Tuesday, March 19, 2013--6:15p.m.
DeForest--"We were out doing our enforcement campaign, when one of our officers was almost hit head-on by turned out to be an intoxicated driver," said Lt. Daniel Furseth, of the DeForest Police Department.
The video speaks for itself: you can see the man driving in the wrong lane of traffic, forcing the officer to pull over, turn around and go after him. "First offense with no prior driving record at all," Lt. Furseth said of the driver.
The officer was part of a stepped-up Saint Patrick's Day presence. "We had extra officers on duty," said Lt. Furseth.
After the near miss, the officer pulled the driver over. The 27-year-old had a blood alcohol content of .19--more than twice the legal limit.
He was also cited for reckless driving and operating left of center.
He now faces fines of more than $1000. "Comes with a six to nine month....suspension of the license," said Lt. Furseth. "Since there's a high BAC level there'll be an order for an ignition interlock device."
Lieutenant Furseth said last year DeForest police arrested about 120 drunk drivers. That's just a fraction of the much larger, statewide problem. "Last year in Wisconsin there were 601 traffic fatalities," said Randy Romanski of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation/Division of State Patrol. "Of those 225 or about 40 percent were alcohol related fatalities. So clearly alcohol and impaired driving continues to be a problem in the state of Wisconsin."