By NIKKI YOUNK
FLORENCE, Wis. - A Menasha, Wis. man who got into a car accident in Tipler, Wis. while committing his eighth drunk driving offense has been sentenced to prison.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Daniel Springer prepares for sentencing in Florence County Court. Springer will spend three years in prison for felony drunk driving.
Daniel J. Springer, 55, will spend three years of initial confinement followed by three years of extended supervision. He also must pay a $5,000 fine.
Springer had originally been scheduled for a jury trial on Tuesday.
On Friday, he pleaded no contest to one felony count of operating while intoxicated-eighth offense. An additional felony count of operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration-eighth offense was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
As a result, Tuesday's court proceeding turned into a sentencing hearing.
Florence County District Attorney Douglas Drexler and Springer's attorney Hank McRoberts presented the court with a joint recommendation of three years initial confinement in prison and three years of extended supervision.
Drexler pointed out that Springer's criminal history consists almost entirely of operating while intoxicated charges.
"The OWIs continue to plague him and continue to cause problems for our community," he said.
McRoberts agreed that alcohol is the root of Springer's problems. However, he noted that Springer's last conviction was eight years ago.
"Unfortunately, he's had a backslide here," said McRoberts.
When allowed to address the court, Springer said that he regretted his alcohol use and wanted to apologize for his actions.
"There's no place for alcohol in my life," he said. "I would also like to get back to being an asset to the community instead of a burden to the community."
Judge Leon D. Stenz felt that even though operating while intoxicated is not a violent offense, it is a serious offense.
"With these cases, potentially anybody is a victim," he said.
Judge Stenz accepted the attorneys' joint recommendation for sentencing and permitted Springer to enter into the earned release program. The program could allow Springer to take some time off of his extended supervision sentence.
The charge against Springer stems from an Aug. 10 incident in Tipler.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, deputies from the Florence County Sheriff's Department responded to a rollover accident on State Highway 139 near Sach's Rendezvous bar.
Deputies could not immediately find anyone in or around the crashed vehicle.
They later discovered a man, identified as Springer, sitting on a log in the woods to the side of the road.
According to deputies, Springer initially denied being the driver and gave them several conflicting stories about what had happened.
Drexler said that when Springer's blood was subsequently drawn, he registered a .178 blood alcohol concentration. At the time, Springer had seven previous operating while intoxicated convictions.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.