Prison For Man With 15 Drunk Driving Offenses

Wisconsite, 67, will serve five years in prison

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Wisconsin OWI

JUNE 5--A Wisconsin man has been ordered to serve five years in state prison following what investigators say was his 15th drunk driving offense.

During a hearing conducted Wednesday via Zoom, Mark Alan Johnson, 67, was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to a felony operating while intoxicated count.

Pictured above, Johnson was arrested last November for OWI after driving his pickup truck into a ditch at an intersection near his home in Rice Lake, a northern Wisconsin city. Johnson, whose license had been revoked at the time of the one-vehicle crash, has been locked up in the Barron County jail since his arrest.

Johnson, whose drunk driving collars have come in Wisconsin and neighboring Minnesota, is “eligible for the Substance Abuse Program after serving 4 years initial confinement,” according to a sentencing order.

Johnson's blood alcohol content was measured at nearly twice the legal .08 limit. He told cops he had only consumed two glasses of wine and a can of beer before the crash.

In a May 18 sentencing memorandum, Johnson’s lawyer described his client as a “likable, down-to-earth, blue-collar man” who has spent most of his life “engaging in hands-on road construction and mechanical work.”

Johnson’s “downfall,” attorney Renee Taber wrote, “is that he is an alcoholic.” Taber, who noted that Johnson’s most recent OWI conviction was in 2005, wrote that her client’s “relapse from sobriety” came a month after his mother’s death.

While prosecutors contended that Johnson’s rap sheet included 14 prior drunk driving offenses, Taber wrote that the “defense is stipulating that the defendant has nine prior offenses.”

Upon his release from custody, Johnson will be placed on probation for five years. (2 pages)