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Traffic signs, poles destroyed by suspected drunk driver in Roberts

A St. Croix County man who pleaded guilty to an OWI earlier this year faces new charges after allegedly driving a tractor drunk and crashing into traffic signs, a street light and a power pole.

Emerald resident Justin M. Wink was charged with OWI-third offense, possession of drug paraphernalia and operating while revoked after the Dec. 1 incident. The 26-year-old posted $2,000 cash bond on Dec. 7 after pleading not guilty to the charges earlier that week.

According to a criminal complaint:

Roberts police were called at 12:30 p.m. to highways 12 and 65 for a report of a farm tractor pulling an implement that was taking out signs and light poles.

The officer found speed limit signs, a sign for the tech college and three other traffic signs knocked over. A nearby light pole was also found knocked over and teetering toward a traffic lane. A power pole was also found destroyed, its wires down.

A St. Croix County sheriff's deputy stopped a tractor north of Highway 12 on 150th Street. The Roberts officer noticed a bridge guardrail near the location had been sheared off, leaving debris on the roadway.

Officers approached the driver, who was described as unsteady on his feet, smelling of alcohol and slurring his words. A pat-down of the driver, identified as Wink, turned up a marijuana pipe in his pocket.

After summoning the tractor's owner — Wink's father — to remove the vehicle, a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper ran Wink through field sobriety tests. Wink was then arrested.

A preliminary breath test revealed a 0.30 blood-alcohol level.

Wink pleaded guilty to OWI-second offense in October, the consequences for which included a 14-month driver's license revocation and a mandatory ignition interlock requirement.

He returns to court on the new charges Feb. 15.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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