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River Falls man arrested for his ninth driving impaired violation

Police say a River Falls man who crashed over the noon hour Friday, Nov. 25, on the Hwy. 65 bypass was later arrested for driving impaired -- his ninth such offense.

Joel E. Sweeney, 45, 1485 Wildcat Court #103, was northbound on the bypass at 12:45 p.m. when his car swerved, crossed the center line, went into the opposing traffic lane and shoulder before crossing back into the north lane but then dropping into a ditch.

Sweeney's car continued off the highway, going up an embankment and hitting several smaller trees.

His 1993 four-door Mercury finally came to a stop some 300 feet south of Golf View Drive, east of the bypass.

There were two witnesses. They wrote statements for police.

One claimed Sweeney ignored a red light, that he hit the cement base of the traffic sign, and that he appeared to be picking something off the seat when he lost control.

Another person said Sweeney was briefly unconscious at the crash site before police arrived.

Sweeney was eventually taken by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital.

There he told officers he was taking a variety of medications. He said he has such severe pains that he often passes out.

Sweeney gave a blood sample. Police say they believe this evidence will show Sweeney was impaired do to his use of prescription drugs.

Most of Sweeney's other arrests have been for drunk driving, which is in the same legal category as driving while intoxicated.

Sweeney's latest alleged violation is another felony for him. He has already served prison time.

Sweeney was also charged with violating terms of his court-order probation.

His case will be heard Feb. 27, 2012, in Pierce County Circuit Court.