Person Down: Hawthorne Court
The Madison Police Department found a male University of Wisconsin student unconscious and bleeding at the bottom of a stairwell in the downtown area early Sunday morning.
The victim, 21, was found at 411 Hawthorne Ct., just off State Street, at approximately 1:40 a.m., according to an MPD statement. The victim was bleeding from a large laceration on his head, the statement said.
According to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, the victim was taken to the hospital for his injuries. The victim remained unconscious all the way to the hospital, he said. There are no updates on the victim’s injuries, he added.
“Head injuries are always very scary,” Verveer said.
Verveer said it was unclear whether the individual was the victim of a crime or not. It is possible the injuries the victim sustained were the result of an accidental fall, he said.
Fire: UW Porter Boathouse
The Madison Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at the UW Porter Boathouse early Sunday morning.
Crews extinguished a fire in a vault room of the Porter Boathouse, the three-story building home to the UW men’s and women’s rowing teams, just before 9 a.m., according to an MFD statement.
Firefighters found smoke billowing out of a back room of the boathouse, according to MFD Spokesperson Bernadette Galvez. Firefighters shut off the power in the room before putting out the fire with a carbon dioxide extinguisher, she said.
According to the statement, the fire caused $10,000 in damage.
The fire was located in the room where the boats used by the rowing team, or shells, are housed, Galvez said. The majority of the damage sustained was smoke damage to the shells, she said. The fire caused soot residue on 15 to 20 shells, she said.
The firefighters turned off fans in the building to eliminate the smoke and prevent further damage to the rowing team equipment, the statement said.
No one was in the building at the time of the fire, according to Galvez.
Overall, the shells experienced minor damage and none of them actually melted from the fire, Galvez said. The rowing team will have time to fix the shells before their season begins.
“I don’t think this will affect the rowing team,” Galvez said. “I hope it will not affect them.”
City of Madison Fire Investigators, UW Safety and UW Police Department are investigating a possible electrical cause of the fire, according to the statement.
Drunken Driving: Langdon
A man was arrested for his fifth drunken driving offense following an incident that occurred on Langdon Street Thursday evening.
According to University of Wisconsin Police Department Sgt. Aaron Chapin, a vehicle was stopped March 15 at 1:28 a.m. for traveling without headlights. He said the UW officer on patrol at that time stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver.
Karl Moreth, 26 of Sun Prairie, was driving the vehicle and claimed to be unaware the lights were not on, according to a UWPD statement.
The statement said there were three other intoxicated passengers in the vehicle at the time it was pulled over, who had all received previous convictions for Operating Moving Vehicles While Intoxicated, or a drunken driving charge.
Moreth was arrested and booked in the Dane County Jail after failing a field sobriety test and is being charged with OMVWI fifth offense, Operating After Revocation and Operating without Proper Lights.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he would consider this case to be rare in the UW area and particularly noteworthy, given the circumstances.
“Five is an outrageously high number of convictions for a man of his age,” Verveer said. “It really is unusual and unfortunate.”
During police contact, one of the passengers in the vehicle urinated on himself and another vomited on himself, according to the statement.
Chapin said this is a serious crime. He said a fifth offense is a felony charge and added Moreth will most likely face prison time, though a specific period of time is for a judge to decide.
“Don’t drink and drive – that would be my first piece of advice,” Chapin said. “And if you are a witness to drinking and driving, call the police immediately.”
Verveer said he appreciates UWPD’s response to this incident and other similar cases. He said, typically, drunken drivers are frequently caught because of breaking common traffic laws, such as forgetting to turn on their headlights, failing to use a turn signal or running a red light.
Chapin said despite it being a holiday weekend, police do random patrols on a regular basis.
Verveer said this incident might have been the first of many over the holiday weekend. He added police presence is traditionally increased every St. Patrick’s Day weekend because of an increase of drunken pedestrians.
“The combination of drunken drivers and drunk pedestrians is really dangerous,” Verveer said. “Luckily, this did not result in any injuries or property damages.”
Verveer explained the City of Madison cannot have different drunken driving laws than the state, and added Wisconsin is the only state where a first drunk driving offense is a civil and not a criminal offense. He said some people find this state law to be “really lax.”
Verveer said the City Council therefore provides sufficient staffing to help catch drunken drivers. He said City Council takes this job seriously, and does a good job with it.