Tavern incident leads to jail time for Iron Mountain woman
By NIKKI YOUNK
FLORENCE, Wis. – An Iron Mountain woman accused of attempting to run down two women with her vehicle in Aurora, Wis. will spend 30 days in the Florence County Jail after accepting a plea agreement on lesser charges.
Valerie Edwards, 25, will also serve one year of probation.
She must submit to an alcohol and drug assessment, attend an anger management class, abstain from using alcohol and medical marijuana, and write letters of apology to her victims.
During a court hearing on Tuesday, Edwards agreed to plead no contest to one amended misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle negligently, one misdemeanor count of battery, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.
Two felony counts of recklessly endangering safety, one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed.
Florence County District Attorney Douglas Drexler said that the charges stem from an early morning incident on New Year’s Day at an Aurora tavern.
According to Drexler, Edwards became agitated at two women who were talking to a man she was attracted to. Edwards then physically attacked one of the women.
Drexler further reported that Edwards followed the women outside of the bar, and just missed hitting them with her vehicle.
“It was very traumatic for these ladies,” he added. “They couldn’t understand why this woman was acting this way.”
Based on the danger of the situation and Edwards’ prior record, which consists of misdemeanor convictions for embezzlement, larceny, and marijuana, Drexler recommended that Edwards spend 60 days in jail.
Edwards’ attorney Michael Scholke argued that his client was having a bad night and made some poor decisions.
Scholke claimed that Edwards had been the victim of a hit and run accident earlier that evening, and she was trying to get the man in the bar to help her. When he would not help, she became aggressive with him and the two women.
“She was not attempting to run anyone down,” Scholke added. “But, she does understand how she frightened them.”
Scholke believed that a probation sentence would be an appropriate punishment.
When given a chance to speak, Edwards apologized to the victims, who were not present at the hearing.
“I didn’t mean to harm them,” she said.
Judge Leon D. Stenz noted that Edwards had accepted responsibility for her actions and did not have a substantial criminal record.
However, he did not believe Scholke’s claim that Edwards did not intend to run down the women with her vehicle.
“It sounds like she was lying in wait, maybe not to hit, but to scare them,” said Judge Stenz. “She could very easily have killed somebody.”
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.