Wednesday, February 10, 2016

John H. Przybyla who blamed beer-battered fish guilty of his 10th drunken driving charge

FRIENDSHIP, Wis. - An Adams County jury found a 76-year-old Friendship man — who in 2014 said during a traffic stop that he smelled like alcohol because he had just eaten beer-battered fish — guilty Monday of 10th offense drunken driving.

John H. Przybyla faces a maximum of 12 ½ years in prison. Portage County Circuit Judge Alan White, acting as a substitute judge in the Adams County case, ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. No date for sentencing had been scheduled Monday afternoon.

According to court documents, at 2:27 p.m. Oct. 12, 2014, an Adams County deputy saw a vehicle make a U-turn on Highway 13 in Dell Prairie. The deputy followed the vehicle and saw that it had a broken tail lamp. The deputy checked the license plate and learned Przybyla owned the vehicle, and he had a revoked driver's license.

As Przybyla went around a curve in the highway, the deputy saw Przybyla's vehicle go over the centerline, according to court documents. The deputy stopped the vehicle.

The deputy noticed an odor of alcohol on Przybyla's breath and asked him how much he had been drinking, according to documents. Przybyla said he hadn't but had been at a fish fry on State 82 and ate beer-battered fish.

The deputy arrested Przybyla and took him to Moundview Memorial Hospital in Adams. Przybyla refused to take a blood test, stating it was against his religion, according to court documents. The deputy got a warrant to conduct the test.

A preliminary breath test showed Przybyla had a 0.062 blood-alcohol concentration, according to court documents. For Wisconsin residents with three or more drunken driving convictions, the legal limit is 0.02 percent.

Nathan Ake

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