By Shereen Siewert
A 44-year-old Rothschild man who fled the scene of a single-vehicle crash in October and was convicted of his sixth drunken driving charge will avoid a seven-year prison sentence if he is successful in the Marathon County OWI treatment court.
Aaron W. Trotzer will spend three years on probation as part of his sentence, which was handed down Dec. 18 by Marathon County Circuit Judge Greg Huber. The Marathon County OWI Court serves Marathon County residents with felony fourth- through sixth-offense convictions who have alcohol dependence issues.
Trotzer was first charged Oct. 15 in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he was ordered held on a $5,000 cash bond.
Police were called at 10:25 p.m. Oct. 10 to a report of a yellow Volkswagen Bug that had crashed into the concrete barrier at the intersection of Weston Avenue and Birch Street in the village of Weston. Officers from Everest Metro and Rothschild responded to the crash and learned from a witness that the driver abandoned the crashed vehicle and was picked up by another driver before their arrival.
According to the incident report the vehicle was significantly damaged and the air bags had deployed. A stop light and village of Weston sign were also struck down in the crash and two concrete barriers were completely destroyed, as was a street sign at the intersection. Officers observed an open can of White Claw and discovered an open bottle of vodka in the glove box, the report states.
Police tracked Trotzer through Department of Transportation records. When they located him, he was being treated by Riverside emergency crews for crash-related injuries and was taken to a local hospital. When questioned, Trotzer allegedly told police he had consumed “a bottle” of vodka before driving. Because of his injuries, Trotzer was not subjected to field sobriety tests. He allegedly refused a chemical test of his blood, but police obtained a sample through a warrant.
Court records show Trotzer had past OWI convictions in 1998, 2004, 2008 and 2010, and was convicted of operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration in June 2015. Trotzer is subject to a 0.02 percent alcohol restriction due to his prior convictions.
Judge Huber ordered four years initial confinement followed by three years extended supervision for Trotzer, but stayed the sentence. If Trotzer does not successfully complete OWI court, he will be forced to serve the full sentence handed down by Huber, who also ordered Trotzer to pay a $3,976 fine.
Trozer will also spend nine months in jail, part of the OWI Treatment Court conditions.
Mental health issues are also addressed in the program, which serves up to 25 participants at any given time. The average time to complete the program is 18 months.
Participants plead guilty and agree to participate in the program while on probation. Program completion is a condition of probation and the program is in lieu of prison.