A 2014 Chevrolet Trailblazer was left unrecognizable after a rollover crash on northbound I-94, just south of Highway 11 in Racine County Thursday night.
The driver, a 44-year-old Kenosha man, was uninjured.
“That’s miraculous when you look at the damage to the vehicle,” said Racine County Sheriff Richard Schmaling. “I thought for certain it would be a deceased individual.”
Schmaling says the driver’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, and this isn’t his first offense.
“This was his third OWI,” Schmaling said. “His own statement confirms he was out drinking and celebrating.”
Celebrating the purchase of his new car. The man bought the Trailblazer just a few hours before crashing it.
The number of drivers with multiple OWI’s on Wisconsin roads is escalating.
Schmaling says Racine County law enforcement agencies recorded at least 750 OWI arrests last year.
“The Sheriff’s Office made a little more than half of those arrests,” he said. “So far, we’ve seen about a 20 percent increase in OWI arrests this year. I expect that to continue to go up with all the economic development here, meaning additional people coming into our community. “
With the construction of Foxconn nearby – and other new businesses and housing subdivisions – impaired driving can create a very dangerous mix.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Tavern League,” Schmaling said. “They’re very receptive to the Safe Ride Program. You have Lyft, Uber and a number of others. But it’s really going to take changing the mindset of people who continue to get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.”
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state continue to advocate for stronger penalties.