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Bangor man charged with 5th OWI after crash in Onalaska

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A traffic crash in Onalaska has led to felony fifth-offense drunk driving charges against a 30-year-old Bangor man.

Kenneth L. Becker also faces felony charges of operating after revocation/drunk driving-related and bail jumping. His drunk driving charge carries a penalty enhancer due to a 2-month-old passenger in his vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court, police were called to a crash at East Main Street and Theater Road shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

When police arrived, both vehicles were damaged in the roadway and Becker was sitting in a grassy area. The report says Becker exhibited slow, slurred speech and was lethargic in his movements. Police escorted Becker and the infant to a nearby business, where Becker reportedly nodded in and out of sleep.

The complaint says Becker told police the crash occurred when he looked down at his phone and rear-ended a vehicle. That account was contradicted by a witness who said Becker crossed the centerline on Main Street and collided with a vehicle headed in the opposite direction.

The complaint says Becker showed multiple clues of intoxication, but a preliminary breath test revealed no alcohol consumption. He consented to a blood draw.

Assistant La Crosse County District Attorney Danielle Kranz asked for a $5,000 cash bond. Kranz noted that Becker has multiple open cases and said a series of signature bonds and low cash bonds “didn’t preclude this type of behavior ... he’s a danger to himself and the community.”

Judge Elliott Levine agreed with Kranz’ request.

“Given the number of open cases that are pending, the court believes a $5,000 cash bond makes sense,” Levine said.

Becker’s first three drunk driving convictions are from La Crosse County; his fourth conviction is from Monroe County.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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