Complaint details arrest of Hobart village president

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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - UPDATE 2/4:

Hobart's village president was arrested for his third drunk driving offense after driving into a ditch early Friday morning.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News details the allegations against Richard Heidel.

Heidel, 66, is charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated - 3rd Offense.

On Feb. 1 at 12:34 a.m., deputies were called to Hillcrest Road at Riverdale Drive in Hobart. A witness saw a man drive into a ditch, and described the driver as "shaking" and "slumped over at the wheel."

Deputies found Heidel in a west ditch facing oncoming traffic. The car was running. A deputy approached Heidel and asked him what happened. Heidel said, "I don't know."

A deputy says rescue workers helped Heidel out of his vehicle. He was "stumbling and needed our assistance to help hold him up," reads the complaint.

Another deputy said Heidel "continued to sway/tumble and needed assistance to stand."

Heidel admitted to drinking a beer at a bar in Green Bay before driving home, according to the complaint.

Due to the below zero temperatures, Heidel was taken to a local hospital for sobriety tests. He was asked to stand with his feet together and hands down on his side. When asked to remove his hat, he lost balance and nearly fell over, reads the complaint. During testing involving eyes, "he nearly fell over backwards" and had to be caught by two law enforcement officers.

Heidel consented to a blood draw, according to the complaint. Results are pending.

Heidel has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His bond was set at $850. The court ordered no alcohol use and no presence in bars or liquor stores.

Heidel was arrested for 3rd Offense OWI. He was previously arrested for OWI in 1997 and 2005.

Heidel has been Hobart village president since September 2003. He is also the President of the Brown County Tax Payers Association.

Action 2 News received a statement from Heidel saying, "I take full responsibility for my conduct and I am terribly sorry that my actions put others at risk. Fortunately, no one else was involved and no one was injured. Words of sorrow and contrition are never enough; one’s actions are what really speak. I’ve always been honest in admitting that I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been for many years with many good years of sobriety behind me. Like most diseases, sometimes the individual comes out of remission or relapses. Now I’m returning to my recovery program to help me lead a completely sober life again, a day at a time."

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PREVIOUS STORY:
Richard Heidel, Village President of Hobart was arrested on Friday for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Court records show it is his 3rd OWI.

Rich Heidel served on Hobart’s Park Committee in the 1990’s, according to the village website. He was then elected as a trustee to the Hobart Village Board in April 2003 and has been the Village President since September 2003.

Heidel is also the President of the Brown County Tax Payers Association.

Action 2 News received a statement from Heidel saying, "I take full responsibility for my conduct and I am terribly sorry that my actions put others at risk. Fortunately, no one else was involved and no one was injured. Words of sorrow and contrition are never enough; one’s actions are what really speak. I’ve always been honest in admitting that I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been for many years with many good years of sobriety behind me. Like most diseases, sometimes the individual comes out of remission or relapses. Now I’m returning to my recovery program to help me lead a completely sober life again, a day at a time."

This is a developing story. More details to follow.