An unseasonably warm Sunday evening that brought out strollers and diners in the Village was interrupted by a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping crash that only by luck caused no injuries.
Police interviewed more than a dozen witnesses who saw a drugged driver speeding and swerving down Wauwatosa Avenue, through the Village and across busy State Street before plowing into parked cars and a concrete wall.
At 8:08 p.m. March 18, a 45-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for OWI-drugs, his third offense, after he was captured fleeing from the scene of the crash in the parking lot at , 7615 W. State St.
According to police reports:
It began with a 911 call from a man traveling south on Wauwatosa Avenue who said he was following a driver in a pickup truck who was swerving into the oncoming traffic lane and bashing into curbs on both sides of the street.
Another witness saw him come down the hill into the Village at high speed, drive over the median divider at West State Street and continue across State and over the sidewalk, narrowly missing a large group of children.
Police arrived to find the truck smashed into a concrete wall after striking two parked cars in the lot. A crowd of more than a dozen people shouted to the two officers that the driver had run off south toward .
An officer spotted him just across the railroad tracks and shambling toward the Menomonee River. He shouted at the man to stop, but the suspect just ran faster. The officer ran him down and tackled him near the tennis courts, though, and soon had him cuffed.
Police recognized him from his last OWI arrest, not two months earlier on Jan. 23 in Wauwatosa, when he was in a similar condition on a variety of drugs.
Police witness reports included three from children who were on Village sidewalks at the time, including one who was walking along the south side of State Street and thought the truck was coming right at her.
Another adult witness described hearing screeching tires and seeing the truck coming down Wauwatosa Avenue at what he estimated as 40 mph.
The driver had prescription drugs on him used to treat depression and anxiety. Police took a blood sample for testing.
He was also cited for multiple traffic violations, including knowingly driving while revoked causing property damage; driving while under suspension; driving without insurance; and hit-and-run. He has a mandatory court date on May 11.
Asleep in the middle of Mayfair Road
At 5:22 a.m. Saturday, a 32-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for operating while intoxicated, first offense, after a citizen alerted a patrol officer that she had seen a driver swerving all over Mayfair Road — and that he had stopped at a stoplight and stayed put after the light turned green.
She had circled back and spotted the patrol car, pulling up next to the officer and pointing out the offender. The officer found the car still sitting in a through lane of Mayfair Road at West North Avenue.
The driver was asleep behind the wheel, with the car still running and in gear, his foot planted on the brake. The officer had to open the door and shake him to rouse him.
Feeling it was not prudent to conduct the rest of the stop in the middle of Mayfair Road, the officer asked the driver to proceed into the nearest parking lot on North Avenue. The man made the turn but stopped in front of the driveway, blocking it.
He was found to have no U.S. driver’s license issued and was identified through a foreign consular ID. He performed poorly on a field sobriety test and blew a .12 BAC on a breath test.
More on March 18
The same day as a man on drugs struck fear into Village pedestrians, three other OWI arrests were made, including two that were also in the Village area, one of them just two hours earlier.
A bad way to pass a Sunday afternoon
At 6:08 p.m., a 33-year-old Wauwatosa man was arrested for his third OWI offense after he was stopped in the 7200 block of West State Street.
A store manager reported that the man and a companion had just left the store, 6950 W. State, in such an obviously intoxicated condition that a cashier refused to sell them beer.
The manager followed the man outside to see if he was going to drive, and when he saw him get behind the wheel, he dialed police.
When officers asked the driver if had been drinking, he said, “I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve had about eight beers” since 2 p.m.
A field sobriety test was stopped when the man admitted he could not perform it, and he blew a .23 BAC on a breath test.
Not knowing the letters of the law
At 1:56 a.m., a 52-year-old Janesville man was arrested for his second OWI offense after an officer on duty with the Multi-Jurisdictional OWI Task Force saw him make a turn from a through traffic lane off Blue Mound Road and onto North Mayfair Road.
He admitted having had two or three beers earlier but felt he was not drunk. He had, however, some unusual problems and responses on a sobriety test.
After exhibiting difficulties understanding several of the directions on some simple eye-tracking and balance tests, he was asked to perform the alphabet test — which is simply reciting it from A to Z.
When asked whether he knew the English alphabet, he offered that he was a nurse, a fireman, an electrical lineman and he holder of a degree in biology. He then said he only knows the alphabet from A through Q, because he doesn’t use the other letters. He recited A through P and stopped.
He then blew a .128 blood alcohol content on a breath test and was arrested.
Officer makes an easy call on this driver
At 12:28 a.m., a 26-year-old Wauwatosa man was arrested for his second OWI offense after he blew past a Tosa police officer on the right while the squad car was stopped at a flashing red signal on Menomonee River Parkway at Harmonee Avenue.
The officer estimated the man was doing 30 mph when he passed him, running the light, and was accelerating as he continued. The officer immediately hit his lights and pulled him over.
The driver said he knew he was going a bit fast but he was unaware he had run a red light while passing a marked police car.
He admitted he had been drinking, performed poorly on a field test and blew a .23 BAC.
And yet more on March 17
By now, it would seem as if most people would know that police are out in force on St. Patrick's Day, and that they are staking out the bars. Not these drivers, arrested just minutes apart in the same neighborhood.
Zero to 60 on Tosa's busiest street
At 6:20 p.m., a 31-year-old Waukesha woman was arrested for OWI, first offense, after she was stopped on a report of an erratic driver leaving , 10842 Blue Mound Rd., with three passengers.
She was seen turning south onto Mayfair Road from West Potter Road and accelerating to an estimated 60 mph.
Despite being chased by two squad cars with emergency lights on, she didn’t pull over until they caught up to her in the 100 block of North Mayfair, hitting the curb and driving over it as she did.
She said she had been drinking with her friends at Mo’s since 2 p.m. and thought she had downed four pints of Guinness.
She had trouble with a field test and blew a .18 BAC.
Officer prudently stops man before he leaves the curb
At 6:03 p.m., a 47-year-old Waukesha man was arrested for OWI, first offense, after an officer monitoring the area around Mo’s saw him walking nearby in an obviously intoxicated state.
The officer watched to see whether he would try to drive and, sure enough, saw him get into a car alone and start the engine.
The officer quickly pulled up behind him and detained him before he could drive away in the crowded area. He performed badly on a field test and refused a breath test.