State Rep. Jeff Wood, I-Chippewa Falls, reported to the Colombia County jail Monday night to begin his 45-day sentence for his third-offense conviction of operating while intoxicated.
Wood was convicted last week for a December 2008 incident where he crashed his car into a highway sign along I-39/90/94 and then urinated on the side of the road. The incident took place just one month after Wood won reelection.
Wood was scheduled to report to jail by 7 p.m., making it to the jailhouse with 10 minutes to spare.
He was also granted work release privileges — the specifics of which have yet to be determined — to complete some of his legislative duties, but he must report back to the jail by the end of the evening.
Wood has two prior OWI convictions from 1991 and 1992, and currently he has two more cases pending in Marathon and Monroe counties.
He also has to pay a $1,615.50 fine and must go to drug and alcohol treatment sessions as part of his sentence.
One of Wood’s harshest critics, Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater — who wrote the expulsion resolution the Assembly failed to pass in favor of a censure measure — does not believe Wood will be able to adequately represent his constituents while serving a jail sentence, Nass spokesperson Mike Mikalsen said.
“Rep. Nass came to the conclusion back in last October that Rep. Wood was not able to do his job,” Mikalsen said. “Wood is a symptom of the problem we face in the state, which is that the abuse of drug and alcohol is not taken seriously, and we don’t hold people accountable.”
The impact on Wood’s constituents may not be so dramatic, however. Wood will be serving out his jail sentence while his duties as a representative in Madison are essentially done for the year, Barry Burden, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, said.
Wood’s office could not be reached for comment.