Florence court official faces misdemeanor
By NIKKI YOUNK
FLORENCE, Wis. – The court commissioner for Florence County Court who was previously cited for drunk driving is now facing misdemeanor criminal charges for the same incident.
David J. Herrick, 68, of Florence faces one misdemeanor count of cause injury while operating under the influence and one misdemeanor count of cause injury while operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration.
If convicted, he could spend between 30 days to one year in jail.
The charges stem from an Aug. 26 incident in Florence.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Herrick is accused of almost hitting an 18-year-old Florence man with his vehicle.
The man had been standing alongside Montgomery Lake Road near his residence when the incident occurred. He told deputies from the Florence County Sheriff’s Department that he jumped down into the ditch to avoid being hit.
Both the man and his father, who witnessed the incident, briefly argued with Herrick and claimed that they could smell alcohol on his breath.
Responding deputies went to Herrick’s residence and observed him parking his vehicle. After administering several sobriety tests and obtaining a .15 preliminary breath test, deputies arrested Herrick.
Initially, Herrick was cited with two traffic forfeitures of operating while intoxicated and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration for the incident.
Forfeitures are not criminal offenses, and only result in fines.
The misdemeanor criminal charges were issued after deputies received results of the victim’s MRI exam.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim suffered injuries to his right knee as a result of jumping into the ditch.
Herrick’s initial appearance in Florence County Court has not yet been scheduled.
Since Herrick works for Florence County Court Judge Leon D. Stenz as a court commissioner, which is similar to a magistrate, neither Judge Stenz nor Florence County District Attorney Douglas Drexler will be involved in Herrick’s case.
The presiding official will be Judge Michael Moran of Marathon County, and the special prosecutor will be attorney Susan J. Sommer.
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.