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I-794 wrong-way driver crashes into six light poles, passes out behind the wheel

Faces OWI-2nd/Drugs charges
Posted at 12:50 PM, Jan 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-14 16:39:13-05

MILWAUKEE – A wrong-way driver is facing charges for his second OWI after he hit six light poles and passed out behind the wheel on I-794 Saturday night in Milwaukee.

According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, a call came into dispatch around 6:20 p.m. that the driver's vehicle was heading southbound in the northbound raised median lane on I-794 between E. Oklahoma Avenue and E. Howard Avenue.

The Sheriff’s Office says the driver was found passed out behind the wheel and was treated by Bell Ambulance emergency technicians.

The driver is a 27-year-old Saint Francis man. He was administered three Narcan injections to resuscitate him and was later arrested for OWI-2nd/Drugs.  

He was transported to the hospital by an MFD Paramedic Unit, and refused to consent to a blood draw. A search warrant was executed for the on-call judge’s signature.

The Sheriff’s Office reports the driver’s prior conviction was in January 2008 and he is currently on parole for a 2009 Manufacture/Deliver Heroin case and 2012 Possession of Narcotic Drugs case.

“Once again we see the havoc and potentially catastrophic results this opioid epidemic is having on our society,” Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt said in a news release. “A culture change is needed based on the horrific documentation of 368 drug-related deaths in Milwaukee County in 2017. In this incident, it is only fortunate that this man did not crash into oncoming traffic and kill any innocent motorists.”

The driver faces charges of OWI-2nd/Drugs and Recklessly Endangering Safety.  If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.

The freeway was closed for about half hour while light poles were removed, and was fully reopened by 7:10 p.m.