New report indicates lawmaker had two previous OWIs
Rep. Jeff Wood's drunken driving arrest was widely reported to be his first, but the independent from Bloomer admits being caught before and a new report said he was nabbed twice in Eau Claire County in 1990-91.
Even though it was so long ago, Columbia County District Attorney Jane Kohlwey says she'll have no choice but to charge Wood with third-offense operating while intoxicated which carries a one-year jail term and a fine of up to $2,000 dollars.
Kohlwey says she's still reviewing the Wisconsin State Patrol's arrest report from last Friday's incident and she expects to charge the 39-year-old Wood with marijuana possession.
Troopers said they found 4.9 grams of pot in his vehicle. Wood is due in court Jan. 26 and says he won't fight the charges.
The State Patrol's report said Wood's car was on Interstate-39-90-94 early when it hit a caution sign off the median.
The report said Wood was urinating next to the road when the patrol car pulled up. He denied hitting anything, and claimed he pulled over to talk to his wife on his cell phone.
His blood alcohol level was 0.15 almost twice the legal limit, but even if he gets the maximum penalty for three-time OWI, Wood just might get lucky.
Gov. Jim Doyle said in April he wanted three-time drunken driving to be upgraded a felony. That was after Mark Benson of Oconomowoc allegedly killed a popular school administrator in a crash while awaiting jail time for his third OWI conviction.
A number of lawmakers back then supported that measure and other crackdowns.
Wood represents the 67th Assembly District which includes much of Dunn and Chippewa counties along with parts of Barron County. The lawmaker says he has no plans of stepping down from his seat. However, after his arrest he did announce that he was declining the post as chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.