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Lawmakers Seek To Strengthen Wisconsin’s Drunken Driving Laws

First OWI Could Be Criminalized

car driving at night
S. Maslo (CC BY-NC-ND)

Jennifer Kilburn drove north on 60th Avenue in Kenosha just before 5 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2018, to start her shift as a nurse at Aurora Medical Center.

As she turned left onto Highway 50, Jesse Liddell flew through a red light, T-boning Kilburn’s silver Honda on the driver’s side.

Kilburn was taken by Flight for Life — an emergency medical air transport — to Milwaukee. Her pelvis was shattered. Her lung was collapsed. Her diaphragm had ruptured.

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The crash was on a Thursday. Kilburn remained unconscious until Saturday.

Honda after it was hit by a drunken driver
Jennifer Kilburn’s Honda after it was hit by a drunken driver on the morning of Aug. 9, 2018. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Kilburn

“They told me that I had been in a car accident and that a drunken driver had hit me,” she said. “And that not only was it a drunken driver, but he had actually been arrested two hours prior for drunken driving.”

After failing a field sobriety test at the scene of the crash, Liddell was arrested. It was his second arrest in less than three hours. Around 2:20 a.m., Pleasant Prairie police arrested Liddell for his first-ever OWI.