“I made a critical mistake:” State Rep. Josh Zepnick arrested for driving drunk

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MILWAUKEE -- State Representative Josh Zepnick (D - Milwaukee) was pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence on Thursday evening, October 29th. His arrest is surprising many, especially given Zepnick's past.

Josh Zepnick

Josh Zepnick

Greenfield police say Zepnick was pulled over near 68th and Forest Home Ave. for a traffic violation.

47-year-old Zepnick was polite, admitted to drinking and failed field sobriety tests. When he refused a breathalyzer test, he was arrested.

Police say at no time did he mention his day job. But Zepnick broke the news himself and released a statement regarding the incident:

"I believe it is important to be forthcoming and transparent with my constituents about this matter. I am deeply, deeply sorry for the decision I made to drive under the influence.

"I made a critical mistake, and I am embarrassed by my decision. I apologize to my family, constituents, colleagues, and community members for my inexcusable decision to drive. This incident has made me confront the need to seek professional help to overcome problems affecting my judgment.

"My family has learned first-hand through tragedy the dangers and recklessness of drunk driving, which makes my own actions even more irresponsible. I will remain a committed advocate for reforming and strengthening our state’s drunk driving laws. Drunk drivers must be held accountable for their actions, as I expect to be held accountable for mine."

Josh Zepnick pulled over for driving drunk

Josh Zepnick pulled over for driving drunk

What makes Zepnick's arrest so surprising to many is what happened to his family. Zepnick's sister was struck and killed by a drunk driver while riding her bicycle in Greenfield in 1990.

Josh Zepnick in police squad

Josh Zepnick in police squad

"Sped through a stop sign at roughly twice the limit, got out of the car, saw what happened, sped away and started drinking again," said Zepnick in a 2009 interview.

The state lawmaker says the death of his sister inspired him to run for public office. He was speaking with FOX6 News then, in an attempt to strengthen Wisconsin's drunk driving laws.

"My job is to send a signal that we care about this, we're serious about this," said Zepnick in 2009.

A single OWI charge in Wisconsin is not a criminal offense -- it's a municipal traffic violation.

Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt released a statement saying on the Greenfield Police Department Facebook page, "A few of us still remember the aftermath of Jamie Lynn Zepnick's tragic death. Representative Zepnick’s arrest reminds us of the pervasive problem of drunk driving in our State."

11 comments

  • Ed Flynn Mistress #4

    At least he’s admitting his mistake. Most Dems would be blaming the police for stopping him the bar for serving him.

  • Vitto

    He should be jailed fired from him position you cant be on drugs and a drunk and be in a position of power. His family should be embarrased and ashamed of his selfish actions. No telling where he was coming from most likely cheating on his wife.. Typical right wing behavior..

    • john..

      wow…VITTO,..you just jump to all kinds of accusations..(cheating on his wife)..YOU must be a perfect human being.. ,never any faults or got a traffic ticket or did anything you are sorry for..fired from his job…are you a nazi…or you must be GOD.. ,seeing you are perfect..HOPE FULLY YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE OF ANYTHING,BECAUSE WE WOULD ALL BE SHOOT OR IN JAIL…

  • Smirking

    I can’t help but smirk at this situation ….I remember him bashing a judge a few yrs ago about a sentence he handed down for a similar incident and called the judge a humiliation and embarrassment… We’ll I think we have the pot calling the kettle black….no one is untouchable when it comes to drunk driving….people are human and make bad choices… But for someone to be on his high horse like he was…that’s the embarrassment .. He should step down….. And then his smug mugshot…what a jerk

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