Dean of Students at MSOE in jail after third OWI

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Patrick Coffey, Dean of Students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, remains behind bars after being arrested for driving the wrong way on the interstate while under the influence of alcohol late Thursday night, August 15th.

Deputies say Coffey drove almost 15 miles before being apprehended.

Drivers in Coffey's path that evening are outraged that the 69-year-old was still on the streets after two prior Driving Under the Influence convictions from March, 2001 and February, 2011.

"We didn't know what to do," said Sandi Banks. "I would ask him 'do you have a family?' 'Do you have small children, or even adult children?' 'Grandchildren?'"

Part of the terrifying ride was captured on DOT cameras as sparks flew from Coffey's vehicle.

"Two headlights were coming right toward us and we had to just immediately make a quick decision. We didn't know what to do. We had to swerve right away," said Banks. "It was not even, probably, ten feet from us."

Luckily, no one was hit during the incident.

Coffey had a blood alcohol level of .19, more than double the legal limit for driving, when he was stopped and arrested. He said he had been drinking at Irish Fest.

"He needs to have the absolute worst, harsh penalty and, obviously, losing his job," said Banks.

Coffey also serves as the Vice President of Student Life at MSOE. The school has said it will not comment on a personnel matter.

Former MSOE student David Poremba says despite the arrest he still believes in Coffey's work.

"He has helped countless other students, like myself, get through MSOE and succeed," said Poremba. "Putting him behind bars does not help any future students he can help at MSOE."

FOX6 spoke with Coffey's family Saturday afternoon, who said this is a very painful time. Faculty we spoke with said they were stunned, shocked, and saddened by the incident.

Coffey could go through intake court as early as Monday.