Man accused of driving wrong way on I-43 pleads guilty but not guilty by reason of mental disease, defect

Daniel Kristapovich

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — A Lake Mills man accused of driving the wrong way on I-43 at speeds in excess of 120 miles-per-hour last October has pleaded guilty but not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Daniel Kristapovich, 24, entered the plea on Aug. 20 to one count of first degree recklessly endangering safety. The court then found him not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

According to the criminal complaint, around 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2017, a deputy observed headlights coming towards him while traveling southbound on I-43 near Silver Spring. The deputy activated his emergency lights, however, Kristapovich passed the squad at a high rate of speed.

According to the criminal complaint, Kristapovich enter I-43 traveling the wrong way at Locust Avenue. He traveled 12.4 miles the wrong way at speeds in excess of 120 miles-per-hour before being stopped by the deputy.

The complaint indicates Kristapovich passed at least 15 vehicles that were traveling the correct way while in Milwaukee County — and at least six more vehicles when he entered Ozaukee County.

As Kristapovich reached Ozaukee County, the deputy was traveling at 130 miles-per-hour in order to keep up with him, according to the complaint. As Kristapovich reached Highland Avenue in Ozaukee County, he lost control and spun out — allowing the deputy to catch up.

At that point, the deputy was able to parallel Kristapovich — who continued to travel northbound in the southbound lanes.

The deputy then sped ahead and conducted a U-turn — and quickly cut off the wrong-way vehicle, stopping it. At that time, the deputy ordered Kristapovich to turn the vehicle off, however, he was slow to respond, so the deputy removed the keys himself.

According to the complaint, when the deputy informed Kristapovich that he was traveling the wrong way, he responded “really?” When confronted again, Kristapovich denied driving the wrong way.

During this encounter, the deputy observed lethargic movements, red glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol emitting from Kristapovich’s breath.  Kristapovich denied he had been drinking.

Kristapovich agreed to perform field sobriety tests. A preliminary breath test returned a reading of 0.18.

A search of Kristapovich’s vehicle revealed a marijuana pipe and a glass jar containing a green leafy substance that later tested positive for the presence of THC with a total weight of 24 grams.

Online court records show an open case filed a month after this one, in December of 2017. He was found guilty but not guilty due to mental disease or defect in May of 2018 on one count of resisting/failing to stop, a misdemeanor charge. This, after he entered a no contest plea to that charge. In that case, he was ordered committed for six months.