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

By Shereen Siewert

A 58-year-old Wausau-area man will spend two years in prison after being convicted Thursday of his sixth drunken driving charge.

Police say Lewis Rosa Jr. crashed his vehicle into a ditch while driving home from a tavern. According to court documents, Rosa 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, of Weston, 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. Police say Rosa admitted drinking and said he should have called a cab.

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.

In addition to a two-year prison term, Circuit Judge Suzanne O’Neill also ordered Rosa to spend three years on extended supervision following his eventual release. He was granted two days credit for time served.