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Charges pending in case where father had 11-year-old drive, leading to crash


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The one vehicle crash last Friday in Wausau involving an intoxicated man and his 11-year-old daughter as his chauffeur is still under investigation. Formal charges have not been filed yet. Wausau Police Captain Ben Bliven says that is why the man’s name has not been released yet.

Bliven says some reports have been sent to the District Attorney and they are still compiling additional information.  “We worked with the District Attorney’s office that night to make sure that we were doing everything necessary for criminal charges. We’ve sent the reports that we’ve done already over to the DA for review. We anticipate, hopefully in the next few days, being able to wrap up the loose ends and get everything over to the DA so they can make a charging decision.”

It is not a good idea to drive drunk and it’s not a good idea to have your underaged child drive the car either. The unusual twist to this case is the man may have exposed himself to less severe penalties if he would have driven the vehicle himself.

Bliven says the expected charge of recklessly endangering the child’s safety is a class G felony that could get the man up to ten years in prison, $25,000 in fines, or any combination of the two.  “It depends on his past driving record. If he has a couple of drunk driving charges on his record, it wouldn’t be a felony until it’s his fourth offense at least, except for if he had minors in the car, then it might rise to the felony level at the third offense.”

Police expect to complete their investigation soon. Bliven anticipates the District Attorney may make a final decision on charges by Friday.