriety test and was arrested for first offense OWI (with one pending). The vehicle was towed from the scene to a secure lot.
Both individuals will face charges.
As we rapidly approach the New Year, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind individuals to stay safe and make responsible choices. Sheriff Martin Schulteis said of the arrest, “Our goal at the sheriff’s office is to reduce victimization and enhance the quality of life for our citizens. I am appreciative of our staff that keeps a watchful eye to protect our fellow citizens from individuals that make a willful decision to get behind the wheel when they are clearly incapable of making responsible decisions; this particular case is disturbing as a sober individual assisted. I certainly understand individuals make mistakes, and can have lapses in sound judgement, but repeat offenders pose a significant danger to our community and need to be held accountable.”