By Shereen Siewert | Wausau Pilot & Review

A Schofield man is behind bars after being convicted on two felony charges connected to an Antigo-area crash that critically injured a passenger in 2021.

Benjamin J. Adkins, 46, appeared May 10 for a plea hearing in Langlade County Circuit Court and was convicted of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and fifth-offense operating while intoxicated. He was immediately taken into custody.

Adkins was driving on Hwy. Y at Beattie Road in the Langlade County town of Ackley at about 8:55 p.m. June 30, 2021 when he missed a curve and crashed. Both Adkins and his passenger, a Wausau-area woman, were airlifted to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment of significant injuries, according to the incident report.

Court records show Adkins was convicted of his fourth drunken driving charge in 2007.

Wisconsin toughened penalties for some alcohol-related offenses in 2020, creating a mandatory 18-month prison term for a fifth or sixth offense OWI. Judges no longer have sentencing discretion for a minimum term, while the maximum sentence is 10 years. A conviction for felony OWI with injury carries a maximum 12 1/2-year prison term.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Circuit Judge John B. Rhode ordered a presentencing investigation be completed prior to July 17. A PSI provides the court with information on the defendant’s social, family, and economic background; criminal record; and facts of the crime of conviction, all of which are considered during sentencing and help judges craft an appropriate and fair punishment.

Adkins will be sentenced July 31 in Antigo.