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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 33-year-old Wheeler woman has been charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after her car was struck by a piece of railroad machinery east of Wheeler in July.
Carmen M. Mewes appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court for an adjourned initial appearance on August 18.
Judge Smeltzer set bail for Mewes with a $100 signature bond on July 24.
Mewes is scheduled for another court hearing in the matter on November 3.
According to the criminal complaint, at around 12:30 p.m. July 23, the Dunn County Communication Center received a call reporting a piece of railroad machinery had struck a car, but there was no reported injuries.
The car had been struck on the tracks in the Town of Otter Creek near a residence east of Wheeler on state Highway 170.
Online court records indicate that Mewes’ home address is the same address listed in the complaint as the incident address.
When a Dunn County deputy arrived on the scene, he observed the railroad equipment on the tracks stopped west of the incident address and a tan Ford Escort east of the incident address.
The Ford Escort had heavy passenger side damage. The deputy spoke with the operator of the railroad equipment, who said he did not believe anyone had been injured, according to the complaint.
The equipment operator had been traveling eastbound on the tracks and saw a vehicle make a complete stop at the stop sign where the tracks intersect with a private driveway.
The vehicle made a complete stop and then continued through the stop sign. The equipment operator said he had activated his horn 200 feet prior to the crossing, but the vehicle continued, and the railroad machinery struck the Ford Escort of which Carmen Mewes was the operator, the complaint states.
The railroad crew from Canadian National Railroad said Mewes had walked to the residence with a small child who had also been in the vehicle. Crew members said Mewes had thrown items in the ditch after the crash.
The deputy discovered a “dab pen” and empty pill bottle without a label in the ditch. Another deputy performed a field test, and a sticky substance in the dab pen was believed to be THC wax. The field test was positive for THC, according to the complaint.
The deputies spoke to Mewes and asked when she had last used marijuana and when she had last used methamphetamine. She said she had not used marijuana or methamphetamine and that she also had not used heroin. When the deputies said it had been reported she had thrown something in the ditch, Mewes admitted she had thrown a pill container and a dab pen in the ditch “as the items didn’t look good in her vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Mewes told deputies she had used marijuana at around 8 a.m. that day and she had used the dab pen earlier that day.
Mewes was previously convicted of Operating While Intoxicated fourth offense, which is a felony, on May 22, 2020, according to the complaint.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that carries a possible penalty upon conviction of a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days.
Because Mewes is considered a repeat offender, the maximum term of imprisonment for the underlying crime may be increased by up to two years.
The court may also suspend the defendant’s operating privileges for not less than six months and not more than five years. If the defendant’s driving privileges are already suspended, an additional suspension must be served consecutively.
According to online court records, Mewes pleaded no contest and was found guilty on one felony count of OWI fourth offense on May 22.
Judge Smeltzer imposed a lifetime suspension of her driver’s license, withheld sentence, and ordered two years of probation.
As a condition of probation, Mewes was sentenced to serve 165 days in jail, with Huber privileges allowed for work, child care and treatment.
Judge Smeltzer also ordered Mewes to submit to and comply with an alcohol assessment.