UPDATE: Dashcam video expected next week in Wood's arrest

The Tomah Police Department says it will release a video showing Rep. Jeffrey Wood being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after all.

Police Chief Wesley Revels said Friday morning that releasing the video taken from a squad car during Wednesday's arrest would hurt Wood's ability to get a fair trial.

Revels reversed his position Friday afternoon after media outlets protested. He said he has decided to make the video public next week after consulting with the city attorney.

The State Patrol released video from Wood's two other arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past 10 months.

Wood said Friday he will not run for re-election next year.

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Representative Jeff Wood released a statement today saying he is sorry, and will not seek re-election, but did not make any statement about possibly resigning.

FROM REP. WOOD'S OFFICE:

October 23, 2009

Statement from Representative Wood

“I am deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I have caused for my family and regret any disgrace I may have brought on the Wisconsin State Legislature.

“I believe it is in my family’s best interest for me not to seek re-election to the Assembly next year, and I plan instead to focus on recovery.

“I have been in an in-patient treatment facility for the past three weeks. On Wednesday my roommate in treatment unexpectedly left the program. I requested a day pass to try to locate and convince him to return to complete treatment. During this time, I brought my prescription medication with me and took more than was prescribed.

While I face many difficult decisions in the weeks and months ahead, today I know my primary focus must be on my own treatment for my struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.”

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Thursday's story:

Representative Jeff Wood talked on his cell phone and held up his hand to our questions just minutes after his release from jail. He also sat speechless as he appeared via teleconference in Monroe County court Thursday afternoon. But, court documents tell us much more about Wood's latest arrest.

Thursday, we confirmed his latest OWI is again related to prescription drugs. According to the criminal complaint, Wood was pulled over after a 911 caller reported his car was all over the road.

When officers gave him a field sobriety test they say Wood ended up falling to the ground. "Wood stated that he slipped and wanted to try the test again." That's when officers say Wood "again lost his balance and began hopping backwards… Fearing that Wood would harm himself, (the officer) decided to stop the standardized testing for his safety."

Wood told officers he had taken two antidepressant pills. Officers found four bottles of prescription medicine—three in Wood's pockets; one more in his car. He's charged with his 3rd OWI, but court records show he's been arrested five times for OWI.

"Before anyone can be convicted, they have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty," says Monroe County District Attorney Daniel Cary.

But, in Chippewa Falls, voters say it's time for the independent to step down.

"I think it's really bad for the state of Wisconsin and for our area," says Jean Hebert.

"Things do happen and I kind of feel for the guy in a way, but also in a way I feel he shouldn't have anything to do with our government," says Jeremy Bowe.

"I think he needs to get help. I think he needs to leave office," says Gary Siverling.

"He should step down. Do the right thing," says Bob Bird.

In Madison, Governor Jim Doyle is also calling for Wood's resignation. Doyle said Thursday that the cleanest way to deal with the problem would be for Wood to resign. He says Wood's constituents aren't getting the representation they need. Doyle says Wood should step aside to focus on his legal and personal problems.

The man who started the process to oust him also says enough is enough.

"I was stunned, just stunned. I thought there would have been a lesson learned after the forth time. Now we're dealing with a fifth time which is terribly unfortunate not only for Jeff Wood, but also the institution," says Steve Nass (R) Whitewater.

State Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan also released a statement Thursday saying Wood told him he was in an inpatient rehab program.

“However, with this arrest, it seems clear that Rep. Wood has not been solely focused on recovery and has again endangered himself and the public. Now, we must take a very hard look at his case, and determine if he is truly able to serve the people of his district. Rep. Wood must take responsibility and be held accountable for his actions,” Sheridan says.

Jeff Wood is out of jail on $1000 cash bond. Court documents show Wood was driving from the VA Medical Center in Tomah when he was pulled over.

**CLICK HERE TO READ THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT**

STORY FROM WEDNESDAY (10/22/09):

Representative Jeff Wood is arrested for another OWI. The Tomah police chief tells WEAU 13 News he was arrested for OWI and bail jumping and was taken to the Monroe County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

Tomah police arrested Representative Wood of the 67th Assembly District (I-Chippewa Falls) after someone called in an erratic driver just before 4:30 Wednesday. Officers say they saw Wood swerve on the road and drive over the curb. Officers then pulled him over and arrested him.

Police say they gave Wood a preliminary breath test but didn't detect any alcohol. He was arrested for operating under the influence of an intoxicant or other drug and for bail jumping. He was then taken to the Monroe County Jail.

Wednesday's arrest comes less than one month after troopers in Marathon County arrested Wood for OWI on September 23. According to on-line court records, this is Wood's fifth OWI arrest, two are still going through the court process.

At last report, Wood's office told us he was working on getting into a rehab program. But, there's no word on if he was currently in treatment.

On September 24, troopers arrested Wood near Wausau after someone reported a vehicle driving recklessly in Portage County. The State Patrol says investigators found a prescription bottle of Lorazepam, an anxiety medication, with seven pills in it after stopping Wood's vehicle and noticing he looked sleepy. The prescription of 45 pills had been filled the day before.

