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OWI citation finalized against Somerset fire chief

Somerset officials this week released the police report from a 2018 OWI arrest involving the village's fire chief.

Somerset Municipal Court's April 2019 report includes three citations issued to Travis L. Belisle from an April 28, 2018, traffic stop in Somerset. The report states he was cited $914 for OWI, failure to stop at a stop sign and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration.

Somerset Village President John Melvin said there was no change in Belisle's employment status or discipline related to the incident. The fire department serves both the village and town of Somerset. Melvin said Belisle informed both boards of the incident.

According to a Somerset police report:

An officer on patrol at 1:25 a.m. watched a car fail to stop at a stop sign at Garfield and Main streets. He followed the car, a black Chevy Cruze, which he later observed cross the centerline of Depot Street.

The officer conducted a traffic stop and noticed the driver, Belisle, had glassy eyes and slurred speech. The officer could smell alcohol coming from the car.

He asked Belisle to get out of the car to do field sobriety tests.

"Are we really doing this," the report states Belisle asked the officer.

The officer noticed Belisle had a pistol in his car's driver's-side door compartment. An inspection of the pistol later revealed it had a fully loaded magazine.

The officer then ran Belisle through field-sobriety tests before administering a preliminary breath test that revealed a 0.17 blood-alcohol level.

Prior to the breath test, Belisle asked the officer to contact a supervisor. The officer couldn't reach his supervisor, so he called St. Croix County dispatch and requested a sheriff's deputy to assist him.

The Somerset officer eventually reached a deputy by phone and asked him if he could make the arrest due to a possible conflict of interest. The deputy arrived and told the Somerset officer that his supervisor had instructed him not to take over the arrest or make any suggestions for handling the traffic stop.

The deputy stayed on the scene for safety and later gave Belisle's passenger a courtesy ride home.

Belisle later consented to a blood draw after consulting with his lawyer. Blood test results revealed a 0.196 blood-alcohol level.

The Somerset officer then gave Belisle a courtesy ride home. Belisle told the officer his lawyer was going to have a "field day" with the situation and that he would sue the village.