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Wausau road rage incident leads to 9th OWI charge

By Shereen Siewert,

Michael Gottschalk, 54, of Kronenwetter, June 8, 2023: Ninth-offense OWI.

A Kronenwetter man is facing his ninth drunken driving charge after a road range incident on Grand Avenue in Wausau.

Officers were headed south at about noon on Wednesday, June 7 on Grand Avenue near Sturgeon Eddy Road when they saw two pickups driving erratically. According to the incident report, the drivers were tailgating one another, then pulling alongside one another and giving each other the middle finger before pulling into 1500 Grand Avenue. Officers followed, concerned that a physical altercation was about to happen.

When speaking with 54-year-old Michael Gottschalk, officers say they could smell intoxicants and asked him if he had been drinking. Gottschalk, who allegedly said he had consumed alcohol the night prior, underwent field sobriety testing before a preliminary breath test measured his alcohol concentration at 0.129 percent.

Drivers with several prior OWI convictions have a 0.02 percent alcohol limit restriction for driving.

Gottschalk was booked into the Marathon County Jail on felony OWI charges. Court records show his most recent OWI conviction was in 2008 in Oneida County, for which he served five years in prison.

During a preliminary hearing June 8, Marathon County Circuit Judge Suzanne O’Neill set a cash bond of $10,000, which was posted the same day.

An indigency hearing is set for June 12 with a preliminary hearing in the case on June 19. He faces up to 12 1/2 years in prison if he is convicted of the charge.

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