WASHBURN COUNTY -- (DrydenWire.com) -- Criminal charges have been filed against a Webster, WI man after he allegedly had a juvenile drive his vehicle while he was intoxicated.
Shortly before 5:30p on December 13, 2021, a Washburn County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched regarding an erratic driver on Highway 53. The caller said they believed the vehicle was going over 100 miles per hour and was swerving all over the road. The Deputy located the suspect vehicle in the area of Highway 53 and Duck Pond Road when he saw the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and tracked it on radar at a speed of 84 miles per hour.
The Deputy engaged in the pursuit of the vehicle with squad lights activated. When the vehicle came to a stop, an adult male exited the front passenger seat of the vehicle and stated that he wanted to talk to the Deputy. After being told twice to get back in the vehicle, the male cooperated and did so.
The Deputy made contact with the driver of the vehicle and observed that the driver was a young juvenile. It was ultimately determined that the juvenile was 14 years of age. Another juvenile, age 3, was located in the back seat of the vehicle. The Deputy also observed an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in the center console of the car.
The Deputy had the adult male exit the vehicle and he was identified as James P. Burton. When asked why a juvenile was driving the vehicle, Burton responded that it was because he was anxious. The Deputy asked Burton if he had the juvenile drive the vehicle because Burton was intoxicated, and Burton again stated that it was because he was anxious.
The criminal complaint goes on to state that Burton agreed to a preliminary breath test, the result of which was 0.14. The Deputy determined that it would not have been possible for Burton to blow into the IID and start the car.
When the Deputy spoke to the juvenile, the juvenile denied blowing into the IID and said that the juvenile was driving because Burton was anxious and that they were traveling to Chippewa Falls. The complaint states that when the Deputy asked why they were traveling at such a high rate of speed, the juvenile said it was because the vehicles in front of them were “going slow."
Burton is charged with Class D Felony Recklessly Endangering Safety-Party to a Crime; Class H Felony Intentionally Contribute to Delinquency of a Child; Misdemeanor Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device; and Permit Unauthorized Minor To Drive.
Online circuit court records show that Burton appeared for a bond hearing on December 14, 2021. The State requested a $1,000 cash bond, with conditions that Burton maintain absolute sobriety and have no unsupervised contact with the two juveniles that were in the vehicle. The Court ordered the same with an additional condition that Burton is not to enter an establishment that sells alcohol for consumption on premises.
Burton appeared most recently on January 3, 2022, for an initial appearance hearing and is scheduled to appear again on January 6, 2022, for a preliminary examination hearing regarding his charges.
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Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.