Repeat drunk driver antics captured on deputy dash cams
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office dash cam videos newly released to TODAY'S TMJ4 reveal bizarre, reckless, defiant and dangerous behavior exhibited by repeat drunk drivers.
There are many who swerve and struggle to stay in their lanes. They are like ticking time bombs who have yet to hit anyone.
"You're sharing the road with drunk drivers," said Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. "You just are. Maybe they haven't hit you, yet."
Video from March shows a deputy stopping a car after a witness reported the driver and passenger switched places.
The woman behind the wheel at the time of the traffic stop is seen struggling to get out of a tangled seat belt.
"It's easier to do when you don't switch drivers," the deputy says to the woman.
The deputy says the woman admits she switched seats with the man the car. The man is identified as 40-year-old John Kellom of Sheboygan.
"I wasn't driving," the man insists. "I was a passenger."
Deputies arrested Kellom from Sheboygan for his sixth OWI. Video shows Kellom having a yelling tantrum in the back seat and banging his head on the squad car glass.
How about over the limit and underage?
Video from June shows deputies arresting Rafael Morales-Mondragon for his second OWI. He is just 18 years old.
In Spanish, he told the officers he had "six, seven" Coronas before getting behind the wheel.
Then there's Bryon Bielawski from Oconomowoc. He is heard on dash cam video in September refusing a breath test.
"I'm going to refuse," he tells two deputies. "I believe I just passed all the road tests."
According to a criminal complaint, a blood draw proved Bielawski was intoxicated. He is charged with his fifth OWI.
After a court appearance, Bielawski refused to answer questions about why he has been repeatedly been arrested for drunk driving.
Bielawski is one of more than 1,000 accused repeat drunk drivers arrested by Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies since 2010.
Clarke's office now posts booking photos online to publicly shame repeat offenders.
"It goes up and we've had several of those individuals call and beg for us to take their picture down," Clarke said. "It's things like that that are going to change behavior."
Calls for tougher drunk driving penalties seem to fall on less-than-willing ears in Madison. It's a problem most lawmakers readily acknowledge but few take action to significantly change.
"I hear reports of so many repeat offenders, you know six, seven, eight times," said Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon. "If you don't think we have a problem with drunk driving in Wisconsin, just looking at your own news reports would tell you that we do."
The Wisconsin State Legislature had an opportunity to send a message on drunk driving this week. The Assembly passed three laws aimed at drunk drivers last week. The Senate could have passed those measures on Tuesday, but leadership did not place the three bills on the calendar for a vote.