Wheeler man charged in connection with running over pedestrian with his truck

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A 29-year-old Wheeler man is facing felony charges for an incident at the Wheeler Inn July 11 when he struck another man with his truck and then ran over the man’s right ankle.

Joseph D. Tireman made an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court August 8 on two felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing injury and first degree recklessly endangering safety and two misdemeanor counts of OWI third offense and disorderly conduct.

[emember_protected] Judge James Peterson set bail with a $1,000 signature bond July 12.

According to the complaint, Tireman had a preliminary Breathalyzer blood alcohol count of .256, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

At about 10:30 p.m. July 11, Jason Figler, the owner of the Wheeler Inn, called to report that a man named Joe driving a green or blue F150 with no tail gate had run over two people in the parking lot.

Figler reported that Tireman had come into the bar around 9:30 p.m. and ordered a “Captain and Coke.”

Later on, when Figler called “last call,” Tireman left the bar and knocked over the cigarette butt can, and it spilled on the parking lot and walkway area. He was once again asked to leave, according to the complaint.

Tireman then got into his truck, which was parked on the south end of the lot, Figler said, “floored the gas” and aimed toward a group of customers standing in front of the bar. The customers were able to get out of the way, except for one, who was hit by Tireman’s truck, the complaint states.

Tireman drove to the north side of the Wheeler Inn, turned around, traveled south through the lot and attempted to hit the customers again but did not strike anyone. At that point, Figler called 911, and Tireman left for about 15 minutes. He came back traveling northbound through the parking lot and once again tried to hit customers and then left the Wheeler Inn southbound, according to the complaint.

A Dunn County deputy was able to make a traffic stop in the 9800 block of state Highway 25 in Wheeler and observed damage to the driver side mirror and several scrapes on the vehicle.

The deputy observed bloodshot, glossy eyes, slurred and slowed speech, and an odor of intoxicants coming from Tireman’s breath. The deputy also noticed an open Busch beer can in the cup holder and several open beer cans in the back seat, the complaint states.

Tireman told the deputy he had been at the Wheeler Inn, was on his way home for the night, did not remember anything that happened before leaving the bar, and did not know how his vehicle had become damaged.

Deputies administered a field sobriety test, but the test was ended to maintain Tireman’s safety. When Tireman lifted his right foot, he began to sway, put his foot down and said he was not able to do the test because of his level of intoxication, according to the complaint.

Tireman agreed to a blood test, and the test was completed at Mayo Menomonie at about midnight.

Captain Cokes

At the Dunn County jail, Tireman agreed to answer questions and said he had driven to the Wheeler Inn at approximately 7 p.m. He began to drink “Captain Cokes,” and while he did not know the number of drinks he had consumed, he felt it was “quite a bit,” the complaint states.

Tireman told deputies he did not know what time he had left the bar and was “unsure” if he had been involved in an accident. He did remember driving around the building a few times but did not remember striking any people. Tireman also told deputies he was upset with some of the people at the Wheeler Inn.

When Tireman was asked about the damage to his vehicle, he said he did know how the vehicle had been damaged. “The defendant was advised that he was involved in a hit and run causing injury. The defendant stated he felt bad about hurting anyone,” according to the complaint.

Witness

Deputies spoke with a witness at the Wheeler Inn who said Tireman had been at the bar earlier and was “acting bad,” and when Tireman left, he tried to run people over three times. The witness said Tireman came within one foot of him on his first and second attempts to hit people, the complaint states.

The alleged victim who was injured told deputies he had walked outside the Wheeler Inn and was standing on the concrete walkway when Tireman drove at the group. The alleged victim said his left side, shoulder and elbow were struck by the vehicle, and after he landed on the ground, his right ankle was run over by the driver’s side tire. The man had an abrasion on his left elbow and said his right ankle and foot were painful. When the man took his boot off, the deputy could see the ankle was beginning to swell, according to the complaint.

The deputy also spoke with the alleged victim at the hospital and observed that the man’s ankle was even more swollen and was starting to turn black and blue, the complaint notes.

Potential penalties

Tireman’s driving record with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows that he was convicted of OWI in Dunn County in March of 2014 and also was convicted of OWI in January of 2010.

OWI causing injury is a Class H felony that carries a penalty, upon conviction, of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a prison term of up to six years.

The Dunn County district attorney’s office is invoking a section of state statute that applies because Tireman has two or more prior convictions and had an alcohol concentration of .25 or greater, which quadruples the minimum and maximum fines so that Tireman could be facing a maximum fine of up to $40,000.

Recklessly endangering safety is a Class F felony that carries a penalty, upon conviction, of a fine of up to $25,000 and/or a prison term of up to 12 years and six months.

OWI third offense is a misdemeanor that carries a fine not less than $600 or not more than $2,000 and a term in the county jail of a minimum of 45 days and a maximum of one year.

The district attorney’s office also is invoking the section of statute for the OWI third offense that will quadruple the minimum and maximum fine so Tireman could be fined, upon conviction, between $2,400 and $8,000 for the OWI third offense.

In addition, the district attorney’s office is invoking the section of state statute that will, upon conviction, require the court to revoke Tireman’s operating privilege for not less than two years but not more than three years, and to order Tireman to submit to an alcohol and drug abuse assessment and to comply with treatment as a condition of reinstatement.

Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a prison term of up to 90 days.

Tireman is scheduled for another court hearing October 3. [/emember_protected]