A Madison man currently serving a three-year prison term for his eighth drunken-driving conviction faces yet more time after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of his ninth offense.
Donald Wiessinger, 50, claimed he was not driving drunk on Oct. 14 when he slammed into several parked vehicles, drove over yards and tried to flee from a police officer before crashing into a tree on Madison's East Side.
While it is Wiessinger's ninth official conviction, it is his 15th conviction overall.
State law only counts offenses that occurred in 1989 or after. Wiessinger's attorney, Michael Covey, charged that Madison Police Officer Amelia Soto had no reason to think Wiessinger was drunk after she pulled him unconscious from a burning van.
He also said that a blood test showing that Wiessinger was legally drunk was tainted. But Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey said there was no testimony at all during the one-day trial that showed any reason for the jury to believe the blood test had been tainted by micro-organisms, as Covey claimed, or that Wiessinger's actions were anything but those of a drunken driver.
"We have to look at the evidence, not the woulda, shoulda, coulda here," Humphrey said. A blood test showed Wiessinger's blood alcohol concentration to be 0.19 percent, more than twice Wisconsin's legal limit. Wiessinger's limit, however, was 0.02 percent because of his past drunken-driving convictions.
In addition to drunken driving, the jury found Wiessinger guilty of eluding police and driving after revocation. He faces up to 7½ years in prison and seven years of extended supervision when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser.
On Monday, Circuit Judge David Flanagan sentenced another nine-time drunken driver, Steven L. Theis, 45, to two years in prison and five years of extended supervision.
Because of the ninth conviction, Theis' extended supervision for his seven and eighth convictions was revoked, and 3½ years of prison was added to his sentence.