Fourth paragraph from the end reads: “A breath test
showed he had no alcohol in his system. Police found he had 55
tablets of naproxen, an anti-inflammatory used to control pain; 22 tablets
of fluoxetine, an anti-depressant commercially known as
Prozac; and 25 tablets of an antibiotic.”
Wood could face expulsion
Wood accused of drug-related DUI, bail–jumping in third case this
By Patrick Marley of the Journal
Posted: Oct. 22, 2009
Madison State Rep.
Jeff Wood (I-Chippewa Falls) was charged Thursday with driving under the
influence of prescription drugs and bail jumping – raising his chances of
becoming only the second lawmaker to be expelled from the Legislature in 161
Wood’s arrest Wednesday in Tomah marked the third time in less
than a year he was picked up on suspicion of driving under the influence of
alcohol or drugs. The arrests come as lawmakers try to crack down on drunken
Before Wood’s arrest Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan
(D-Janesville) said he was reluctant to try to expel Wood. But he signaled his
attitude was changing in a statement Thursday.
“We must take a very hard
look at his case and determine if he is truly able to serve the people of his
district,” Sheridan said. “Rep. Wood must take responsibility and be held
accountable for his actions. . . . Rep. Wood has brought shame not only on
himself, but on the Wisconsin State Assembly.”
Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday
told The Associated Press that Wood should resign.
“When you’re just
simply not providing the basic representation, you’ve got to acknowledge that
and step aside and allow somebody else to represent that district,” Doyle
Wood, 40, was convicted of drunken driving in 1990 and
This January, he was charged in Columbia County with drunken
driving and possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. In September, he was
arrested in Marathon County on suspicion of driving under the influence of
anti-anxiety drugs and cold medicine. Charges in that case could be filed soon,
said Assistant District Attorney Laura Kohl.
Those two cases, as well as
Thursday’s case in Monroe County, could result in third, fourth and fifth
offenses of driving under the influence.
A fifth offense would be a
felony, which would force Wood out of the Legislature. But the three cases could
take months to resolve and stretch past the November 2010
Thursday’s bail–jumping charge stems from a condition of his
bail in Columbia County that required him to maintain absolute sobriety and
barred him from committing crimes. In Columbia County, he was charged with
possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and third offense
Wood’s staff was not in his Capitol office Thursday and
did not return calls.
Expulsion to be reviewed
Sheridan soon will form a
committee of three Democrats and three Republicans that will review a resolution
by Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) to expel Wood. Nass introduced the resolution
in response to Wood’s Sept. 23 arrest in Marathon County.
would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.
The only lawmaker to be
expelled since Wisconsin became a state was Frank Raguse, a Milwaukee Socialist
who was removed in 1917 for refusing to retract statements his colleagues deemed
disloyal to the United States.
Wood’s attorney, Tracey Wood, said
lawmakers were acting prematurely in trying to remove the lawmaker. The Woods
are not related.
“People in our system are innocent until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said. “It seems a little crazy to me to rush to
Blood tests will not be available for months in the two cases
where he is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, she
Wood was first elected as a Republican in 2002. He quit the party
in the summer of 2008, and in November became the first independent elected to
the Legislature since 1928.
“I’m not sure the people of the 67th
(Assembly District) are being served,” said Assembly Republican Leader Jeff
Fitzgerald of Horicon.
In September, Wood joined his colleagues in a
unanimous vote to make fourth offense driving under the influence a felony if it
occurs within five years of the third offense. Less than a week later, he was
arrested on what could be a fourth offense.
According to the complaint
filed Thursday in Monroe County Circuit Court, Wood was pulled over Wednesday
after another driver called to report she saw him weave out of his lane and into
oncoming traffic. She said he twice entered intersections on red lights, stopped
in the intersections and then backed up.
When officers pulled Wood over,
he struck the curb, drove back into traffic and then drove up onto the curb, the
complaint said. During field sobriety testing, he fell onto the back of his car
and lost his balance a second time.
A breath test showed he had no
alcohol in his system. Police found he had 55 tablets of naproxen, an
anti-inflammatory used to control pain; 22 tablets of fluoxetine, an
anti-depressant commercially known as Prozac; and 25 tablets of an
He was released Thursday afternoon from the Monroe County
Jail after posting $1,000 bail in cash.
After his September arrest, Wood
said he had enrolled in an in-patient treatment program at a veterans hospital
in Minneapolis. He was later transferred to a program in Tomah, said Sheridan’s
Wood was absent for Tuesday’s Assembly session, which his office
said was because he was in