Wood was also arrested in December 2008 in Columbia County and charged with OWI and possession of THC (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia after he crashed into a highway sign. The State Patrol says Wood had a marijuana pipe in his car and less than five grams of marijuana. Troopers say Wood was urinating on the shoulder of a highway when a state trooper approached him. Reports show Wood smashed into a highway sign in the median before pulling over to the side of Interstate 90.

The charges in Portage and Columbia Counties are still pending in court.
He was convicted in 1990; and in 1991 refused to submit to a blood alcohol test during another traffic stop.

We tried reaching Representative Jeff Wood's office for comment Wednesday, but did not hear back immediately.

Jeff Wood's father also told WEAU 13 News he did not wish to comment Wednesday night.

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Wednesday night, Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) issued this statement:

"The report of Representative Wood being arrested again for alleged impaired driving is both tragic and troubling. I have so much sympathy for his wife and young kids as they all struggle with the monster of addiction and what it does to a family. I really do want him to get the help he needs. But this is equally troubling because it appears he has again put people's lives in danger on the road and no amount of personal sympathy can condone those actions."

State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) introduced his Assembly Expulsion Resolution on October 14. The Speaker of the Assembly Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) must appoint a Special Committee on Ethics and Standards to act on the Wood Expulsion Resolution. The Speaker has yet to move forward with the process as required under Assembly Rules.

“There can be no more sympathy for Rep. Wood. He is a menace to public safety and unable to serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly as an honorable or effective member. He is unlikely to resign, so it is now up to the Assembly to adopt my expulsion resolution. Speaker Sheridan and Rep. Mark Pocan, both members of Democrat leadership, have publicly defended Wood by coming out against expulsion. They now have good cause to correct their lapse in judgment and do the right thing. The people of Wisconsin will not tolerate someone serving in the Assembly that is an outright threat to public safety,” Nass said.

Nass noted that citizens in Rep. Wood’s Assembly district can’t start a recall process legally until January 2010. Even if that process were to be successful, Rep. Wood could serve and collect a paycheck until about March or April 2010. The State Assembly could vote to expel Wood by November 5, 2009, prior to adjourning for the year.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me Location: here on Oct 27, 2009 at 10:05 AM
    Look at that man who is being charged with a felony in the Wausau area when he had a few and drove and killed both his wife and daughter. He had no other convictions on his record and was involved in his community and church. All it takes is once. When you don't get it after that then you belong in jail with the fines and sentances getting harsher as the number of instances go up. It's too easy now.
  • by Wendy Location: Eau Claire on Oct 26, 2009 at 11:44 AM
    Treatment? What treatment. He should be in jail, he's been arrested 5 times for this crime. I don't think the court would be so lenient if we were talking about an average citizen.
  • by Steve Location: FC on Oct 25, 2009 at 08:17 PM
    To: Dan If this doesn't make a "bad person", what does he have to do to be considered a bad person? Get arrested after he kills someone?
  • by Anon on Oct 24, 2009 at 11:12 AM
    I dont know why anyone would believe anything Mr Wood says. He's an addict. Addicts lie. They'll sell their soul and yours for their next fix. Judge his actions not his useless words.
  • by Philo Location: Eau Claire on Oct 24, 2009 at 09:38 AM
    OK....Jeff Wood is a pill addict, smokes pot, and is from Chippewa Co. I would say that he still accurately represents at least half of the people in his district! Wake up to your neighbors, people!
  • by Dan Location: Altoona on Oct 23, 2009 at 07:49 PM
    First of all, he wasn't drunk. He was under the influence of prescription drugs. It isn't any better than being drunk, but it's not like he was out tipping down a few; it couldn't be smelled on him. Still it is wrong. He is ill. I feel sorry for his family, and I feel sorry for him. However, he must be responsible for his actions. He must pay the consequences. And he needs to resign and concentrate on his problem. However, this doesn't make him a bad person. It makes him a person with a problem. And now Jaynie is advocating hangings for this offense? Lots of judgemental people out there. Especially when it's an anonymous thing like this on-line forum. Take a chill pill and stop the virtual vigilante-ism.
  • by old timer Location: chippewa falls on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:03 PM
    Let this be a lesson to every elected official, state-county-town or village. You were elected to represent the people in your district. This should be a state law or national law----when elected officials act above the law and use their positions in court to get out of their problems they should be kicked out of office Any elected official should be held to highest credentials of the state. County board members should take a wake up call on this.This is why we need term limits. How many county/city board members have been picked up for DUI.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 02:43 PM
    I read something somewhere about unreasonable bail being prohibited. The man needs a 6 month stay in treatment.
  • by Anonymous Location: Stanley on Oct 23, 2009 at 01:01 PM
    Mr. Woods has been in treatment the last 3 weeks??!! Better improve the treatment! One of the first steps in recovery is to take responsibility for your actions and yet he took more medication than was prescribed because his ROOMMATE left and he had to go "rescue" him??!! MR. Woods is using excuses for the drug use instead of taking responsibility. Re-election?? No one would even consider him a candidate! Resign? He should have already because no one will ever trust him again to make any sound political decisions.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 09:08 AM
    WHY is he leaving jail? Do they want him to kill someone? Seriously the bail should have been so high he couldn't afford to get out. Would it not have been for one of us?
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