Moralizing hypocrite Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) and his lackey staffer have been all over today’s news cycle, thundering about the unsettling arrest of Rep. Jeff Wood on suspicion of a 5th OWI.
To be sure, Wood has real troubles and should not be operating a vehicle in any way at this point.
But that’s no excuse for Nass’s ridiculous, partisan, political grandstanding — especially given his recent silence when fellow Republican elected officials faced even more serious charges their driving while impaired had nearly caused substantial physical harm to others.Take the case of former Rep. Lorraine Seratti (R-Spread Eagle), who according to the the story on the police report of her June 2000 OWI, “sped through a stop sign, almost hit another vehicle and refused to stop for squad cars before” her arrest for drunk driving.
Not a word from Nass. No calls for expulsion. No call for then GOP Speaker Scott Jensen to oust Nass’s fellow Republican.
Given it was from a hack like Nass, who went to court to get his taxpayer-finance per diem not included in calculating what he should have to pay in child support for his out-of-wedlock daughter and who lied on official mileage forms about how far away his house it to the State Capitol, there’s probably noone familiar with his brand of contemptuous, ham-handed partisanship who was surprised he has been so yammery about this.
(Funny, he hasn’t said boo about the right wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute conducting polling with the UW-Madison’s Ken Goldstein, either. Guess that’s because the biased polling so far has reinforced the conservative agenda. Guess that’s the ticket: If you’re not a Republican like Nass, it’s all fair game. If you are a Republican, Nass shuts his mouth and won’t use his taxpayer-financed office resources to criticize you.)
And for what it’s worth, here’s the story about Seratti and the conduct Nass was more than happy to ignore from his fellow Republican.
Seratti drunk, unruly, police say
State lawmaker ran stop sign, wouldn’t pull car over, report says
By Peter J. Wasson
Wausau Daily Herald
CRANDON – State Rep. Lorraine Seratti sped through a stop sign, almost hit another vehicle and refused to stop for squad cars before her Sunday drunken-driving arrest, police said.
When she was brought to the Forest County Sheriff’s Department, a preliminary breath test showed the lawmaker had a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol level – more than twice the state’s limit for drivers.
Seratti, R-Spread Eagle, could not find her driver’s license in her wallet, recite the alphabet or stand up without leaning on her Ford Explorer, according to police reports.
When arrested, she swore at officers and refused to submit to a second breath test or a blood test. She said she was not taking any medicine and had not recently seen a doctor.
In a statement later, Seratti blamed her lack of stability, slurred speech and other difficulties on a couple of drinks she had combined with medication she now says she was taking for a respiratory infection.
Seratti was arrested about 8 p.m. Sunday after witnesses told police of a reckless driver on Highway 8 in Forest County. She was taken into custody after Crandon, Forest County and State Patrol officers forced her to stop just outside of Crandon.
Seratti’s home phone was busy for much of Wednesday and her office personnel said they did not know how to get in touch with her.
According to reports by Forest County, Crandon and State Patrol officers:
Officers first were notified about Seratti’s driving by two people who watched her drive through a stop sign on Highway W at Corning Road in Forest County.
“They said the vehicle did not slow down,” Crandon Police Sgt. Todd Stamper said in his report.
“They said that the vehicle’s brake lights never came on. They said that the Explorer almost made impact with a van that was headed eastbound and passing the intersection. They felt that had they not turned south on Highway W, this Explorer would have struck their vehicle.”
Stamper and Trooper Jason Babich began looking for the truck, and Babich spotted it on Highway 8. When Stamper caught up to Babich, the trooper was behind Seratti’s truck with his emergency lights and siren on.
Stamper pulled alongside Seratti with his lights and siren activated and motioned to her to pull over.
“At this point I could clearly see the driver, who was a female with blonde hair,” Stamper’s report said. “I could see that the subject did not intend to stop the vehicle.”
Stamper and Babich used their squad cars to box Seratti in and force her to the side of the road. It took three tries, they said, before she complied.
When Stamper approached Seratti’s truck, he “could smell a very strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from her breath and clothing.”
Babich asked Seratti if she remembered going through a stop sign at an intersection earlier.
“She seemed confused,” Babich said. “I asked her where she was coming from and going to, and once again she seemed confused and did not answer. I asked her if she had been drinking during the day, and she paused, looked at me and shook her head as to say no, but did not reply.”
Stamper said Seratti leaned against her truck for balance as he spoke with her. Her speech was slurred, he said, and difficult to understand.
“I asked the female subject why she did not stop her vehicle when I tried to pull my squad car in front of her car,” Stamper said. “She said that she did not see me but she could hear the sirens.
“I pointed to my squad and showed her that it is a full-size vehicle, black and white in color, and that she could see my emergency lights were very easy to see. She said, ‘Well, yeah, but I did not see you.’”
Stamper next had Seratti perform sobriety tests. During the first, in which Stamper asked her to touch her nose with her finger, Seratti started performing the test before she was told to, according to the officer’s report. When she completed it, she touched her upper lip and moved her finger to the tip of her nose.
Seratti then was asked to walk a straight line heel-to-toe.
“She kept her hands shoulder height and, when asked to keep her hands 4 to 6 inches from her sides, she would not comply. … She would lose her footing and weave badly side-to-side,” the report said.
The last test Seratti performed was reciting the ABCs. She skipped M and N, Stamper said, and missed letters when approaching the end of the alphabet.
Stamper and Babich arrested Seratti and took her to the Forest County Sheriff’s Department for an Intoxilyzer test.
“Lorraine complained that her throat hurt,” Stamper said. “I got a glass of water for her. She tried very hard to get herself to cough.”
A legally admissible breath test requires a driver to give two full breath samples. All motorists are obligated to provide them, according to state law.
Seratti tried blowing air around the end of the Intoxilyzer tube and would give only short breaths, Stamper said. After one breath sample was recorded at 0.21 percent blood-alcohol, Seratti refused eight times to give a second sample.
Stamper then gave her the option of giving blood for a test.
“(Expletive) you,” Seratti told him. “I’m not giving any blood.”
Stamper said he asked Seratti if she was under a doctor’s care or had recently taken any medication, and she answered “No” to both questions. She then began swearing at jailers.
Police seized her driver’s license and later released her to her husband, Larry.
In a press release read by her husband Monday, Seratti apologized to her constituents for her arrest and promised it never would happen again.
She also said she drank alcohol Sunday after taking medicine for “a stubborn respiratory infection.”
Seratti was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and is seeking re-election by her district, which encompasses all or portions of Florence, Forest, Marinette, Menominee and Oconto counties. She currently is unopposed.