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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 61-year-old Colfax man who drove his pick-up through the wall at the Bridge Stop in Wheeler last summer has been sentenced to 75 days in jail for a fourth offense of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
Charles E. Martin, along with his attorney, Brian Braziel, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court before Judge Luke M. Wagner for a plea and sentencing hearing on April 1.
Martin was initially charged with one felony count of OWI (fourth offense) and one felony count of operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) fourth offense.
As part of a plea agreement, Martin pleaded guilty to the OWI (fourth offense), and Judge Wagner dismissed the felony count of operating with PAC (fourth offense) but ordered the count read into the record for sentencing, according to online court records.
Judge Wagner sentenced Martin to 75 days in jail, with the jail sentence to begin April 1 and with Huber privileges to begin after 48 hours, and granted the defendant two days of credit for time served.
In addition, the judge ordered Martin to pay a forfeiture of $1,894, revoked Martin’s driver’s license for three years, ordered the defendant to have an alcohol and other drugs assessment, to take driver’s safety and ordered an ignition interlocking device to be installed in any vehicle that Martin owns or operates.
Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Lucas D. Arras noted no restitution has been requested in the criminal case but that civil charges may be filed against Martin, according to online court records.
According to the criminal complaint, a Dunn County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched on July 13, 2021, to the Bridge Stop gas station in Wheeler at the intersection of state Highway 25 and state Highway 170 on the report of a vehicle crashing into the building.
According to a summary of the deputy’s report provided by Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd, the deputy concluded three vehicles had been involved: one vehicle was southbound on Highway 25, one vehicle was northbound on Highway 25 and one vehicle was westbound on Highway 170.
The vehicle traveling south struck the vehicle heading west on Highway 170, and the trailer being towed by the vehicle on 170 struck the vehicle traveling north on Highway 25.
The vehicle traveling south hit the gas station, causing damage to the building and possibly injuring one of the employees, according to the deputy’s report.
Gas pumps are located only a few feet from where the truck crashed into the building by the door.
When the deputy spoke to the driver of the southbound vehicle that had crashed into the gas station, later identified by his driver’s license as Charles Martin, the deputy observed Martin’s eyes to be bloodshot and watery. The deputy could smell the odor of intoxicants, and Martin tried to cover his mouth to keep the deputy from detecting the odor, according to the deputy’s report.
OWI (fourth offense) carries a possible penalty, upon conviction, of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to six years in prison.
Under a different section of state law for the fourth offense, defendants shall be fined not less than $600 and imprisoned for not less than 60 days.