Keith Gardner, 53, of Wausau. Felony charges filed Sept. 4 include 7th offense OWI.

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A Wausau man charged with 6th offense drunken driving after arriving to work drunk — then passing out behind the wheel — will spend three years in prison.

Keith Gardner, 53, was sentenced Tuesday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Gardner was on probation at the time of his arrest and was previously convicted of OWI in 1994, 1995, twice in 2002, then again in 2009, according to court records.

At 9:11 a.m. on Sept. 2 police were dispatched to the parking lot of Red Robin, 4650 Rib Mountain Drive, for a report that an employee due for work had passed out in the parking lot and was “partially hanging out” of his red Jeep, according to a criminal complaint. When deputies arrived, Gardner was sitting behind the wheel of the Jeep smoking a cigarillo.

Police detected a “strong odor of intoxicants” and said Gardner was badly slurring his words when he said he had had a “couple of beers,” the report states. Gardner allegedly refused field sobriety test, then twice pretended to blow into a breathalyzer tube and stated to the officer “Just take me to jail.”

Gardner has been held on a $10,000 cash bond since the time of his arrest and was given 87 days credit for time served. Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson on Tuesday also ordered Gardner to spend three years on extended supervision following his release from prison, pay a $3,214 fine and undergo counseling.