After 1,000th repeat drunk driver arrested, lawmakers want action

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The 1,000th repeat drunk driver was arrested early Tuesday morning, October 29th following a high speed chase resulting in the injury of a Sheriff's deputy. Some lawmakers are using this case, along with others, as an example of why Wisconsin's drunk driving laws aren't tough enough.

Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 40-year-old Kevin Hutchins of Milwaukee, who they say was driving drunk early Tuesday, October 29th. The arrest came after Hutchins led deputies on a chase that reached 100 m.p.h.

Kevin Hutchins

Sheriff’s officials say around 2:45 a.m., a deputy saw a car driving southbound in the northbound lanes of Mayfair Rd. That driver, Hutchins, would not pull over, so a pursuit began. The chase was on the highway and city streets — and reached 109 m.p.h.

The vehicle exited I-94 at S. 70th St., re-entered the freeway at 68th St., and again exited at S. Hawley Rd. to Vliet St.

Officials say the pursuit ended when Hutchins got on Highway 41 at the Stadium Interchange — and crashed into yellow barrels and the median wall. Hutchins’ vehicle went airborne and collided with the deputy’s squad, striking the front window and injuring the deputy. Hutchins’ car came to rest almost seven miles into the pursuit.

"It's pretty disturbing what you see. Sometimes the drunk drivers that are driving like that -- they'll hit an innocent driver," State Rep. Jim Ott (R - Mequon) said.

Ott is one lawmaker who is trying to change the state's drunk driving laws.

"Somebody gets that second offense -- they know they can drive drunk a third time and get caught and they still have a misdemeanor, not a felony," Rep. Ott said.

Ott has co-authored three new bills aimed at reducing drunk driving. The first called "Tell it to the judge," would require all first-time offenders to appear before a judge.

The second -- the "Super drunk" bill, makes any offense where the BAC is .15 or above a criminal misdemeanor.

The third is called "Off the streets," and gives the court the authority to seize cars of chronic offenders.

"I know that tougher laws aren't going to stop people from driving drunk, but maybe in some cases it's going to have an impact and it will make someone change their behavior," Ott said.

Also in the proposed drunk driving bills is a bill that would make the third offense an automatic felony -- and there would be a mandatory prison sentence of 25 to 30 years for someone who causes serious injury or death.

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