Art lecturer charged for narcotic possession after erratic driving on interstate

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RACINE — Racine County Sheriff’s deputies reported finding narcotic drugs in the pockets of an art lecturer from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside who was pulled over after allegedly driving erratically and speeding on the interstate.

Benjamin Grant, 40, of Milwaukee, has been charged with a felony count of possession of narcotic drugs and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Grant is an associate lecturer for UW-Parkside’s Art Department, according to the university’s website, and teaches introduction to design and drawing classes, as well as two higher-level courses. A spokesman for UW-Parkside confirmed that Grant is still employed by the university.

According to a criminal complaint:

At 7:35 a.m. on Wednesday, an officer was on patrol when dispatch advised of a reckless driver located on Interstate 94 that was “weaving all over the roadway.” As the officer made his way to I-94, dispatch advised the vehicle had nearly hit a semi-truck and was tailgating the vehicle in front of it. The car, later found to have been being driven by Grant, was going around 90 mph and other vehicles were attempting to move out of its way.

The vehicle exited the interstate on Highway KR and almost struck construction barriers while continuing to drive at high speeds. The vehicle then drove past a total of five construction road barricades in a closed road area, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office reported. Officers stopped the vehicle on Highway 31 near its intersection with KR.

The man driving the vehicle, identified as Grant, told officers was headed to work at UW-Parkside from his house in Milwaukee. He said he had been an art professor there for three years, according to the complaint. Grant said he was attempting to follow his GPS while driving.

Grant was arrested for OWI after field sobriety tests were performed and then was taken to the hospital for a blood draw. When an officer searched Grant, “a small, green glass vial with an eye dropper” was found, according to the complaint.

The criminal complaint stated that Grant told deputies the vial contained Clonazepam, a medication used for seizures. Deputies reported they also found one orange, oval shaped pill located in Grant’s front pocket. It was identified as a form of Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, a medication used for ADHD, thus making it a schedule II narcotic drug.

Grant stated he wasn’t aware of the pill in his pocket and that his friend had worn the pants he was currently wearing earlier. He claimed to have a prescription for the Clonazepam, which “he advised he crushed and filtered so the binder was removed and then mixed it with a solution of DSMO,” another chemical compound that makes it easier for the body to absorb other medications. According to law enforcement, Grant said stated “he can volumetric dose himself with smaller than the prescribed doses due to him struggling with his memory.” He also denied having used alcohol or other drugs.

Grant was given a $1,000 cash bond in Racine County Circuit court on Thursday.

A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 17 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave., online court records indicate. He remained in custody as of 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the Racine County Jail.

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