A Tony man found slumped over a UTV in someone else’s garage has been charged in Rusk County Circuit Court with his fifth offense of OWI.
On June 17 at approximately 7 a.m. a Rusk County deputy was dispatched to a residence in the Township of Dewey after receiving a call of a strange male slumped over the caller’s UTV in his garage. According to the criminal complaint, en route to the caller’s residence the deputy observed a black pick up truck in the ditch on the north side of Flambeau Drive registered to James G. Kern, 52.
The deputy entered the garage and observed a male who was sleeping and wearing only a fluorescent traffic vest, sitting in the driver’s seat of a UTV. According to the criminal complaint, the deputy woke Kern and asked him why he was naked. Kern allegedly advised the deputy that his clothes were drying and that a woman had hung them up.
Kern was given a pair of pants by the deputy and then asked why he’d come into the garage. Kern stated he was trying to stay warm.
According to the criminal complaint, Kern knew nothing about his truck being in the ditch and denied having been drinking. Kern advised the deputy he last remembered working in Eau Claire around 9 p.m. and had no idea where he was currently. Kern was surprised to learn he was in Rusk County.
When asked if he had permission to enter the garage, he advised the deputy he just assumed he could enter the garage to dry his clothes. The deputy observed an odor of intoxicants coming from Kern and also observed his eyes were glossy, speech was slurred and had to lean up against a vehicle multiple times to keep his balance. Kern was transported to Rusk County Memorial Hospital for a legal blood draw. While in transit to the hospital, the deputy observed a black t-shirt and a pair of white underwear lying on the roadway, according to the criminal complaint.
At the time of the incident, Kern had an open bond in Price County Circuit Court signed July 2017 agreeing to maintain absolute sobriety while operating a motor vehicle for charges for his OWI 4th offense. On August 28 Kern was convicted and received a withheld sentence of 170 days and two years of probation for this charge.
For his involvement in the UTV incident, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene discovered Kern’s blood alcohol content to be .129. Three of his previous OWI convictions include two convictions in Sheboygan County Circuit Court from January 1997 and March 1997 and one in Rusk County Circuit Court from Nov. 2011.
Kern missed his initial appearance in Rusk County Circuit Court on Nov. 6 due to being in the Price County Jail.
Kern is charged with OWI 5th or 6th, operating with a prohibited alcohol content (5th or 6th), felony bail jumping and lewd, lascivious behavior in public. If convicted, Kern faces up to $70,000 in fines or 26 years and nine months incarceration or both. He is scheduled for an adjourned initial appearance on Nov. 12 in Rusk County Circuit Court.