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Sober Wisconsin woman had OWI allegations hanging for months

Alleged drunk driving accidents often make news headlines. When an on-duty officer is involved in a crash with an alleged drunk driver, the story may appear on the front page. In February 2013, a 25-year-old woman was accused of operating while intoxicated after her car was t-boned by a deputy's cruiser. The woman's car was sent sprawling into a nearby tree. She suffered serious injuries in the crash--in fact doctors would find that the woman had a broken neck.

The deputy involved in the wreck says that he had stopped at an intersection, looked for cars, and then entered the intersection when the crash occurred. The deputy claims that had not seen any headlights coming before he started into the intersection.

As far as the injured woman, police began to suspect right away that she was under the influence. She was injured, but awake when police questioned her. The story has all the earmarks of a typical news account that is generated in the immediate aftermath of a wreck.

The woman said that she had a couple of sips of a friend’s drink earlier in the evening, according to police. She also admitted to having a prescription for Vicodin for a recent tooth extraction, but police say that she claims to have not taken any in the week before the wreck.

Despite the fact that the woman was severely injured, the police reports included the perfunctory mention that the woman displayed bloodshot, watery eyes.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence involving personal injury. Her case sat for months as the crime lab analyzed her blood sample. About a month after the wreck, analysts determined that she had not had any alcohol in her system on the night of the crash. Several months later, toxicology tests turned up negative for drugs. The case sat and the woman still had Wisconsin OWI charges hanging over her head. Roughly 10 months after the wreck, prosecutors declined to pursue charges, but nobody told the woman.

A surveillance tape from an area airport caught the deputy’s actions that night. Sources say that the video shows the deputy rolling through the stop sign before the crash. The woman’s story that she was not drunk, not under the influence of drug and not at fault may seem more complete with the video. Not all accidents are captured on tape, but a person suspected of a crime has the right to defend against charges for a reason.

Source: Fox 6 Now Milwaukee, “Sober driver arrested for OWI when deputy crashes into her car,” Stephen Davis and Bryan Polcyn, updated May 2, 2014

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