Wisconsin Dells police chief writes letter to court on behalf of 6th-offense drunken driver

The Wisconsin Dells police chief has written a letter on behalf of a man facing a repeat drunken driving charge.

James S. Connors, 56, of Wisconsin Dells, was arrested in August on suspicion of his sixth operating while intoxicated charge.

According to the criminal complaint, which was filed in Columbia County court on Aug. 14, the police department received a tip on Aug. 11 that a drunken man was trying to get in his truck parked in a lot on River Road at about 11:30 p.m. When an officer responded, Connors was urinating onto his foot and the ground. Police said Connors appeared to be intoxicated, had trouble getting out his ID and was stumbling. The officer cited Connors on suspicion of public urination and told Connors not to drive.

The officer parked nearby and saw Connors start and turn off his truck several times, then drive out of the parking lot, according to the complaint. The officer pulled Connors over at 11:41 p.m. A woman stopped and told the officer Connors nearly hit her car as he pulled out of the parking lot.

The complaint said Connors failed field sobriety tests, and results from an alcohol breath test said his blood alcohol concentration was at .21. Connors was arrested.

Wisconsin Dells police chief writes letter to court on behalf of 6th-offense drunken driver

According to court records, a letter signed by police Chief Jody Ward was filed into record on Tuesday.

In the letter, Ward said she has known Connors and his family for many years, and “is a valuable member of the Wisconsin Dells community.” Ward also said Connors is “committed to his sobriety and embarrassed by his past actions.” Ward recommended that Connors serve his sentence on electronic monitoring.

An addiction counselor also wrote a letter on behalf of Connors saying Connors has alcohol dependence but is a valued person in the program. The counselor said he supported a sentence of electronic monitoring for Connors.

According to online court records, Connors pleaded no contest to felony sixth OWI on July 23 and was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation with six months at the Huber work-release jail. As a condition of his sentence, he must maintain absolute sobriety, have his license revoked for three years, have an ignition interlock on his vehicle for three years and submit a DNA sample.

A charge of felony operating with a prohibited alcohol content charge was dismissed by the prosecutor, online court records show.

Connors was previously convicted of drunken driving in October 1989, April 1996, May 1997, April 1998 with a causing injury enhancer and October 2004, according to the criminal complaint.

Connors is a co-owner and manager of Nig’s Bar, according to the Portage Daily Register.