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Suspected hit and run leads to Roberts man's eighth OWI charge

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Jaason A. Bierschenk2 / 2

A Roberts man was charged with drunken driving for the eighth time last week after a suspected hit-and-run crash in St. Croix County.

Police arrested 37-year-old Jaason A. Bierschenk Feb. 12 after he was allegedly seen ditching his wrecked car and heading to the Willow River Saloon in Burkhardt. He was charged the next day with OWI-eighth offense — a felony — along with operating while revoked and hit and run, both misdemeanors.

The felony charge carries a mandatory three-year minimum prison sentence.

Bierschenk was also charged with misdemeanor bail jumping in connection with a Feb. 9 incident where he was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery and domestic disorderly conduct; he pleaded not guilty to those charges at the Feb. 12 hearing.

According to a criminal complaint:

St. Croix County sheriff's deputies were called at 3:48 p.m. Feb. 1 to a hit-and-run crash at County Road I and Perch Lake Road in the town of St. Joseph.

The 911 caller said he came upon the crash and followed the suspect's vehicle after it left the scene.

The caller later told officers he spotted a white Ford Focus with its hood "completely covering the windshield" and an SUV in the ditch. He checked on the SUV driver and learned she had been rear-ended by the Ford Focus. Deputies reported the crash victim, a Somerset woman, sustained possible injuries but was not transported by ambulance.

The witness said he called 911 and followed the Focus as it pulled into a nearby driveway, where the driver and a female passenger got out and made their way toward the bar.

Other deputies went to the saloon, where Bierschenk was arrested. A search of the Focus turned up a wallet with Bierschenk's ID and a cellphone believed to be his — along with medication prescribed to the suspect.

Bierschenk was taken to jail in Hudson, where deputies described him as smelling of alcohol, having slurred speech and bloodshot, glossy eyes. He showed signs of impairment during field sobriety tests and refused to provide a preliminary breath test.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge Scott Needham ordered Bierschenk to be held on $5,000 cash bond in advance of a Feb. 20 preliminary hearing.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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