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Roberts man suspected of 10th OWI

A loud music complaint led to a Roberts man's 10th drunken driving-related arrest — and his second since February.

Shawn A. Harstad, 47, was charged Monday, March 13, with OWI-ninth offense. He was charged with the identical crime on Feb. 6. The most recent charge still reflects his ninth charge since there has not been a conviction in the February case.

Harstad made his initial appearance on the most recent charge Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court, where Judge Scott Needham set cash bail at $7,500.

According to a criminal complaint:

Roberts police were called March 13 to Harstad's 207 W. Graham St. home, after a caller reported someone there had been continuously playing loud music inside the house and from his vehicle. The suspect had also been revving his engine for about an hour; a complainant reported the loud sound woke a child up from a nap.

After taking the complainant's report, a Roberts officer spotted a red truck speeding and driving erratically. The vehicle then stopped in traffic, backed up and nearly struck another vehicle as it made its way into Harstad's driveway.

The officer pulled into the driveway and watched the driver, later identified as Harstad, get out of his truck and walk to the house.

Harstad talked briefly with the officer and denied the driving behavior the officer said he witnessed. He then ran into the house and slammed the door as the officer pursued.

The officer went back to his squad and watched Harstad walk out of the house. The officer ran Harstad down and hauled him back to the squad, where he noticed the suspect smelled of alcoholic beverages; Harstad said he'd consumed two beers.

The officer took Harstad to the Roberts police station to conduct field sobriety tests; the officer noted the surface at the arrest site was too steep and snowy to conduct the tests.

Harstad performed the tests while screaming profanities at the officer. The tests suggested Harstad was drunk, so the officer administered a breath test that revealed a 0.24 blood-alcohol content — about three times over Wisconsin's legal driving limit.

A list of driving offenses included in the complaint indicates Harstad was first convicted of drunken driving in 1989; his most recent conviction was from 2001. If convicted, Harstad could face up to 12 years in prison.

He returns to court March 20 for a preliminary hearing.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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