WAUSAU — A 53-year-old man who was sent home from work shortly before his arrest because he was intoxicated will spend two years in prison for his sixth drunken driving conviction.
James Haataja of Rothschild was sentenced last week in Marathon County Circuit Court by Reserve Judge Greg Grau. He was also ordered to spend four years on extended supervision following his release.
Police were alerted at about 9:15 p.m. on Friday, May 25 to be on the lookout for Haataja, who had been dismissed from his shift at the Eastbay Distribution Center due to his intoxication, according to court filings. A cab was called for Haataja, but he left in his own pickup before the cab could arrive. Police pulled Haataja over minutes later.
Haataja initially denied drinking and told officers he had been struck on the head by a shipment while working, according to the police report. After failing field sobriety tests, officers administered a breath test which showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.297 percent. The legal limit for driving in Wisconsin is 0.08 percent, but Haataja is subject to a limit of 0.02 percent due to his prior convictions.
Court records show Haataja was convicted previously of OWI twice in 1991, then again in 2003, 2006 and in 2015. He was on probation stemming from his 2015 conviction at the time of his arrest.
If Haataja breaks the rules of his probation, he could spend an additional four years behind bars.