Racine Co. DA pleads guilty in drunk driving incident

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RACINE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete has pleaded guilty to three citations leveled against him following an incident that occurred last Friday night, April 4th in which Chiapete is accused of driving drunk and crashing his car.

A third citation for obstructing an officer was issued against Chiapete on Thursday, April 10th.

The other two citations are for OWI and duty upon striking property on or adjacent to a highway (hit-and-run).

Chiapete and City of Racine officials have agreed Chiapete must:

  • Pay a forfeiture of $801 for the OWI citation
  • Have six points assessed against his driver's license, which will be revoked for one year
  • Undergo a drug and alcohol assessment
  • Have an interlock ignition device installed on his vehicle for one year
  • Pay a forfeiture of $177 for the "duty upon striking property on or adjacent to a highway" citation
  • Pay a forfeiture of $177 for the obstructing an officer citation

The City of Racine's Attorney's Office on Thursday recommended the Racine Police Department issue the obstructing an officer citation against Chiapete.

Chiapete's attorney agreed to accept service of this citation on Chiapete's behalf.

The City of Racine's Attorney's Office says Chiapete has been fully cooperative during this investigation -- and says Chiapete has indicated a desire to resolve all of the charges against him as soon as possible.

Chiapete says he had a few drinks at a birthday party before driving home around 10:00 p.m.

Racine police say Chiapete drove his vehicle into a light pole and tree near the intersection of Melvin Avenue and North Main Street -- and then walked away from the crash scene.

Police matched the car’s registration to Chiapete’s home address.

Video showing Chiapete struggling as officers conduct sobriety tests was released on Thursday. He is seen struggling to walk a straight line.

Chiapete then waits in police custody for hours. His head hangs as police speak with him.

Chiapete says he’s owning up to the mistakes.

“Made a series of probably the poorest decisions I have ever made in my entire life. And I take full responsibility for it. For everything that happened. For everything I did that night. I should be held to higher standard to everyone else. There is absolutely no excuse for what happened on Friday,” Chiapete said.

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