Man’s 11th OWI charge raises law enforcement concerns

Police: Driver had minor in the car when stopped

Janesville police said a  48-year-old Janesville man is facing his 11th charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he was pulled over near downtown Janesville early Friday morning. Janesville police Chief David Moore said while the number of offenses is shocking, this is not an isolated incident.

“We see more than our fair share of OWI offenses in Wisconsin. We are known for our alcohol consumption and also well known for our driving while under the influence. It’s really a culture issue with this state and it’s something we need to change,” Moore said.

Police said Bradley Skelly was pulled over by an officer for speeding near the corner of West Court Street and Center Avenue just after 12:30 a.m. Friday. The officer reported he was driving 45 to 50 mph in a 30-mph zone.

The officer stopped the car and immediately noticed Skelly had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, along with bloodshot eyes, according to police.

Police said Skelly failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. Skelly was driving with his 14-year-old son at the time of his arrest. According to a criminal complaint, Skelly told police he had just come from picking up his son at his ex-wife’s house before being pulled over. This is the seventh time Skelly has been arrested for an OWI with a passenger under the age of 16 in his car.

Skelly spent five years in prison and his licenses were revoked for three years after his last OWI conviction, in 2004. Despite his 10 previous arrests, police said Skelly had a valid Wisconsin license.

It’s because of cases like this that the Janesville Police Department implemented Project Sober Streets, three years ago. The Internet program available on their website maps out repeat drunken driving offenders to bring awareness to the community.

“There’s also a public shaming issue to it as well. The science on this shows OWI, this is one of the few offenses where public shaming really is effective,” said Moore.

Skelly now faces a minimum of eight years in prison; he is being held on a $10,000 cash bond. However, Moore fears if he is released he could endanger the community.

“From today until that court hearing or that conviction, we have little assurance of safety to the community. Persons of means can many times make bail but they are still a threat to the community,” he said.

Skelly was also cited for having no insurance. He is scheduled to be back in court on Friday, Nov. 14.