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Accused drunken driver says he ‘drinks alcohol like it is coffee’

<i>Racine Co Sheriff</i><br/>James Fuerstenau is accused of his third operating while under the influence.
Racine Co Sheriff
Racine Co Sheriff
James Fuerstenau is accused of his third operating while under the influence.

By Web Staff

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    RACINE COUNTY, Wisconsin (WISN) — A Milwaukee man accused of his third operating while under the influence told a Racine County deputy he has been drinking since he was 9 years old and “drinks alcohol like it is coffee,” according to a criminal complaint.

On July 12, a deputy said she spotted 51-year-old James Fuerstenau driving recklessly westbound on State Highway 20 near County Highway H.

She found the driver’s white SUV and conducted a high-risk traffic stop on the vehicle on 7 Mile Road near East Frontage Road.

Two deputies approached the SUV and the man exited the vehicle. Deputy Beall said she could smell the strong odor of intoxicants from the man, the criminal complaint says.

Beall asked Fuerstenau if there was a reason she could smell alcohol on him. He said, “Yup, I had a couple after work so.”

While speaking with other deputies at the scene, Beall was told they could see open intoxicants along the passenger side floorboard of Fuerstenau’s vehicle.

Beall walked up to the passenger side of the vehicle and could smell the odor of intoxicants emitting from it. Beall said she saw one tall green opened Four Loko alcoholic beverage can and three opened Nature Ice beer cans in the vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.

Fuerstenau had a revoked driver’s license due to a prior operating while under the influence conviction and an active warrant out for his arrest.

Results of a blood test are still pending, but Fuerstenau was arrested for operating while under the influence.

Fuerstenau admitted to drinking beginning at 5:30 a.m. that day and using cocaine before he went to work.

He admitted he then ingested a Four Loke, Natural Ice and smoked marijuana when he took lunch at about 12 to 1 p.m.

According to the complaint, Fuerstenau said he ingested the alcohol while he was driving on the road and said, “I was drinking and driving.”

He was also charged with operating a vehicle while revoked and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.

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