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Lawmaker hires lawyer as other alcohol-related incidents come to light

Rep. Jeff Wood, I-Bloomer, in a Juneau County booking photo following his arrest earlier this month for drunken driving and possessing marijuana. Photo courtesy Juneau County Jail.

State Representative Jeff Wood has apparently changed his mind about not hiring an attorney for his drunken driving and marijuana case.

The independent from Bloomer told Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Dan Bice said he didn't want to talk about his past problems that are just now coming to light.

Bice's column quoted Wood today as saying his attorney will answer questions from now on. And when Bice asked who that is, Wood said he didn't hire a lawyer yet, but he will.

Wood is due in court Jan 26 on possible charges of three-time OWI and marijuana possession.

The State Patrol arrested the lawmaker in early December after his car reportedly hit a caution sign and a snow bank on Interstate 39-90-94 in Columbia County.

He had a blood alcohol level of 0.15, almost twice the legal limit. Wood had two previous drunken driving convictions in 1990 and 1991.

Journal Sentinel columnist Bice said he was charged three other times in the early '90 for alcohol incidents - one in which he swore at an officer and smashed a wall in a detoxification unit.

Bice said Wood also pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, after he and a friend were accused of having sex with an underage minor in 1989.

Wood said all those problems were related to his drinking. He told Bice he quit for good but started drinking socially again years later when he thought he was mature enough to handle it.