‘Sometimes I fall short’: Wisconsin law allowed Rep. Snyder to conceal second OWI from public

SCHOFIELD – State Rep. Patrick Snyder was convicted of a second drunken-driving offense in 2018 but didn’t disclose it to the public, and state laws helped to conceal the record.

The Republican from Schofield, who was elected to the state Assembly in 2016, was previously arrested in 2003 for operating while intoxicated after a crash that left him hospitalized. 

Snyder was able to keep constituents from finding out about his second arrest — which happened in Weston on Feb. 28, 2018, according to the Wausau Pilot & Review — through two contentious election cycles because of Wisconsin drunken driving laws.

Wisconsin is the only state in the country to treat a first-offense OWI as a traffic violation, with no jail time and fines ranging from $150 to $300, about the same as a speeding ticket. If a second offense is more than 10 years after the first, it is treated as a first offense and again doesn’t count as a crime.

That means neither of Snyder’s offenses appears in the place voters are most likely to check for a criminal record — the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Snyder provided a written statement to the Wausau Daily Herald when asked for an interview about his second offense. The Everest Metro Police Department in Weston did not respond to Daily Herald messages seeking details of the 2018 arrest.https://22ef20cf0d7645473447e3e186eb9d3a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“I was cited for driving under the influence two years ago. I am ashamed of this horrible offense, which let down my family and community,” Snyder wrote. “We all have issues we struggle with in life — mine is alcoholism.”

Snyder said he has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for years and after the 2018 incident immediately re-enrolled in counseling and began attending weekly meetings.Get the News Alerts newsletter in your inbox.

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“As a state representative, I work hard every day to do what is right, help the constituents who I am honored to represent and help our community grow,” he said. “My priority is always to set a good example, but sometimes I fall short.”

Snyder said, from a policy perspective, he is advocating for more treatment for those with substance use disorders and tougher OWI laws, as he “understands the importance of accountability.”

Jeff Johnson, Patrick Snyder

Snyder is facing off against Democrat Jeff Johnson in the Nov. 3 general election for the 85th Assembly District, which includes Wausau, Schofield, Rothschild and parts of Weston, Hatley and Ringle.

Johnson, a retired probation parole agent, said he’s seen firsthand how addiction issues can “affect not just the addict but those that love them as well.”

“I hope that Representative Snyder has been, and is, getting the help he needs to deal with his addiction,” Johnson said. “I do wish him the best in his recovery.”

Johnson also expressed concerns, though. 

“Almost anyone can make one mistake, but to get arrested for a second time indicates a disregard for the public that is unacceptable,” he said. “I believe that the public has to have trust in their elected officials and his failure to inform them undermines that trust.”

Johnson told the Wausau Daily Herald that he was cited for drunken driving 38 years ago when he was 23, so he is coming “from a personal perspective” when he says anyone can make one mistake.

“But if you repeat it again, it’s a concern,” he said. “People have the right to have confidence that they’re going to get the full story.” https://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/28/wisconsin-law-allowed-rep-snyder-conceal-drunken-driving-arrest/3751895001/

Weeks after leaving prison, Minnesota’s most notorious drunken driver dies of natural causes at 67

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. — A northwestern Minnesota man who had at least 28 DWI arrests on his record has died.

Danny Lee Bettcher

Danny Bettcher, 67, of New York Mills died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home on Oct. 20, according to an online obituary. He had just served about 2.5 years in a Minnesota state prison but was recently released and remained on probation.

Bettcher, who went by many aliases over the years and had been in and out of jail, had a valid state driver’s license when he was arrested in September 2017 after leaving the VFW in New York Mills, a small town east of Detroit Lakes in Otter Tail County.

Bettcher got his last driver’s license by completing numerous financial and alcohol treatment requirements. Currently, Minnesota has no law that can ban a person from having a driver’s license for life.

A construction worker who had served with the Minnesota National Guard, Bettcher had DWI arrests dating back to the 1980s. In a WDAY-TV interview years ago, he said that “he just liked to drink.”

At one point, his 28-DWI arrest history was a record in the state.

Family said in his obituary that “although his life may be best described as wayward, Danny would help anyone with anything and deep down had a heart of gold.” https://www.twincities.com/2020/10/27/minnesotas-most-notorious-drunken-driver-dies-of-natural-causes-at-67/

Melvin Gordon on DUI: I’m sorry I was even in that situation

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon spoke to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since his DUI arrest on October 13.

Gordon missed the team’s game that week because he had strep throat, but returned to action against the Chiefs in a losing effort last Sunday. Gordon said that he was “very apologetic” about the arrest and explained why he didn’t say something to the team’s fans sooner.

“Because of the legal things, I haven’t been able to publicly say what I needed to say, but to put it out [there], I am sorry I was even in the situation,” Gordon said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “I don’t want people to feel like, ‘Because Melvin didn’t say anything or didn’t speak out, he’s not apologetic about the situation.’ That’s not the case at all. . . . Obviously, I try my best to walk a straight line and lead by example. I’m a little upset I even put myself in this situation. I had a hard time just dealing with it myself — never been in trouble before. To the people of Denver and everyone, I just don’t want anyone to feel like I don’t care and [think], ‘Oh, he has money, he doesn’t care.’ I do. I’m not happy I was in that situation.”

Gordon will not face punishment from the Broncos for the arrest, but is likely to be disciplined by the league once his case is resolved. Gordon said he will “deal with that when you have to deal with it” and is focused on this week’s matchup with the Chargers.

