By Shereen Siewert
A 41-year-old man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly crashed his vehicle while carrying hundreds of doses of methamphetamine – and thought his late mother was his passenger, police say.
Marathon County deputies responded at about 10:25 p.m. July 11 to Hwy. 52 near County HH in the town of Harrison for a report of a single vehicle crash. Police say the driver, Ben J. Stoveken, was eastbound on Hwy. 52 when he crossed the center line, veered into the westbound lane, entered a ditch and continued for about 100 yards before striking a tree. A resident living nearby heard the crash and called 911.
When deputies arrived, Stoveken said he was trying to find his mother, who he thought was in the vehicle. But police later discovered Stoveken was alone and learned his mother had died last month, according to the incident report. Stoveken allegedly thought he was on the north side of New London, about 70 miles away, when he crashed, then later thought he was somewhere in Langlade County.
Police say Stoveken, who has four prior intoxicated driving convictions, refused sobriety testing and became excited after he was handcuffed, declaring he would go “back to prison” and “kill me a (n-word) this time,” according to the incident report. A chemical test of Stoveken’s blood is pending.
After spotting a glass smoking pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine, deputies searched the vehicle and discovered methamphetamine in 14 separate containers with a combined weight of 108 grams of the drug. A typical dose is between about 0.1 and 0.2 grams, medical professionals say.
Stoveken, whose last OWI conviction was in 2012, now faces charges of fifth-offense operating while intoxicated, possession of methamphetamine greater than 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges were filed July 12 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
During an initial appearance, Circuit Judge Greg Strasser ordered Stoveken held on a $100,000 bond with the first $25,000 to be paid in cash. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 18.