A 34-year-old Racine man was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with his fifth operating under the influence  offense after her crashed his car into a light pole in September on purpose, according to the criminal complaint.

If convicted, Nicholas Johnson faces up to six years in prison and/or fined up to $10,000.

Johnson told witnesses that he was trying to commit suicide in front of his girlfriend by crashing his car into a tree on Five Mile Road just east of Highway 31, according to the Caledonia Police Department.

Johnson argued with his girlfriend then dropped her off on Highway 31 and Five Mile Road. Driving east on Five Mile Road. He then turned around the car and went into a driveway at a high speed, and crashed into a light pole, said an officer with the Caledonia Police Department.

A wire came down over the car, but it wasn’t a power wire, the officer said.

According to the criminal complaint, Johnson has a bipolar-paranoid schizophrenic disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Johnson told police he wasn’t taking any other medication other than what he was prescribed. An officer with the Caledonia Police Department that has special training in spotting people who are under the influence of certain drugs was called to the scene. Because Johnson’s behavior — he was fidgety, had rapid movements and rapid speech — did not seem normal, the officer believed he was under the influence of stimulants.

Johnson consented to having a blood draw. The State Lab of Hygiene found that Johnson not only had the chemical found in marijuana in his system and the other medications he had been prescribed. If the case goes to trial, an analyst from the State Lab will decide if the level of medication found in Johnson’s blood was within the therapeutic range prescribed to him.

Lt. Gary Larsen said that it is typical that the State Lab of Hygiene will take months to process drunk driving cases involving prescription medication because the department prioritizes the cases since they have such a heavy case load.

“With prescription medications things are different,” Larsen said. “We don’t have the immediate results that we do with alcohol-related cases, with some first time under the influence cases that involve prescription medications it can take up to a year to get results back.”

Johnson is set to have a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. June 10 in front of Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch.



Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.