It’s a reunion for Gordon, who left one AFC West team for the other this offseason, and it’s a big game for the 2-4 Broncos’ hopes of hanging around the playoff race. https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/10/29/melvin-gordon-on-dui-im-sorry-i-was-even-in-that-situation/

Joe Biden’s First Wife Neilia Biden Was Not in a Drunk Driving Crash

neilia hunter biden

The tragedy of Joe Biden’s first wife Neilia Hunter Biden is a key part of Biden’sbiography.

Over the years, the former vice president has spoken openly about the terrible car crash that killed his wife Neilia and their 1-year-old daughter Naomi and injured their two sons, Hunter and Beau. Joe Biden was not in the car when the crash occurred.

What caused Neilia Hunter Biden’s car crash? Over the years, conflicting statements have arisen, including from Biden himself. The evidence shows that the accident was not caused by drunk driving.

Biden would go on to marry his current wife, Jill. With her, he had another daughter. The family dealt with renewed tragedy when Beau Biden died at 46-years-old from brain cancer. His surviving son, Hunter, has been the focal point of controversies during his dad’s presidential run.

Joe Biden brought up both family tragedies in the first Democratic debate when he talked about the need for better healthcare. “I can’t imagine what it would have been like not to have adequate healthcare,” he said, referencing what happened in the tragic crash.

Here’s what you need to know:


Neilia Biden’s Fatal Accident Occurred When She Was Driving to Pick up a Christmas Tree

It was 1972. Biden was a new U.S. Senator. His wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, took the three children — Beau, Hunter, and Naomi — to get a family Christmas tree. That’s when the fatal crash occurred.

According to Politico, a truck that was carrying corncobs struck the Biden vehicle. The other driver was Curtis Dunn.

However, news reports from the time say that Neilia Biden was at fault in the crash.

Police determined that Neilia Biden “drove into the path of Dunn’s tractor-trailer, possibly because her head was turned and she didn’t see the oncoming truck,” according to the Newark Post.


Dunn’s Daughter Is Upset by Comments Joe Biden Has Made About the Crash

Dunn’s family has expressed upset over comments Joe Biden has made about the cause of the crash over the years. Police accounts indicate alcohol use was not associated with the crash.

Biden has made comments over the years about drinking and driving being linked to the crash, according to Politico, but the driver of the truck, Curtis C. Dunn of Pennsylvania, was not accused of drunk driving or any wrongdoing in association with the crash.

“For whatever reason, Neilia Biden, who was holding the baby, ended up in the right of way of Dunn’s truck coming down a long hill,” Politico reported. A friend of Biden’s who looked into the accident at the time told Politico, “She had a stop sign. The truck driver did not.”

Dunn died in 1999. In 2008, Dunn’s daughter Pamela Hamill demanded that Biden apologize, according to the Newark Post. She was upset that Biden had claimed that Dunn was drinking, when police did not find that alcohol was involved in the crash at all.

“I just burst into tears,” Hamill said to the Newark Post. “The story already is tragic enough, why did he have to sensationalize it by saying my father was drunk? My family is outraged.”

Hamill told Politico in 2019 that Biden did apologize in 2009. “He apologized for hurting my family in any way,” she told the outlet. “So we accepted that—and kind of end of story from there.”


Biden Has Described Neilia as His Best Friend

Over the years, Biden has discussed Neilia and how much he loved her. He told the author Kitty Kelley, “Neilia was my very best friend, my greatest ally, my sensuous lover. The longer we lived together the more we enjoyed everything from sex to sports. Most guys don’t really know what I lost because they never knew what I had.”

Of course, Biden would go on to find love against with Jill.

According to The New Yorker, Neilia was “the daughter of diner owners in upstate New York” when she met Biden in 1966. He was in law school when they married.

Biden was raised in Pennsylvania and Delaware; his father was a car salesman, according to History.

When Neilia’s mother asked Joe Biden what he intended for a career, he told her, “President of the United States,” the New Yorker reported. https://heavy.com/news/joe-biden-first-wife-neilia-crash/

Licking County deputy resigns position as part of plea deal in OVI case

NEWARK – A Licking County deputy resigned his position with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office as part of a plea deal from an OVI charge.

Barth Waldeck, 63, of Heath, pleaded guilty to one count of minor misdemeanor improper starting and backing in Licking County Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Waldeck, a 14 year veteran of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office who was serving duty at Licking County Job and Family Services, was placed on administrative leave in February after being charged with a count of operating a vehicle under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor.

An Ohio Highway Patrol traffic crash report said around 11:13 p.m. Feb. 18, a trooper was dispatched to a crash near 6601 Brownsville Road SE. Upon arrival, the trooper said he contacted a Licking County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, who told the trooper the driver of a Dodge Durango, later identified as Waldeck, “had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and slow/slurred speech.”

More:Licking County deputy placed on leave following OVI charge

The trooper reported when he asked Waldeck what happened, he told the trooper he was headed home and saw a vehicle was broken down. The trooper said Waldeck told him he backed up to check on the vehicle when another vehicle opened the door and he unknowingly struck it.

During a change of plea hearing Tuesday, prosecuting attorney Joseph Gibson moved to dismiss the OVI charge as part of a plea deal with Waldeck. As part of the plea deal, Waldeck was required to resign his position with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office and complete three days with the driver intervention program.

Gibson told The Advocate although part of the plea agreement was the requirement Waldeck resign with LCSO, he is free to apply for another job in law enforcement.

Defense attorney Robert Calesaric noted to Judge David Stansbury his client had showed proof of insurance at the time of the incident.

Gibson said he discussed the plea deal with the victim, who he said was in agreement with the outcome. He noted the victim was not asking for any restitution.

Stansbury said Waldeck was to remain on administrative license suspension, but was granted limited driving privileges. He also imposed a $15 fine and court costs. https://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/2020/10/20/licking-county-deputy-pleaded-guilty-minor-misdemeanor/5990118002/