- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A southeastern Wisconsin legislator who lost his sister to a drunken driver has been arrested for drunken driving himself, police said Friday.

An officer in Greenfield stopped Rep. Josh Zepnick around 8:20 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement from Police Chief Bradley R. Wentlandt. Zepnick was the only person in the vehicle.

Zepnick told the officer he had been drinking and failed field sobriety tests, the chief said. The statement did not include Zepnick’s blood-alcohol content; the chief said Zepnick refused to take a breath test.

The legislator was taken to police headquarters, booked and released to a responsible adult, the chief said. The statement did not identify that adult. Wentlandt said video from the officer’s dashboard camera and police reports could be released as early as Saturday.

Zepnick was polite throughout the incident and never identified himself as a member of the state Assembly, the chief added.



Zepnick’s sister, Jamie Lynn Zepnick, was struck and killed by a repeat-offense drunken driver while riding her bicycle in Greenfield in 1990.

“A few of us still remember the aftermath of Jamie Lynn Zepnick’s tragic death,” Wentlandt said in the statement. “Representative Zepnick’s arrest reminds of us of the pervasive problem of drunk driving in our state.”

Zepnick issued a statement Friday apologizing for his deciding to drive under the influence. He said his family’s experience with drunken driving makes his actions “even more irresponsible.” He said he was contemplating seeking professional help to overcome problems affecting his judgement.

“Drunk drivers must be held accountable for their actions, as I expect to be held accountable for mine,” Zepnick said.

Online court records indicate the arrest is Zepnick’s first alleged drunken driving offense. Under Wisconsin law, a first offense is a municipal violation, not a crime. Zepnick has an optional court date on Nov. 18.

Zepnick, a Democrat, represents parts of Milwaukee. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2002. He’s currently running for a seat on the Milwaukee Common Council against incumbent Ald. Bob Donovan.

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