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Green Bay man charged with 18th drunken driving offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A 73-year-old Green Bay man has been charged with his 18th drunken driving offense, after a crash Friday that took out power lines and caused an outage.

Wallace Bowers had 17 prior operating while intoxicated convictions between 1988 and 2011, but he had a valid license at the time of Friday’s crash.

WLUK-TV reported that Wisconsin law now requires driver’s licenses to be revoked after a 4th OWI conviction, if the most recent conviction was within 15 years. But Bowers’ last conviction was in 2011, before the new law went into effect in 2018.

“I’ve been sober since the 2011 (incident), that last DWI, and I blame the medications I have to be on (they) can interfere with the few drinks I did have,” Bowers told Court Commissioner Cynthia Vopal during an initial court appearance.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said Friday’s call came in as a report of downed power lines, then authorities learned it might have been a transformer. Law enforcement then discovered Bowers, who was allegedly drunk.

“My big question is why is he even allowed out, why is this guy allowed to be out there endangering our community?” Smith said, adding: “In 32 years of policing I have never seen someone with that many priors.”

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