By Shereen Siewert

A 57-year-old Wausau-area man is facing his sixth drunken driving charge after he crashed his vehicle into a ditch while driving home from a tavern, according to court documents.

Lewis Rosa, 57, of Weston. June 24, 2021: Sixth-offense OWI

Lewis J. Rosa, Jr. told police his dog, named Dean Martin, jumped into the passenger compartment, which caused him to miss a turn and drive into the ditch near the intersection of Kramer Lane and Ross Avenue in Weston. Rosa was discovered at about 11:30 p.m. on June 24 walking away from his Grand Prix with a 24-pack of beer in his hand, police said.

Dean Martin was not injured in the crash.

Rosa underwent field sobriety tests after police noted an “overwhelming” odor of intoxicants, according to the incident report. Field sobriety tests were called off for Rosa’s safety after he allegedly began to sway heavily and nearly lost his balance.

Blood test results are pending for Rosa, of Weston, who apologized to police and said “I should not be doing what I’m doing. I should have called a cab,” according to court documents.

Wisconsin recently increased the penalty for a 5th or 6th OWI offense. The mandatory minimum sentence, previously 6 months in jail, has been increased to a mandatory minimum of 18 months in state prison. Judges no longer have discretion to set more lenient sentences on a case-by-case basis.

Rosa, who has five prior OWI convictions with the most recent in 2004, is free after posting a $2,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing is set for June 30.