Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete at first denied knowing anything about an accident and told officers that he’d been home sleeping before coming clean about his involvement in an OWI-related crash, according to police reports from responding officers.
On Wednesday, the full report of Chiapete’s OWI accident was released to media, and it details witness accounts of the accident, Chiapete’s interactions with officers and his refusal for both a Intoximeter Alcohol Breath test and a legal blood draw to determine his level of intoxication.
The accident was reported to dispatch at 10:04 p.m. at the intersection of Melvin and Main Streets. When officers arrived, they found a 2004 Volkswagon but no driver. A run of the plates determined the registered owner was Chiapete’s wife, Jennifer, so officers made their way to Chiapete’s home about a block away.
Despite officers seeing him outside his home, when police questioned Chiapete about the accident, he told them he’d been sleeping for the last two hours, and his wife only woke him up so they could go to a neighbor’s house. Officers continued to question Chiapete, and he finally admitted to being in the accident and fleeing the scene.
Chiapete was transported to Wheaton Franciscan St. Mary’s to conduct field sobriety tests in a controlled environment after blowing an initial .159 blood alcohol level. Officers say Chiapete failed several points of the test and then refused to submit to both an Intoximeter Alcohol Breath test and a legal blood draw. He is quoted as saying, “I’m done. Just take me to jail.”
Refusing to submit to both the the official breath and blood tests means Chiapete could lose his driver’s license for a year, according to a story in The Journal Times. He might also be required to install an ignition interlock device.
Authorities with the Wisconsin State Patrol Tuesday determined that Racine police officers appropriately handled Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete’s OWI accident last weekend.
RPD Chief Art Howell asked the agency to review police reports detailing the incident to be sure his officers conducted the investigation, according to a press release from the department.
“Everything looked to be handled on the up and up,” State Patrol Lt. Rich Reichenberger is quoted as saying in The Journal Times.