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Athens man gets jail, probation for 5th OWI

in Sirens

By Shereen Siewert

A 55-year-old Athens man who was so intoxicated police had to call off field sobriety tests for his own safety will spend one year in jail and three years on probation after reaching a plea agreement on fifth-offense drunken driving charges.

Jay Zunker was sentenced Nov. 21 in Marathon County Circuit Court, nearly two years after the charge was filed.

Police in Rothschild said Zunker was weaving in his lane and crossed the center line several times before he was stopped in the northbound lane of Hwy. 51 near Kowalski Road.

“I’m busted,” Zunker allegedly told the arresting officer, when he approached Zunker’s vehicle.

Zunker was driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.33 percent, more than four times the legal limit and more than 16 times the 0.02 percent limit imposed on Zunker due to his previous convictions, according to court documents.

Rothschild police say they found two open containers of beer on the passenger seat of the black Chevrolet truck Zunker was driving. The officer did not ask Zunker to complete some field sobriety tests amid fears Zunker could have stumbled onto the highway, according to the criminal complaint.

Circuit Judge Jill Falstad ordered a withheld sentence for Zunker, which includes 12 months in jail, a $2,452 fine and three years of probation. He wiill be required to undergo AODA assessment and treatment, maintain absolute sobriety and submit a DNA sample. A withheld sentence means Zunker would be re-sentenced on the felony OWI charge if he breaks the rules of his probation.

Zunker was previously convicted of drunken driving in 1997, twice in 2005, and again in 2012, according to court records. He was out on bond for an unrelated case when he was arrested.

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