River Falls man suspected of 8th OWI, running from cops
A River Falls man suspected of his eighth drunken-driving offense ran from officers Wednesday in St. Croix County after bolting from a traffic pursuit, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.
Troopers said 44-year-old Tony G. Hetchler was arrested after a K-9 search Jan. 9 near a home on Lundy Lane in the town of Troy.
According to the State Patrol:
A trooper on patrol at 3:20 p.m. tried stopping a speeder on Highway 35. The driver, later identified as Hetchler, exited the highway and ran a stop sign on Old 35 Road.
Hetchler parked his vehicle behind a house on High Ridge Drive, then ran. A St. Croix County Sheriff's Office K-9 team tracked him to a tarped carport on Lundy Lane, where he was arrested.
Hetchler was arrested on suspicion of OWI-eighth, fleeing an officer, speeding and failure to stop for a stop sign.
This isn't the first time Hetchler has been arrested after allegedly leading police on a chase in St. Croix County.
He was charged with second-degree recklessly endangering public safety — and other offenses — after allegedly leading deputies on a 19-mile chase April 3, 2015, with speeds reaching 90 mph. The pursuit led to the Cylon State Wildlife Area, where Hetchler's truck was found, along with a female passenger.
In that case, Hetchler was suspected of driving drunk, but he wasn't found by officers until hours later. His blood-alcohol concentration at that point was 0.01, which prosecutors said couldn't meet the burden of proof needed to prosecute an OWI charge.
Multiple charges were dismissed in that case, though Hetchler was convicted of recklessly endangering safety. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years on probation.