A Monroe County sheriff’s official says State Representative Jeff Wood will stay in jail until he can appear in court today on his latest OWI arrest. The 40-year-old lawmaker was stopped yesterday in Tomah, after he was seen driving erratically and jumping a curb. It was the second time in a month that Wood was arrested for being impaired by prescription medicines. In each case, alcohol was not found in system.
Wood had been arrested three previous times for drunk driving, the latest being last December, when authorities also said they found marijuana in his car. Jim Bender, a spokesman for Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, said Wood was excused from a session on Tuesday, assuming he was still in a treatment program in Minneapolis. Bender said it was one thing to be absent for being in rehab but it raises a lot more questions if Wood chose not to come. He and his attorney have not commented.
Whitewater Republican Steve Nass introduced a resolution last week to expel Wood. There had been negotiations with Democratic leaders for a lesser punishment, like censure – but Nass’s office now says it will only accept an expulsion or a resignation. Under the resolution, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan has until next Wednesday to create a committee to decide if Wood should be removed. Last week, Sheridan said he hesitated to act, fearing the precedent it might set. He has not commented since Wood’s arrest yesterday.
AUDIO: Dan Lea reports (MP3 :44)
Dan Lea-WAYY contributed to this report