Cole L. Knapp, 34, of Wausau. Felony charges filed Aug. 30 include 9th offense OWI.

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A 35-year-old Wausau man found nearly passed out in the driver’s seat of his vehicle in a Rothschild parking lot was sentenced to five years in prison, after being convicted of his 9th drunken driving charge.

Cole Knapp was sentenced last week in Marathon County Circuit Court to five years in prison followed by eight years extended supervision. His August 2018 arrest came less than a year after his release from prison on his 8th drunken driving conviction.

Officials say Knapp has never held a Wisconsin driver’s license.

Dispatchers notified officers at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 29 to a report of a green Chevrolet pickup “all over the road” that pulled into the Domtar lot, according to the police report. A Rothschild Police officer located a vehicle matching that description about 15 minutes later and discovered a man slumped over the steering wheel who appeared to be asleep, the report stated. The keys were in the ignition and an open bottle of Budweiser was spotted in the center console of the vehicle, police said.

The officer roused the driver, later identified as Knapp, by knocking on the window multiple times. After Knapp exited the vehicle, he appeared confused and could not explain where he lived or why he was in the Domtar parking lot, according to the criminal complaint. He allegedly refused to undergo field sobriety tests, telling officers, “Yeah, I know I’m already (expletive),” according to the report.

Court documents state that an intoximeter recorded Knapp’s blood alcohol concentration as 0.15 percent, nearly eight times the limit imposed on him due to his eight prior convictions.

Knapp was previously convicted of drunken driving in 2002, 2003, 2004, twice in 2006, and once again in 2010 and in 2013, according to court records. In August 2013, he was sentenced to five years in prison minus credit for time served while awaiting trial. He was released on extended supervision in November 2017 and did not have a valid driver’s license when he was arrested.

Reserve Circuit Judge Michael Hoover presided over the sentencing hearing.