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Armed felon arrested in suspected OWI crash

in Sirens

By Shereen Siewert

A suspected drunk driver had two children and a loaded pistol in his vehicle when he crashed early Sunday in Weston, police said.

Shawn Hignite, 45, faces two counts of OWI causing injury to a passenger younger than 16, possession of a firearm as a felon, carrying a concealed weapon and operating a firearm while intoxicated. The charge were filed Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Police responded at 1:35 a.m. Sunday to a report of a single-vehicle crash at the intersection of Ross Avenue and Babl Lane in the village of Weston with unknown injuries. The vehicle struck a stop sign, power pole and concrete sign before coming to rest, according to court documents.

Police say the driver, later identified as Hignite, tried to get into a passing vehicle to flee the scene. Hignite had two children, age 13 and 15, with him at the time of the crash. Both children fled the scene but were eventually located by police and were treated for their injuries.

When police arrived they discovered Hignite next to his crashed pickup. Officers noted HIgnite staggered extensively, had trouble walking and needed assistance walking in a straight line. He also allegedly showed slurred speech, with a strong odor of alcohol emanating from him.

Preliminary breath test results are not available. Blood test results are pending.

Hignite, who is on probation stemming from a felony sexual assault conviction, also had a loaded 380 pistol tucked inside the center console of the pickup, police said.

During a court appearance Monday Hignite, of Wausau, was ordered held on a $5,000 bond, the first $2,500 of which must be paid in cash. A preliminary hearing is set for July 10.

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