Man arrested suspected of eighth-offense operating while intoxicated

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Neil Johnson
Monday, August 21, 2017

JANESVILLE—Nearly two decades ago, Rich Addie was at a stop sign on Newville Road at County M when a truck slammed into his work vehicle from behind.

The driver stumbled out of his truck and showed signs of being drunk. He suggested they settle the matter there, but Addie insisted on contacting police.

The man left, and police later found him at a sandblasting business. He failed a breath test and was arrested on an intoxicated driving charge, according to a criminal complaint from the March 31, 1998, incident.

It wasn't the man's first such offense.

It wouldn't be his last.

The man, Daniel J. Rivers, found himself in a similar position Sunday -- 19 years later. The 55-year-old Footville resident was arrested Sunday evening on a charge of eighth-offense intoxicated driving.

After the 1998 collision with Rivers, Addie had chronic back and neck pain. Medical bills piled up, and Addie decided to file a lawsuit against Rivers in 2001.

The parties settled out of court. Addie doesn't remember how much money he received in the settlement, he said.

Addie said time has healed most of his pain, but he still has occasional back problems.

He suggested Rivers now be jailed for an extended period. The penalty needs to be stronger for someone on their eighth drunk-driving arrest and who could “kill somebody someday” if he continues his repeat behavior, Addie said.

“It won't be his last. Clearly the guy don't care. He may have remorse after he drinks, but I just think he'll keep doing it,” Addie said. “And how do you stop that behavior? Clearly he doesn't listen to the law. That's my feeling. They can make all the drunk driving laws they want, these guys don't care.”

A person called police at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday to report a vehicle going the wrong way on Centerway near Milton Avenue. The vehicle turned onto Court Street and drove erratically as it headed west out of the city, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

The caller said the vehicle bounced onto terraces and people's lawns on both sides of the street. Police pursued the vehicle and turned on their sirens, but it continued driving three miles outside Janesville's city limits before finally pulling over on Highway 11 west of County H.

Police reported Rivers attempted to comply with police commands after stepping from the vehicle but struggled to stabilize himself. He fell to the ground and needed help to get back on his feet, according to the complaint.

Rivers' eyes were “glassy and bloodshot,” and he had difficulty answering officers' questions. Police did not perform field sobriety tests because they were concerned for his safety, according to the complaint.

Rivers also was cited for failing to stop for an officer, operating a vehicle without a valid license and operating a vehicle without insurance.

Rivers made his initial appearance in Rock County Court on Monday via video from the Rock County Jail. Court Commissioner Larry Barton ordered Rivers held on a $5,000 cash bond and prohibited him from driving or drinking alcohol.

He will appear in court Friday for an indigency hearing to determine if Rivers qualifies for a court-appointed attorney.

Court records indicate Rivers has been previously convicted of drunken driving seven times:

-- July 15, 1991

-- Feb. 6, 1995

-- Jan. 12, 1996

-- Two convictions on July 27, 1998

-- Sept. 11, 2000

-- March 1, 2006

His 2006 conviction landed him in state prison for three years with an additional two years of extended supervision.

Addie said he wasn't bitter about his run-in with Rivers years ago. If he could say anything to Rivers, he hoped Rivers would get treatment and cure his addiction, he said.

“I feel sorry for you. I hope you get help,” Addie said.

“I hope you get the help you need before it's too late.”

Last updated: 9:44 am Monday, August 21, 2017

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