Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson arrested for OWI after crashing car on I-43

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Marcelia Nicholson

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, the second-ranking member of the county board, was arrested Monday for drunk driving after crashing her car into a freeway median.

Nicholson crashed while driving southbound on Interstate 43 overnight Monday, July 23. Her car came to rest in a traffic lane, and she was arrested at 12:05 a.m.

Nicholson admitted to having one drink, but a breath test conducted inside the Milwaukee County Jail sallyport revealed she had a .18 blood alcohol content.

Arrest of Marcelia Nicholson

Arrest of Marcelia Nicholson

Arrest of Marcelia Nicholson

The OWI is Nicholson's first offense, which is a citation and not a criminal offense. She was released from jail Monday morning.

Michael S. Maistelman

Through her attorney, Michael S. Maistelman, Nicholson said she cooperated fully with police during the arrest.

"I will make no excuses. I made a horrible mistake and I am embarrassed by my actions," Nicholson said in the statement. "I apologize to my constituents, colleagues, and community members for my inexcusable decision."

Maistelman said she takes responsibility for her actions.

"Her biggest concern is to her constituents because she's the elected official from her county supervisory district and she wants them to know she's out there, going to continue to represent them, work for them and this is not going to affect that. She should move on and forward and try to serve her constituents the best she can. She's a rising star on the county board and she wants to continue in that role," said Maistelman.

When deputies first put Nicholson in the back of a squad car on I-43, she asked to be taken somewhere for the night and complained of being tired, dash camera video indicates. That dash camera video shows, it appears Nicholson's "On Star" called 911 after the crash.

In the video, Nicholson tells deputies "I don't remember hitting the wall."

When a deputy told Nicholson, "so you're twice the legal limit, so I'm going to need you to put your hands behind your back. You're under arrest for operating while intoxicated," the video shows Nicholson, became upset.

"I'm an elected official here. I don't -- this is -- I don't get into trouble. I don't. I have to work in the morning. I have to get up and go to work. I had two beers. That's it. Two beers," said Nicholson.

Nicholson rose to first vice chair of the county board this spring, the second-ranking position behind Chairman Theo Lipscomb.

Marcelia Nicholson

Through a spokesman, Lipscomb declined comment about Nicholson’s arrest. The spokesman, Brian Rothgery, said it was “unlikely” that she would face board action internally or publicly.

Nicholson faces a fine of $941 for the drunk driving citation, and a separate $216 fine for failure to control her vehicle.

Nicholson was once a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher. A district spokeswoman confirms Nicholson resigned in November 2017.

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