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Benton man sent to prison
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DARLINGTON - Before being sentenced to prison Tuesday, March 13, for his fifth and sixth drunken driving offenses, a Benton man said he hoped "the Lord can forgive me."

Nick A. Weber Jr., 57, pleaded guilty in January to a fifth-offense charge of operating with a prohibited blood-alcohol content and a sixth-offense charge of operating while intoxicated, both Class G felonies, as well as felony bail jumping.

He was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison and 18 months on extended supervision, with conditions that he not use or possess alcohol.

The convictions stem from two traffic stops just four months apart in 2017, according to court records.

On April 7, Weber was reportedly seen driving erratically on Wisconsin 23/81 near Darlington. Officers found him in the parking lot of Town Bank in Darlington, where he failed several sobriety tests. His blood-alcohol content registered at 0.213 percent, about 2 1/2 times the legal limit for driving in Wisconsin.

On Aug. 18, Weber was driving his 1996 Ford F250 on Alma Street in Benton when an officer observed that the trailer the truck was hauling was missing a rear tire. Weber refused to take sobriety tests or provide a breath sample. Police later obtained a warrant for a blood sample, and Weber's blood-alcohol registered at 0.228 percent.

Weber has four prior drunken driving convictions on his record from June 1993, August 1996, August 2003 and January 2007.

District Attorney Jenna Gill said the joint recommendation of prison time for Weber was appropriate. She said she agreed with the writer of a Department of Correction pre-sentence investigation report that Weber has a fine character but has a drinking problem, which he also had earlier in life.

Weber was sober for quite a while until his most recent drunken driving offenses, she said. His high blood-alcohol content in both cases, during daytime hours, concerned her.

Lafayette County Judge Duane Jorgenson noted that Weber is not a career criminal but has difficulties with alcohol. He said community-based alcohol treatment has not worked for Weber. For this reason, he added, a period of confinement where Weber can attend mandatory classes is appropriate.

"You are fortunate that this is all that we are looking at. We should all thank God that nobody got hurt or anything worse happened," Jorgenson said after accepting the joint recommendation for prison time from Gill and defense attorney Joseph Pecora.

When given the opportunity to speak to the court, Weber said he took full responsibility for his actions.

"I made a very bad mistake. I went against my beliefs of the Lord Jesus Christ," he said. "I just hope the Lord can forgive me."